When faced with an unexpected bill or a sudden drop in income, many consumers with minimal savings and a low or nonexistent credit score have few good options to choose from. Some are forced to take on a high-cost loan.…
Chase and PNC are trying out a new "Self-Service Teller", which applies a Transformer makeover to the garden-variety ATM by enabling human customers to receive cash in $5, $1 and even coin denominations. At other ATMs, the smallest change you’ll receive is a 10-dollar bill, with most dispensing only $20 bills.
So yes, it’s true: You can now withdraw $1 from an ATM — and potentially pay a $4 ATM fee for the privilege.
I’m feeling all George Bailey this morning as I ponder my interview yesterday with Kirsten Grist, author of “The Lost Bank,” her chronicle of the rise and YouTube-worthy face-fall of my once and favorite bank, Washington Mutual.
But despite missing WaMu, I’ve adapted, if not quite warmed, to Chase. They’re trying to be more like George and less like Mr. Potter. They’re trying to please me, and trying counts for something.
Here’s the best heartwarming ending I can muster: Now every time the drive-through bell rings, my golden retriever gets his treat.
“Would you like a credit card with that?”
Credit cards have been served up like French fries at fast-food restaurants.
That’s about to change. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) about Chase dropping the Starbucks Duetto Visa card, credit card issuers are “pulling the plug on some of the specialized, reward-loaded plastic they pitched to consumers when credit was easy and wallets were wide open.”
Just as eating too many fries clogs your arteries, too many credit cards have caused financial arrest. The explosion of niche-branded cards — whose rewards are tied to a specific brand or product — has imploded consumers’ bank accounts.
Working as a reporter for CreditCards.com offers a lot of perks — caviar dispensers in the break room, private flights to international finance conferences and casual dress every Friday — but improved banking relationships aren’t included. My recent headaches prove that point.
My story begins several months ago: Inspired by the calendar change to 2010, I resolved to strengthen and streamline my personal finances. After all, even personal finance reporters aren’t perfect. Some of the changes included closing an old Wachovia account, which included (in my mind) underperforming IRAs — Roth and traditional — and moving that money to my existing Chase bank account, since that’s where my direct deposit goes each month. Unfortunately, my plan had costs — in both time and money — that I didn’t expect.