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BofA debit card fee backlash

Julie Sherrier

Boy, did that backfire.

I’m talking about Bank of America’s new policy of charging its debit-card-using customers $5 a month for that privilege.

And I bet Citi, Wells Fargo and Chase are breathing a huge sigh of relief for just “testing” the debit-card-fee waters in a few states instead of doing what BofA did in one fell swoop.

The reaction from consumers is pretty hostile.

Says “silverblack23” in response to the article about the debit card fee in the LA Times:

“Why in the world don’t people simply withdraw their funds from BofA and open accounts in banks which do not charge such fees? In this day and age there is no particular advantage to banking with BofA — debit cards allow access to funds anywhere and anytime. If every individual checking or savings account holder of BofA were to stop doing business there, it would force a change — and most likely demonstrate the draconian stranglehold which BofA holds as a leader of the amoral international bankers conglomerate ….”

How many people will defect, do you think? Will people just roll over and pay the fee or will they really take action by closing their accounts? And if thousands of people do close their accounts, will BofA tell us exactly how many customers they lost? I doubt it.

I don’t bank with BofA, nor do I plan to. I do have my primary checking/savings with another large, previously bailed out bank and lately have been looking to switch to a credit union. Guess I was just waiting for a good reason to leave. Maybe now is a good time — BEFORE my bank implements its own new debit fee schedule.

What is even more incendiary is that BofA didn’t have the sensitivity to foresee the backlash when it also announced that its premium customers (those with large deposits) would not have to pay the new $5 debit card usage fee.  It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that it’s the folks who aren’t millionaires who have been hit hardest by the Wall Street implosion. And it’s also those folks who pay the taxes that bailed out BofA several years ago.

Another LA Times article commenter called Kurfco sums things up:

“BofA is telling their small customer they don’t want them. Why should small customers bank where they are clearly not wanted?!”

Are you a BofA customer? What are you going to do?

See related: Poll: 2 out of 3 debit card users will stop swiping cards if hit with fees

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  • Brian Light

    I am giving up my debit cards and using cash instead.

  • Christine

    I closed my bank of america account and have moved elsewhere.

  • Mike C

    BofA Customer Service Reps are routinely telling customers the “debit card fee” is largely due to “Regulatory” changes. Can you believe this? First the Gov bails them out and now they blame the Gov for overcharging “FOR TEMPOARY USE OF MY MONEY! I usually bank on-line with BofA and their system was having problems. I only called to order new checks and the CSR was bound and determined to spent time “spinning” the new fees. ITS IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT: Account fees are changing also. They want to now charge a $9.00 checking account fee (I was paying -0- and this is spun as “your type of account is being phased out”). The $5.00 debit card fee is on top of this other fee for a $ 15.00 total. I usually deposit (auto-deposit) $1,500.00 a month in this account. That breaks down to a “monthly charge equaling 10% per month!!!!!!!) They now want their depositors to “bail them out” given the government is “unlikely” to do it again. I will live “on cash only basis” before I pay additional outragerous fees!!!!! (O/D and ATM fees are already highest of any banks)PASS IT ON AND SPREAD THE WORD

  • rob

    On Monday afternoon I am going to B of A and closing ALL my accounts. I used them only because I moved from NY to MO and they were the only common bank. But now with this new fee I cannot afford them anymore.
    I am on a fixed income and disabled, I called them about this and they told me it was because of the frank dodd bill (I will also call barney frank and thank him also). I told him that the government is loaning you money at ZERO percent you charge 15-30% on credit cards and 4$ on houses.
    What needs to happen is the congress has to repeal the federal reserve act of 1913, that is the problem. People think the federal reserve is part of the US government well it is not we are being controlled by people like the Rockefellers Rothchilds. But they are in the back ground and now use JP Morgan as well as B of A Citi Handover trust Chase, and all the other major banks. WE THE PEOPLE are being SCREWED.

  • Greg

    Well, of course BofA and all other banks will find ways to make up for their lost revenues. Did anyone really expect them to cheerfully write off their losses and move on? Whoever did expect that probably also believed that retailers will be passing their savings on to their customers. Ever since the Fed cut the debit interchange fees it was obvious to anyone who was paying attention that consumers will end up footing the bill.

  • Mike

    I am making plans to switch to a credit union….I don’t need BoA charging me another fee. There are too many options available so we don’t have to put up with their constant “nickel and diming” us to death.

  • Marcia

    The only Bank of America account I have is a mortgage and that was by default as they purchased Countrywide. I don’t have any other accounts with them, nor do I plan on having any. I think what they are doing is forcing the small accounts out because they cost them too much money as compared to the millionaires because it costs less to use the millionaire’s money.

  • I think you’re right about “Testing the waters”. It is only a matter of time before all of the banks begin to follow suit. Once the culture shock has passed, and the quarterly profit reports are released–everyone will want some of the action. Now, other banks are also making subtle changes. For instance, I use Wells Fargo along with Bank of America, and they have began charging me for checks, after being free for seven years. I called and asked why, and was told that policies have changed, and I will be required to purchase my checks from now on. This is still cheaper than Bank of America, but I’m waiting for all the many other changes to come.

  • I’ve also closed my bank of America account. Now I’m in India.I’ve also many other options. I’m planning to move to credit union.