NEW YORK (MainStreet) — A few months ago, it looked as if swipe fee reform would lead many big banks to start tacking fees onto debit card accounts, but many big banks are now balking on prospective monthly fees.
Chase (Stock Quote: JPM) confirmed Friday it will not be instituting the $3.50 debit card fee it was testing in Northern Wisconsin earlier in the year. The disclosure follows a similar one from PNC Financial (Stock Quote: PNC) Chairman and CEO Jim Rohr, who said the bank has no plans to add such a fee during its third-quarter earnings announcement last week.
This leaves Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC) as the only major financial institution to publicly acknowledge its plans to charge consumers $5 for each month they use their debit card at a retailer. Bank of America did not comment as to whether or not the $5 charge was still being implemented as of press time. The fee is set to be introduced in 2012.
Wells Fargo (Stock Quote: WFM) began testing a $3 monthly fee on debit card accounts in four states on Oct. 14. A Wells Fargo spokeswoman told MainStreet Friday that the bank is continuing its pilot test, but has not made a decision as to whether the fee will go beyond that.
Citi (Stock Quote: C), incidentally, also says it has no plans to institute a monthly debit card fee, but did announce earlier in the month that it would increase other monthly checking accounts fees starting in December.
Banks are providing few insights into why they have abandoned the fees that were intended to recoup funds lost to the Federal Reserve’s cap on interchange fees. However, consumers’ responses to the new charges have been largely negative, with Bank of America’s announcement sparking numerous petitions. Several consumer advocates have even pooled together to endorse National Bank Transfer Day, which encourages bank customers to move their accounts from big banks to smaller banks and credit unions on Nov. 5.
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