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More on banks, debt card fees and help from FindABetterBank

By Dian Vujovich

A reader emailed me the other day and pointed out that ING didn’t charge for debit card usage. That’s great to know. I wanted to learn more and when I phoned the bank’s Investment Management department, the receptionist told me I needed to know the name of someone in that department because she wasn’t allowed to “blind transfer” me. I told her I was with the press but that didn’t matter. Frustrating! And it makes me wonder why big banks continue to shoot themselves in the foot when someone is asking a simple question.

So, I’ve no way of relating to you what INGs current policy is regarding debit card charges. Or, much of anything else regarding that financial institution. But, I did read an interesting story about the high fees of banking on Monday by Jennifer Waters of MarketWatch published at Yahoo! Finance.

Here’s one graph from that story:” Vote with your feet,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told customers of Bank of America after the nation’s largest account holder said it would tack a $5 monthly fee on debit-card use for customers whose account balances didn’t meet certain thresholds. The fee won’t apply to ATM transactions. “Get the heck out of that bank,” he said. “Find yourself a bank or credit union that won’t gouge you.”

Good advice but if you’ve ever looked into changing banks, doing so ain’t no piece of cake. It takes time, research and in some cases money.

That said, if you’re looking to move banks because of debit card fees charged to you for getting at your own money, along with Bank of America, SunTrust Banks and Regions Financial Corp. already charge debit card fees to their customers. Wells Fargo and Chase are testing the market regarding doing so and Citibank won’t charge fees on their debit card users but does have a sliding fee on checking accounts that don’t keep at least $6000 in them or use direct deposit, etc.

Grrr. I remember when banks were created to serve people and they would pretty much bend over backwards to get individuals to deposit their money with them. It was deposits that made a bank a business. Not multi-level investment schemes and cross-selling product. But that was long long ago.

So if you’re interested in changing banks because of debit card fee charges, or any other reason, there is a Web site that does for those seeking comparisons between banking services what Kayak has done regarding airfare comparisons. It is: Findabetterbank.com .

Once there you’ll have to answer a few questions that begin with your area code and then go on to ask questions about how you use and what you want from a bank. The results I got at Findabetterbank.com were both impressive and helpful.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Oh, and btw, according to that site ING does not charge its customers for using their debit cards.

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