Monday, September 14, 2009

Chase Bank And Its "Leisure Card"

The demise of the WAMU (rhymes with damn you) bank is nearing its final stages of completion. Like a rabbit in a boa constrictor, it seems to have been almost completely metabolised by the Chase Bank. Fortunately, the tellers at my bank still have their jobs, which is about all that really matters. I'd like some people who struggle for a living like I do to at least make a living off my money.

I thought that the Chase was going to be a fairly decent bank. Various promotions, (such as randomly paying for debit card purchases) made it seem like they are trying to spread around some good cheer. Upon closer examination, things don't look so good.

When I signed up for a joint account with my wife, we got two bank cards. Then they had a "Leisure Rewards Card" promotion. For every dollar you spend, you get four points. For every 11,000 points you get, you get a $25.00 prepaid debit card, or gift cards from merchants. According to my calculations, you would have to spend $2750.00 to get back $25.00. That is slightly less than 1% back.

To sign up for "Leisure Rewards" you pay an annual fee of $25.00, and get a starter bonus of 2500 points. This means you have to spend about $5000. 00 to get your first $25.00. If you make enough household purchases and pay enough bills by debit card, you can certainly get a few prepaid debit cards.

When I got my Leisure Rewards card, I was a bit surprised that my wife's card was not in the mailing. I waited a few days, and then went to the bank to inquire. The bank manager told me that the charge of $25.00 is for each card, and not for each account. If My wife and I each want cards, it will cost us $50.00, even though we have a joint account. That would up the break even point to around $4200.00, if you factor in the value of bonus points. I declined the manager's gracious offer of subsidising some bank president's obscenely high salary ,y buying another leisure card.

It never ceases to amaze me how cheap some banks can be. I used to bank at Apple Bank. One day, I got a shiny new bank card with one minor change. The toll free number had been changed to a 914 area code, which is for areas adjacent to New York City such as Westchester and Rockland counties. I asked the Apple Bank bank manager if the bank was hard up for cash. She seemed insulted and taken aback, which was exactly what I wanted. I told her with some irritation that making customers pay to call about their money was really nickel and diming it. I closed my account shortly after, although I will be stopping by soon for some (still) free Apple bank calendars.

Maybe the Chase Bank is too proud to pass the cup around to cover their bad mortgages. I don't know. But trying to squeeze an extra $25.00 out of a joint account is downright cheesy. I would like to say that I am disappointed in the Chase Bank, but that would imply that I expect better of them. There is a saying of banks that the difference between a bank robber and a manker is that one robs you with a gun and the other with a pen. There is also a joke about lawyers that seems very appropriate to bankers.

What is the difference between a lawyer ( or banker) and a catfish?

One is a bottom dwelling, slime sucking scavenger, and the other is a fish.

So thanks a lot, Chase Bank for all the fine print. Maybe you should open up a branch next to the aquarium.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

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