Bank of America Retracts $5 Monthly Debit Card Fee


Bank of America has changed its mind about charging customers a $5 monthly fee for using their debit cards, a move that angered many a banking customer, not to mention lawmakers, and in part was a catalyst for Bank Transfer Day, a move initiated by Kristen Christian, an L.A. woman, to get people to take their money from the big banks to credit unions. Reuters reports that Bank of America is the last big bank (following JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and then SunTrust and Regions Financial) to take back their plan to charge the fee, which they’d said they would initiate next year to make up for revenue lost when the U.S. capped fees on debit-card transactions earlier this year via the Dodd-Frank Act.

The debit card fee was just one of the apparent straws breaking the backs of banking customers, 70,298 of whom have said they will move their money to credit unions on November 5, however. One of them writes on the event’s Facebook page, “To little, too late. This just means they have thought of another source for the revenue expected in the debit crad [sic] fee fiasco.”

Christian, who banks at Bank of America and plans to move her money on the 4th because it’s a business account and she has to do it in person, told us in an interview in October,

“I was tired. I was tired of being charged bank fee after bank fee after bank fee. If their site is down, if I call in, I get a 2 dollar charge. That’s not my fault. When they decided to react so negatively to the Durbin Amendment, that made me sick.

Another example: I took my mother to a Mother’s Day brunch, and she had to pay because the bank decided to freeze my funds. It took nearly three days to give me access again. They said it was frozen for suspicious activity, but they made no attempt to contact me, they just froze my funds. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the info that the banks had made donations to the NYPD prior to the police abusing Occupy Wall Street protesters. I believe it was Chase, but regardless, their behaviors are all so similar, it was sickening. The bank was using money they made off me and my funds to give the NYPD money to abuse people I see as my brothers and sisters.

So it started as a small movement — the initial invite was to 500 people — and then it started going to the Occupied Facebook walls.”

We’ve reached out to her, as well as Occupy Wall Street, for comment on this latest move.

Update: Christian says, “I think [this] further illustrates my point that the CEOs are completely out of touch with the American public. This movement was never about the fee itself, but the principle behind it.”

Kristen Christian, Who Created ‘Bank Transfer Day,’ the November 5 Bank Boycott, Tells Us Why

Bank of America drops $5 debit card fee plan [Reuters]

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