Smart SpendingSmart Spending

B of A may reconsider debit card fee

A news report says the hugely unpopular $5-a-month fee will be retooled so more customers can avoid paying it.

By Karen Datko Oct 28, 2011 6:20PM

Bank of America's much-despised $5-a-month debit card fee may not materialize next year as planned.


Reuters, citing "a person familiar with the bank's plans," says B of A may make it possible for many customers to sidestep the fee, which has drawn intense criticism since it was disclosed last month.


Reuters says: "The second largest U.S. bank is likely to allow many customers to avoid the fee by taking measures such as maintaining minimum balances, having paychecks direct deposited, or using Bank of America credit cards, the person said."


That report followed news that JPMorgan Chase will drop its test of a similar fee and wouldn't be imposing it on any Chase customers. Other large banks, including Citibank, U.S. Bank and PNC, have also said they don't plan to charge customers a monthly fee for using debit cards, which top credit cards as Americans' favorite form of plastic. Post continues below.

The LA Times says, "Citibank has said its customers really hate the idea of debit card fees. It has raised its fee for a basic checking account but has said it won't impose a debit fee."


That likely means that other fees will be coming down the pike. Banks blame new federal regulations that substantially reduced the amount of the "swipe fee" they can collect from merchants every time a debit card is used. The average of 44 cents per transaction has been cut to no more than 24 cents.


"We're going to see more creative, stealth-like fees," Dennis Moroney, research director at TowerGroup, told SmartMoney. Among the possibilities:

  • A fee for not using your debit card each month.
  • Fees for paper statements or speaking to a teller. These fees are already in place at some banks.
  • Higher overdraft fees.

Fees are inescapable, but it seems that big banks will pay attention when customer fury is sufficiently loud and intense.


More on MSN Money:

Oct 28, 2011 9:45PM

Too little, much too late, BOFA!  It was with great pleasure that I finally, after weeks and months of doing nothing, finally took action.  I visited my local branch and CLOSED my account.  I cut up my debit card into tiny little plastic pieces in front of the customer "service" representative (who, by the way, did nothing to convince me to stay).


This account dated back 40 YEARS!  I opened it in 1971 with the old First National Bank of Boston, which became BankBoston, which became Fleet Bank which became BOFA.  With each change of ownership, service declined, fees increased and I felt appreciated less.


As a business school graduate, I know it takes hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars to attract a new client to a business.  Because of BOFA's greed, arrogance and stupidity, THEY walked away from a 40-year relationship. May their stupid fees serve them well. 


PEOPLE - PLEASE do as I did.  Go open an account at a credit union or a community bank. They are not charging $12 per month for a checking account. They are not charging $5 per month for debit card use.  You can open an account for as little as $25. Credit Unions cooperatively have something like 6,000 ATMs throughout the country and have cooperative reciprocal agreements with many small banks. They are pleasant, they tend to have workers who stay with the bank or credit union for years and who come to know you and your family.  They WANT your business and they are invested in your community. Let the BOFAs of the world wither and die. They deserve it. 


By the way, I saw on the news this evening that credit unions and local banks are doing a booming business. They are opening 3 times the number of new accounts they usually open. Bye-bye BOFA, Citi, Wells-Fargo and all the others...  You're NOT to big to fail!



Oct 31, 2011 8:57AM

After nearly 20 years with bofa, standing by them after the bailouts/large exec pays ....THIS ONE took me over the edge .....they've taken the little guy for granted for the last time!  Ive opened an account at my local credit union and they can now KISS MY ****!


Im closing all 3 accounts because ive HAD IT!  Shove it bofa, you'll learn the HARD WAY that you should appreciate your customers MUCH MORE than you are!!!



Oct 28, 2011 10:47PM
While B of A is complaining about being forced into these fees by new government regulations, they have conveniently forgotten to mention that they just posted profits in the multi-billions of dollars.
Oct 29, 2011 11:19AM

BofA if you want to increase you income I have a plan: CUT OUT OF THE BONUS'S OF

YOUR CEO & CFO that should increase your income!!  They will just have to come to work in a smaller car and they will have to down size their luxury sailing yacht to a smaller sail boat.

Oct 29, 2011 10:40AM

BofA is like netflix ...gready!!!!  I cancled my account when they raised the rates at netflix...

Get your account closed, and let them know how you feel.

BUT DONT leave your money in their bank!!

The best way to let them know how you feel is remove your money, and dont look back!!!!


Oct 28, 2011 10:40PM
We closed our BOA acct awhile back and went with a CU and am so glad. BOA would post a payment one day and "unpost" it to charge over draft fees on as much charges as they wanted. Nothing but thieves.
Oct 28, 2011 7:46PM

@ Nelsonpt22 ... It's rather easy to the person you claim to be on the internet. Anonymity does have its privileges.


I used to be BofA customer, until they imposed fees on my account which caused my account to overdraft once, which then caused even more fees for a bounced check. Then I moved to Wells Fargo, until they started to charge a $10 a month service fee.


