Tuesday, August 11, 2009

$100 bonus isn't really free money with costly fees

Recently, over dinner and a couple of drinks, my neighbor and her husband got into a friendly heated discussion about her recent experience trying to open a checking account at the new Chase bank that has opened a branch close by. Her husband was focused on the fact that they were offering a $100 bonus just for opening the account and either using the debit card or having direct deposit. Free money, it’s a no brainer, right? Wrong!

Lisa’s (the wife) concern was the incredibly bad experience that she had when trying to open the account. It started out with what she though would be the simple procedure of opening her account online, only to experience problems with the “next button” on the account opening application not working. She even filled out the application on two different computers to make sure that the issue was not related to a computer problem.

Without online success, Lisa called Chase’s online customer support and they were unable to help her. She was told that she would need to open her account over the phone. She was then transferred to another department and left on hold for 15 minutes. After finally getting through to someone and giving her application information, the representative was not able to figure out where to go on the system to add her husband’s information, so that it could be a joint account.

Lisa ended up deciding that it would probably not be worth $100 to open an account at this bank. She figured that this might be a sign of poor customer service in the future. I let her know about the great member service that Hawthorne provides and told her about out new Cash Back Checking, which will be available on August 17th. The new checking account offers a lot of great features including, no minimum opening deposit, no monthly balance requirement, one free NSF “BOUNCE FORGIVENESS”, and a Reward of .05 paid for each signature based transaction. I told Lisa that if she makes 166 transactions per month she could get $100 every year! Plus, the fees she's going to pay at Chase will offset that $100 she'd get. AND the money she'll save with our 677 surcharge free ATMs in Naperville...how many ATMs does Chase have in Naperville? She'll pay a surcharge to use another bank's ATM. So the $100 deal isn't such a great deal after all!

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