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Customers Want to Switch Banks, But Don’t


American consumers have a love-hate relationship with their banks. Some 33% customers say they will leave their bank if it introduces higher credit fees, according to a new survey by market consulting firm Trig. And another 43% said they would change their method of payment to either cash (28%) or credit cards (15%). Perhaps more concerning: 14% said they don’t know what they would do or don’t have a debit card.

However, experts say it will take a lot more than the “Occupy Wall Street” protest or higher debit card fees, like the $5 monthly charge recently introduced by Bank of America, to push people toward credit unions and community banks, says Dennis Moroney, senior analyst at TowerGroup consulting firm. “Only when banks start to lose large numbers of customers will they adjust their prices.”

What customers say in surveys and what they actually do are two different things – especially when it comes to leaving their bank. When banks raise fees, Moroney says most people stay put. Why? It’s too much trouble to move all of their direct debits, especially if they use their checking account for their mortgage payments and salary. One bounced mortgage payment can impact your credit rating, he says.

This appears to go against popular sentiment. As Pay Dirt reported, consumers “strongly distrust” the legitimacy of banks, with over 70% saying that bank charges are unfair, according to a survey by marketing firm Russell Herder. The American Bankers Association says there’s a reason: 11% of consumers spend $3 or less in monthly service fees, while 14% spend $4 to $10 a month.

Read more on how to cut bank fees here.


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    • So many people are sueffring around the world with losing their homes, jobs etc. This has just happened to myself, my daughter & grandchildren in losing our home for we were unable to pay the high mortgage pymt. I had to go into senior housing & my daughter had to also look for renting.She lost her job due to health reasons. I don’t know if we will have money for Christmas for it takes all we do have to pay rent & ultilities. What I would do with $60.00 is buy food for a nice Christmas dinner & get what I could after that to make something for my 3 grandchildren & my handicapped son that lives in a group home. The most important is to have a roof over your head & be thankful no matter how bad things can get, for life is a treasure each & every day. With family & dear friends.VA:F [1.9.10_1130]Votes: +9

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    • Thank god!!! This is the end of Chavez and the delinquents who took over Cuba and Venezuela.Both Venezuela and Cuba will be toltlay broke in no time at all.

    • wrote:Because I have a well, which is out in the open in the back yard, not city water. Even with city water services, if you’ve got water pipes that run toruhgh an outside wall or unheated garage and it get’s cold enough, your pipes can freeze. If you have a raised foundation house (lots of those hereabouts) the pipes can freeze. I’d rather leave a tap running than deal with the fallout from frozen and busted pipes. All makes sense and frozen pipes are nasty and costly to fix. I guess I’ve never worried about it here. I do know that my mom will leave the cabinet door open for the area under her kitchen sink so that she doesn’t have a problem there. I only recently realized she was doing that, so don’t know how long she has done that. I don’t think she runs the water though. I don’t recall her ever having frozen pipes. :shrug: Just don’t know. I may have to ask around. How much/high of a raised foundation are we talking about?

    • As we closed accounts with Wells Fargo, last week, we were told they decided not to charge the ATM card fee afterall – too late. Changing to our Credit Union was EASY and we had recurring online payments, automatic debits from insurance and investments, HELOC, Safety Deposit box, etc. Took about 90 minutes of my time. Worth it. Turns out, we get most of the same services free. We felt welcomed there – like we mattered. Best move we ever have made.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.