Monday, April 19, 2010

Game - Applicability Within the Financial Domain

As I have written previously, psychosocial dominance, or Game, is something that is useful in a broad array of settings and situations. Today, I was again reminded of the practical value of utilizing Game. Yesterday, when I went online briefly to print out a concert ticket, I had an e-mail in my inbox informing me that I had been charged a fee on my Chase Checking account. At first I was quite puzzled as to what could possibly lead my account to be charged a fee. Then, I logged in online and read the fine print. It certainly wasn't worded the way the banker explained it to me when I opened the two accounts in January. Of course, like all stories, this one begins at the beginning.

Sometime in January, I received a promotional offer in the mail. Financial institutions are always proselytizing and marketing their products. If you're like me and have an excellent credit rating, you typically receive about 3 offers for pre-approved, high-limit credit cards every month. This offer was a bit different. In this offer, Chase was offering $250 if I would simply open a checking account with their bank. The free money was definitely tempting, but there was yet another incentive that sweetened the deal even more. Last year, Chase offered a credit card that had a rewards program far superior to the one attached to my Citibank card, and so I decided to change my primary credit card. Interestingly enough, the credit card rewards could be boosted significantly by also having an active Chase checking account. Neither of those offers would have been quite enough to convince me to open an account, but the combination of the two made the deal worthwhile enough that I decided to open an account. $250 free cash as well as effectively doubling my credit card rewards was simply too much to pass up.

Since I never like to do things without proper consideration, I looked into the details of opening an account and talked to a Chase banker, to ensure that I understood the account terms and conditions. The banker recommended that I open a Money Market account in addition to the Checking account. He said that as long as I maintained a minimum daily average of $1500 between the two accounts, there would be no fees. I figured that it wouldn't hurt to have another account setup, similar to my existing one at Citibank. Because I thought the accounts were linked, it didn't seem to matter how I split my money between the two new accounts. So, I happily set up the two new accounts and transferred a reasonable amount of money into each of them. Three months passed by with no incident.

Consequently, I was quite surprised to find that they charged me a $12 service fee last Friday, seemingly out of nowhere. Of course, when I looked at the fine print on the statement, it told a different story than the banker had told me when I opened the account. It said that the daily minimum balance for each account was $1500, and that for multiple accounts the fee would only be waived if the combined daily average exceeded $5000. This was a bit of a shock, but given my inner game state, I knew that it would be very simple to resolve the whole misunderstanding/deception. Today, before making the call, I decided how I would respond to any given outcome. If they were willing to transfer the funds from my money market account to my checking account and refund the service fee then I would continue to do business with them. If they were not willing to waive my fee or quickly and painlessly handle my request, then I would close both accounts and do no more banking with them.

In this sense, subconsciously I held the following views:
- I am a high value customer
- Many banks desire the privilege of handling my money
- I have numerous banking options
- If any bank does not treat me right, they lose my business
- All banking that occurs happens on my terms

As you can see, this mindset embodies the inner game traits of assertiveness, calmness, confidence, independence and indifference. Assertiveness is embodied in the fact that I would be completely clear and up front about exactly what had occurred and precisely what I want. Calmness is embodied in the fact that no matter what they do or say, it will not shake my resolve or negatively affect my emotional state. Confidence is embodied by my realization that I am an excellent banking customer with a proven track record and my business is welcome anywhere. Independence is shown in the fact that I take responsiblity for my own money and am not dependent on any organization or institution. Indifference is shown in the fact that I have prepared for all eventualilties, and therefore am not further harmed or particularly inconvenienced no matter how they respond.

Having prepared myself and thought through all my options, I called my bank and spent the necessary 20 minutes of time needed to resolve the issue to my satisfaction. As expected, reasonable results are nearly always granted to those who are assertive, respectful and dominant in their dealings. Precisely as I desired, they refunded the service fee, clarified the fee policy as it actually stands (rather than being incorrectly communicated as it was initially), and merged my money account into my checking account. The proper application of psychosocial dominance nearly always results in a satisfactory outcome in any area of life. In this case, Game ensured a successful reversal of the unreasonable service fee.

Just like in any relationship, the issue at hand is never the real issue. $12 is never about $12. The real issue is always behavior and relational dominance. Any issue that is properly handled can be nipped in the bud, so that it never becomes a serious problem. In this instance with the bank, I don't ever want any institution to get the idea that they can do whatever they wish with my money. They are my stewards and they serve my interests. So long as they take good care of what is mine, they are welcome to earn a profit from circulating my money and earning interest on it. But, if they ever cross my will and are irresponsible with my funds or unreasonable in their behavior towards me, the business relationship ends immediately.


  1. A good story that also confirms, again, my decision not to do business with Chase. They seem to do shit tests like this more often than other institutions, and they're nowhere near as all that as they seem to think. Other fish in the financial sea.

  2. Operation Mafia is a massive multiplayer online mafia text based game. You are a mafia who starts with nothing your goal are to become a ruthless mafia. To achieve this you will have to complete difficult mafia operations as you go up.

  3. Operation Mafia is a massive multiplayer online mafia text based game. You are a mafia who starts with nothing your goal are to become a ruthless mafia. To achieve this you will have to complete difficult mafia operations as you go up.

  4. Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?
    There's a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thank you

    my weblog - virtual private hosting (

  5. Hi! I'm at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the fantastic work!

    my blog post ... forex steam review