Wednesday, November 02, 2011

And Sometimes It Works

Bank of America Corp. has dropped its plan to charge customers $5 a month for making purchases with their debit cards, responding to a customer backlash after the fee was announced in September.


Banks, also hit hard by a soft economy, have turned to customers to make up those fees. They have been adding fees on services, charging, for instance, for many checking accounts that used to be free.

But none of those moves appears to have generated the intense response of the debit-card charge. "Consumers have clearly said this is a no-go," said Patricia Hewitt, who specializes in debit cards at Mercator Advisory Group Inc. in Maynard, Mass.


I’m sure they’ll come up with another way to sneak the charge in. Or maybe just up the charges they’ve already passed through.

The move is the highest-profile retreat on the issue, following decisions last week by Wells Fargo & Co. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. to drop customer tests of the new fees. SunTrust Banks Inc. and Regions Financial Corp. also said Monday that they will stop charging customers for debit-card transactions.

”Tests.” I’m kind of surprised they thought testing it out at this particular time would provide them anything but a backlash. Apparently they are either just that clueless or just that callous. Or both. The greed is breathtaking.

Bank of America decided against the fees because of negative customer feedback on the plan and the moves by rivals, which left the Charlotte, N.C., lender as the only big bank planning to levy the fee on some customers next year.

And they’re probably berating the others for not sticking together. It works for OPEC. It works for central banks.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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