For all of our good habits and improved habits, we maintain some bad habits as well. For me, this includes an unwillingness to climb out of a banking rut that makes buying everything from insane workout pants to the daily necessities easier and more rewarding, but also more ethically fraught.
A recent meal out with some peers revealed that even the most liberal, Down-With-The-Man young persons opt almost inevitably for the Chase credit/debt card. I personally do so—and pair it off with a Chase checking account to boot—despite knowing that JPMorgan Chase has leveraged my pitiful monthly payments and deposits to help fork over some $9 billion in penalties for various shenanigans and misdeeds in the past twelve months. With more than $2.4 trillion in assets, those dudes really don’t need or deserve my hard-won grad school dollars. Moreover, I know that regional banks and savings & loans tend to offer better APR and to put my money to nicer, local use.
So why do we keep supporting a big-ass bank even as our own personal political Jesus, Elizabeth Warren, warns us of their dangers?
1) Rewards. My Chase card offers 1% back on regular purchases and 5% (wowee) on a rotating set of special purchases. Who doesn’t want to get $50 every few months just for doin what you’re already doin. The local S&L can’t afford such perks.
It’s bananas, but also oddly comforting. Such nearly overwhelming convenience is particularly valuable for those from whom travel is a regular habit. Imagine the ignominy of being forced to pay $2 every time you needed to take out $20 to pay for a smoothie just because you’re in another state.
I’d like to think my morals in combination with what I know about banks like JPMorgan would lead me to break bad banking. But it hasn’t happened yet.
-J. A man of habit, guest contributor.