Score one for debit-card users. They complained loud enough when
banks started imposing fees on debit-card purchases that the banks
All five of the large banks that had started charging debit-card
fees (or had announced plans to do so) said that they were
eliminating them. Over the past several days, JPMorgan Chase, Wells
Fargo, Regions Financial Corp. and SunTrust have announced that
they wouldn't be charging debit users monthly fees. Bank of America
was the one holdout -- until today. It said it was backing off its
plans to introduce a $5 monthly debit-card fee in response to
"customer feedback and the changing competitive marketplace."
"It's a huge win for consumers," says Alex Matjanec, co-Founder
. The banks had imposed the fees in an attempt to compensate for
revenue lost as a result of a new regulation that limits the amount
they can charge merchants each time a customer swipes a debit card.
But consumer outrage over the new fees prompted the banks to drop
them, Matjanec says.
"You spoke. We listened," proclaims Regions Financial Corp. on
. The bank, which operates in 16 states in the South and Midwest,
said October 31 that it would stop charging the $4 monthly
debit-card fee for all accounts effective November 1 and will
refund fees already incurred. Refunds will be credited
automatically to accounts.
SunTrust also announced on October 31 that it was eliminating
its $5 monthly debit-card fee starting November 2 and refunding
customers who already incurred the fee. The move was made in
response to customer feedback, according to a press release from
the Atlanta-based bank that operates in the Southeast and
The two regional banks followed in the footsteps of the
country's biggest bank, JPMorgan Chase, which announced October 28
that it was dropping a $3 debit-card fee that it had been testing
in two states. That same day, Wells Fargo & Co. said it was
canceling its planned five-state pilot program of a $3 monthly fee
for debit users.
Given the recent events, Matjanec says he would be surprised to
see any other banks attempt to charge fees on debit-card purchases.
However, he says that consumers shouldn't think that their accounts
are fee-free now. Many financial institutions have introduced a
number of fees over the past year that are, in fact, much higher
than the short-lived debit-card fees and aren't going away. That's
why it's important for consumers to scrutinize their accounts and
look for better banking deals elsewhere if they've been hit with a
lot of fees, he says. Check out our list of
low-fee and no-fee accounts
. For help comparing your options if you want to switch financial
How to Find a Local Bank
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