Bank of America: Masters of spin

Shop Girl by Kitty Kaufman

I got a letter. It had to do with Corporate Edge's bank account, what the bank calls business economy checking. The letter says they're changing their terms and I will see "differences" in features. I like their understatement and their ability to spin. When I was at the University of Pittsburgh there were no classes in spin; not in the English department and not in gym.

I had no monthly charge because I used my debit card. My personal banker said "All you have to do is use it twice a month and the charge is waived." That provision is now kaput: "The previous waiver of a single monthly point-of-sale debit card purchase will no longer apply." And when I asked about linked accounts, the answer was still "no." You will pay if you don't:

  • Carry a minimum daily balance of whatever it was
  • Have an average monthly balance of whatever it was
  • Spend $250 or more by debit card, credit card or charge card each month.

    When the program starts you get charged for April. You spend and then your account is credited in May "about five to seven days after the fee posts." At least this is what my non-personal banker told me. He said eventually you won't get charged and credited; it will be automatic. At that moment I was wishing my personal banker was not on maternity leave. Here's the good news:

  • We can use Bank of America charge/credit cards to qualify for the refund.
  • We can benefit by earning rewards on "select" charge/credit cards.
  • The annual fee on the worldpoints card is waived when you keep the account open.
  • If you don't have the credit card, you will earn 10,000 points, a statement credit or cash just by applying.

    If we use our pre-existing credit card, we earn zero points, zero dollars in statement credit, and zero dollars in cash because our card is old. Good thing you don't have to show proof of age. Applicants for new credit cards are rewarded. Old accounts, well, no bonus unless you bring your dog around.

    Delia Ephron got to vent in The New York Times about bank high jinks in Manhattan: Masters of spin

    No matter what they say, banks do not do their own credit card processing. Even when they tell you they do, they don't. If you have a credit card problem and go to a branch to fix it, you can't. The processor is somewhere else at another company, like First Data, for whom I used to work. So though I know that credit bureaus poke their noses everywhere, there was some comfort knowing my credit card and bank account were separate.

    It's bonus season on Wall Street; those formerly seven- and eight-figure payouts, not so much now. Goldman Sachs capped cash bonuses at 5,000. Bank of America cut the cash portion of its bonuses by 75 percent with the rest in stock. They're not counting on economy checking to make up the difference, right?

    Update:November 2013. - - Bank of America is still charging me . On the following month's statement, it shows up as a credit. Or not.

    © February 14, 2012
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