Thursday, October 20, 2011

Just Ask

I rarely use my Bank of America account anymore, since our joint accounts are with a local bank. We both deposit the same majority percentage of our paychecks into our joint account and that is the money we use to run our household. My BOA account is my personal account; the one from which I buy Kyle's presents or the occasional frivolous item for myself or a friend. He has a personal account for the same reasons. It works for us.

Years ago when I signed up for my BOA account, I purposely chose the free account and I made sure to abide by the rules of direct deposit, automatic transfers to my savings account, etc. that kept it free. However, when I went into my account today I noticed a $12 monthly maintenance fee. What? It turns out the requirements to maintain that free checking account had changed and I no longer qualified. I called Customer Service and I asked to be downgraded to the eBanking account, which meets my needs perfectly well, and I qualify for the free status. I also asked, "Is there any possibility that you would reverse the $12 fee since I had to find out for myself that your requirements changed and I no longer qualified for free checking?" She politely and promptly employed a one time courtesy and reversed the charge.

The morals of the story?
1) Check your bank account or statements regularly for "hidden" fees and see if there is a way to change your accounts to avoid them. Twelve dollars doesn't seem like a lot once, but every month? I could spend $144 a year in a number of other better ways, thank you!
2) It is up to you to make the request if you want something credited. If she hadn't been able to make the reversal that would have been a bummer, yet not too big of a deal. But she was not planning to change it until I spoke up and asked if she would. It doesn't hurt to ask, especially when you don't have a lot to lose.

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