And then I moved to a local credit union... The absolute best decision I have ever made.


Keep your money local.

Oct 28, 2011 7:56PM
You should be in a credit union then.
Oct 28, 2011 7:30PM

I closed my Bank of America account last month because of the fee they had planned to charge me.  A move I probably should have done years ago.  They fee you to death.  They offer no mercy even in these hard economic times.  They look upon us as $$$$ not customers who have real financial issues in these days.  Many are suffering because of lost jobs.  My neighbor was foreclosed on by BofA last month.  They didnt take the time to listen to his hardship plea.  He lost his job after 28 years as a senior vice president of the firm he worked for. BofA turned a deaf ear and moved him out.  He is staying with me because I will not allow friends to sleep in the street. Kinda the Golden Rule that many have forgotten.


I had have my BofA account since since 1966.  When I closed the account last month I asked the assistant manger if he wanted to know why I am closing the account after all these years.  His response was, "I am sure you have a good reason, but I dont need to know."


Aloha nui loa to BofA.

Oct 28, 2011 7:10PM
I've already dumped BOA anyways, they had way too many fees, and very sneaky methods to impose them. Now I am with a bank that actually pays a decent apr on a regular checking account. NO fees. I like to be with a bank that acutally knows there role in the economy, they aren't doing "the people" a favor by holding our money. We are doing them a favor by letting them use our money to give out decent size loans with good returns. BOA takes it too far, especially with the latest and greatest fee for simply using your debit card.
Oct 28, 2011 10:29PM
Oct 28, 2011 10:53PM

Yesterday I checked my account and there was a new fee on my Bank of America online statement. BoA just charged me $2 for using a Checkpoints machine and I have direct deposit! The Checkpoints machine doesn't belongs to BoA, but they didn't charge me a penny and my bank, BoA, did! BoA never charged me before for a transaction at the Checkpoints machines and that was the main reasons for which I use them an not any other ATM's from other banks. I guess the fees are going to mount to way over $5 a month and honestly, that is outrageous. It's obvious that BoA is going to get money from its customers one way or another. I am joining a Credit Union right away. I believe they would take care of my money, not steal it from my own pocket.

Oct 31, 2011 8:20AM

This Bank ? announced 4 years ago that it would except and allow Illegal Aliens to have Credit, Checking, Loans all the while they did not need to show previous Credit nor would they be subject to the Credit standards all of the rest Legal Citizens do. That program ran amuck and still to this day has created large hit. BoFA has tried everything to hide this failure and increase profit to displace the losses from an "in your face" strategy! WE HAVE MOVED!

Oct 31, 2011 9:13AM
I got an idea, how about B of A just closes it's doors.  They have been, by far, one of the worst banks around. Not only do they have some of the highest fees, them allowing illegals to have credit cards and bank accounts, they are swiping accounts for homeowners that bank with them and are past due on their mortgages with their company ( yes, it's true, it's in their agreements in the fine print people ), but, they are also refusing to help homeowners more than any other lending institution and are not willing to waive rights to deficiencies as Wells Fargo, Chase and other companies are doing.  Bank of America has hit the US peoples' last nerve.  Just close your doors already or we will do it for you! 
Oct 28, 2011 10:40PM
Credit Unions ROCK! I have been a member of one for almost 20 years, have never been charged silly fees, have always had great interest rates, and lots of options. PSECU LOVE YOU!
Oct 28, 2011 8:21PM
I don't care if they decide not to charge the fee's or not... I'm leaving this bank and never looking back. I'll stick to all the small time local banks from now on. These people are nothing but con artists. I worked for them for about 8 months and left due to knowing way too much information that I probably shouldn't have, and I will never work or deal with a company that does business this way.
Oct 28, 2011 7:49PM
I hope they do, because if they don't, I am changing banks.  I live from paycheck to paycheck right now, and that 5 dollars could be the difference of paying a bill or the bank.
Oct 31, 2011 11:52AM

I set up my first checking account at the age of 18 with BofA.  I was about to attend college out of state, so having an account with a national bank that was close to my home as well as my campus sounded like a great idea.  Everything went well, at first, but I noticed that every so often, I was charged an overdraft fee.  I would look at my account before using my debit card and would see sufficiant funds without any pending transactions.  The following week, however, the order of my debit card purchases was rearranged, resulting in an overdraft (sometimes multiple overdrafts, creating a combined fee of almost $100). 


I've learned my lesson about big banks.  I now hold an account with a credit union, and I've been nothing but pleased.  I've spoken online and over the phone with a representative who has answered all of my questions, and it feels great to speak with someone who has customer service in mind. 

Oct 28, 2011 11:19PM
BofA is being greedy.  Netflix was greedy.  You see what is happening to Netflix.  BofA should get the message.
Oct 30, 2011 12:07AM
WHAT IF everyone that has an account with b of a, and would be able to, were to close their accounts?  What would happen?  I don't know, but it would be something to see how b of a would handle this mass closing. So, let's start closing accounts with b of a, and start posting every closing with three words...     WE HAVE MOVED
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.