Bank of America has announced that it will begin charging $5 per month for every month in which BoA customers use their debit card for any transaction other than at an ATM. Other banks are soon expected to follow suit. The decision to charge was precipitated by a new federal law capping the fee that card issuers can charge retailers for processing transactions:
A provision from last summer’s financial regulation bill promoted by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) capped the fees that banks can charge retailers when customers pay with debit cards. The new rule goes into effect on Saturday.
Until the voters can address, in 2012, the economic disaster which has been the Obama administration and Democrat majority rule, we will have to find our own way to lower the cost of living, and banking, in particular.
My family has used ING Direct, an online bank, for several years with unparalleled success. ING offers a wide range of services, from checking to savings to home loans and retirement accounts. The “Electric Orange” checking account has no monthly fee, no debit card fee and actually pays interest on the balance. Transferring money between the checking account and savings accounts is quick and easy, and can even be automated. The debit card can be used at tens of thousands of ATMs nationwide.
Great Customer Service
Our single experience with customer service came when my sweetheart lost her debit card while shopping. A store employee picked it up, used it at two locations, then returned it to the “lost and found.” We called ING after discovering that the card was lost and that the fraudulent transactions were pending (via the free mobile app). After a quick phone call (also via the app) and within a few days, the stolen funds were restored to our account.
Two issues had prevented me from moving entirely to an online bank in the past– the lack of paper checks for those rare occasions in which one is needed (we pay almost everything online) and the difficulty in depositing checks and cash (also a rare occurrence). ING now offers paper checks and is working on a process whereby paper deposits will be processed digitally. We just stick cash in the vacation fund coffee can.
I am not a Bank of America customer but my bank, Suntrust, recently notified me that the free personal account that I had maintained for greater convenience for 15 years will soon be subject to a $7 monthly fee… at least, it would be if I kept it, which I will not. I have no doubt that my free checking has met its demise at the hands of federal over-regulation.
How to Switch
To open an ING Direct account, you must have an existing “brick and mortar” checking account from which to transfer funds initially. Contact me and I’ll send you a referral. Open the ING account, link your existing BoA, Suntrust or other account, and transfer a small amount to get started. Order a book of checks, open a couple of savings accounts (incidentally, ING will soon offer a student account with debit card) and begin the process of redirecting any automatic deposits. As soon as you receive your debit card and/or checks, transfer the balance from the old account.
Finally, enjoy closing the “brick and mortar” account before any fees kick in. Oh… and vote in 2012. Choose freedom.