After a month-long firestorm in reaction to its plans to charge most customers $5 a month to use their debit cards for purchases beginning next year, Bank of America just announced that it’s abandoning plans for the fee.
“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,” David Darnell, BofA’s co-chief operating officer said in a statement issued Tuesday. “Our customers’ voices are most important to us. As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so.”
While a handful of regional banks had rolled out debit card fees in recent weeks, and national banks Wells Fargo and Chase were conducting debit fee pilot programs, it was Bank of America’s announcement that really captured consumers’ attention — and their anger. Nonprofit group Consumers Union called for an investigation, online petitions were launched and a Facebook-driven movement called “Bank Transfer Day” urged Americans to switch to a small bank or credit union on November 5.
In the face of this outrage, the other banks that had added debit fees dropped them. BofA was the lone holdout, although news outlets reported at the end of last week that it was considering scaling back its implementation of the fee, citing unnamed sources at the bank. Now, Bank of America is reversing course on what had become a PR debacle.
So now the question is: BofA customers, will you stick around now?