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Bank of America announces new debit card fees

by Jorge Hernandez on September 30, 2011

Bank of America raised the ire of its customers on Friday by announcing it would begin charging a $5 monthly fee for anybody who uses their debit card to make purchases. The fee will be assessed regardless of how many purchases the users make, and it does not matter if they choose debit or credit at the checkout line, CNN Money reports.

The move comes after a recent change in regulations that limits the amount of revenue banks can get from merchants. In particular, it caps the amount a bank can charge retailers for taking credit and debit cards from customers at 21 cents per purchase. Banks claim that they will lose around $6.6 billion in revenue over the next year because of the change.

Bank of America and other financial institutions maintain that the fee is just a cost of doing business with the new regulations, but the Senator who implemented the provision, Dick Durbin, says that the cap was just leveling the playing field, and the move by the bank is a bad one.

"After years of raking in excess profits off an unfair and anti-competitive interchange system, Bank of America is trying to find new ways to pad their profits by sticking it to its customers," Durbin said in a statement Thursday, according to CNN. "It's overt, unfair and I hope their customers have the final say."

According to The New York Times, Bank of America may not be the only institution to charge customers for using their debit card in the near future. Wells Fargo and Chase are both testing out $3 fees, while TDBank is going to start charging customers $2 for using ATMs outside their branch.

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