Want to make people mad? Raise their bank fees.
That's exactly what Bank of America
I get what you pay for
As I've remarked on numerous occasions, I'm no fan of bank fees. I keep small balances in no-fee checking accounts, and I use online savings accounts and money market funds to earn higher interest on the rest of my savings. I'll also go without cash rather than pay a buck or two for an out-of-network ATM.
But I'd be the first to admit that if everyone did what I do, banks would go out of business. They make their money from people who keep thousands of dollars in their checking accounts and earn next to nothing in interest. And they make a fortune from people who bounce checks or use their overdraft protection regularly. The great deal I get is possible only because of others whose accounts are more profitable for my bank.
So if Bank of America decides to put up a network of 17,000 ATMs to serve customers and non-customers alike, why shouldn't the company expect to make money from it? Heck, let 'em charge $10. I'll never pay it.
What's the problem?
If bank fees make you mad, all you have to do is figure out how to get around them. Luckily, when you look at all of the fees that banks charge, ATM fees are among the easiest to avoid. Just compare ATM fees with some other fees that banks typically charge. With monthly service charges, you often have to maintain a high minimum balance -- from $1,000 to $2,500 or more -- before your bank will waive its fees. Often, fees for other services, such as cutting a cashier's check, having a signature notarized, or buying travelers' checks, are almost impossible to get around.
But to eliminate ATM fees, you don't even have to stop using ATMs. You just have to go to your own bank's machines. While your local bank may not have 17,000 locations around the country to serve you, it should have enough to meet your needs -- at least most of the time. And if you find yourself paying a bunch of ATM fees because your bank doesn't have machines where you need them, you should probably think about switching to another bank that does.
Cash is old-fashioned
In addition, for many people, having cash on hand just isn't as important as it was in the past. With credit and debit cards becoming so common, you can travel nearly anywhere without dealing with greenbacks at all. Paying for a pack of gum with a credit card may seem over the top, so you'll probably want a little money for small purchases. But carrying a wad of cash just doesn't make sense anymore.
Still, Bank of America clearly thinks that cash isn't going away soon, and it wants to profit from that. If that makes you mad, the solution is clear: Stop using the ATMs that charge those fees.
You can make your money go further with advice from our personal-finance newsletter service, Motley Fool Green Light. Every month, you'll find tips that add up to $450 or more of savings for you. Try it out for 30 days with no obligation, and see how Green Light can save you money.
Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase are both recommendations of our Income Investor newsletter service.
More from The Motley Fool
Is Bank of America's CEO a Two-Faced Bitcoin Critic?
The megabank's top executive is telling customers that they can't buy bitcoin from his company, but his staff is doing a lot of patented research in this field. So what's up?
8 Key Takeaways From Bank of America's Earnings Report
Bank of America beat fourth-quarter earnings estimates, but there's a lot more you need to know.
These Bank Bets Put Even Bitcoin to Shame
Find out why you have less than a year left to use some of these unusual investments.