Backlash for Bank of America over debit card fees

Backlash for Bank of America over debit card fees

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by Joe Smith

KTVB.COM

Posted on October 4, 2011 at 10:38 AM

PORTLAND - It didn't take long for Bank of America officials to get an earful about its plan to charge to use its debit card.

Fed up with being nickel-ed and dime-d with fees, customers are voting by taking their dollars elsewhere.

Wells Fargo, Chase and now Bank of America are all planning debit card fees. Bank of America, the highest, $5 a month, $60 a year, for purchases or reoccurring payments.  But, no charge to use the ATM.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois led the push to limit banks on how much they can charge retailers for swipe fees in the Dodd-Frank financial oversight law.

But that didn't stop banks from turning to another stream of revenue.

"If you think the debit card fee that Bank of America is going to impose is unreasonable, go shopping. Find yourself another place that's going to treat you a lot better, " said Durbin.

It's already started at some area banks and credit unions. At Unitus Community Credit Union, traffic at its downtown Portland branch has increased. The credit union is encouraging members to use their debit cards.

"It's actually less expensive for us. We want to make sure that that service is continued," said Laurie Kresl, Vice President of Planning and Business Development. 

At Key Bank, Brian Rice, President of Oregon and Southwest Washington operations said the bank is ready for other bank customers to make the switch. Rice said the bank has no intentions to charge for its debit card.

"We don't believe clients want to see all of those charges, so we're going to reward them for doing business with us," said Rice.

Both Key Bank and Unitus give rewards points for doing business with them, for products, travel and more.

Meanwhile, money talks and the backlash against Bank of America continues. Its website continues to have problems as angry customers flood the site.

As a gotcha, other customers have started writing more checks. This cost the bank even more to process. 

Another way to avoid the debit card fees -- just use if for ATM withdrawals. Use a credit card for other purchases, then go on line and pay it off right way to avoid any fees.

The debit card fees will begin sometime next year. 

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