So I went to my friendly neighborhood Bank of America ATM this weekend to do something I’ve done many times before. I need to move a little bit of money from an account with another bank into a BOA account. The easiest way to do this is to just withdraw cash from the other account and deposit it into the BOA account. So the procedure is:
- With ATM card from other bank, withdraw money from other bank via the BOA ATM.
- Place money in deposit envelope.
- With BOA ATM card, access BOA account and deposit cash.
But this week was different, because BOA had replaced their ATM with a shiny new model that was “envelopeless”. This one counted cash. As in – you put your cash directly into the machine and it counts the money.
I can image the BOA execs thinking this one through: “We have a problem with people depositing the wrong amounts of money in their deposit envelopes. We need to do something…”
So I withdrew the money from the other bank accounts as normal, noting that the ATM fee had been raised to (sound of sucking breath) three dollars! Fine. Then I took the stack of twenties that had just come out of the ATM, switched to the BOA account, and attempted to deposit them back in.
One of the twenties was rejected. “Sorry, we cannot accept this bill.”
In my mind this violates a principal of currency that’s thousands of years old. If we’ve just agreed that this unit of currency is an acceptable part of a trade, you can’t then turn around thirty seconds later and claim that its not acceptable. You can’t have it both ways.
I’ve basically liked by experience with BOA so far, and I’ve found that generally they’ve been a fairly progressive bank. However this is a pretty good example of a technology upgrade that reduces the value of the bank to me: dealing with them has become more expensive (ATM fee price hike) and more hassle-prone (cash counter doesn’t accept the bills that they’re distributing).
Bank of America: At least address the latter issue – its insulting. If you’re going to eschew envelope deposits and insist on having a machine validate each bill, then you had better stock the dispensing cartridges with perfect bills – preferably new issue, super crispy bills, but at least something that is guaranteed to be able to round-trip back into your machine. You can’t have it both ways.