The Bank said, “Trick or Treat!”

Was it Wells Fargo – the bank now famous for having opened 2 million unauthorized accounts for its customers and firing 5,700 employees over a several-year period for violating company policy that sub silentio was being encouraged and virtually demanded of its employees – that said “Trick or Treat?”

Or is it some other bank? In actuality, I don’t know of any bank using the expression “Trick or Treat.” With Halloween, the expression is on my mind and it did make me think about a marketing practice that is employed by virtually all the major banks and I find it both annoying and consistent with the literal words of “Trick or Treat.” Here’s the situation. You sign online to your bank account site and rather than directly logging to your account, a window pops up and suggests words to the effect of “Congratulations, you are now eligible for overdraft protection – you need not worry about overdrawing your account – we’ve got your back!” – Just CLICK HERE and you are enrolled.

This is the promise of the treat! – What joy, you click and your checks or debits to your card will never be returned and thus you will be spared a life of misery and embarrassment. Now for the Trick – they intentionally make it virtually impossible to find out that the bank will charge you up to $38.00 as a fee for covering your overdraft – and that they will do it repeatedly for each subsequent pull on your account until the overdraft is covered.

So – if on Friday at 4 PM, you overdraw your account by $1.00 on a $5.00 latte at Starbucks and before you realize it and can make a deposit to the account, you proceed to charge a Taco Bell dinner for $6.95, followed by a snack at Dairy Queen for $4.95 – here is where you will stand. Your total purchases equal $16.90, for which you overdrew the account by $12.90. Your account, however, will be charged for 3 overdrafts at $38.00 per pop, for a total of $114.00 and until you’ve deposited $126.90 – your account balance will still be at $-0- and overdrafts will continue. How’s that for a trick of all tricks!

If your bank has your back – the last thing in the world it should ever do is sell you such a product. Worse than that – they should not try and trick you into enrolling in such an awful arrangement. If a lawyer treated his clients like that – he’d have all the spare time in the world because he’d certainly have no clients. In my view, banks that undertake practices such as what occurred at Wells Fargo and in all the major banks as to overdraft protection – deserve the same fate – no customers.

What do you think? By the way, we have a great FREE Seminar coming up on November 9th – it’s appropriately called, “It’s NOT a Trick, it’s a Treat to Get Out of Debt.” I hope you will join us. Registration information is below.

Enjoy the great weather this weekend and I hope your team wins the MSU vs U of M game!

Have a great weekend,