Changing Online Bank Account Can Be a Problem

31 Oct Changing Online Bank Account Can Be a Problem

Some banks recently started charging debit card use and other fees. (For more, see this post by Andy Miofsky, and my earlier one.)

The New York Times recently reported how the practical problem of changing an online account from one bank to another contributes to how some banks now charging debit card use fees are keeping some dissatisfied customers: Online Banking Keeps Customers on Hook For Fees. Customers can feel trapped because of the problems they have or think they have in starting a new online account.

I just did this. I changed from one bank to another financial institution (credit unions can be good choices, too) because of new fees (not debit card use fees, as I do not use debit cards, but relating to minimum balance requirement) that the new bank does not add. These financial institutions do exist — look for them! My new one is even more conveniently located than the old and has better customer service than the old.

But it can be true that if you are already set up at one place with online banking, it is a pain to redo it all. BUT I will also attest that it can be done. Work carefully, methodically, and ask the financial institution’s technical support whatever questions you have, and you will succeed.

I decided to move accounts not only to save myself some money, but also because I wanted the old bank to lose my business. I am not sympathetic to its policy decisions — maybe it had good reasons, but I am not aware of them. There wasn’t even much if any explanation (and not much notice) before the bank’s policy changed about why the bank believed this was an acceptable change. In the end, the move cost me time and some irritation, but I feel I was putting my money where my “mouth” was.


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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.
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