Banks Charge Fees for Debit Cards | The Frugalista

Banks Charge Fees for Debit Cards

by frugalista on August 26, 2011

Debit CardHell, no! The New York Times is reporting that banks such as Wells Fargo are experimenting with fees for debit card users. Are you serious? I will be the first person to change my bank or go to a credit union if my financial institution pulls a stunt like that! I mean, really. From reading the article, it looks like some of the banks are hitting up the student accounts and the more entry level accounts.

According to the article, SunTrust started a $5 per month fee (potentially $60 per year) for debit card purchases for customers who have the basic Everyday Checking account. The student checking account will get the fee next spring.

In October, the article says that Wells Fargo will test a debit card “activity fee” of $3 per month (potentially $36 per year) when a customer makes a purchase or payment with a debit card linked to a personal or business account.
The test will affect accounts opened in five states: Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, Georgia and Washington, according to the N.Y. Times.

Other banks picking up on this craze are JPMorgan Chase (testing in Wisconsin) and Regions (for the holders of its basic LifeGreen Checking and student accounts).

Be warned, my Frugalistas. Be warned. I think the banks are going after the student and basic accounts because they tend to have less money in them, so there’s less opportunity for the banks to earn decent interest on the cash. Also, I have a sneaking thought that the students may be less inclined to notice or complain about the fee.

If your bank starts with a debit card usage fee, call your bank, complain and threaten to change banks. Debit cards are as much as part of our lives these days as breathing. It’s the modern way to pay. You can’t use checks in the express line at the grocery store!

Would you change banks if you got a monthly fee for using your debit card? Does this concern you? Is this predatory? Is this just the cost of doing business?

Tony Webster, Flickr

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