Some banks rethink debit card fees

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Some giant monster mega-banks may be backing down from fees on debit cards, but that doesn’t mean you should continue to do business with them.

Back when ATM cards first came out in late 1970s, the idea was that the bank would pay you to use your card! The idea was you were saving them on a transaction that would have otherwise required a human.

I remember I had a bank that would issue me a coupon for a free 22 ounce Slurpee whenever I used my ATM to get cash out rather than going in to see a teller. Over the years, banks poured tons of marketing dollars into getting people hooked on ATM cards and debit transactions.

Once customers were hooked, banks decided they would slap fees of $3 to $5 per month on people who wanted to use their ATM cards, especially for point-of-sale transactions. In addition, it’s gotten to the point where you can easily be paying $10 per month for using a debit card to withdraw money as a non-customer at another bank’s ATM.

But people aren’t having it. Customers are firing them in droves. Credit unions are overwhelmed with people moving their accounts over from giant monster mega-banks. Now the banks may be changing their mind on debit card fees because of public reaction. But don’t let the scent throw you off here. They’ll just come up with sneaky ways now to stick it to you.

So what’s your alternative?

Find a community bank or a credit union; an online bank like Ally.com or INGDirect.com; a discount stock broker like Charles Schwab or Fidelity (for checking accounts;) or USAA.com if you’re military personnel.

Don’t stop because the big banks are temporarily signaling retreat. It’s your money and they’re still gonna try to get it from you. 



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