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Bank of America to Begin Charging $5 Monthly Fee for Debit Card Usage

Davis Turner, Getty Images

In light of new regulations limiting what financial institutions can charge merchants when buyers swipe their debit cards, Bank of America — the nation’s largest bank — will soon impose a $5 monthly fee on customers who use their debit cards to pay for such transactions.

Anne Pace, a Bank of America spokeswoman, said the fee will only be charged when customers use their cards during merchant transactions, not when they’re used at ATMs to withdraw cash.

The move is seen by some as an effort to shift consumer behavior back toward using credit cards, which have fallen out of favor since the recession hit. Bart Narter, a banking analyst with consulting firm Celent, said an increasing reliance on credit cards “would be particularly beneficial for big institutions like Bank of America, which have large credit card portfolios.”

Other big banks, such as SunTrust, Regions Financial, Chase and Wells Fargo have either already imposed debit card fees or are planning to do so, causing some customers to consider taking their business elsewhere.

Josh Wood, a 32-year-old financial adviser in Amarillo, Texas, said he’s thinking of switching to a more consumer-friendly credit union.

And if the fees become ubiquitous?

“I might use all cash. Or go back to writing checks,” he said.

[CBS News]

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