BUSINESS

Bank of America abandons plans for $5 debit card fee

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This past spring, for example, Bank of America raised the monthly fee on its basic checking account to $12, from $8.95. The Charlotte, N.C.-based bank is also testing a new menu of checking accounts with monthly fees ranging from $6 to $25 in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts. Pace said the pilot program is seeing "good results" and that the bank plans to move ahead with its rollout sometime next year.

(Photo: Associated Press)

Other, smaller fees may be nicking away at customer accounts as well. In September, the bank instituted a $5 fee to replace debit cards, with overnight rush delivery costing $20. Both services had previously been free. The unwelcome changes for consumers aren't limited to Bank of America.

Chase this year also doubled the fee on its basic checking account to $12 a month. But the bank says it will end a test in Georgia of a basic checking account that charged a $15 monthly fee.

And like many other banks, Wells Fargo ended its debit rewards program earlier this year after doing away with its free checking accounts with no strings attached late last year.

The wave of fee hikes comes as the industry adjusts to new regulations. In particular, banks in the past year have blamed their fee hikes on a new federal regulation championed by Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. The law, which went into effect last month, caps the amount banks can charge merchants whenever customers swipe their debit cards.

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