Wells Fargo is testing a new $3 monthly fee for debit card users in Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada and Oregon.
The giant monster mega-banks, as a general rule, are having a hard time financially. So naturally, they’re looking to take advantage of loyalists. They will reward loyalty by coming up with some new way to separate you from your money.
The new test at Wells Fargo goes into effect on Oct. 14. The deal is you won’t be charged for carrying a debit card and can still use it fee-free at the bank’s ATMs. But you will be hit with the fee if you use it for a point-of-sale purchase, no matter whether you select “debit” or “credit.” (Believe you me, this move is being watched closely by other big banks who will do the same thing down the road if it works for Wells Fargo.)
Because this is a test, if Wells Fargo deems it a success, it could be rolled out nationally. Or it could be nixed if enough people give them the heave-ho.
My advice? Don’t be robbed by your bank. The debit card is a trap that the banks lure you into. During the Great Recession, debit cards were adopted by those who wanted to swear off credit cards.
But let me ask you this: If you can’t handle plastic, what is the monthly activity fee on cash? Zero. If you can’t handle credit cards, go cash only.