Bank of America Won’t Charge Debit Card Fee

Bank of America
Bank of America (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Anger directed at big banks was heard loud and clear.

Bank of America said on Tuesday that it has changed its mind when it comes to debit card fees, and will abandon its plan of charging the $5 fee before it even started.

“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,” David Darnell, co-chief operating officer, said in a statement. “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.”

After announcing the fee in September, big banks like Bank of America and J.P. Morgan Chase were walloped with a wave of public anger, prompting customers to move their money from big banks to local credit unions.

Over 70,000 people have RSVP’d on Facebook for Bank Transfer Day, which is still slated to take place on Nov. 5.

The backlash prompted J.P. Morgan Chase to abandon the plan last week. The bank was planning on charging customers a $3 fee for using their debit cards but decided against it. The bank was testing the fees in a pilot program in Wisconsin and Georgia.

Wells Fargo, SunTrust and Regions Financial have also canceled their plans.

Banks said at the time that fees were essential to compensate for revenue lost because of new regulations that limit how much banks can collect from retailers who allow debit card transactions.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has also pushed the issue into the forefront, with many protesters holding up signs, ridiculing big banks for thinking about charging fees.

Three Long Island credit unions are also going in on the Bank Transfer Day movement, creating a website called Better Banking for Long Island, where they are promoting local credit unions with slogans like “Take a stand.”

“Take part in ‘Bank Transfer Day’ on Saturday, November 5 when thousands of Americans will transfer their bank accounts to credit unions,” a message on the site reads.