Editor's Note: This post is part of an ongoing series in which customers from different demographics describe what they are looking for from the financial firms they do business with.
There have been a few incidents that have led me to lose confidence in my bank.
I have an online checking and savings account. Once, when I lost my debit card, I called the customer service line. The worker helped me solve the problem, but charged me $5 for the new card. I was satisfied with the worker's attitude, but did not think I should have to pay money for a new card.
Another instance where I was left feeling unsatisfied was when my bank charged me an overdraft fee without any notification. It was not until I went online to check my bank account that I saw I lost money because of overdraft. Banks should voluntarily send a text message or email to inform customers that they are in danger of overdrawing their accounts. It would make banking easier.
There are several simple ways banks can improve their service. First, the bank always mails materials in English, even if the customer doesn't understand this language. The customer must ask someone for help with the bank's communications or go to the bank to ask the staff for help. What if the customer doesn't have time to visit a branch? What if the customer puts the paper to the side or misplaces it? If the letter includes important information, that's trouble. The bank should offer to mail customers their statements in different languages when the person first opens the account.
Second, my bank recently canceled one customer benefit that I liked. I could choose a debit card with my favorite picture instead of just a standard one. Now only credit cardholders can choose a picture for their card. However, not everyone can apply for a credit card. Most students, for instance, are not old enough. I wish my bank would recover this benefit for its debit customers.
Sometimes, bank staff could be more professional. Three weeks ago, I went to the bank with my brother and an employee asked if he wanted to renew his credit card. When I asked her about some information about another card, the teller did not provide helpful answers. If a bank had stronger training programs and employees provided better answers, a customer would be more likely to choose its services. As it was, I never got the complete information about the card I was interested in, so I didn't apply for it.
Janice Luo is a student in Oakland, Calif., and a participant in Game Theory Academy, an organization focused on improving the economic decision-making skills of youth ages 16-22.