Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bank Fee Rant

My bank doesn't charge me any fees unless I happen to overdraw my account. That hasn't happened in a very long time. This is not a rant about my bank. This is just a general, that doesn't seem fair, kind of rant.

I was given a check the other day to reimburse me for some expenses I'd had in caring for someone. Since that person doesn't bank at my bank, I went to their bank to cash the check. I needed to have the cash immediately (long, boring story).

First of all, I had to go into the bank. Minor irritation because it was really cold but I can understand the reasons they have non-members come in to a teller.

When I got to the counter, I saw the sign that said I would have to pay a $3 fee to have the check cashed. The sign stated that checks over $100 would be assessed this fee. So, I could have had the check writer make out two checks (more work for her and the teller) and not pay the fee.

This is what irritates me: By cashing the check, they are performing a service for their customer. They are also making an impression on a potential new customer. This was not a good impression.

I could understand charging a fee for cashing a check from another bank. I could understand charging a fee if I was asking them to make out a cashier's check or a money order for me, a non-member. I wasn't. I brought a check from one of their members into their bank and wished to exchange it for cash.

So, I've wasted a lot of mental energy being irritated at a bank over three, measley dollars. The thing is, it's not just that three dollars. It's a combination of random taxes and surcharges and handling fees and delivery fees and activation fees and more all tacked on to the price of an item or service.

I don't like it. I don't like it one, little bit.

EDIT/ADD: I've decided to find a friend who banks at that bank. I will give them $100 and ask them to let me fill out 50 checks, each for $2.00. Then, I will go stand in line, wait, and hand the checks to the teller. I think I just found my vindictive bone.


Jane said...

I can just see you standing in line with a stack of $2 checks. Hilarious!

Anonymous said...

OK, here's the deal. I'll get an account soon so you can know it's me. Despite the fact that you wanted to about slap me down for my comment about shopping carts, I have to agree here.

I mean, you are cashing a check for around $100 and getting put back $3. Let's assume it's $200. In that case, you are getting hit for 1.5% straight up, which when you compare it to the current 10 year T bill yield of abount 4.7%, you are getting jacked up. Of course, you are kinda screwed because you have to deal with a bank not of your own choosing.

If you can help it, minding the P's and Q's of all your transactions can make a big difference. A lot of people say, "well it's only a few dollars," but a few dollars in an account that only makes 2-4% a year is a big hit. A penny saved is a penny earned, as our forefather (and mack daddy pimp) Ben Franklin said.