Wells Fargo Drops Debit Fees Too; Bank of America to Adjust

Wells Fargo Drops Debit Fees Too; Bank of America to Adjust

By Eileen AJ Connelly, AP Personal Finance Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Chase and Wells Fargo are joining the list of banks that won't be charging customers to use their debit cards, as the backlash over Bank of America's planned $5 monthly fee continues.

The retail banking arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co. will stop charging $3-per-month fees for using debit cards when its current pilot in Wisconsin and Georgia is completed in November, a source with knowledge of the bank's plans told The Associated Press. The individual asked not to be identified because the bank has not officially announced the program will not go forward.

Chase, which operates in 23 states, began its test in February.

And it's not alone in rethinking its actions. Wells Fargo & Co. began a similar pilot in five states on Oct. 14, testing a flat $3 fee for using debit for purchases. On Friday it also announced that it is cancelling its test program.

Other banks already have more widespread fee policies. SunTrust Banks charges $5 a month for debit cards used to make purchases, and Regions Financial Corp. charges $4.

But it was Bank of America Corp.'s plan to start charging $5 per month that lit the issue on fire. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank last month said it will begin assessing the fee in 2012.

Banks are justifying the fees by stating that they need to recoup revenue lost to new regulations that limit the fees they can collect from retailers for handling debit card transactions. But the new fees sparked a huge backlash.

Signs like, "I bailed out the banks and all I got was a $5 debit card fee" have been spotted the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York and its sibling protests around the country. The author of the regulations, Sen. Richard Durbin, D.-Ill, called the fee an "outrage" on the floor of the Senate.