Banks punish perfect customers

Bank of America and others test program that hits their best customers with new fees.

By Kim Peterson Oct 28, 2009 1:22PM
Credit card fees © Purestock/SuperStockPay all your bills on time and have perfect credit? How dare you.

All that responsible behavior is doing nothing for banks. They can't slap a single overdraft fee or service charge on you. It's no fun to have you as a customer because, well, you're just too good!

So now, Bank of America (BAC) and other institutions are testing out a new annual fee for perfect customers. If you do everything right and play by the rules, you may be asked to pony up between $29 and $99 a year. Welcome to the new world of banking, where no good deed goes unpunished.

"There is a big segment of their population that they will have never made any money on, which is people who pay their bills on time every month," a research director at told CBS News.

Bank of America and Citigroup (C) say they're just testing the fees now, and haven't made any decisions.

This isn't the first time we've seen this. Banks and other credit card companies are jacking up interest rates and closing the accounts of all types of customers -- including those who pay bills religiously.

It boils down to this: How much are Americans willing to take? Banks are trying to find out exactly how far they can push their customers.

When they say they're testing a new fee, they're really waiting to see how many complaints they get.

And I hope everyone who gets thrown into this lose-lose situation complains, because this is no way to treat customers.

Related reading:

Citibank yanks customer cards

Oct 29, 2009 3:44PM
Maybe you can't blame some of this on the Obama admin but you can sure blame Sen. Dodd and Rep Frank for the STUPID regulatory changes they are putting in. Each one of these changes cost the Bank/Credit Union money. Each time it cost a Fin institution money a Bank/**** goes out of business. Before long you will end up with less competition which leaves **the large bank*** to screw you.
Oct 29, 2009 3:37PM
I love it when people blame the Obama administration everytime the banks step all over 'regular folks'. The vast majority of these banks are run by severely out of touch millionaire Republicans who are mad they might have to pay more taxes so they're taking it out on the rest of the country as punishment.  This is what happens when you try to stand up to big business.
Oct 29, 2009 3:29PM
I have banked with 5/3rd based in Cincinnati for more years than I care to remember and the other day I received a notice that beginning on the anniversary date of my credit card I will be charged a $19.00 annual fee unless I charge something on this card EACH month! It has a pretty high credit limit and I kept it for emergencies only, but it has been used and paid off in full each month. Upon receipt of this notice, I immediately called the bank and asked them not to impose this annual fee. The customer assistance rep said, "Oh, we can't do that. That wouldn't be fair to everyone else." I instructed them to close the account. A few days later, I went to my local bank branch, closed all of my accounts and took my business elsewhere. I understand they weren't making any money off of me, but they were making money off of the merchant whenever I used the card, so, in essence, I generated income for them! Well, not anymore!
Oct 29, 2009 3:25PM
The only thing in my wallet now is a couple of condoms
Oct 29, 2009 3:25PM
I just got my first credit card at 36 years old. I regret it, I have paid cash my whole way through life it never helped me credit wise but I did not have any debt, now that I have a card I have few itmes I have in my possesion but still am not full owner of those items due to the fact that I am still paying on them?????? I have always stated that these places want us to owe thats how they make thier money. It is a clustf*&k of epic proportions do right and get the short end do wrong and you don't have to be responcible for it.
Oct 29, 2009 3:22PM
Oct 29, 2009 3:20PM
Our world is changing, banking is no exception. The banks have spent many many years getting us to buy everything on credit so they can make money. "We the people" need to change to. We need to stop using credit cards and buying on credit. I have and have been surprised at how much more money I have to use by not paying interest or fees on credit cards and bank loans. Get rid of credit cards and you will be way ahead. Hang the credit scores their only used to intimidate you.
Oct 29, 2009 3:18PM
My wife and I have been BOA customers for over 20 yrs, and were recently informed that we would be charged between $7 and $15 dollars a month for our (what used to be) free checking accounts.  I went to our local branch bank and was told that the fees were going to be implemented, and there was nothing they could do.  We're in the process of moving our accounts to another bank.  What a hassle. We hate having to leave our bank, but they've left us no choice.  We're not willing to pay them $30 dollars a month to access our own money, and help further bail them out.
Oct 29, 2009 3:17PM
I must be part of the test, got my letter that my credit card will now have a $50 annual fee.  I told them that is not the contract I signed, they said they have the right to change the fees, AND I HAVE A RIGHT TO GO ELSEWHERE.  So I cancel my credit card, which dings my credit score, what a great time to not be in finacial trouble.  No stimulus, no  bailout, just higher taxes!!!   
Oct 29, 2009 3:16PM
I have to agree with EdMack.  As consumers, we can live without credit cards.  Our grandparents paid with cash, checks or travelers checks and were never in debt.  Our modern-day society forced us to apply for credit cards, dangling a carrot under our nose with discounts on purchases at dept stores and requiring reservations or car rentals to be charged to a credit card. Merchants use to require a credit card for ID when writing a check until they realized that was against the law. I have had credit cards in the past and am still paying off a balance that got out of hand but is closed for further purchases.  I had to learn not to over-spend on holidays for my child and only buy the necessities each month if I have extra money (bills come first).  Our local bank doesn't do electronic banking so we don't have a debit card either.  If the day comes when a merchant will not accept my check or cash, I will not be shopping with them.  Try to live without credit cards - the financial institutions will be the ones suffering.  Time to bring back customer service and honesty. 
Oct 29, 2009 3:15PM
I think , now everybank they raise the rate up over 23% even you are good payer !!  what should we do ?? cut your cards and wont use them ?? Let the GOV deal with those Banks !! It will be very soon !!
Oct 29, 2009 3:14PM
I just got off the phone with Chase and I never missed a payment on an interest only loan and they will not refinance me because I owe more then my home is worth. DAUGH. So now what do I do. I make to much to be a hardship. This whole thing sucks. I,ll just be like half the country and let them have it back. Hey Mr. Obama were is the billions you lent the banks?. 
Oct 29, 2009 3:13PM
Our rural/agricultural small bank was bought out about a year or so ago by a Chicago Bank and we were told all along that nothing but our account number would change. Ha!! what a joke!  We are being charged NSF fees because the bank holds the deposit for 5 days but still cashes checks, specifically their payments, and then charge me a NSF fee.  Nice huh?  They have gone so far as to tell my employees that they can not cash their paychecks as there is no money in the account even after I made a 30 - 40M deposit.  I am being told that the hold on funds is to protect the bank but the cashing of the checks is a courtesy to me; I don't think so.    I would love to leave this bank but at this time our business can not.  I will be moving my personal account to a credit union as soon as I can.
Oct 29, 2009 3:10PM
I'm getting close to going to a Credit Union myself.  My bank introduced a fee for maintaining a savings account that I've had for 35 they tried to get me for $20 for having $500 worth of over-draft protection, for which they're going to charge $5.00 + interest for each occurance..closed.  I told them they're 1 fee away from losing my business, I don't think they care.  I don't know if everyone is experiencing this, but a few months ago that started acting sickly nice as they were getting ready to introduce a bunch of new fees.
Oct 29, 2009 3:07PM
It is not true that the banks make NO money when credit card bills are paid in full every month.  True, they may not make it DIRECTLY off the credit card holder, but they DO make money, albeit INDIRECTLY, because EVERY TIME the credit card customer uses that credit card to charge a purchase, the seller is charged a fee by the bank.  If I use another credit card for that purchase, then a DIFFERENT bank will get that fee from the seller.  Which, by the way, is exactly what I will do, the second I see that my banks want to charge me a ridiculous fee for paying on time!
Oct 29, 2009 3:06PM
We need to close out accounts out at the big banks andf go to the small and glad to do business banks. I closed all my BOA personal accounts and several business accounts and I tell people I meet to do the same. I have one cc with BOA and they just raised me 4%. Bye BOA. Any fees and I'm outta the next bank. credit unions look mighty good. I live in sucky NJ where we're proud to be #1 in real estate taxes, car insurance, tolls, corruption and idiot politicians. Voting independent this next election and moving my business and home in a few years. Maybe I can live on the social services Obama, Pelosi and Franks plan.Sad  What a joke and mockery this state and country has created. No wonder the other countries hate us. I had to cut in these bad times. WHY doesn't the fed and state CUT costs. Vote anti-incumbent next election. Make the politician file their own returns (they couldn't fill out a 1040EZ), put them on our SS system and pension system.
Oct 29, 2009 3:04PM
El dia de la revolucion!!
It is time to stop making credit card payments.
I hate liars and bullies; both attributes of banks and credit card companies. Watch them come begging when the they are the ones begging for money. The whole credit system is a con artist's deck stacked against every single player on the planet. They buy off congress with donations, which in turn rig the game further. Quite the shell game! They are all crooks that belong in a jail cell with good ole Bernie.
Oct 29, 2009 3:02PM

