(Rick Rothacker) – Bank of America Corp, after receiving heavy public criticism for a plotted $5 per-month debit card fee, is likely to give customers more ways to avoid the fee, a person familiar with the bank’s plans said Friday.
The second largest U.S. bank is likely to allow many customers to avoid the fee by taking measures such as maintaining minimum balances, having paychecks administer deposited, or using Bank of America credit cards, the person said.
Under earlier plans, customers might have needed balances totaling $20,000 across all their Bank of America accounts to avoid the fee.
Bank of Americas unleashed a firestorm of criticism from customers, consumer advocates and politicians at the end month when it told plans to charge customers $5 per month for using their debit cards, starting sometime following year. The goal was to constitute up revenue lost to a code that slashes the fees banks charge retailers when consumers swipe their cards.
Some other major banks have quietly pulled back on the charges. After testing a $3 per month fee in two states since February, JPMorgan Chase & Co chose not to charge customers, a person familiar with the situation said on Friday. The check will end following month and will not be extended or expanded, the person added.
Wells Fargo & Co started testing a $3 per-month fee in five states on October 14. The bank has not had age to evaluate results and has not made any changes in the program, Wells spokeswoman Lisa Westermann said.
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America is not abandoning the fee immediately and will likely comprehend it in fresh account types the bank is testing in three states. The bank plans to roll outside these packages nationwide following year.
The $5 per-month fee may still remain an option for customers, the person said.
The bank has said the purpose of the fresh account types is to provide customers with upfront pricing, instead of hitting them with penalties after the circumstance. Customers can pay monthly fees of between $9 and $20, or avoid the charges by keeping minimum balances, using their credit cards or having a minimum amount deposited to their account.
While some banks have told plans to apply alike fees, many banks and credit unions chose not to institute the charge and have encouraged customers to switch banks.
(Reporting by Rick Rothacker in Charlotte, North Carolina; editing by Andre Grenon)
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