It’s not just Senator Dick Durbin and scissor-happy Fox Business Network anchors who disapprove of Bank of America’s announcement that it will begin charging a $5 monthly fee to some customers who use their debit cards to make purchases. Our benevolent benefactors at Consumers Union are now calling upon legislators and regulators to investigate this move by the nation’s largest bank.
CU has sent letters to the House and Senate banking committees and financial regulators, urging them to investigate whether the new monthly fee is justified and whether it takes unfair advantage of consumers simply to boost profits.
The letter notes that the fee, which could cost Bank of America customers an extra $60 per year, comes at a time when American families are hard pressed to pay additional charges.
“Bank of America’s decision to charge a monthly fee for debit card transactions is ill-timed and unwise. The bank continues to struggle financially. Yet it now appears ready to drive away customers with the promise of more excessive fees,” said Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union. “Consumers cannot afford and should not be required to pay a costly fee that appears to be arbitrary and designed to generate income for the bank rather than covering the costs of providing debit card services.”
The letter addresses an important question being debated by the public — namely why consumers should be charged more to access their own money. The organization also notes that many consumers are questioning why this bank, which just a few years ago avoided disaster because of taxpayer assistance, should now be allowed to levy this unfair and excessive fee.
Banks said “As more banks begin testing similar fees, it is critical to examine whether such fees are justified, and reasonable and proportional to the services provided.”