Published on January 30th, 2017 | by sirtheta109
Can We Just Be Cool About Closing Those Wells Fargo Accounts?
I’d love to christen this a hot take, but I’ll have to settle for HOT TIP: don’t close your Wells Fargo account right after getting the $250 bonus.
There’s one thing that keeps popping up recently—I’ve seen it tens of times across multiple websites & platforms: since there’s no early account termination fee, can I close my Wells Fargo account right after getting the $250 bonus?
Here’s my take: don’t.
What is one thing that banks truly hate? Losing money. What happens when you close your account right after getting the bonus? They lose money, and in a very obvious fashion. What are the possible repercussions for the future? Fewer good new account bonuses from Wells Fargo (affects everyone), institution of an early account termination fee (affects everyone), and/or Wells Fargo blacklisting you—to name the obvious ones. Your individual actions when summed across a community can create very real reactions.
The cost to keep the account fee-free is 10 debit transactions per statement cycle (+$5 to your Amazon balance), and the fee is waived for your first two statement cycles (at least, according to my first statement). Do whatever you like with your $250, but is it really that hard to keep the account open for a couple of months? It’s not like you can’t find any use for a Wells Fargo account—especially since Wells Fargo values a banking relationship with them if you’re angling for some of their very nice credit card offerings.
A common refrain is that people don’t care about their relationship to Wells Fargo or if they lose money because they opened accounts for people illegally. That was bad and some consumers will likely never be made whole, no two ways about it. However, it is flat out wrong to claim that Wells Fargo (as a monolithic entity) did it to make money, or for some other sordid reason. There’s a very simple & obvious reason it happened: Wells Fargo used a metric (and put in place repercussions for not meeting the metric) that incentivized behavior they didn’t intend. David Manheim over at ribbonfarm has two very fine pieces about why this happens that were published independently of the Wells Fargo fiasco. We could debate the obviousness of what would happen, or who knew what when, from here to the moon, but I don’t think it’s relevant to my point: closing your account is detrimental to the community as a whole.
Let’s just be cool.
update, January 31: added a small note to the end of the final (true) paragraph to tie it back to the larger point — apologies for forgetting that!