Bank of America Dumps Plan for $5 Debit Card Fee

Bank of America has scrapped plans for a $5-a-month debit card fee after weeks of consumer blowback that fueled the Occupy Wall Street protests, rattled consumer advocates and forced other big banks to abandon similar fee plans or cancel existing ones.
“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,” said David Darnell, co-chief operating officer. “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, the top U.S. bank by deposits, was left with little choice but to follow in the steps of Chase and Wells Fargo, both of which cancelled debit-card fee pilot programs in recent days.
Moreover, SunTrust and Regions both announced yesterday the end of existing checking card fees for purchases. Both banks said they responded to consumer feedback in their decisions.
The big banks toyed with debit card fees in anticipation of revenue losses from reform legislation, primarily a new restriction on so-called “swipe fees” that puts a cap on how much banks can charge merchants for debit card fee transactions.
The new formula developed by the Federal Reserve restricts bank fees to about half of the 44 cents on average that merchants were being charged for a single debit transaction.

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