BOSTON (CBS) – Some large banks have been experimenting with charging fees for debit accounts, but now, Bank of America announced pans to start charging all of their customers $5 a month for using their debit card.

While the bank explains that customers will only be charged the fee if they use their debit cards for purchases in any given month, consumer advocates are crying foul.

The fees will be rolled out starting early next year, but customers are already reacting to the news.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano reports

Without a lot of cash for purchases, Victor Castro always whips out his debit card. “Regularly, daily, multiple times,” he said.

He believes Bank of America is already getting enough of his money. “We have credit cards with Bank of America,” he says. “They already get interest from us, other fees, and now just adding it on, when does it stop?”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Anthony Silva reports

Other customers say they’ll consider leaving the bank. “I can use the ATM without having to pay a fee. Now they’ll start charging me fees, it defeats the purpose of why I signed up with them in the first place,” said Joanna Kalogerocoulos.

Customers won’t be charged if they only use their card at the ATM, but once a debit purchase has been made, the five dollar fee will be triggered. It will apply to basic accounts and will be in addition to any monthly fees customers are already being charged.

“That would be sixty dollars a year to use my own money. I don’t like that,” said Romana West.

A fee for using debit cards is still a novel concept for many consumers and was unheard of before this year.

But there are signs it could soon become an industry norm. SunTrust, a regional bank based in Atlanta, began charging a five dollar debit card fee on its basic checking accounts this summer. Chase and Wells Fargo are also testing a three dollar monthly debit card fee in select markets.

The move may be motivated by a new regulation that kicks in October 1. It will cap the fees banks can collect from merchants whenever customers swipe their debit cards. Currently the bank can make about forty-four cents a purchase. That will be capped at twenty-four cents.

But if it’s the bank strapped for cash, customers say don’t look to them. “I’m pretty unhappy about it. Never thought of leaving Bank of America before now,” said Romana West.

WBZ-TV’s Beth Germano contributed to this report.

Comments (36)
  1. Susan says:

    My daughter’s piggy bank has a higher net worth than this Zombie institution. I wouldn’t keep one cent in Merrill Lynch or BOA.

    Why aren’t any of the LIARS who ruined this company in PRISON where they belong?

  2. Lsmith says:

    The answer is simple. Use your credit card.

    1. Michael E. Harvey says:

      The answer is simpler, change banks.

  3. Ron says:

    They have my money to use and their going to change me a fee for that. I don’t think so.

  4. donny says:

    How about a fee for just being a customer?… Better yet, a fee every time we say Bank of America in conversation?…

  5. Karen Griffin says:

    Just leave the bank that is adding the fees. We do not have to give these banks our business. We are not victims. This is the market place and go to the institutuion that offers the best customer service. We have to get back to a consumer directed market place and not a business directed market place. We actually if all else fails could use cash, no fees.

  6. Justin says:

    Hurts them more than me, ironically. Tomorrow I close my account. Anyone else?

    1. donny says:

      I’m with you,Tony. Tomorrow it is.

      1. donny says:

        Tony?,… Make that Justin.

  7. Patti Hutchins says:

    I’ve been with BOA for over 10 years. I close my account tomorrow.

  8. Dan soon to be ex BOA says:

    Better change banks fast before they start charging a fee to close out your account.

  9. timma says:

    closing my account and sent customer service a big F U

  10. tsal says:

    I am also looking into changing banks, however, I know that every bank will be forced to begin charging fees so am I jumping from the pot into the fire?

    1. Ashley says:

      not a healthy community bank.. do some research in your area.. i promise you you’ll find a decent one.

      1. tsal says:

        EVERY bank is coping with the same problem of new regulation, reduced fee income, etc. Big banks right now are being hit harder but all small to medium banks are working to keep their heads above water. Some have been able to avoid fees to date – it won’t continue. Many are looking to merge or be acquired. The number of small banks and credit unions will diminish – that is the one certainty.

  11. Paul says:

    The Goverment should step in and require the “NEW FEES” to be charged to “NEW CUSTOMERS” only. This is NOT what we signed up for. The Banks know that it is a hassle to change banks, new checks, CCs, change automatic deposits and withdrawls…etc. How about if WE change the rules….can we tell the banks that THEY have to pay US $100.00 a month for using OUR money/ That seems fair to me…it should seem “fair” to the banks….right?

