Because people who pay what they owe on time hate America. Or something. Several banks–notably the ones whose asses we bailed out–plan on charging fees to cardholders who either pay off their balances on time or who don’t use them very often:
You may believe that your exemplary behavior shields you from unexpected credit card fees. Sadly, that is no longer the case.
Starting next year, Bank of America will charge a small number of customers an annual fee, ranging from $29 to $99. The bank has characterized the fee as experimental. But card holders who have never carried a balance or paid late fees could be among those affected.
Citigroup, meanwhile, has started charging annual fees to card holders who don’t put more than a specific amount on their cards, typically $2,400 a year. Other banks are charging inactivity fees if customers don’t use their credit cards during a specific period of time. You heard that right: You could be spanked for staying out of debt….
Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com, says he expected credit card issuers to raise annual fees after the legislation was enacted. What he didn’t expect, he says, “was that good customers were going to be hit.”
In the distant, protean past, banks actually made profits, and they typically didn’t engage in usury to do it. Banks charge merchants fees too. This isn’t capitalism, but wealth extraction. It makes me very sympathetic to the idea that the government should get into the credit card business.
A while ago, I opened a small account at a credit union. I’m tempted to move all of my money there. Why should the mamzers at the big banks get my money?
MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan has similar thoughts: