Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Transactions Costs: Electronic Checking

For years, I've been seeing advertisements asking me to sign up for ING Direct's Electric Orange checking.

It's supposedly better than other checking accounts and is linked to 35,000 free ATMs. Heck, ING has even offered me $50 to sign up.

What's stopping me? Well, I don't know where any of those 35,000 free ATMs are. I'm sure there are dozens near me--but to find them, I need to consult the online ATM locator.

My current situation, in contrast, is much easier: whenever I see one of those big Bank of America signs somewhere, I know that there's a free ATM there for me.

In other words, the cost of acquiring information on Electric Orange ATM locations is too high. Not to mention that I am mildly locked in with Bank of America anyway, as it also houses my main credit card.

(Or is this just an economist's way of justifying laziness?)