Although you might think that banks are our enemies, with all the fees and crappy service, apparently there are some exceptions. Obviously, their motives are not at all altruistic, and they want to gain customers at the expense of the less consumer-friendly banks. But, for us the customers, healthy competition is always a good sign.
So what am I talking about? Here are two examples:
1. Citibank offers a consumer-friendly “Citi-Forward” credit card. Why is it a consumer friendly card? Well, because they give incentive for certain behaviors which are for the consumers’ benefit. For example, they give bonus points for not exceeding the credit limit and paying on time at least the minimum amount. They give 8500 bonus points (more than $50 worth rebate to spend at Walmart!) for signing up for paperless statements and using the card for a while.
For those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while now it seems strange that I’m excited about these incentives. Frankly, Citibank is trying to promote things that appear to be (for me) the obvious basics. But, Walmart is not mentioned for nothing. People get hit by the credit card rates and fees not because they want to, but because they don’t adhere to these very simple rules: Stay under your limit, pay at least the minimum (better – everything) before the due date, and don’t spend more than you can pay back. When people finally realize they’ve been handling their cards badly, Walmart is a luxury for them. In this case, Citi are trying to educate their best customers (those who pay Citi the most), so that those customers could save some. That’s good.
Oh, as a perk, it comes with a cell-phone insurance. Limited up to $250, and with $50 copay, but still, at AT&T you’d pay some bucks per month for that.
2. USBank offers free checking accounts. What are the requirements to wave the fees, you ask? None. Seems to me like the next reincarnation of the legendary WaMu. I’m seriously considering moving to the USBank myself, and those who are going to be hit by the Chase changes soon – definitely should.
What’s in it for them? Why stealing the Chase upset customers of course. I don’t think USBank will actually open new branches just because of all the people signing up for the free checking accounts, but it will get much more deposits – pure profit for the bank and for the consumers!
So not everything is so bad, just make sure to look around for the deals!
Your Little Advisor