In light of the continued outrage from consumers in regard to Bank of America’s plans to charge consumers a $5 monthly fee for using their debit card, the bank have abandoned the plan.
The fee was scheduled to come into effect as of January 2012, but consumers have been expressing their annoyance by leaving the bank for credit unions or small community banks. In a statement, Co-chief Operating Officer for Bank of America, Mr David Darnell said,
We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with out 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.
Bank of America are bringing up the rear as the last of the major banks to abandoned plans to implement a debit card usage fee. They follow in th footsteps of Regions Bank and Sun Trust who both announced very recently that they would not proceed with the charges. Wells Fargo also dropped plans for a pilot test of the fees in five states while JP Morgan Chase also dropped their tests of the fee in two states.
Many angry Bank of America customers have already closed their accounts and switched to a regional bank or credit union instead. One Washington D.C. resident has even began an online petition which has gathered over 300,000 signatures. Director of Financial Services for the Consumer Federation of America in Washington, Ms Jean Ann Fox said,
For a lot of consumers, this was the last straw. Banks have been making a lot of changes to accounts, adding fees and raising the minimum balance needed, and consumer were clear that they objected to one more fee.
Consumers are looking at the decisions by banks to drop the fees as a victory. However, many analysts warn that banks will find other ways to levy fees against customers. Michael Poulos of Oliver Wymam Consultancy said,
There are going to be a lot of fits and starts along the way. Some of the new changes are going to work and some aren’t.
Banks are desperate to make up for lost revenue stemming from the recent cap on debit card swipe fees and most have already begun to increase monthly balance minimums.