Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) announced Tuesday it will scrap plans to charge a $5 monthly fee to use its debit cards.
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The fee, which was announced in September would have been implemented in January, and sparked massive customer outrage.
“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee. 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,” said David Darnell, co-chief operating officer of Bank of America, in a statement.
Adam Levin, founder of Credit.com, says Bank of America’s reversal marks an important victory for consumers.
“Banks will always be looking for fees anywhere they can get them," he says. "For them, it’s all about the revenue. They are in business to make money, but our responsibility as consumers is to figure out every way we can save money. In this case, the consumers won a small victory in their quest to save.”.
Levin said that while a certain amount of negative feedback is expected over new or increased fees, Bank of America wasn’t ready for the amount of consumer outrage they faced, which included online protests against the bank signed by more than a million people, and a designated “switch your bank day,” scheduled for Nov. 5.
“There is no question they made a colossal miscalculation and it’s hurt them every possible way they can be hurt. But who knows if they will learn. They have created such ire, but they have also seen that if they tell the consumers, ‘This is what we did, now you have to live with it,’ sometimes people refuse to live with it."
Bank of America has joined other banking institutions including Atlanta-based Sun Trust Bank (NYSE: STI) Regions Bank and Wells Fargo in abolishing monthly debit card usage fees proposed earlier this year.
In a release from SunTrust, the bank said that its decision was spurred by consumer feedback.
"We believe banking is a relationship business and recognize the importance of responding to client preferences," said Brad Dinsmore, consumer banking executive at SunTrust, in a company release. "We've listened to our clients' feedback and will provide the convenience and security of check cards at no additional charge as part of all of our checking accounts."