I’ve had a bank account since I was a young child and while banking has changed in the last 30 years, the last 10 years have seen some significant changes. For example, just a decade ago banks were offering a bevy of free perks to lure in customers. After the industry meltdown, crazy new fees emerged including monthly debit card charges. Now, it appears that the banking industry may be poised for a new change — this time to a pay-what-you-want model.

Launched in late June, GoBank allows customers to set their own monthly service fee. If customers feel like their banking should be free, they can set the monthly fee to $0. Customers that feel the service is exemplary can set the fee to the max amount of $9 per month. 

I have to admit; I don’t see a case where a customer is going to set the fee to anything but $0. I have free personal checking and I would change banks before accepting a fee structure.

Perhaps the difference is that the customers have control in this relationship. Customers don’t have to accept a fee structure but they can set one. According to an article in USA Today, GoBank CEO Steve Streit says, "We work for tips. The downside is nobody may pay us anything. But I think most people will pay us something."

GoBank’s business model is different than traditional banking in another way; the bank was designed exclusively for mobile users. Every aspect of banking can be handled via a mobile device, including person-to-person payments. Don’t forget, there is no fee for this convenience, regardless of what bank the other person uses. 

Although GoBank shuns tradition with its business model, one aspect of the mobile bank is still old-school; funds are FDIC insured.

What do you think of GoBank? Do you see a situation in which you’d pay a monthly fee for GoBank’s mobile services?

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Will pay-what-you-want banking change the industry?
The banking industry has changed a lot, from free checking to fee checking. The latest twist is pay-what-you-want checking.