Aaron Task and I had a good rant on TechTicker this morning about the new bank fees… (See video below).
Two years after reckless lending by the big banks nearly destroyed the U.S. economy, regulators have begun placing minor restrictions on how the banks can make money.
So the banks, not surprisingly, are looking for new ways to make money. And that means new fees. Paid by you.
Specifically, the regulators have decided to limit the amount banks can charge merchants for processing debit-card transactions. According to one research firm, this will cost the banks nearly $10 billion in annual revenue. So the banks are thinking of making up the lost revenue by charging consumers annual debit-card usage fees instead.
Banks are also thinking of putting new fees on checking accounts. And limiting the number of transactions you can make a day. And limiting the size of purchases you can make. And eliminating rewards programs.
The banks are entitled to do all this, of course: They can charge whatever they want to charge for their services.
But that doesn’t mean you have to pay up.
Given the massive profits the banking industry is churning out, the banks obviously don’t need these new fees to survive. That means there’s an opportunity for new banks to enter the market, offering banking services the way they ought to be–without a zillion nickel-and-dime charges.
What this country needs is a Wal-mart of banking: A company committed to offering low prices and solid service every day. And that, of course, is why the banking industry is fighting hard to make sure that Walmart is not allowed to offer banking services.
At the very least, the new fees are annoying. And banks are certainly profitable enough. So if Wal-mart can’t give the country what it wants, here’s hoping some entrepreneurs will answer the call. (BankSimple…we’re looking at you).
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