Whoa There Cowboy! You’re STILL Paying Checking Account Fees?

At least his heart was in the right place.

“I don’t want anything given to me that I don’t earn. I’m not a free-loader,” was his reply as he looked at me from under the brim of his cowboy hat.

“It isn’t ‘free-loading’ if it’s a normal service offered by a bank to attract customers, Jim.” I thought I had him roped in with that one.

“But Ron, I’ve been with my bank since I was 5 years old. My daddy and momma set me up a passbook savings account in 1971 and I’ve stayed there ever since.” Hmm, the old loyalty play.

“I understand and believe me, I can appreciate your loyalty. Does the bank appreciate it?” I asked nonchalantly.

“What do you mean? I don’t get gifts or nothing like that. Although I think I DID get a toaster or a hat or something when I opened my checking account in high school,” he trailed off.

“Jim, you’ve had that checking account for how long – about 30 years? And the average checking account monthly fee today is $13. My friend, that means you’ve paid FOUR THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DOLLARS to that bank in checking account fees, not to mention the fees they charge for other services. I’d say their toaster was a good investment for them! What else have they given you?” I asked.

“How’d you do that math so quickly in your head?” he was distracted.

I had to turn the conversation back to the issue. “That doesn’t matter, just think about what you could do if the bank came to you today and said, ‘Jim, we’re sorry, here’s your $4,680 back.’ Would it make a difference to you today?”

“Of course,” he grunted, “but that’s not going to happen.”

“I know. But the best course of action, once you realize you’ve gone down the wrong trail, is to turn that pony around and get on the right trail.” The cowboy metaphors seemed to be working.

“Okay, okay, so where do I go for one of these checking accounts you’ve been talking about on that blog of yours?”

I opened up my Netbook and once the jokes stopped about it being a Shetland Pony computer, I showed Jim his options, reminding him that almost all online banks today offer free bill payment, free checks, free ATMs and a few other perks. Those aren’t differentiators anymore. You have to dig a little deeper:

Best Checking Account Options

  • Perkstreet – this is a rewards checking account. You actually get cash back similar to a credit card rewards program but without the entanglements of credit.
  • Everbank Checking – talk about a HUGE interest rate … on a checking account no less. Plus Everbank has a bonus rate for new customers. Beats a toaster hands down.

Jim DID get his account opened. I then shared with him about opening an online savings account and using the ideas in 17 Sneaky Savings Strategies to make sure he KEPT all those newly saved fees.

Are you still paying those checking fees?

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