Bank of America started it all with their ridiculous $5/month fee to access your own cash by using a debit card and customers reacted by moving to credit unions or online banks like PerkStreet or Ally Bank. Verizon followed up with a fee for paying your cell phone bill online and customers cried “FOUL” so loudly that the company quickly backed down. It seems that companies, like governments, are obsessed with finding new ways to extract additional cash from customers and citizens.
There’s nothing wrong with getting your customers to give you more money … so long as you provide them with more value. Where these two giants erred was that the customer got nothing in return. Customers will gladly fork over more cash when the product or service warrants it. But when a big company tries to squeeze blood from a turnip (it’s a Southern saying!), well, that dog don’t hunt (another Southern saying!).
These two situations made me think about other potential epic fails giant corporations conceivably could use to pad their bottom line. But if you’re an officer in one of these companies, use these potential “fees” at your own risk!
Potential epic fail fees
- Walmart – a $2 fee for using their parking lot for 15 minutes … additional hours are 50 cents each
- The Home Depot – a $3 fee to get home improvement advice … $25 for advice that actually works
- Chase Bank – a $4 fee to breathe the air conditioning in their branches
- AT&T Wireless – one cent fee every time you use the “4″ key on your phone
- State Farm Homeowner’s Insurance – $250 to file a claim
- Olive Garden – a $1.25 fee for a napkin and 50 cents for utensils or $2 for both!
- TicketMaster – a fee for “will call” tickets, a fee to email tickets, and a fee to snail mail your tickets (oh, wait … )
- ExxonMobil – a $3 fee to use their gas pumps
- Walgreens – a $5 fee to have your prescription filled by a real pharmacist
- Johnson & Johnson – a $1 fee for the security packaging on over the counter medications
- The Gap – a $2 fee to use their changing rooms
- Starbucks – 50 cents for one of those little cup jackets that prevents hand burns
- Foot Locker – $1 for shoelaces
- Kroger – $2 (non-refundable) to use a shopping cart
- McDonald’s – 75 cents for each child to use PlayLand
All this is, of course, tongue in cheek, but would any of these “fees” surprise you?
Why do companies add fees without adding value?
Companies add fees without adding value because
- They’re low on cash
- They’re programmed to generate more and more profit
- They’ve grown out of touch with their customers
- The fee is so small for each individual that the company believes no one will notice
- They’ve pushed themselves into a cost structure that isn’t maintainable
That last one is why banks like PerkStreet is growing by leaps and bounds. With no branch costs, they’re able to offer outstanding rewards and benefits that other banks just cannot match.
Do you know what it costs to operate a branch bank? I formerly worked at a very large bank and I can tell you, the expenses were huge. First there’s payroll for three to six tellers, two or three loan officers, an assistant branch manager, the branch manager, and possibly a security guard. Then there’s the cost of building and maintaining the building, it’s electronics, it’s computers, the vault, the drive through windows, the insurance, the landscaping, the ATM machine, utilities, taxes, runners to pick up the paperwork, office supplies, and then there’s the bad loan expense.
By operating primarily online, PerkStreet avoids many of these expenses and by doing so, can offer you and other customers the outstanding rewards and perks that leave other banks just shaking their heads in disbelief.
Does PerkStreet have any fees?
Of course. But their fees are very few and they make sense. There are fees associated with overdrawing your account or bouncing a check, as well as stop payment fees and wire transfer fees. There’s also a fee for using an ATM outside of their network but with over 42,000 free ATMs, why would you?
You can avoid most PerkStreet fees by simply:
- Signing up for overdraft protection
- Using your account at least once per month
- Staying inside their 42,000+ strong ATM network
When you consider that the average family can easily earn $600 or more each year in cash back rewards without incurring any additional debt, PerkStreet just makes good sense.