Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The banking industry is further endearing themselves to the American public by instituting a new policy - a pilot program beginning next year - to levy fees on credit card holders who pay their bills on time or don't spend enough. This USA Today story has the details:
Starting next year, Bank of America will charge a small number of customers an annual fee, ranging from $29 to $99. The bank has characterized the fee as experimental. But card holders who have never carried a balance or paid late fees could be among those affected.Like many of you, perhaps, I continue to doubt the conventional wisdom that, "Until the banking industry recovers, the U.S. economy won't recover".
Citigroup, meanwhile, has started charging annual fees to card holders who don't put more than a specific amount on their cards, typically $2,400 a year. Other banks are charging inactivity fees if customers don't use their credit cards during a specific period of time. You heard that right: You could be spanked for staying out of debt.
These fees are the credit card industry's response to credit card legislation that will, among other things, restrict credit card issuers' ability to raise interest rates on existing balances. Credit card issuers are looking for ways to raise income before the new rules take effect in February.
To me, a more apt description is, "Please don't let the banking industry suck us all down the same hole they're trying to crawl out of".