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Why is this a news story?
Posted by: McQ on Friday, September 14, 2007

ATM fees are going up for non-customers of Bank of America:
Bank of America Corp. is raising the surcharge for non-customers at most of its ATMs nationwide to $3 from $2.

The Charlotte-based bank, which has more than 17,000 ATMs, made the change in most markets in July and August, spokeswoman Betty Riess said.
OK, and:
Because Bank of America has the largest ATM network in the United States, the higher fees could affect millions of consumers.

But Riess said, "The fee itself and the amount are disclosed on the ATMs, so (customers) can opt out and cancel their transaction."
It will only affect "millions of consumers" if they make the choice to say 'yes' when the system asks them if they want to proceed with the transaction. The "convenience" of using another system to access your money in another bank costs money. If consumers are willing to pay that amount for such convenience (or laziness) they'll say yes. If not, they'll plan ahead and access their money from a machine or system that doesn't cost them anything (like their own bank's system). It is their choice (and thus they are at liberty to reject paying the fee).

Please, spare us the caterwalling about "greed" concerning this price increase.
 
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Why is it not a news story?

A fee is going up that will affect millions of people. The increased fee can be avoided, for now, by not using Bank of America ATMs.

Why wouldn’t I want to know that before I went through the whole pointless process of hunting down a machine, standing in line, etc.?
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
So should AP alert us to all price increases at Wal-Mart as well?

I mean who wants to go through the whole pointless process of going there when one could get whatever "it" is cheaper elsewhere?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I have to agree with Terry — this is useful knowledge to many people.
 
Written By: sammler
URL: http://stonecity.blogspot.com
And knowing about price increases in any other situation wouldn’t be?

I mean, how long would it take, via word of mouth, for the BoA increase to become widely known?

Obviously the news services can run whatever they want, but to me this has a motive beyond ’informing’ implicit in the line "the higher fees could affect millions of consumers."

That’s patently untrue unless the consumers choose to let it affect them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
That’s patently untrue unless the consumers choose to let it affect them.


Bullcrap. It ends up affecting them whether they punch the button accepting the fee or not.

For instance, most locations only have one ATM. If that ATM happens to be a BoA ATM, then you are either stuck with accepting the fee or going to another location to get your cash. You are affected either way.

Another way is that these things tend to spread. If BoA makes money off of this fee and doesn’t take major crap over it, then other banks will follow suit. Again, the customer gets affected anyway.
 
Written By: Terry
URL: http://
Bullcrap. It ends up affecting them whether they punch the button accepting the fee or not.

For instance, most locations only have one ATM. If that ATM happens to be a BoA ATM, then you are either stuck with accepting the fee or going to another location to get your cash. You are affected either way.

Another way is that these things tend to spread. If BoA makes money off of this fee and doesn’t take major crap over it, then other banks will follow suit. Again, the customer gets affected anyway.
You’re avoiding the point. Why is this newsworthy and all other $1 price increases aren’t?

After the first time you see the increase (or hear about it) and either refuse or accept it, how are you going to be affected?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Terry, why are you so angry about how others dispose of their private property? It’s not your property; you have no right to dictate how it’s to be used, so go to another ATM that’s more agreeable with your price range. As McQ said, the only people affected are those who choose to be, since you can opt out. If it’s not to your liking, tough: you’re affected in the same way I’m "affected" because I can’t use my neighbor’s property as a shortcut to the train station. Both are private property belonging to others, and the rest of us have no right to tell them how they’re to let us use it.

It makes no difference if there’s only one ATM at that location. Whether it’s BoA or another institution, that particular bank decided to take an entrepreneurial risk by placing an ATM there. The ATM may make a nice profit, some, or none. Whatever it is, the institution deserves every bit of profit for undertaking the risk.

Quick economics lesson: prices, fundamentally, are pieces of information about an item’s scarcity. If there’s only one ATM around, and it charges $3 per transaction, people willing to pay $3 should be happy about that. It will shorten the waiting time, once word spreads around (and especially if there’s a sign or sticker somewhere, which most ATMs have), because people willing to pay no more than $2 will simply not use the ATM.

By the way, the Stage Star Deli, where I usually get my lunch, now charges for avocado in salads. All other toppings are part of the flat price. Well, that could potentially affect millions of people too, here in midtown Manhattan. Yet that’s hardly newsworthy, most people would argue. So is BoA’s ATM fee increase. McQ is right, it’s in the news only as a ridiculous accusation of "greed."
 
Written By: Perry Eidelbus
URL: http://eidelblog.blogspot.com
I agree that the market should dictate whether ATM fees and fee hikes are acceptable. However, very few (if any) of the other products that involve a $1 price increase have received the previous press or evoked the controversy that ATM fees have. San Francisco attempted to legislate a ban on ATM fees. I don’t know if the effort was successful. Anyway, given the history, IMO the story serves a reasonable purpose.
 
