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Debit card users may switch banks over new fees: poll

October 19, 2011 |  2:17 pm

DEBITBanks charging debit card users a monthly fee could lose 30% of those customers, according to a new report.

Bank of America Corp.’s monthly $5 debit card fee and Wells Fargo & Co.’s $3 monthly charge have consumers riled up. Three in 10 are threatening to leave their bank if similar policies are imposed, according to a poll from research firm The Research Intelligence Group.

The rate of departure is even higher among young people, West Coast residents and members of households with six-figure incomes, according to responses from 1,000 adults in early October.

The debit card fees have 43% of Americans contemplating a switch to a new payment method – 28% said they may start shelling out cash while 15% will rely more on credit cards.

Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, urged banks this week to withdraw their plans to charge debit card fees, arguing in a letter that the policy “appears to be arbitrary and designed to generate income to make up for … bad business decisions.”

“This debit card fee just adds insult to injury,” said Norma Garcia, director of the organization’s financial services program. “If Bank of America and other banks refuse to drop the debit card fee, consumers should consider dropping them.”

RELATED:

ATM operators sue Visa, MasterCard over debit card fees

Bank of America to charge $5 monthly fee for debit card purchases

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

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