Bank of America to charge monthly debit card fee

Charlotte ObserverSeptember 29, 2011 

Bank of America Corp. plans to charge customers a $5 monthly fee for making debit-card purchases, the bank said today.

The fee, which will be implemented early next year, applies to customers who use their debit cards to make purchases in a given month. It doesn't apply to customers with certain premium accounts, those who don't buy anything with their cards or those who only use the cards to make ATM transactions.

Charlotte-based Bank of America is the latest big bank to roll out the fees in response to new caps on the fees merchants pay when a customer uses a debit card at their stores.

"The economics of offering a debit card have changed with recent regulations," bank spokeswoman Anne Pace said.

She said the new fee allows Bank of America to continue to offer debit cards with the features customers have come to expect, from fraud protection to overdraft prevention to savings programs.

Customers who don't want to pay the fee can continue to withdraw cash from ATMs and pay bills online, for instance, and there is no monthly fee for those who don't buy anything with their debit card during that month. Customers in certain premium accounts, such as the Platinum Privileges program, will still be able to make debit-card purchases for free, Pace said.

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