Bank of America considering change to debit card fees

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Monday, October 31, 2011 at 11:46 am | More from The Florida Independent
CNN Money is reporting that Bank of America is reconsidering its controversial decision to impose $5 debit card fees. The national bank’s decision to levy a new fee was met with outrage from all over the country.

CNN Money reports:

Now, under proposals being considered by the bank, Bank of America would offer customers new ways to avoid having to pay the fee.

Currently, only customers with certain premium accounts would be exempt from the fee.

Under the new plan, customers would be able to exempt themselves by having their paychecks deposited directly with Bank of America, maintaining minimum balances or by using Bank of America credit cards.

Bank of America’s retrenchment comes the same day that JPMorgan Chase decided not to impose similar fees. Chase’s decision follows a test of the fee it began in two states in February.

Wells Fargo also announced late Friday that it is canceling the debit card fee tests it was planning to introduce in five states. Customers in Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington and Oregon will no longer see a $3 debit card fee that was scheduled for statements beginning on Nov. 15.

The subject of new debit card fees is just one of the issues that has protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement rallying all over the country — including in Florida.

GOPers in Florida have said that the new regulations from Dodd-Frank are solely to blame for the banks levying these new fees. Senate candidate Adam Hasner and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., have both taken up the new conservative meme claiming that banks were “forced to charge customers new fees due to the negative and costly requirements associated with the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, in particular the ‘Durbin Tax.’” Dodd-Frank legislation was a response to the country’s financial crisis that many economists say was partially caused by the lax regulation of financial institutions.

State Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, recently filed legislation that that would ban banks from charging fees on debit cards.

Clemens told The Florida Independent he considered the legislation since Bank of America first announced it would be charging fees on debit cards. He said that even though the legislation was not a direct result of the protests, he says his “outrage is similar to the Occupy Wall Street folks.”

“Now that we’ve bought into their promise of free, easy access to our own money,”  he said, “they want to charge us for it.”

Clemes also called claims that financial regulations are to blame for the fees “ridiculous.”

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