A big part of Wesabe is people helping each other make better financial decisions. Today one of our members, “someoneelse,” posted a link to a Boston Globe article about Bank of America adding a $1.50 finance charge for former MNBA credit card holders (B of A acquired MNBA in 2005) on any balance carried forward. So, if your finance charge would have been $.30, they round up to $1.50…just because…just because they can. Or in B of A’s words in its letter to customers, the company added the minimum finance charge “due to a change in our business practices.” Like I said, because they can.
This will probably generate millions of dollars in incremental fee revenue (benefit of scale) by leeching just enough money from their customers without causing so much pain that they actually react. If you’re affected, “someoneelse” also linked to a Consumerist article explaining how to opt out of this charge.
A few thoughts:
1) thanks to “someoneelse,” the Consumerist, and Bruce Mohl (the Boston Globe reporter) for bringing this to light. A buck here or there might not sound like much, but recognizing the cumulative effect this action will have on consumers’ bottom line is critical
2) Comments on these stories have shown that consumers overwhelmingly see this change as a “gotcha fee.” Will outrage translate into action? How convenient is the local branch if every piece of mail from the bank requires action or they’ll jack up your fees?
If a company changes your terms or engages in a business practice that you don’t agree with, call them out. And if that doesn’t work, YOU can make a change… by moving your business somewhere else. Of course that only happens when push comes to shove. But it does feel like B of A is giving these customers a not-so-friendly nudge, doesn’t it?