Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Bank of America

In my article entitled, “Are Debit Cards Dead” on my blog on September 16, 2011, I mentioned that some banks would increase their ATM and other fees to $5 due to the changes from the Dodd-Frank Act. No matter how much money a company makes or losses they still find a way to pay their executives millions of dollars a year, so why can’t they pay their debt and manage their money better.

Free checking at some banks such as Bank of America will be eliminated. TD Bank still offer debit cards. Some banks have eliminated or reduced debit card rewards programs. Chase, SunTrust, Continental and United ended their debit card rewards program. Other banks charge business owners a fee when using a business debit card. Bank of America will begin charging customers that use debit cards a $5 monthly fee regardless of the number of purchases made starting early next year.

Debit cards are good because:
• Prevents consumers with bad credit from overspending
• Yu don't have to carry cash, a checkbook or traveler's checks with you
• They are accepted at many locations
• Is easier to obtain than a credit card
• You don’t have to show identification or give personal information at the time of the transaction
• Returning goods or canceling services treated the same as cash
• Avoid finance, interest charges and late fees
• May get perks such cash back rebates, airline miles, etc.
Debit cards are bad because:
• There is no grace period
• Some banks may charge a fee for using a check card as a debit card
• Transactions are verified to see if there are adequate funds
• Some banks process debit charges although insufficient funds are in the account and you will be charged $30 for every transaction that occurs when the account is overdrawn
• May not be accepted by some merchants unless it has a Visa or MasterCard logo
• May place a hold on your debit card for more than the cost of the purchase
• Provides less protection for purchases but you may dispute unauthorized charges or other mistakes within 60 days.

In my article entitled, “Do You Have Swipeitis” on my blog on July 7, 2011, I mentioned that we are addicted to using our debit cards. Here are 13 alternatives to make purchases without using a debit card.

1. Create a budget. Create a budget to track your spending daily or weekly. Set aside a specific amount for extra things you want. One reach that amount don’t spend anymore.
2. Pay your bills first. Pay your bills first. Put a portion of any extra money left over in a savings account.
3. Switch banks. Switch to another bank that has little to no fees.
4. Alternate payment. Write checks, get money orders or cashier’s checks, and use automatic paycheck deduction or online banking to pay bills.
5. Credit union. Switch to a credit union which generally offers the same products and charge lower fees.
6. Pay with cash. Go to the bank or ATM and take out the amount of cash you need for the week. Once you spend that amount don’t withdraw any additional money unless it is an emergency.
7. Use prepaid debit cards. Use prepaid debit cards to make purchases.
8. Local branch. Go to your local branch and make transactions.
9. Get a receipt. Get a receipt each time you make a purchase and keep it.
10. Track spending. Take all of your receipts from your debit card purchases and put them in an envelope. At the end of each week add up the receipts to see how much you spent. Use pen and paper, an Excel spreadsheet or Mint.com.
11. Wait. Wait a few days before making a purchase. Go back to the store to see if you still want the item. If you still want the item, comparison shop to see which store offers the best price.
12. Impulse Shopping. Avoid shopping when you are emotional. This will prevent you from spending more than you have or buying unnecessary items.
13. Leave at home. Leave your debit card at home unless you know you will make a purchase. This helps to reduce the temptation to make an unnecessary purchase.

The best way to send a message to Bank of America that you are not happy with the new debit card policy is by switching to another bank.

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