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Bank: $5 usage fee to promote online usage

The Bank of Butterfield has come under fire from a customer after instituting a new $5 monthly fee for some chequing account holders.

The fee came into effect on March 25, but is waived for seniors over 60 years of age, charities and customers who elect to not receive paper statements.

And as of April 25, customers who do not hold a Butterfield chequing or savings account will be charged a $15 fee to cash cheques drawn on Butterfield.

The changes come less than a year after a monthly $1 fee was put in place for savings account holders.

In a letter to

The Royal Gazette (See Comment), a Pembroke resident expressed his anger about the new fee.

“Until now the Bank of Butterfield has been content to nickel and dime us on our meagre savings but no longer,” he wrote.

“Based upon today’s statement they will now charge us $5 a month for the privilege of having a non-interest bearing chequing account, no matter how much money is in that account.”

While he acknowledged that the fee will be waived for seniors, he complained that seniors would have to attend the bank in person to have the fee waived.

“Half the first month’s saving will go in parking fees to attend my Hamilton branch and the loss of income in travelling to and from town, waiting for a representative and telling the bank what they already know will eliminate the savings for the rest of the year,” he wrote.

“Does the bank make these personal attendance rules to dissuade seniors from taking advantage of a minor concession to their age?”

He further criticised the bank’s decision to charge a $1.50 processing fee for any written cheques. Those who have a balance of more than $5,000 however can write five cheques per month without a fee.

“I wrote eight cheques last month so the bank has grabbed $17 of my money for doing absolutely nothing more than they did in February,” he wrote. “Butterfield made a profit last year, I didn’t.

“Needless to say, I am looking at banking options where a glimmer of social conscience may exist. If I find it at Bermuda or Gibbons I will sever a 30 year relationship with Butterfield.”

A Bank of Butterfield spokesman yesterday said: “The recent change to chequing account fees was made concurrently with the launch of e-statements and the consolidation of multiple chequing account products (with varied fee structures) into a single chequing account offering; the latter reflecting a marked decrease in demand for chequing options and cheque usage among our customers.

“Customers who opt for e-statements over printed statements pay no monthly account fees on chequing or savings accounts; a policy that was put in place in response to customer feedback on previous savings account fee changes.

“The monthly fees on chequing and savings accounts are automatically waived for charities and registered seniors over age 60.”

And regarding the per cheque fee, he stated: “Per-item user fees enable Butterfield to offset processing and administration charges for cheque clearance.

“We believe that the application of usage fees is preferable to having all chequing account customers — many of whom write few or no cheques — subsidise the costs of cheque clearance through higher monthly fees.”

He also said the bank offers Butterfield customers alternative, secure means of making payments other than cheques, which carry lower fees or no fees at all.

Any customers with questions are asked to call 295-1111 or visit any Butterfield Banking Centre.

Butterfield Bank

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Published April 13, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 12, 2013 at 11:15 pm)

Bank: $5 usage fee to promote online usage

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