Just refuse to pay until they, the bank, does something.


I had a company line of credit and paid it off or kept a small balance for many years.  I paid prime + 3.25% and everthing was great for the bank when the prime rate hovered at 8%.


But when the rate hit 3% and my interest rate was just 6.25%, the bank decided to 'convert' my company line of credit to a company credit card, boosting the interest rate to 12.5%.


I simply maxed the line out and refused to pay!  I can easily dump the corporation and create another Delaware corp. with a DBA (Doing Business Ass) assignment so I can keep my original name.


It didn't take long for the bank to 'see it my way' and set me up in a 'repayment' program with 6% interest; less than what I had originally asked for.

Oct 29, 2009 3:02PM

Citizens bank recently informed me I would have to pay a $39 annual fee to maintain my Overdraft protection on my accounts if I did not deposit more money with them and maintain a minimum balance of $20,000.  Outrageous!!  My money in my savings account would transfer to my checking account if needed, which happened once or twice a year at most.  It was MY MONEY not theirs.  I closed my accounts, to which they never blinked an eye, and moved my funds to my credit union.  I will not allow a bank to hold me or my money hostage!

Oct 29, 2009 3:01PM

As it stands today;  Cancelling CC will affect your FICO score.


Aren't employers using FICO Scores in their hiring decision?


Double Punishment!!!!


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