Bank of America Drops $5 Debit Card Fee Amid Public Outcry. Public Responds, “We’re Still Pissed.”

by Shawanda Greene

Red and blue fists - Go to hell, Bank of America!Wow. This is getting embarrassing.

Looks like I have another confession.

This hasn’t happened to me since grade school, so I’m a bit at a loss for words on how to say it.

I’ll just blurt it out.

I was wrong. *winces in pain*

In As Far I’m Concerned, Bank of America Can Go Straight to Hell, I warned:

Unfortunately, now that Bank of America has made the asinine move to charge their customers for debit card use, other idiots will surely follow.

Well, the “other idiots” didn’t follow. Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase considered going the Bank of America route, but were ultimately like, “Nah, man. That’s all right.” SunTrust and Regions announced they were dropping their debit card usage fees. Days later, Bank of America got in line with their competitors.

After hearing this news, I felt a shared sense of victory. The people had made their outrage known, and the evil megabank was handily defeated.

But, true to form, I got to thinking. (I can’t help it. It’s just how I am.)

Have you ever watched a movie scene where a good guy is fighting a bad guy?

The story always plays out exactly the same.

The good guy bashes the bad guy over the head and knocks him out. Or so he thinks. As soon as the good guy turns his back, the bad guy rises like a stealth, predator drone, and bludgeouns the good guy to death.

In case my analogy is unclear, Bank of America is the bad guy here, kids.

To defeat a bad guy, you gotta knock him out, pull your 9mm from your waist band, and blow his brains out.

Don’t let that pretty, empty, little skull of yours think for a nanosecond that Stank of America won’t find another way to shake you down for an extra $60 a year. (They can’t help it. It’s just how they are.)

Sadly, the only thing learned from this ordeal is fees should be less transparent.

Just when you thought savings account interest rates couldn’t get any lower, they’ll drop a little bit more. The interest rate on revolving lines of credit will begin to creep up. Bank of America and their cohorts may not do it right away, but believe me, it’s comin’. Which is why they still can go straight to hell.

Resist complacency.

Get out now.

Seek refuge in a more trustworthy financial institution such as ING Direct, Charles Schwab, a community bank or a credit union.

Did Bank of America’s decision to abandon the monthly debit card fee change your mind about their evilness?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

granitestate November 5, 2011 at 7:07 AM

Isn't this what every business tries to do? Make money. They are not charging for nothing. Its service is valuable. I guarantee that it will likely lose its customers from bad service than charging for a pretty good service.


Shawanda November 8, 2011 at 5:24 AM

Bank of America's objective is to increase its bottom line. We have a lot in common that way because it is also my objective to increase my bottom line. One legitimate way to do that is to decrease my expenses. Bank of America decided they'd do the same by laying off tens of thousands of employees. Where I can get equal or superior service for a lower price, I'm taking it. That's why I have a checking account with Charles Schwab.


Amanda L Grossman November 7, 2011 at 2:16 PM

I love ING Direct! That is who we have our savings account with since 2005.


Shawanda November 8, 2011 at 5:26 AM

I've NEVER had a problem with ING Direct. However, I recently discovered they were acquired by Capital One. I'm hoping this doesn't result in them losing their awesomeness.


20sfinances November 7, 2011 at 3:53 PM

I agree that it is a powerful story for consumers! Take that huge giants. I can't stand it when they think they can change things up like that. :)


Shawanda November 8, 2011 at 5:28 AM

It's the most powerful weapon consumers have: freedom to take their business elsewhere.


Mandi November 7, 2011 at 4:52 PM

Even though Bank of America will not be charging that $5/mo. I am still switching my checking account to the local credit union!

Great post!


Shawanda November 8, 2011 at 5:31 AM

Thanks! Bank of America has been pulling these types of shenanigans for many years. If they've proven one thing over the years, it's that they can't be trusted.


