Would you lose a customer over 50 cents?

Would your business be willing to risk losing a customer over 50 cents? I know one that is.

I received a surprise when I reviewed the latest bank statement for one of my business accounts. My bank had imposed a mysterious 50 cent fee for something called "Currency Straps Ordered." It wasn't a lot of money, but I didn't want my bank to get in the habit of charging random fees, so I decided to give them a call.

You may already know what a Currency Strap is, but I had to do some digging to find out. It is a bundle of cash that has a paper "strap" around it to keep the bills together. Banks give them to businesses who work with cash. I've also seen them in quite a few action movies and spy thrillers when someone has a dufflebag full of cash.

My consulting business doesn't use currency straps, but I was still charged 50 cents for one. How?

I had visited my bank branch to deposit some checks into my account. At the end of the transaction, the teller had asked if there was anything else she could help me with. I realized I needed to get some tip money for an upcoming trip, so I asked her to give me change for a $20. Little did I know that this was considered a "currency strap" in the banking world. Gotcha!

The teller didn't advise me of the 50 cent charge, or I certainly would have gotten change elsewhere. It may be in the fine print of my banking agreement, but I don't remember seeing it. This fee was an unpleasant surprise.

It took 15 minutes on the phone with a customer service representative and then a branch manager to get to the bottom of this unexpected charge. To her credit, the branch manager quickly reversed the charge and was empathetic, but she also explained this was their corporate policy.

I'm now thinking of moving my accounts to another bank. It's not just the 50 cents, but all of the fees I've had to worry about avoiding lately. This bank clearly wants to make their money on fees, not service. 

Customer Service Tips


  • The only surprises your customers should ever receive are pleasant ones. 
  • Nobody likes fees. 
  • It's probably not worth Chase-ing a customer away for a lousy 50 cents.