Bank of America nixes fees - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Bank of America nixes fees

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) Bank of America announced Tuesday that they are doing an about-face on their plans to charge a $5 monthly fee for customers who use a debit card.

The bank said that they listened "very closely" to customer concerns over the last month.

When Christine Lang stopped at the Bank of America ATM on Clematis Street Tuesday to deposit her check, she did so with a new-found smile.

"I just heard this from my boyfriend today, I was like, yay, hallelujah!" said Lang.

Lang has all of her personal and business accounts with Bank of America, but was so angered by talk of a five dollar monthly debit card fee that she was going to find a new bank and start from scratch.

"It was the principle. It's kind of like me asking a client to pay more after they're used to paying a certain amount," said Lang.

Her anger was shared by thousands of people who organized online, signing petitions and "liking" Facebook pages that encouraged people to transfer accounts out of Bank of America by this Saturday.

Anger is one thing, but banking reporter Claes Bell of the North Palm Beach-based bankrate.com says the reason banks listened is that it was well-organized.

"I don't think Bank of America expected this kind of an uproar over a bank fee," said Bell.

Bell says the whole dustup shows that customers and banks are hurting financially.

New laws cut how much banks can charge merchants for credit card swipes.

Absent a debit card fee, he expects them to find a different way to make money.

"They're trying to get the business model right so they can make money without creating this huge uproar," said Bell.

Yet it might be too late.

Yes, Lang enjoys the security of knowing there's always an ATM nearby and that Bank of America allows her to offer direct deposit to employees who live anywhere in the United States.

But she's still not convinced they won't try another way to make money.

"I'm going to look (for another bank)," said Lang.

Experts say to watch for so-called "stealth fees" on your bank statements, like:

- Fees for receiving a paper statement

- Fees for banking in person

- Fees for not using account often

- Fees for maintaining a low balance

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