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