Friday, August 13, 2010

Debit Cards and Big Bank Profits

They want your money, but you already knew that, didn’t you, Dear Gentle Reader(s)?

David Lazarus, in today’s Los Angeles Times, limns the latest in the on-going struggle between banks and their customers, between getting and keeping, so to speak.

It seems Wells Fargo and Bank of America, Citibank, and Chase debit your checking account in the order of high-to-low amounts rather than chronological entries.  This means you’d better keep a very close eye on your checking account, or you could face stiff penalties if you keep most of your money in savings rather than savings.

Wells Fargo just got fined for doing that in a questionable way.  W-F plans to appeal.  According to Lazarus, the others don’t have any plans to change the practice.

Why people use debit cards is beyond me, but if you like it, make sure you’re keeping close track of balances.  And remember, that big mortgage payment will hit the balance before the $5 for cleaning.  And the cleaning could end up costing $40.

Lazarus points out that this practice is not yet included in the new banking rules.  He suggests lawmakers look into it now.  If you agree, get out out the pen and paper and send in those cards and letters, boys and girls. 

Trust, but verify.  And write your Congressperson.

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