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Bank of America Can't Take the Heat, Says They'll Scrap $5 Debit Card Fee For All

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Photo by Dmitriy Shironosov via Shutterstock
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Bank of America customers were mad as hell when they learned the banking giant was poised to impose a $5 monthly usage fee for debit card transactions. Now BofA says they are "reconsidering" the fee, and may instead waive the fee for customers who use direct deposit and maintain a minimum balance. The amount of the required minimum balance has yet to be determined.

Customer outrage soared immediately following the announcement of the controversial fee. Coinciding with the early rumblings of the Occupy movements in several cities, consumers openly targeted Bank of America branches in their protests, like on Los Angeles' west side. Over 300,000 people to-date have signed a Change.org petition asking for the propsed fee to be scrapped.

On Twitter, the rally cry was to abandon the traditional banks, including BofA contemporaries who were also working on implementing similar fees, and to open accounts at credit unions instead. An entire Bank of America "parody account" on Twitter sprung up, "focusing on #debitcardfee innovation." (They are being shut down by BofA, they say.)

BofA officials were clearly wounded by their customers' ire. From the Business Review:

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[H]arsh and negative reactions from consumers and politicians overwhelmed the bank. Chief Executive Brian Moynihan told employees earlier this month he was “incensed” at the criticism. BofA contended it was only trying to recoup the swipe fees taken away by new federal regulations.

Other banks feeling the backlash from consumers after announcing fees include Chase and Wells Fargo, who also are reportedly going to end pilot programs in some states where debit card account fees were being imposed. Additionally, other banks around the country are publicizing their policy to not charge a similar fee.