I’m Doing It

bank-fees

I have been with Chase Bank for a long time.  Well, actually, it started as Washington Mutual and then they were gobbled up by Chase. Bottom line, it’s been a couple of decades of having the same account number and having payments automatically withdrawn or checks directly deposited.

But recently, I paid attention to that little statement you get every month and they were charging me $13 just to have the account there. Apparently, the balance had dropped below the freebie level and my checking account was bleeding at a rate of $156 a year!

That doesn’t work.

This year, the ad agency I work for, Create Impulse, added N.W. Plus Credit Union to our client roster. It’s a local credit union with a half-dozen branches and the biggest thing we promote for them is their Totally Free Checking. And when the latest $13 clip occurred on my checking account, it was time to act.

But I had accumulated 215 Reward Points with Chase. Before I closed that account, I didn’t want to let those getaway. I mean, heck, maybe it would be worth a new toaster, microwave oven or something. But every time I tried to redeem them online, I got the message, “We’re sorry, but this feature isn’t working right now.”  After three weeks of trying to get my earned rewards online, I called them up.

I received a sincere apology for the inconvenience, along with an offer to just convert those points into cash. No brainer, “Absolutely,” I said. A couple of clicks of the keyboard and then the voice at the other informed me that the money had been deposited into my account. All $2.15 cents of it.

Gee, should I quit my day job?

NW Plus doesn’t have any branches near where I live, but neither do online banks like Ally. If I need to deposit a check, I can do that with my phone. BECU’s are everywhere, but when was the last time you stopped by there and didn’t have to wait in a long line?

Now, I have Totally Free Checking. My debit card works everywhere. And, the way I look at it, I’m already $156 to the good in 2017 and the New Year hasn’t even started yet.

Changing banks can be clunky. All those auto-payments you have set up, re-entering all the bill-paying information. But it feels good to take the action I’ve been meaning to do for several decades and to support a local, not-for-profit credit union.

They also have a rewards program. Maybe, in no time at all, I could rack up another $2.15!

Just wanted to share.  Have a merry one.

Tim Hunter

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