Wells Fargo to Charge $3/Month Debit Card Fee

According to CNNMoney, Wells Fargo will begin testing a program to charge a $3 a month fee for debit cards.

Wells Fargo said Tuesday it will start charging a $3 monthly fee for debit card usage to customers in Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada and Oregon beginning Oct. 14.

“We regularly review our pricing and take into account the needs of our customers, industry trends, the market competition, and our cost of doing business,” a Wells Fargo spokeswoman said. Customers who don’t use their card during the month won’t be charged the fee and the fee will be waived for select accounts, she added.

I’m beginning to wonder if it isn’t lost on the companies that adding new fees like this is a step backwards on usage?  When there was only cash to pay with, the banks were only able to make money by usury.  You gave them your cash to safe-hold.  In exchange, the bank paid you a small interest rate on that money and then loaned it out at a higher rate to other consumers.  They kept the difference.  Simple, no?  With the advent of credit cards, they’ve found any number of new ways to nickel and dime us out of our money.  All in the name of “cost of doing business”.  (Side note: Part of the reason I like being a member of a credit union is  that they usually don’t go looking for profit at every turn.)

Eventually, as the regulation piles up, and it becomes harder and harder for the banks to make any money on credit and debit cards, they’ll find more and more ways to fee us for those services and others.  As the fees increase, more  and more of us will revert to using cash as a medium of exchange.  And the more of us who are using cash, the less of us are using those services which means they’ll have a smaller income on those services and will need to squeeze more fees out of the users.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  Good.

I just don’t see the Wells Fargo fee as good business, or any of these new fees, for that matter.  Some of the regulation should be pared off, but if the banks can’t figure out how to operate without passing the buck on to us, they’ll find themselves with far fewer users than they had before.

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