Written By: JFW1961
URL: http://
If that ATM happens to be a BoA ATM, then you are either stuck with accepting the fee or going to another location to get your cash. You are affected either way.
Or, you make a choice like I have which is to be a BOA customer. I like the convenience of being able to find a BOA pretty much anywhere in the southeast.

Also, when I find myself in a situation where I have to use another bank, I generally up the amount I am going to take out. It may seem trite, but I prefer paying $3.00 to retrieve $200 vs. $3.00 to retrieve $20.00.

 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
I think you hit at the crux of the situation, JFW. The only reason this rises to the level of a relevant story is because so much was made of previous increases in ATM fees. Other than that - and the requisite claims of greed leveled at the banks which stemmed from those stories - it’s a non-story.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
If you pull $100 out, this is like a 1% increase in sales tax. If you pull $200 out, this is like a 0.5% sales tax.

Would increasing sales tax by 1% or even 0.5% be news? I’d be interested for sure.

Pulling out sums much larger than that starts to be not practical and for some risky.

There’s also the practicality of going to an alternate ATM. Many people could easily spend $1 on gas and wear & tear on their cars to save $1 at an alternate ATM.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
Would increasing sales tax by 1% or even 0.5% be news? I’d be interested for sure.
Well of course you would ... that’s because you have no choice but to pay it when you spend money subject to the tax.

There is no requirement you use anyone else’s ATM.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
My general policy is to not pay above $2 at any ATM for any reason short of saving my life, but if the fee is more than $1 and less than or equal to $2, I say no when asked if I’ll accept the fee, then use a different card and accept the fee. That way, for the cost of a few moments of my time, I’ve entered a rejection of the fee into the bank’s systems.

When the banks want to change fees on the ATMs (and some banks do it dynamically if you have a history with them or if they are trying to sort out the max they can charge at different places), they look at the accept/reject ratio. If the rejects get high enough, they don’t raise, and might lower, the fees.

If everyone followed this policy at least some of the time, ATM fees would come down. They don’t because people are generally willing to pay the fees, insane though those fees are.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
Of course it’s a news story — people are interested in this sort of thing, and it affects a lot of people — the price increase is 50% of the previous price, after all. News isn’t determined by some abstract measure of relative importance (if so, news involving celebrities and freaky occurrences would not be news), but on whether or not people have an interest in a particular story. You know, sort of like how a market works.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Why is this a news story?
Just to get a rise out of you, McQ, I’m sure of it.
Obviously the news services can run whatever they want, but to me this has a motive beyond ’informing’ implicit in the line "the higher fees could affect millions of consumers."

That’s patently untrue unless the consumers choose to let it affect them.
It’s not “patently untrue”. It could affect millions of consumers.

What’s with all the fuss? I see nothing wrong with the actual reporting.
Because Bank of America has the largest ATM network in the United States, the higher fees could affect millions of consumers.
I could see where you could have a quibble if the reporting stated, “Because Bank of America has the largest ATM network in the United States, the higher fees would affect millions of consumers.” In fact, I see where you would find quibble with that.
Why is this a news story?
Because, to couple with sammler and Terry, it’s just useful information. Of course there is lots of other useful information out there that the AP doesn’t report on, but who cares?

I see it all the time. Information that I might not find useful, or that information would become evident to me in time is displayed all over national news outlets and local ones.
It reminds me of every time the gasoline prices around here jump, or is expected to jump, even a nickel, there are reports on that. Yes, I would eventually learn of the price increase next time I refuel, and yes, I would choose to pay that price or not. But I might find it useful to know before hand, so as I can adjust my consumer habits prior to.
In fact, I would like to thank the AP reporting. Now I know that maybe I should keep more cash on hand so as to avoid any ATM fees that I might encounter.
The only reason this rises to the level of a relevant story is because so much was made of previous increases in ATM fees. Other than that - and the requisite claims of greed leveled at the banks which stemmed from those stories - it’s a non-story.
Fine then. Go after the “requisite claims of greed leveled at the banks”.
It seems that at least in this case, the AP is just reporting facts. Heed them or no.

What’s a matter, McQ? Slow news day? No George Clooney stories out there to fuss about? ;)

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
What’s a matter, McQ? Slow news day?
What are you doing down here ... I’ve got a story all about you at the top of the main page.

Sheesh, always out wandering where you shouldn’t be.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Heh.
So you do.
So I am.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
So, Scott and Pogue, as McQ so insightfully asked earlier, why aren’t Wal-Mart’s price changes making the news? Those could affect many millions more. I must also wonder, because this article insinuates "greed" because of a price increase, would the AP consider Wal-Mart’s rollback prices to be "altruism"?

The percentage may be significant, but the dollar value is quite minimal. And "could" is not the same as "does."
 
