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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bank of America Corp. will eliminate its $5 monthly debit card usage fee, following many of its competitors.
Bank of America was the first to impose a debit card fee following the passage of Sen. Richard Durbin's (D-Ill.) swipe fee reform bill, which significantly trimmed the maximum amount a bank can charge for debit card transactions.
The move, widely championed by convenience store owners and NACS, was not welcomed by banks due to revenues the financial institutions would lose. Therefore, many of them decided to impose a debit card fee or test the possibility of such fees by implementing state or regional programs.
However, the addition of debit card usage fees was met with consumer fury and forced many banks to back off of the plan. Wells Fargo & Co. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. were the most recent to eliminate debit card fees before today's Bank of America announcement.
Bank of America said it made the move due to customer feedback and "the changing competitive marketplace."
"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, Bank of America's co-chief operating officer, said in a company issued news release. "Our customers' voices are more important to us. As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plan to do so."
The Arlington, Va.-based Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) subsequently issued a statement applauding Bank of America's move. "Today's news is proof-positive that consumers remain swipe fee reforms' biggest winners," said Katherine Lugar, RILA's executive vice president of public affairs. "Bank of America and its big bank peers are no longer free to fleece merchants and consumers at will. This outcome is just what consumers deserve, what reform advocates predicted and what we will fight to extend to the credit card market."