06/20/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Banks Hold on Tightly to Our Bits

My wife and I pay most of our bills electronically. Otherwise, we'd probably forget a few payments and suffer consequences like late fees and nicks on our credit reports. At this point, we're almost 100% dependent on technology to manage our day-to-day expenses. For example, we pay some bills through our bank's online billpay system, a few billers automatically withdraw money from our checking account when it's due, I pay my credit card bill on my credit card issuer's website and we even have some magazine subscriptions paid through our debit card.

Paying bills electronically is convenient. But being so digitally entwined with a bank makes it complicated and time-consuming to switch. And we're not unique. I think it's a big reason why banks rake us for fees and stink at providing good customer service. What's the incentive to treat us nicely? Most people will stick around no matter how poorly they're treated because it's such a pain to switch.

Move Your Money has motivated tens of thousands of people to run down to their local community banks and credit unions to open up checking accounts. But how many of these individuals have actually gone through the hassle of switching? The big banks don't give two whoops if you open a new account at a small bank or credit union. They know it'll be painful to switch. After all, they have us by our digital bits.