Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cheap Financial Institutions

I'd like to complain about online statements from credit cards, banks, whatever. It is so annoying how institutions typically don't make more than six months worth of statements available to you. What if you were busy and didn't have time to download the statements? Does that mean that you don't deserve a copy and have to now pay a *fee* for this information?? I would imagine that the institutions have to keep these records *anyway*.

For example, American Express only provides six months and they definitely charge a fee for statements prior to that. What irks me even more is that providing these things electronically are so cheap for the banks! They don't have to mail letters anymore! They don't have to pay for the paper! Couldn't they at least make the data available longer?!

Another gripe is that a lot of the "online-only" statements are formatted poorly and only available as html files. So if you want to save them down (which you likely will have to do anyway since otherwise they will - poof - disappear in several months) the only way to get a good copy is to pdf the files. That in and of itself wouldn't be a big deal, but the pdf file looks a lot less professional than a properly formatted statement. Usually, the text gets mangled, line items cut off inbetween pages and sometimes things even get cut off! (BTW for a cool free pdf-printing utility, try Primo Pdf.)

Call me anal - yes, yes I am being anal - but shouldn't the banks, etc. provide a "printable" version in pdf? That is something that American Express does, which I definitely appreciate. Citibank, however, *does not* do this, and it's incredibly annoying!!!