How many times should consumers pay the banks?

This story will come as no surprise to many WalletPop readers. Banks are raising interest rates across the board and it's upsetting consumers. If you've had some trouble with your finances, you're probably expecting your credit card company to penalize you in some way.

But if you've been paying your bills on time and have a strong credit score, the rising interest rates on credit cards seem unfair. We're talking double digit rate increases for many credit card users. The banks say it's simple: They have too much money at risk and they need to generate some profits. This is a surefire way to do it.

But how many times must consumers bail out the banks? As taxpayers, we're on the hook for the bill for all the bailout madness. It seems like we've already made our involuntary contribution to the banks. Why should we be hit again with rate increases?
Of course, rate increases aren't the end of it. Banks are increasing all sorts of fees and adding a slew of new fees too. When does it stop? Only when consumers stand up against the banks. Refuse to use their credit cards. Or if you do need to use a credit card, don't carry a balance so the bank can't charge you interest. Limiting the use of credit is probably the only way we can beat these banks at their own game.

Naturally, there's a huge opportunity here for a bank that actually values customers. If a bank can offer credit cards with reasonable rates, and offer accounts with reasonable fees, there will surely be consumers standing in line to do business with them.

rensic accountant Tracy Coenen investigates corporate fraud and consumer scams, and is the author of Expert Fraud Investigation and Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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