My University Money November 7, 2011 at 9:13 PM

I find it interesting how upset people get about a user fee, but if you take it on in hidden places no one has the time to notice. I totally agree that BOA will find a way to get that money somewhere. They have to start paying back their shareholders in the forms of dividends sooner rather than later, and nothing will stop them. The sooner they pump out dividends, the faster their stock goes up, and the major players at the top see a HUGE jump in overall wealth due to all their stock options. Anyone want to bet against that motivation?


Shawanda November 8, 2011 at 5:38 AM

You're absolutely right. People should be even more outraged about hidden fees. The debit card fee seemed particularly egregious because it wasn't targeted. You can avoid a lot fees, even at mega banks, by simply behaving. Don't want to get charged an overdraft fee? Don't overdraw your account. To me, the debit card fee was the equivalent of telling all of your customers to suck it.


Evan November 8, 2011 at 12:03 AM

Their only reason to exist is to turn a profit…that's it. If their investments aren't doing it fees may help. As you mentioned in the previous post you didn't like it so you left, but if the new bank needs a new revenue stream what do you think is going to happen.

It isn't like free checking was always the case? I don't think it even existed prior to 2000ish

I think the REAL entity to be pissed at is THE GOVERNMENT if they never enacted that section of Dodd-Frank which messed with their debit card income they may have never enacted this fee. I know that is a big *may*


Shawanda November 8, 2011 at 5:53 AM

I wouldn't unfairly begrudge anyone a profit. Businesses and people should be able to make as much money as their customers are willing to pay them. Like Bank of America, I'm not in the business of looking out for anyone's interest other than my own (and my readers, of course). :)

Although the government should've kept their incompetent nose out of it, Bank of America has been nickling and diming their customers for years.

Maybe it's my age, but I've never paid for checking. I opened my first account with Washington Mutual back in 2000. When they were bought by JPMorgan Chase, I immediately opened a checking account with Charles Schwab. I knew it wouldn't be long before JPMorgan Chase cooked up a fee I'd never paid before. Needless to say, they didn't disappoint. So, I closed my account.

There's enough anger to go around. I fully support anyone who wants to be mad at the government. But being mad at the government, in and of itself, won't stop banks from feeing you to death.


@thefrugaltoad November 8, 2011 at 1:10 AM

BofA did not handle the debit card fee issue very well. Nice to see consumers win one for a change!


Shawanda November 8, 2011 at 5:56 AM

Those who closed their account won. The remainders will pay hidden fees to make up for the loss in revenue.


Pamela November 8, 2011 at 8:24 AM

I am so glad that I switched to the credit union associated with my job eight years ago. Although I ended up changing jobs, I stayed with the CU, and I think it's really saved me a lot of money.


Shawanda November 11, 2011 at 6:53 AM

That's a good idea. I used my credit union to get an auto loan. The rate was so much better than the one offered by the dealership. Plus, it felt really empowering to have my financing lined up before I got to the dealership.


1step November 10, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Banks will always figure out a way to make money, take one avenue out, they'll figure out another way. That's the way it works in a shareholder, profits driven company.
The choice we make, whether to bank with them or not, shows what we're trying to support. Much like casting a vote for president.. Sort of :)
While I am still with BofA.. mainly because I'm too lazy to switch all the debit transfer forms from my work and other income streams, I am considering alternatives.


Shawanda November 11, 2011 at 6:58 AM

Yeah they will. Although I rail against and hate Bank of America, I have a credit card with them. I was devastated when they bought MBNA America (my original credit card company). I'd cancel the card, but it's my oldest credit account. I've heard people say that doesn't matter, but I'm skeptical. I canceled a Citi card with a relatively low credit limit a while back, and my credit score dropped. I'll just hold my nose for now.


@Finances With Funk March 5, 2012 at 2:09 PM

Nope I still hate them just as much as I always have. I will continue to do my regular monthly banking at our LOCAL bank. Although I do have other accounts at big name evil giants. I use them solely for their sexy interest rates and refuse to utilize any part of them that actually makes them tremendous amounts of money.

They are actually one of the main motivators for wanting to get my mortgage paid off so quickly since B of A bought my original mortgage and I can't stand paying them every month. Good thing I'm not opinionated or anything. Ha!


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