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Your bank fee tipping point

By David McMillin ·
Saturday, June 2, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

As more customers weigh the option of switching banks, a recent article from American Banker got me thinking about what makes account holders accept and refuse certain fees. Shane Kite covered the recent introduction of a mobile check deposit feature at North Carolina-based BB&T, but the bank's service is a bit different than the majority of similar programs I've seen: It costs money.

As Chase, Bank of America and some of the nation's biggest banks offer the service at no charge, BB&T charges its customers 50 cents for each check deposited via smartphone. It seems that these customers don't have any problem paying for the convenience, though. (After all, that cost might beat out any gas you use getting to the bank.) The article highlights the warm reception that the service's debut received and the increasing number of customers signing up for mobile banking at the institution.

Banking customers all have different perspectives on fees. Some of us get very upset at the mention of any additional charges while others seems willing to pay for more convenience and capabilities. As banks continue to search for new ways to replace lost revenue from financial regulation, I expect that banks will continue to test consumer tolerance for fees.

We saw it last year during the debit card fee-asco. Bank of America customers kicked, screamed and closed their accounts, and the entire banking industry did an about-face with the fee experiment. The tipping point had been reached -- customers weren't willing to pay for a service that had been free for so long, and they banded together to battle the proposed new cost.

Mobile banking is still in its infancy. While plenty of customers are using it, there are more possibilities and of course, more profit potential for banks. If some customers show they're willing to pay for the convenience of tools like mobile deposit, you can bet competing financial institutions are taking notes. Once it seems clear that the majority of retail customers don't have a problem with paying, those fees will be the norm.

What's your bank fee tipping point? How much extra cash are you willing to shell out for new features that will make banking more efficient and convenient?

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1 Comment
June 02, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Bank fee "tipping point" (for checking/savings): $0.01

Banking is as efficient as I need it to be. I bank on-line and at ATM's. I probably go to a teller three times per year. I deposit one check per month which can be done at an ATM (the kind where you don't need an envelope and it prints out an image of the check).