Big Banks Rethink Debit Card Fees

From: Heather Stone/Chicago Tribune

A number of big banks are reconsidering charging customers a fee to have a debit card. This comes as many customers and non-customers cried foul when Bank of America (the nation’s second largest bank) announced it would begin charging customers $5 a month for the luxury of using their bank’s debit card. While BoA wasn’t alone, other big banks were toying with the charge, it seems the banker backlash heated up after the BoA announcement.

The Wall Street Journal now reports that the nation’s largest bank, J.P. Morgan Chase is nixing their plans to roll out a debit card fee (which it had tested in Georgia and northern Wisconsin). Other big banks have also backed away from these new debit card fees, including U.S. Bank, Citibank and PNC. Of course, all say the change in plan has nothing to do with the outcry from Bank of America’s fee announcement. Their ground-breaking research showed that their customers didn’t like the additional fee for using their previously free debit cards (duh!).

Where is BoA in all of this? They are considering ‘softening‘ their debit card fee. What does that even mean? CNN Money explains:

Under the new plan, customers would be able to exempt themselves by having their paychecks deposited directly with Bank of America, maintaining minimum balances or by using Bank of America credit cards.

But big bank customers beware, while they may not be rolling out debit card fees, they are raising other fees and most will be raising the bar on “free” checking accounts. They will get their customers to pay up, one way or another.



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