Sunday, October 14, 2007

Inconvenience Fees

Yesterday I was in a hurry, and desperately needed cash so I stopped at a Giant National Bank that is not my own Giant National Bank to use the ATM. I rushed out of my car, and selected $20 to withdraw. As usual the window popped up, "You will be charged a convenience fee of $3.00." I was running 10 minutes late at this point, so I almost hit accept, when I suddenly processed this. THREE dollars? For a convenience fee! I couldn't believe I was about to throw three dollars away, not to mention, the convenience fee my own bank is probably going to charge me for not using one of their ATMs. But I really didn't have time to stop anywhere else, so, resigned, I hit accept.

After I got back in my car, I started wondering if Giant National Bank had upped their convenience fees. I almost never use a bank ATM that's not my own, so I wouldn't necessarily know, but three dollars seemed a little obscene. And then I started wondering...the screen specifies that the branch chooses the fee. The area I had been driving in is near MacArthur Park- one of the poorer parts of LA, where not as many people have cars. Could it be that Giant National Bank was price gouging these people because the bank knows that people in this area don't have much choice but to accept outrageous fees?

I'm not really sure of the answer, but, sadly, I'm inclined to think the worst.

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