More bad news for bank customers: Debit card fees

SHARE More bad news for bank customers: Debit card fees
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Exterior sign of a Bank of America facility at 105 W. Madison St., photographed on Thursday, September 29, 2011 in Chicago. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

NEW YORK – Will a monthly debit card fee soon be the norm?

Bank of America said Thursday that it plans to start charging a $5 monthly fee when customers make debit card purchases. The fee will be rolled out starting early next year.

Paying to use a debit card was unheard of before this year and is still a novel concept for many consumers. But several banks have recently introduced or started testing debit card fees. That’s in addition to the spate of other unwelcome changes checking account customers have seen in the past year.

Bank of America’s announcement carries added weight because it is the largest U.S. bank by deposits.

The fee will apply to basic accounts, which are marketed toward those with modest balances, and will be in addition to any existing monthly service fees. For example, one such account charges a $12 monthly fee unless customers meet certain conditions, such as maintaining a minimum average balance of $1,500.

Customers will only be charged the fee if they use their debit cards for purchases in any given month, said Anne Pace, a Bank of America spokeswoman. Those who only use their cards at ATMs won’t have to pay. AP

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