Sunday, 2 October 2011

wallet inspector or nickel-and-dimed

Rarely I think new policies are introduced without calculated unpopularity, and I think that this is the case with the announcement of one of the biggest banks of America (recursively named) that it will begin charging its customers a nominal monthly convenience fee for using their point of sale debit cards.

All the outrage and resentment that have been generated over this relatively harmless move might be the final straw that causes the public to move their money and quit enabling these too-big-to-fail. If such a mildly unsettling PR failure can bring about revolution, then I am happy for it, but I think the message was instead designed to make the public at large forget about all their past transgressions and focus on this new tangible and across the board policy: never mind all the billions in tax-payer bailout assistance, predatory loans, aggressive and faulty repossessions, casually firing tens of thousands from its own workforce, being generally unrepentant about abetting the whole global financial , and now they have the nerve to nickel-and-dime people for the privilege of using their own money (merchants already pay a premium for renting debt-card machines), which the banks profit from by holding it. I think it will backfire.  One would do better to always use cash: all those electronic trillions in sovereign debt and corporate assets the world around could not fit physically fit into all the bank vaults of the world, if this trend snowballs and that’s quite something for cash-on-hand.