Bank Of America To Add $5 Monthly Debit Card Fee


CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 29 (UPI) — Bank of America said it will impose a $5-per-month fee on most of its debit card accounts in a policy that would begin in early 2012.

The fee is an effort to recoup revenue lost with new bank rules that take effect in October that limit fees banks can charge retailers when customers use debit cards to make retail purchases — a charge known as a swipe fee, the Detroit Free Press reported Thursday.

The bank said it would alert customers of the change with at least 30 days’ notice. Bank spokeswoman Betty Reiss said some premium accounts and accounts connected to Merrill Lynch, which BofA purchased in January 2009, would not be affected by the new charge.

The charge also will not apply to debit cards used for cash withdrawals at automatic teller machines, the newspaper said.

The National Retail Federation — a trade group that represents retailers in the United States and elsewhere — criticized BofA for instituting the new fee.

“Every time Congress takes a step to protect consumers, the banks use it as an excuse to raise fees,” Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said in a statement. “We’ve seen it when Congress limited late fees and overdraft fees and now we’re seeing it with swipe fees. Just as merchants and consumers are about to get some relief, they’re doing it again.”

Duncan said the new fee “speaks more to the nature of the card industry than to whether swipe fee reform should have been passed.”

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.