- What about convenience?
- How is Switch Your Bank different from Move Your Money or Bank Transfer Day?
- If I switch will it really make a difference?
Most people stay with the megabanks out of convenience. These big firms build snazzy websites, and they often have convenient ATM locations.
What many people don't realize is that companies like Kasasa have built a network of local lenders. This network lets you choose from hundreds of ATMs—a network comparable to those established by the megabanks. (And in some cases, even better.)
Some people say that they can't switch because they have a VISA debit card with a megabank which they use everywhere. This is shortsighted because local lenders partner with VISA, too. If you get a VISA debit card from a local lender it's no different from a VISA card at a megabank. You can use the card the exact same way. (And even get the same reward points!)
Other people are wary of switching because their mobile/internet experience is good at a megabank. One thing people may not have heard about is that the these megabank websites have been consistently attacked by hackers, attacks that have caused disruption to customer access. Local lenders haven't been subject to these cyber attacks, so even though some small lenders might not have same cutting-edge technology (though many do), they at least are safe from these large-scale cyber attacks.
In sum, local lenders take convenience seriously because they know they're competing with the megabanks. In most cases, their solutions are competitive and in some cases even better than what the megabanks offer.
Search for a local lender and you'll likely find one that offers a competitive edge when it comes to convenience.
SwitchYourBank.org is a complementary project to Move Your Money and Bank Transfer Day. We noticed that MoveYourMoneyProject.org had stopped posting new stuff and that Bank Transfer Day wasn't planning to promote another movement. We feel that the public has largely turned their attention away from "too big to fail," even though the problem persists.
We aim to inform people that there is something more troublesome at stake than increased fees from the megabanks (though the increased fees really are troublesome). The central problem is that as long as "too big to fail" remains, the possibility of future large-scale crises and bailouts remains.
This is a great question. Let's say you're just some poor college student with a couple thousand dollars in the bank. Will it make a difference if you switch?
The answer is yes and no. A few thousand dollars here and there doesn't really matter much, since the megabanks have clients like Wal-Mart and Exxon. To be perfectly honest, your pile of cash isn't going to matter too much to them right now.
But there's a reason megabanks target college students with rewards and credit cards. They know if they can establish customer loyalty now, they're more likely to get you to take out loans from them in the future. So, yes, absolutely they don't want you to leave them because they know it will hurt them eventually.
What's more, they don't want their reputation tarnished. Look at this passage from Wells Fargo's 2011 Annual Report:
During the past several months, Wells Fargo and other financial institutions have been the targets of numerous protests throughout the U.S. ... designed to cause customers to close their accounts with large financial institutions. These protests have included disrupting the operation of our retail banking stores and have resulted in negative public commentary about financial institutions, including the fees charged for various products and services. There can be no assurance that continued protests and negative publicity for the Company or large financial institutions generally will not harm our reputation and adversely affect our business and financial results.
In other words, Wells Fargo knows that protest movements like SwitchYourBank.org can have a real affect on them. If they openly admit that these movements work, you should believe they do too.
Your single act of switching banks might not matter much in itself, but it matters tremendously in the collective. If we don't stop the megabanks in their tracks and force them to stop gambling with derivatives and drop their "too big to fail" status, then we'll continue to leave ourselves open to the possibility of future Wall Street crises and all that they entail.
In a word: Switch.