September 2nd, 2011
There are changes that are coming in the next few months to your bank account. While we here at The Trucker Chronicles normally focus of topics related to the transportation industry and truck driving jobs, this new sweeping legislation will affect your bottom line, at home and in business. Some of our employees have spoken with their bank officials and have been told, because of this new law, they will be charged $8/per month for a “free” checking account. Please pass this on to inform others. Take care…be safe…and we’ll see you on the flip side. -T.C.
The Durbin Amendment, Banking Fees And What It Means For You
You’ve just opened your bank statement and what gives? Seems like there are a lot of sneaky new fees lurking in there lately. It’s not just you. Since the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank financial reform act passed in July 2010, banks have slowly begun charging their customers extra fees any way they can.
If you’ve been following the news, you might remember that the Durbin Amendment is supposed to protect retailers from excessive interchange fees. An interchange fee is what merchants must pay to the card processing companies each time you use plastic to purchase something. Starting October 1st, banks will only be able to charge an average of 24 cents per transaction, far lower than the previous 44-cent average. This is great news for merchants, but major banks have made quite a bit of money off interchange fees, and with the new spending cap, they’re expecting billion-dollar profit shortfalls. So guess who gets to help make up for their lost revenue? You, their valuable customer.
Big banks cut back on rewards
Unfortunately, this means it’s time to say goodbye to some of the banking services you’ve taken for granted. Free checking? Bigger banks are cutting those accounts left and right, unless you’re willing and able to maintain a higher minimum balance. Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, and many other major banks now charge a monthly fee if your checking account falls below $1,500, but you may able to waive these fee by setting up direct deposit. And how about debit rewards cards? Say goodbye to those too. If you’re a Wells Fargo, Chase, USAA or SunTrust customer, those already went the way of the dinosaur in anticipation of the amendment’s passage.
In addition to these inconveniences, you can also expect to see higher interest rates and lower credit lines when you’re applying for a new credit card, higher transaction fees at the ATM, or even a monthly fee just for using your debit card. Bank of America recently added a $3 fee to print your account summary at an ATM. For many banks, a debit card use fee is in the works. Wells Fargo plans to test a $3 monthly fee in some states starting in October. Oh, and don’t forget prepaid credit cards, which are already laden with fees.
Stop, look and listen
If you feel like banks haven’t done enough to inform you of these changes, you’re not alone. Even though banks are required by law to disclose any new fees that might apply to your account, it’s not in their best interest to announce these loudly, so to speak. Telling customers to pay more for a service they’re already getting isn’t exactly a great business strategy. You probably received a statement in the mail about the new fees, but banks send out a lot of correspondence materials, and unless you make a conscious effort, it’s easy to skim over essential information like that. As Gail Hillebrand, a senior attorney at Consumers Union in San Francisco puts it “You’ve got to read those annoying messages…because they will be the ones that will tell you what is happening.” Effectively managing a bank account requires constant effort.
While most major banks are taking perks away, this isn’t necessarily the case with smaller banks. Not all of them rely on interchange fees for revenue, so some of them are still offering rewards for debit cards. For example, if you open a checking account with the online bank PerkStreet Financial, you can earn rewards for making non-PIN purchases with your debit card. Bank fees are popping up like daisies, but that doesn’t mean that free and rewards checking are gone.
Article Courtesy of the Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-durbin-amendment-and-banking-fees–what-does-it-mean-for-you-2011-9#ixzz1Wo2qY1PP