The Washington Post

Bank of America to charge $5 monthly fee for debit cards; some customers say they will boycott

Some customers are so angry about the news that Bank of America plans to start charging customers a $5 monthly debit card fee they say they will boycott the struggling bank.

A customer uses a Bank of America ATM. Keep doing that, and he’ll be just fine. (Chuck Burton/AP)

But financial blog Zero Hedge, which has long believed big banks should be eliminated, says that’s not good enough. Leading the charge on the boycott, Zero Hedge wrote Thursday: “We urge any and all of our five million monthly readers to pull any funds they may have from Bank of America in retaliation for this insanity.”

The only problem? It’s likely other banks may soon hop on the debit card charge bandwagon.

Chase and Wells Fargo have already been testing $3 monthly debit card fees in select markets. Neither bank has indicated whether they have decided to make the charge permanent, but as Zero Hedge points out “from a game theory perspective, everyone has to do it, or nobody will do it.”

Customers have already been seeing higher banking fees and fewer rewards over the past year as new federal rules limit bank’s traditional revenue sources.

Attentive Bank of America customers may also have noticed that the bank had already introduced new checking accounts earlier this year in which users pay fees unless they use credit cards, keep minimum balances, make regular deposits, or use online services.

Chris Hayes of MSNBC wrote to the proposed boycotters Thursday: “Isn't BoA charging for debit charges sort of a good thing? Transparent user fees are better than usurious hidden fees.”

Joe Weisenthal at Business Insider echoed Hayes’ sentiment.

“NO. BOYCOTT BANK OF AMERICA,” a Twitter user staunchly wrote back.

Anti-banker sentiment has been a subject of focus in recent weeks as hundreds of people have gathered on Wall Street to protest economic damage they say bankers caused, income inequality and the lack of financial regulation.

The charges are due to go in effect starting early next year.


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