The reasoning behind charging debit card fees, coming from a bank’s head executive, deviates greatly from customer reactions.
Your bank decides to charge you a debit card fee unless you keep more money and have more accounts with them.
What you do to deal with the fee is likely the exact opposite of what the bank wants you to do.
Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said that the bank’s new $5 monthly fee for debit card usage was introduced to “bring more relationships” among current clients.
“When we look at the profile of customers who have their entire banking relationship with us and those that don’t, a lot of people can qualify, will qualify, and do qualify not to pay the fees,” Moynihan said during the conference call for the company’s third-quarter earnings report.
Announced in late September and due to hit customers in early 2012, the debit card fee can be avoided by customers who have maintain at least a $20,000 combined balance in Bank of America deposit accounts and Merrill Lynch investments accounts or a Bank of America mortgage.
The likely natural reaction for an affected customer is to leave the bank – believing that the bank is money-hungry with little regard for the low-balance customer.
An unlikely customer move would be to move thousands of dollars or make major financial commitments with the bank. This isn’t like a coupon that gives a $5 discount on a $25 purchase at the supermarket, where shoppers are given the incentive to spend more.
Holding $20,000 or picking up $200,000 mortgage just to avoid a $5 monthly fee? That seems a bit far-fetched and it deviates from the average consumer mentality.
What Makes a Debit Card User
Consumers use debit cards to budget, track expenses, and avoid credit cards. Overall, they tend to be keeping a close watch on their spending.
They’ll keep their savings in an online savings account. They’ll shop for low interest rates on loans. They’ll find brokerages that keeps trading expenses low.
If the bank cannot beat these competing offers, it poses a less convincing case for clients to form a deeper relationship.
And, don’t forget that many of these impacted consumers are already trying to maneuver the hurdles involved with waiving monthly fees on checking accounts.
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