Thursday, October 13, 2011

Don't Charge Me for Using My Own Money!

Bank of America's proposed $5 debit card fee is offering a virtually unprecedented treasure trove of consumer feedback.  Nearly every major newspaper and financial website has content and user comments about the proposed fee.

One of the richest sources is certainly at, where nearly a quarter million citizens signed a petition to the Bank to rescind the fees.

One thing is becoming very clear.  At its root, the consumer marketing question for a bank remains the same - don't charge me to use my own money.  Consumers perceive that they should not be paying for accessing their checking accounts via card rather than via check at the point of sale.  What also remains is the fact that consumers don't understand the costs to the bank that are involved.

At the end of the day, consider that it is far better to sink these costs into the overall cost of monthly checking, than to charge explicitly for the debit card or use of the debit card that accesses it.  And there can be two kinds of Checking - one with debit, one without, priced accordingly, and perhaps differing somewhat across markets.

So, use all this consumer feedback as a departure point for engaging your own customers and prospects about this, by e-mail, on the web, in social media - and in surveys and focus groups.  And analyze how their concerns differ by segment and place in your GIS.  Then, you'll be in the best position to reprice and communicate.

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