Dave normally likes his bank, PNC, but they recently made a change that annoys him. There are little ad snippets underneath some of the transactions on his online statement. Do we really need more ads in our daily lives? “I get enough advertising smashed into my skull on a daily basis; I don’t need it from my bank,” writes Dave. That’s true. But at least these ads aren’t hard to banish.
I’ve always liked PNC because so many of their policies are pro-consumer (deposits are credited when made, not at the end of the day after all withdrawals, for example). The branches are everywhere and their staff is usually pretty helpful. So it’s safe to say that until today, I was pretty happy with them as my bank.
Today I logged in to check on my account and I noticed something unusual. Stuffed in between my transactions was an advertisement for FedEx. This is no banner ad or obvious standoff; it’s designed to be hidden away and appear as part of a “more details” option for a given transaction. I jumped over to their contact page to ask if this was going to be a new feature, and when I returned, a second ad had appeared.
I realize that desperate banks are failing left and right. Fees are piling up everywhere (except credit unions). But how desperate do you have to be to start spamming your customers for third parties? Maybe PNC isn’t as financially sound as I had thought. If PNC isn’t making enough money off my auto loan or ATM transactions, then perhaps they should re-evaluate their position as a bank. Their failure to be profitable isn’t my fault. I don’t want to be on the receiving end of their spam just because of their apparent money management problems.
Tomorrow I’m going to check out the local offerings and find an alternative. I get enough advertising smashed into my skull on a daily basis; I don’t need it from my bank.
Here is a filthy, terrible secret: switching banks may not help. I belong to a universally beloved regional credit union, and they do the exact same thing. No, really, this just showed up on my online statement:
These ad snippets are offers that work with the bank’s own debit rewards program. Unlike most of the ads that the world smashes into our skulls daily, it’s easy and painless to turn these off. Here’s how Dave can make it happen when he’s logged in to his bank account: