Hugh Son of Bloomberg is reporting that Bank of America, the biggest U.S. lender by assets, plans to announce a $5 monthly charge for some debit card users to recoup revenue lost after new federal rules capped so-called swipe fees.
Customers with lower-tiered accounts, including the firm's online-banking option, may start getting assessed the fee for debit card purchases in January, said Anne Pace, a Bank of America spokeswoman. Users won't be charged for cash-machine withdrawals, and clients with premium accounts of $20,000 or more, including those linked to the Merrill Lynch brokerage, won't be affected.
Bank of America, based in Charlotte, N.C., is joining rivals including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and SunTrust Banks in rolling out new charges for debit card users. The Federal Reserve's rules limiting swipe fees, or interchange, take effect next month. Banking-industry representatives have said the changes enrich merchants while penalizing lower-income consumers.
Is there a manual at BofA entitled, "How to Gouge Our Customers This Month"? If not, the bank should stop acting like it. We find it interesting that whenever banks need to find a way to increase revenue, they target customers that have the least. After abusing customers by imposing swipe fees for decades, they are now going to attach yet another fee that will affect those who have the least.
Yes, there are folks for whom a $5 fee will negatively impact their accounts. For example, if the $5 fee causes the account to be overdrawn, then they will be subject to additional fees. Bank of America says that they are "testing" the idea. We think Bank of America is "testing" customers, who will undoubtedly find the nearest credit union that doesn't have these ridiculous fees or constant drama.
Read more at Bloomberg.
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