Using Social Media For Good
When Bank of America announced that it was going to impose a $5 monthly fee for customers who use their debit cards, I was outraged. After all, the only reason BoA is solvent is because we, the US taxpayers, bailed them out. So, the way they thank us is to levy a tax on those who choose to use their debit cards?
As a Certified Financial Planner, my job is to help clients take responsibility for their financial actions. Often, that work centers around living within one's means. This is a concept that sounds so simple but can be so difficult due to our need for immediate gratification.
One solution for those who are overextended with credit card debt is to use a debit card to pay for purchases instead of a credit card, because all debit purchases are immediately deducted from one's checking account. This is a responsible transaction because one feels the financial impact as soon as the purchase is made. Plus, the transaction can only be approved if there is money in the bank. There are no surprise bills a month later.
As consumers start to take responsibility for their fiscal actions and clean up their balance sheets, BoA is, in effect, telling us to keep using our credit cards by charging a fee to use our own money. BoA is providing a disincentive to being a responsible financial consumer.
I found this proposition downright wrong and was thankful that others felt that way too. Across my desk came a petition oppsing this debit fee from Change.Org. When enough signatures were gathered, Change.org presented this to BoA. Lo and behold, BoA decided to reneg on the monthly debit fee charge.
The moral of the story is the power that social media has to change our everyday lives. From bank fees to government overthrows, we the people now have the power to assemble, organize, and act remotely and effectively. This is change at its finest and is the future of social action.