Bank Fees and Consumer Choice

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Professor Ryan Hamilton spoke with FOX News about consumer choice and moving away from banks charging new fees.

Increasing and changing bank fees are in the news again this week as Bank of America backed away from earlier plans to charge its customers for debit card usage.

The trend to add bank fees, however, has increased the amount of movement by customers. In particular, credit unions are seeing a surge in new accounts.

According to a report by FOX News, “Charlotte Metro [credit union] has seen a 350 percent increase in new account applications online and an 88 percent increase at branches in recent weeks…”

Ryan Hamilton, assistant professor of marketing at Goizueta, told FOX News companies have taken advantage of “hidden” fees for years. But consumers react differently when the increase in cost is put in front of them.

“The reality is we were all paying these fees before,” Hamilton said. “Retailers were charging a little bit more for every box of pasta that you bought to help cover some of these exchange fees.”

The visibility of new fees, according to Hamilton, is driving consumer choices.

ABOUT RYAN HAMILTON

Hamilton (bio | related stories)  joined the Goizueta Business School faculty in 2008 after completing a PhD in marketing at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. His research investigates consumer behavior, especially consumer judgment and decision making. His work has investigated the role of the visual structure of information in decision making and some of the factors that influence consumers’ choice among assortments. A recent stream of research investigates price image: how consumers decide whether a retailer or brand is, in general, high priced or low priced, and how these price images influence consumers’ choices. Professor Hamilton teaches courses in Marketing Management (MBA) and Consumer Behavior (PhD). He was awarded the MBA Teaching Excellence Award for Junior Faculty in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. In 2011, Professor Hamilton was named one of the World’s Best 40 B-School Profs Under the Age of 40.

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