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CHICAGO (CBS) – Giving in to public pressure, Bank of America said Tuesday that it was scrapping plans to charge a $5 monthly fee for using a debit card for purchases.
CBS 2′s Dorothy Tucker reports on the surprising flip-flop.
A big bank actually listened to its customers and that message was loud and clear – consumers did not want to pay $5 a month to use their debit cards.
People do it all day long – swipe their debit cards to buy groceries, clothes and other goods.
Bank of America wanted to charge for that privilege. That got lots of customers thinking about leaving, until Tuesday’s news.
One Bank of America debit card holder, Jordan Rummel said he feels as if this is a “David and Goliath” story.
“I’m happy they decided to revoke it,” he says, “I was ready to jump ship.”
“I am happy about that, because I was planning to leave Bank of America just because of those fees,” said Bank of America customer Wendy Peyton.
“I’m ecstatic, because we were going to pull cash otherwise,” customer Pat McGonagle said.
Sentiments like those got Bank of America to change its mind. In a statement Chief Operating Officer David Darnell said, “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.”
Perhaps surprisingly, at the Occupy Chicago gathering in the financial district there was qualified praise for the bank’s decision. Protestor Jim Rhysdahl said, “We should encourage them when they are doing positive things.”
Customer Cory Kull said he was “pretty surprised. I was not expecting them to kind of bow down to all the complaints.”
“I think them being forced to backtrack is bad for them, good for other banks,” Jim Sinegal, an analyst for Morningstar, said. “I think there’s been growing backlash over the last few years against the banks. This is kind of the height of the Occupy Wall Street movement and I think the debit card fee kind of encapsulated those feelings and was the last straw for a lot of customers.”
Don’t think you’re off the hook entirely when it comes to banks and fees. Bank of America raised its basic checking fee in the spring.
Chase and Citibank also added or raised some checking account fees recently.
The bottom line for consumers is to shop around for banks and small banks and credit unions might offer the best deals.