Banking inertia strikes again: A big part of why you’re stuck with Bank of America’s $5 debit fee is your inability to extract yourself from its convenient online banking service. Sending electronic checks, paying bills, and the ease of quickly checking your spending and balance seems to be sidetracking customers’ plans to switch banks, despite the outcry from consumers, and even the president, that they’re sick of paying high, nonsensical fees.
According to the Times, 44 million households used the Web to pay a bill in the past 30 days alone, which helped curtail customer turnover “by up to 95% in some cases.” Javelin Strategy and Research estimates that only 7% of customers will switch in 2011, down from 12% last year.
“People like online bill pay because it’s convenient and safe,” Anne Pace, a Bank of America spokeswoman, told the paper. “The lower attrition rate that came with it was simply a result of offering a valuable service.”
But is paying for a double-edged sword a real service? Judging by consumers’ disgust and how quickly these fees pile up, we’re doubtful.
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