Monday, February 04, 2013

1131 Bank On It

1131 Bank On It

So, this guy in the banking industry says Visa and MasterCard are changing their rules.  They’re going to allow merchants to stop paying user fees and make you pay them instead.  

The other big card issuers haven’t yet said they’ll follow, but chances are they will.

That means if you want to pay the sticker price, pay with cash.  Means you have to keep better records than you probably do now, or at least get them out of the shoe box and into marked folders.

The teller of this tale heads a credit union, the kind of local outfit that knows your name when you walk in and provides essentially the same services as a bank, often at lower costs.

But if the rules come from the card companies  -- and they do -- credit union- issued cards also will be affected.  

At the moment, we’re talking only about credit cards.  Debit cards and checking cards are another story -- at least for now.  But it won’t be long before they charge you for using your own bank balance, just as they do when the charge a fee for taking your own money out of an ATM machine.

Of course, you have to feel a little sorry for some of the banks.  Things are not all that rosy at Chase, Citi, Bank of America, etc. what with fines and damages they have to pay for doing the damage they did to the rest of us.

No.  Wait.  No you don’t.

Banks can’t gouge as freely as they used to, so they have to find new markets to abuse, and guess what, pal... we’re it.

The upside of all that felony is banks can go back to being like insurance companies, whose first commandment is “Thou shalt not pay claims.”  The “lenders” will bring back the grumpy guys in ugly tweed suits who sit behind big mahogany desks, greet you like an old friend and then deny your loan application.  Gets them aroused.

--Speaking of insurance companies, what’s with all the auto policy advertising.  You can’t turn on a TV without seeing “Flo,” that lizard character or his brother the flying pig... the strange little animated “General,” the handlebar moustache guy who drops shopping carts on cars, the agents who suddenly appear when a policyholder sings the company song and Dennis Haysbert.  It’s really wearying.

--But not as wearying as the ads for ambulance chasing accident lawyers.  Or class action medical suit lawyers.  Or drug companies that smilingly list possible side effects, “...sometimes fatal.”

--Expect the jury to convict Jodi Arias of murdering her boyfriend.  Unlike Casey Anthony, Arias admits the killing.  And whatever tricks and confusions her lawyers pull trying for a not guilty verdict, no jury wants to be put through the ringer of hatred, hate mail, demonstrations and death threats like the members of the Anthony jury.

Note to readers:  Thank you one and all for the kind words and the expressions of sympathy after my post about Ed Koch.  I tried to show you the man I knew, rather than the “Minutes of the meeting” obituaries about this blustering, funny, often accurate, sometimes way off base man I knew and loved.  He was a man of virtue and wisdom, complexities and paradoxes and at once all of us who have roots in the grime and bedrock of New York City.  But I have one objection to the way he is being characterized as “larger than life.”  He wasn’t.  He only seemed that way because life has gotten so small for so many.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2013

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