Saturday, September 04, 2004

ATMs - double dipping for change

The ATM double-dip service charge: we all know we're being ripped off and that dishing out a few notes and pushing some bits around the bank networks costs a tiny fraction of the $2.00 to $4.00 you can get charge. We all know that banks survived for decades without these charges and that actually ATMs save them money and they are willing to pay you to use them by discounting accounts that exclusively use ATMs over real live tellers.

So how about if we could turn the whole issue of ATM fees on its head and make them do some good? How about if it said "Do you agree to this charge? Yes, No, or I'd like to donate it to a charity of my choosing" ???

How about that? I mean seriously, if someone is willing to pay up to $4 in double dip fees to get $100 or whatever out why doesn't some enterprising bank decide to donate its fees to charity (or at least a significant percentage of them). After all, we all know that when customer for Bank A uses an ATM from Bank B then Bank B will get some money from Bank A regardless of whether they add a double-dip charge. In general between all the big banks the interbank fees are probably a wash - over a year Bank A will charge Bank B as much as B charges A, the only people who lose are the customers and the little banks.

I have a feeling if some bold bank did the "Donate to charity thing" they would get more people using their ATMs, get free marketing and generally increase good karma all around. Sure it costs them some profits but customers love companies that do something bold to make a stand or stick their necks out for a good cause.

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