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Bank of America Scraps Plans For $5 Debit Card Fee

By Candice Choi, AP Personal Finance Writer
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Bank of America announced in September they would charge $5 a month to use your debit card for purchases.

Bank of America announced in September they would charge $5 a month to use your debit card for purchases.

WBZ-TV's Kate Merrill Kate Merrill
Kate Merrill is an Emmy award winning journalist for WBZ-TV News. She...
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NEW YORK (AP) — Bank of America is nixing its plans to charge a $5 debit card fee.

The bank said Tuesday that the decision to scrap the plan came after listening to customer feedback in recent weeks.

The news comes after other major banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., said last week that they were canceling tests of similar debit card fees.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill reports

Anne Pace, a spokeswoman for Bank of America, declined to say whether Bank of America’s announcement of the new debit card fee had led to a spike in account closures.

She said the decision to scrap the fee was based partly on a “changing competitive marketplace.”

The about-face by the banking industry comes amid growing public anger over higher bank fees.

A movement to get customers to close their bank accounts and switch to credit unions had marked this Saturday as “Bank Transfer Day.”

The movement was started earlier this month by a Bank of America customer who said she was fed up with fees.

Unlike Chase and Wells Fargo, Bank of America had announced in September that it would roll out the debit card fee without first testing it in the marketplace.

The bank had made the decision to roll out the fee based on internal surveys of customers, Pace said.

“Over the past couple of weeks, customer sentiment changed,” she said.

Bank of America still plans to roll out a new menu of checking accounts with fees ranging from $6 a month to $25 a month sometime next year.

The options are being tested in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts.

Pace said the pilot program is seeing “good results.”

In a statement Tuesday, Bank of America’s co-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.”

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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