Ten bucks doesn’t buy you much these days. It may be enough to feed you at lunch if you eat junk or are on a diet, it may even buy you a round of drinks if you only have one friend. However one thing it will definitely buy you is a bank cheque.

Some of you may think that is $10 is pretty pricey for what is basically a piece of paper, and you would probably be right.

I understand that a bank has overheads, rent, staff, equipment insurance etc … so I guess that although sounding quite pricey, the cost may be justified, after all the banks aren’t greedy right?

I had never really thought much about the cost of this service, I can’t remember the last time I’ve used it, however I had a conversation with a woman earlier this week that made me think about the cost of bank cheques and how it affects some parts of the community.

The Big 4

The Big 4

Nancy is a pensioner, so to say she weighs up the wants and needs with every dollar spent would be an understatement. Still, as hard up as she may be, she has a generous nature and tries to find a little to spare so she can support a charity or two. I thought it was touching to see someone who has so little prepared to give what is to them so much to help a worthwhile cause.

Nancy is pushing uphill from the wrong side of 70, and along with racking up the years has developed a distrust for a few things such as credit cards, internet banking and Tony Abbott, all of which I understand completely.

So what has all this got to do with bank cheques?

Well, Nancy struggles to support charities that she would normally like to help out on occasion as donating money is becoming too expensive for her. Nancy has no credit cards, no means of BPay and does not get around much as her mobility isn’t what it used to be. This means she would love to go to the bank near her, a Commonwealth Bank, and be able to have a bank cheque drawn out to her charity of choice however at $10 it is too expensive for her. The cost of a cheque usually equivalent to what she wishes to donate.

What Nancy normally finds in her purse

What Nancy normally finds in her purse

Nancy scrimps and saves to be able to donate $10 or $20, so to be charged a further $10 just to be able to do that is just too much for her. The alternative is a money order, which costs $7 so that’s not much better really.

With the big four banks posting profits as big as the holes in the Coalitions costings and budget numbers, well maybe not quite that high, but still in the $Billions you would think that they may be in a position to help out.

Why can’t one of the banks put forward a policy of providing free bank cheques to registered charities? It should be quite simple cheques are printed via computer anyway, all they need to do is add a database of registered charities. Alternatively they could offer free bank cheques to anyone with a pension card. Or then again, here is a novel idea, why not do both?

Help out charities and pensioners?

Help out charities and pensioners?

If one bank takes the lead it should put pressure on the others to follow suit.

I’m sure the price to pay for this gesture to the banks would be tiny in comparison to even a weeks profit for them, but the benefit to the charities and pensioners could be enormous. I don’t even imagine the stingiest of shareholders would get all bent out of shape over this tiny cost.

The banks have been trying to promote themselves as “part of the community” for years now, and appear desperate to portray themselves as compassionate and generous. Well, here is an opportunity for them to put that into practice in one small way.

These pensioners have entrusted their life savings with you their entire lives, so what say you give just a little bit back. Call it a loyalty discount if you like. 

I promise it won’t hurt a bit, and you can take that to the bank…

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9 thoughts on “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

  1. Agreed. I cannot see that bank charges can be anywhere resembling the costs involved.

  2. thanks for sharing Peter … what about the poor shareholders?

    … i hope you are not suggesting that the well-being of a charity or a pensioner is more important than the share market values and the shareholders? (no franked dividends for you – naughty boy).

    the requirement of record profits and ever increasing share values … superannuation in the market … bad ideas with deferred consequences that will ultimately cost us ALL dearly.

  3. Sure enough, Wixxy….My dear ol’ mum is cut from the same cloth as Nancy…She usually uses a postal money order…but has to stop her charity donations because she cannot justify the cost ON TOP for the money order…..charity suffers…and what do you call someone who will wantonly steal from a charity tin?

  4. I just written a comment before but it seems it is lost – no one’s fault but my own. I agree totally with you Wixxy that the banks could be just that little more generous and especially to those of us who are pensioners (i belong to this group) and/or are on a healthcare card. Life is hard enough as it is, though i am luckier in that i have some savings, thanks to a superannuation payout from my youngest son after he died.
    I do not really have any trust in the generosity of the big four banks (i bank with a community bank out of principle and get good service), so another suggestion i would like to put forward is that those who have access to internet banking help those who don’t. Nancy or someone like her could come to me and ask to have her money donated to the charity of her choice via my personal account. This would cost the Nancy’s of this world nothing and the charities would lose nothing either. I do so already for a friend. I realise that the question is one of trust and a matter of who you know. Still worthwhile to consider being neighbourly.

  5. Banks deserve the contempt with which they are regarded. Their executives write their own salaries which bear no relationship to the skills needed. it;s a plutocrat’s club. especially the merchant banks. isn’t “merchant”, wicked in french?
    They take handouts from governments when in strife, but stick the finger up when some social responsibility is suggested. Suggest that the profits are “small” compared to assetts and turnover. Today they could operate in remote areas, (thonks to the NBN) with less capital expense. The smalller banks get swallowed by the larger ones. Competition???. They all have the same group of shareholders controlling them

  6. Banks do not provide a social service anymore. The bottom line is profit and shareholder value. The remuneration of the CEO’s is based on that. They live in a world of their own.

  7. Great idea Wixxy, such an elegant solution, a win win you’d think. After all, the banks should be desperate for some positive media, but I won’t hold my breath!

  8. And today they are considered no safer than an ordinary cheque written in a bog standard cheque book! What is the point of charging money for a piece of paper even other banks do not trust and wait the standard 5 working days to clear?

    As my old man used to say: what a wunch of bankers.

  9. wizman, you beat me to the punch. It seems bank cheques aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

    It’s especially galling when someone like Nancy has handed over the readies, only to find she’s been stiffed for $10 AND the recipient has to wait the standard 5 working days for the thing to clear. It’s cash in the claw, ffs!

    You will all be gratified to learn that the banks also treat small cash deposits into an account in the same way; they get the use of your cash free of charge for 5 days and you don’t see a penny.

    They are truly a wunch of bankers.

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