Is Your Bank Going To Start Charging You A Fee For Making Debit Card Purchases Like Bank Of America?
Late last week, Bank of America announced that beginning in 2012, they will start charging their customers a $5 fee every month if they use a debit card to make purchases with the money they have in their checking account. This fee will, of course, be tacked on top of all of the other fees that Bank of America charges their customers. As a result, people will have to pay more money just for the purpose of having a checking account. And understandably, that isn’t sitting too well with Bank of America customers.
I’ve seen most Bank of America customers say the same thing on my Facebook feed and Twitter timeline. “That’s it, I’ve had enough of Bank of America” seems to be the general consensus. But, is leaving really a solution? If Bank of America—one of the biggest banks in the country—is going to start charging customers for using their debit cards, aren’t other banks going to follow suit soon and charge their customers, too?
The sad truth is that many of them are. “It’s become a more profitable business, at least in relation to debit cards,” banking analyst Bart Narter told the Associated Press last week.
So, what are your options? Well, you could always go back to using good old cash to make purchases. Businesses would probably prefer that because they wouldn’t have to pay banks a fee to collect your money using your credit or debit card. Or, you could rely on checks for making purchases, though you’d be limited in your ability to do so since many restaurants and some stores don’t accept checks from customers. Or, you could just suck it up and pay a small fee for the right to use your own money.
Regardless of how you choose to pay, though, one thing seems to be clear: Other banks are going to follow in Bank of America’s footsteps and start charging their customers to use debit. For now, it’s only Bank of America and a handful of other smaller banks. But as banks begin to try and find more ways to make money—and the federal government places restrictions on how much they can charge businesses to process credit and debit transactions—other banks are going to get involved, too, and find ways to make their money.
So Bank of America customers might be the ones who are mad as hell right now. But something tells me they aren’t going to be alone for long. Soon, we’ll all be mad. And with good reason.