Customers relieved bank won't charge debit card fee

November 2, 2011 4:35:49 AM PDT
Bank of America's about-face on a $5 monthly fee for debit card purchases is a rare victory for consumers.

The nation's second largest bank announced Tuesday it reversed course after listening to customers. Anthony Luna has been a Bank of America customer for a few years but the $5 monthly fee the bank was about to charge for debit card use had him ready to bolt.

"I think I'm dealing with inflation enough that I don't like additional fees," Luna said. Another customer, Allen Davis, saw the fee as outrageous.

"You're gonna charge me five dollars when I got money in your bank," he said. "It's ridiculous."

That's what Molly Katchpole thought when Bank of America first announced plans for the the $5 fee last month.

She started an online petition drive demanding the bank repeal the fee. She tapped into a hot issue for many people, quickly gathering more than 300,000 signatures.

"I just happened to be the person who started the petition, but if it wasn't for the 306,000 people who signed it, it wouldn't be anywhere," Katchpole said.

The outcry caught the attention of politicians from congress to the white house.

Executives from other big banks, including Chase, also have decided against charging the debit card fee. Bank of America issued a statement saying, "Our customers' voices are most important to us. As a result we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additonal plans to do so."

Many bank customers Tuesday it's a rare win for consumers. "I think they're finally listening to the people," Chase customer Rachel White said. "I think it's fair."

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