    1. tsal says:

      good idea Paul except that is pretty much what the regs have done – they can’t charge the high fees they were. And guess who the cost of the money they are losing gets passed to?

  12. Ashley says:

    PLEASE! take your money and invest in your local community bank!!! so sickening to watch this big company monopolize the market.. you have options!!! manifest destiny!!

    1. tsal says:

      I agree with you. Your small community bank will end up charging fees in one way or another; however, I feel it is our obligation to support them and not the big guys.

  13. Mims Athome says:

    Use a credit union. Even the local community banks are charging fees. Credit unions are the best way to go.

    1. tsal says:

      They are charging fees or considering it also and if they end up having to pay the taxes the banks pay – because they should since they are now operating as banks do – they will be hit doubly hard —- reg increases and tax increases. Not saying not to support them because I like the credit union philosophy but it’s not different from a small to medium community bank.

  14. emom says:

    BOA has made so many changes over tha last few years, wheres their banks all I see are ATM buildings, and lets say they are some big ATM buildings Is there a need for a builkding the size of a bank for a few ATM’s.. no human interactions, even when it comes to their credit cards, .. PRESS 1 FOR …… PRESS 3 FOR ENGLISH, PRESS 5 FOR HUMAN CONTACT……. then that music are you kidding ,, then you get promts and more press buttons.. really some way to do banking,,,,, useless bank if you ask me.. stick with a credit union.

    1. Michael E. Harvey says:

      BoA also charges you for an account where you can speak to an actual person. You can’t even use an actual teller without paying this monthly fee. I’ve already switched to Ally Bank

  15. Michael E. Harvey says:

    Typical banking practice. Get told you have a cap on one of your fees, make up a new fee.

    1. tsal says:

      Michael – it’s not just banking – it’s the American way. Everything in every industry is passed to the consumer. And I don’t nor and never have paid any fees for my BofA account – yet. Not sure if that will change but if it does, I leave.

      As much as I know it’s important to support smaller banks, the bigger ones offer safety that smaller ones don’t. Their online banking is robust. The safety is as good as it gets. I have to go through hoops to add a payee to my online banking with BofA. If there is a fraudulent charge, they catch it immediately and rectify it.

      1. Michael E. Harvey says:

        So robust I can’t make a transfer right now. Yup, that’s pretty solid.

      2. tsal says:

        If you have BofA you know they are robust and offer many safety nets smaller banks do not as well as features smaller banks do not. It was kind of entertaining that their Web site had a lot of trouble yesterday. Hope they got the message but doubt it.

      3. tsal says:

        and apparently are continuing to have problems today –

  16. response says:

    I left BOfa when my ending balance on one statement didn’t match my beginning balance on my next months statement and no one could explain it to me or tell me why. When trying to fix it, they closed the account. My checks that were clearing were sent back due to the fact they said they were drawn on a closed account. I explained to them, I never closed the account, they did. They told me it was a computer glitch and they would correct it. It took me months to get everything taken care of. I couldn’t pull my money out of their fast enough.
    I went to my local credit union and have never had a problem since.

  17. emom says:

    BOA IS GOING TO BE BBOA, BROKE bANK OFAmerica.. Hope someone puts a stop with them… I never banked with THANK GOD, But had to deal with them and it was push one button after another and their employees well trained monkeys ,, puppets,,, robots,, they know absolutly nothing,, they can not answer your questions, you have to go thru 5 people before you get someone that is in another office in another state ….. OH WAIT ANOTHER COUNTRY….. INDIA are you freaking kidding me… any bank that allows this kind of service should be shut down. I feel bad for those that do business with them and tried to get service…. ITS IMPOSSIBLE.

  18. keeptito says:

    On one street alone, a few miles from my house, there are at least 6 differnt banks and 2 more around the corner. The answer is simple: Change banks. That is what I am going to do.

    1. casper says:

      not so simple when you have many online payment accounts, auto transfers and autopayments, etc.

  19. jneuy says:

    whats the problem here? dont like the fee , dont bank there. Its a company. Nobody forces you to bank there

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