Bank of America Corp. yesterday released a statement saying that it has decided not to move forward with its proposed $5 monthly debit card fee. As reported in the Boston Globe, customers had petitioned the bank, and mobilized to close their accounts, to avoid the fee. Bank of America’s decision followed similar moves by other large banks, including JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co.
Bank of America’s decision should come as no surprise to Boston.com readers. Among those individuals who completed the survey from my blog post yesterday, more than 82 percent said that they would consider switching banks if their institution started charging monthly debit card fees. Among those surveyed, more than 70 percent said they use debit cards regularly for making purchases.
“Banks have been making more and more money on fees as opposed to their traditional sources of revenues,” one reader noted in their response. “This has been made much worse with the housing crisis and the current low interest rates.”
A little more than half the respondents currently banked at a large institution, and said their decision to do so was mainly because of the convenience of branches and ATMs nationally and internationally, as well as access to online banking services. About 23 percent of respondents said they used a regional bank, citing the customer service and personalized attention and the convenience of local branches and ATMs. A few respondents said they wanted to support local business by using a regional bank, or avoid fees.
Those who said they are credit union customers cited more favorable rates for personal banking and other services as the main reason for choosing that form of banking. They also said, “Trust in the institution” and the convenience of local branch and ATMs influenced their decision.
A few respondents noted that they use a combination of national and regional banks for different banking needs.
As to the question, “What might persuade you to stay with your bank even if a debit card fee is implemented?” – About 43 percent said only if their need for national, or international, ATM and other access could be achieved through a larger bank would they stay. 39 percent said they would also consider staying if their need for other banking or brokerage services outweighed the cost of the fee.
However, several inserted additional comments to this question, saying:
“Nothing would persuade me to pay money to spend my own money.”
“Straight up, I will switch. I will not pay to access my own money. Period.”
Thanks to everyone who shared their views in the survey!
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