Bank of America drops $5 debit card fee plan

Reuters

By Rick Rothacker

The second-biggest U.S. bank becomes the last big bank to backtrack from plans to charge customers a monthly fee for using their debit cards.

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JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Co last week decided to cancel test programs, while SunTrust Banks Inc and Regions Financial Corp said on Monday they would end monthly charges and reimburse customers.

Bank of America had planned to start charging customers next year. Banks began crafting the monthly charges to make up revenue lost to a law that slashes the fees they charge retailers when consumers swipe their cards. The fees sparked a firestorm of criticism from consumers and politicians, and many smaller banks and credit unions shunned the practice.

Bank of America began softening its stance on the fee last week. The Charlotte, North Carolina, bank planned to give customers more ways to avoid the charge, such as maintaining minimum balances, having a paycheck direct-deposited or using their Bank of America credit card.

(Reporting by Rick Rothacker in Charlotte, North Carolina; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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