Complaining Versus Changing Behaviour

The majority of Australian banks recently increased the fee for using another institution’s ATM to $2. There’s been a backlash with special segments on the news, radio talk shows and letters to the editor — all people complaining about the exorbitant fees. One letter reads:

I hold my account with a credit union, as I like to support community organisations and enjoy the personal service received from the branch. Unfortunately, there is a limited network of ATMs available to credit union customers. Therefore, to me this fee is crippling, as I use other banks’ ATMs regularly.

To get it straight, this woman wants the personal service of a credit union, with the convenience of ubiquitous ATMs and doesn’t want to pay for it. You can’t have it all, in everything there are tradeoffs. You want to support the community and receive personal service, you have to pay more (or go further, or get more cash out) each time you use an ATM. You want free (or cheap) ATM withdrawals anywhere you are, forfeit the personal service, support the community in other ways.

The tradeoff doesn’t even have to be that dramatic, how about some simple changes in behaviour to account for the change in fees? Start carrying more cash, get in the habit of withdrawing money from your bank’s ATMs when you do see them whether you need cash or not.

I’m sick of the this sucks because this is the way I do things and I don’t want to change attitude: Higher ATM usage fees suck because I use ATMs regularly! A $2 fee is considered outrageous while making the slightest change to the way you do things is considered completely and utterly out of the question. Complaining is the only option.

The case is the same for motorists who complain about fuel prices, road tolls, insurance costs and slow traffic. Driving sucks but using public transport, biking, walking or moving closer to your destination aren’t alternatives worth wasting your time considering.

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