I have been managing most of my bills and most of my saving through ING Direct for about 5 or 6 years now, I guess. Maybe longer. This past Winter, my girlfriend and me bought tickets to fly to London and then come back thru Paris with British Airways. I bought all of our tickets together and then she paid me back. We did it all through ING’s Electric Orange Checking. I used my debit card to make the final purchase, on-line.

Imagine my surprise to see that I got hit with a $30+ international transaction fee. Of course, my bad for not checking to see if ING had an International Transaction fee hidden in their terms. On the other hand, it was hard to think of it that way. I tend to think of airlines as global, so a part of me would have assumed that if I bought tickets from British Airways here in America, I was buying them from an American office. I guess not.

I really felt screwed by it. This is how banks make money now. It’s not thru investing in good projects and businesses and expanding the pie for everyone. It’s by finding ways to sneak fees onto the folks who use their financial services. That is where they are making money.

If someone gave me a few million dollars and an expert or two in the business of banking, I would like to try opening up an old school 3-6-3 Bank and see if there is some reason why an institution using that community investment model couldn’t make money and really help people save in this day and age.

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↓ Transcript
Panel 1. TV is walking up to Hobo Guy, who is sitting on the sidewalk holding his coffee mug.
TV: I am so frustrated! I bought some tickets from British Airways and my bank hit me with a $30 international transaction fee.

Panel 2. TV is standing still. Hobo guy is still sitting.
Hobo: Which bank do you use?
TV: First Trust of the Oligopoly

Panel 3. Wide shot. They are in front of a department store. You can see their clothes displayed in the windows.
Hobo: Oh, yeah. I know that guy. Can I borrow your cell phone?

Panel 4. Hobo is talking into a cell phone.
Hobo: Hey Winchell. How's tricks? Listen, a friend of mine got hit by your free for international purchases. Can I get you to strike that for him?

Panel 5.
Hobo: He was here in the states when he bought it. I mean, y'know... c'mon... Thanks, man.

Mini-panel.
Hobo: ... Oh crap... you wouldn't believe me if I told you... Really...