There is something more you can do to sock it to the big banks. If you have a credit card from Bank of America, Citibank, Chase or Wells Fargo, STOP USING YOUR CREDIT CARD.
Banks make more money from your credit card than they do from your checking account. Not only are the interest and fees they charge you outrageous but they collect from the store every time you make a purchase with a credit card. They get money from both ends. Each time you don’t use your credit card, the banks lose.
Here is my credit card story with Bank of America. Early this year B of A sent my husband and me a notice with new credit card terms. Being a lawyer, I actually read it. In sum, it said that, if we were late on one payment, B of A would immediately jack up our interest rate and all fees. B of A was setting a trap that would eventually catch nearly all of their card holders.
About two months later we set up our VISA bill for online payment from our checking account, but we failed to click one final button on the computer screen. The payment was not properly set up and we missed a payment. We were caught in the B of A trap.
Five days after the payment due date, we discovered the fees were rapidly compounding. We already owed $75 in fees for being 5 days late!
That was the final blow from B of A; we decided to close their credit card. I called B of A to get the payoff amount as fees were stacking up daily. They offered to waive the fee if I would keep the account open but I didn’t waiver; I closed the account.
That credit card was our only one. We did not replace it and have not missed it, even when we traveled to Greece. We used our credit union debit card in Greece and our fees were about a third of what they would have been if we had used a credit card. Best of all, we socked it to B of A: we deprived them of one revenue stream.
If your personal financial situation will not allow you to stop using your credit card totally, REDUCE YOUR USE. Use the card only for those times when you actually need a loan and not for those times when it is only a convenience. Or stop using the card for small purchases. Or use your credit card only for unanticipated emergencies. Reducing use of your credit card reduces the revenue stream to the bank.
Every time you don’t use your credit card, you sock it to the banks.
You will feel good about it. I do.
Tina Calos is a retired attorney with extensive business experience. She and her husband left Arizona to retire in Salem 10 years ago.