Banks Back Off on Debit Card Fees

Banks Back Off on Debit Card Fees

As I alluded to in yesterday’s post about the Everbank signup bonus, Bank of America has decided against implementing a $5 monthly fee for debit card usage. This reversal occurred against a backdrop of consumer rage that spawned Bank Transfer Day, which is focused on getting people to move their money from big banks to a credit union.

According to David Darnell, co-COO of Bank of America:

“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee. Our customers’ voices are most important to us. As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so.”

Good for them – thought it doesn’t take a genius to predict that customers would be furious over a fee like this. Also, their words about valuing their customers’ voices wouldn’t ring so hollow if they weren’t the last one to the party… By the time that Bank of America made their announcement, Chase, Wells Fargo, SunTrust, and Regions Bank had all dropped their plans to institute similar fees.

Interestingly, when I ran a poll about this last month, 47% of the respondents who were facing increased fees of this sort stated that they were planning on switching banks. For their part, Bank of America hasn’t yet indicated whether or not they’ve seen an uptick in account closures, though the fees weren’t scheduled to go into effect until January 2012.

Of course, when one fee disappears, another typically takes its place. In this case, we’re talking about billions of dollars in foregone fees, so it will be interesting to see what they wind up doing to fill this revenue gap. Given the bad press that they’ve received, I’d be willing to bet that they’ll avoid high profile fees, but they will almost certainly make up the difference elsewhere.

So, dear readers… What do you think? If you were planning on making a change in response to these fees, will the reversal be enough to get you to sit tight? Or are you still planning on taking your business elsewhere?

4 Responses to “Banks Back Off on Debit Card Fees”

  1. Anonymous

    I decided to move from SunTrust to a local credit union when I heard about the fees. Now that they’ve been dropped, I’m in less of a hurry to move my money, but I think I’ll still be making the move. As the article says: sooner or later they will increase a fee that will affect me, and I’d prefer to already be out of there!

  2. Anonymous

    You know, I moved some money into a credit union account (Patelco) a few years ago. It was an HSA offering higher-than-average interest. It took Patelco only about a year to bludgeon the account with a $2/month “maintenance fee” and basically remove interest payments (my Schwab checking account pays higher interest than this Patelco savings account).

    Also, Patelco’s service department/website is worse than any bank I’ve seen.

    Just one counterexample, but enough to drive me back to the banks.

  3. Anonymous

    Like you said, it doesn’t take a genius to know a debit card usage fee was a bad idea. Just having a bank even consider it shows disregard for their customers. Even as they backtrack, the damage has been done. Please continue to move away from big banks. Do you want big banks to use YOUR money to peddle their influence with our government? Distribute bank power to smaller banks and you have a more balanced financial system.

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