Written By: Perry Eidelbus
URL: http://eidelblog.blogspot.com
Perry, remember that news is defined in part by what people are interested in hearing. I doubt people are interested in hearing about price increases and decreases in Walmart (if Walmart were to increase all their prices by 50%, then I’m sure it would make the news, to be sure).

I’m not sure where the "greed" bit is coming from. Reporting on a price increase is not the same as implying greed. And I’m not sure greed is bad — shouldn’t a corporation try to maximize its profits? If customers are willing to pay more, then why not charge more? If they are not, then the customers can send a message. It seems like self-interest more than greed, and the market will determine if it was wise.

But people are interested in ATM fees. Clearly, it’s even caused discussion here.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So, Scott and Pogue, as McQ so insightfully asked earlier, why aren’t Wal-Mart’s price changes making the news?
I dunno. Perhaps you should ask them. All I could tell you is what I would expect the reasoning to be.
What first comes to mind is that Wal Mart does a lot of advertising in newspapers, so why would they bite that hand. Another reason I can think of that if Wal Mart knocks a dollar off the sale of microwave ovens, how many millions would that affect that day? My microwave oven works just fine… has for years. And the only reason I would be interested in a dollar off a microwave oven would be if and when mine breaks. But as most people don’t buy a microwave oven on a daily basis, most people use an ATM almost as often.

Besides, the media does report stories on Wal Mart price fluctuations. Remember this,
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Wal-Mart announced Thursday a pilot program in Florida to sell about 300 generic prescription drugs for as low as $4 for a 30-day supply.

The program will be available to both insured and uninsured consumers, and will cover 291 generic medicines for things like allergies, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.
I remember that as big news when it came out. Free advertising at its finest.
To use the argument being touted here, this should’ve been a “non-story”. As many people would have found this out eventually, or through the efforts of Wal Mart. So why did they report it???

They reported it, perhaps, because it could have affected millions of people.

That’s why.

Or more recently, why did this make national news?
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has unveiled an environmental plan to boost energy efficiency, cut down on waste and reduce greenhouse gases tied to global warming as part of a wider effort to address issues where it has been pummeled by critics.
There are already plenty of reasons to criticize the media. Reporting on increases in ATM fees from the largest ATM provider doesn’t seem to be one of them.

I think you’re seeing things that aren’t there.
Those could affect many millions more. I must also wonder, because this article insinuates "greed" because of a price increase, would the AP consider Wal-Mart’s rollback prices to be "altruism"?
I’ve read it several times. I fail to see how it “insinuates” greed.

Sometimes, you guys remind me of my dog that is used to seeing his dog biscuits being contained in a cardboard box. And whatever box I might be holding at the time, he sees it as a box of biscuits.
And also much like my dog, you seem keen to sh*t on someone else’s lawn, when there are plenty of other suitable places to sh*t.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
A few years ago, BofA was going to CHARGE a fee to users of their ATM who where not BofA customers.

Naturally, the parasites like Terry (brickbrain), Erb (hypocrite) and the rest of the children that want "sumthin’ fer nuttin" threw a tantrum. San Francisco banned the fees.

BofA responded by saying, "Okay, we won’t accept non-BofA cards in the ATMs. Of course, that created worse tantrums (so much for the "adulting being in charge now"), but the ban on fees was recinded.

During this affair, I switched my bank from Wells Fargo to BofA.

 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://
Quick somebody call the whaaaaaaambulance!
 
Written By: Toddk
URL: http://
I think you guys are crazy. I’ll spend two hours and ten bucks worth of gas to avoid paying any bank a freaking nickel in ATM fees. It only make sense. And no, I’m not being facetious. I have to give enough of my money to others, I’ll be damned if I’m going to give it to a bank machine.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
Why does anyone need cash so badly that they will pay several dollars for it? You can use a debit or credit card almost everywhere (I have seen people buy a cup of coffee with them) or you can write a check. You can even, perish the thought, plan ahead, or use an ATM from your own bank.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Gas prices are also in the news. So are rises in the cost of corn due to ethanol production (leading to protests in Mexico.) I see no reason why this is not a news story.

BTW, what’s BOA charge for walk-in customers that use the more expensive human teller? I know they can charge more for the convenience of the ATM, but a US$ 3 hit is quite large. Meanwhile some credit cards offer cash back...hmmmm.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Naturally, the parasites like Terry (brickbrain), Erb (hypocrite) and the rest of the children that want "sumthin’ fer nuttin" threw a tantrum. San Francisco banned the fees.
Uh, when have I ever said I opposed ATM fees?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I could see all this indignation if the charges were for an ATM belonging to the bank that YOU do business with. BoA doesn’t install and pay the ongoing costs of running that ATM for your, a non customer’s, benefit.
"I’ll spend two hours and ten bucks worth of gas to avoid paying any bank a freaking nickel in ATM fees."
That is the most rational thing I’ve ever read on any blog..ever. ;)


 
Written By: Toddk
URL: http://

 
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