Chase joins U.S. Bancorp, Citigroup, PNC, KeyCorp and other large banks that have recently moved away from the plan to charge consumers a monthly fee when they use their debit cards to make purchases, reports the Wall Street Journal. The bank recently tested the fee in both Washington and Georgia.
Banks are none too happy about how the passage of Dodd-Frank has been crimping their style. So they hired a Wall Street lobbyist, former Congressman Steve Bartlett, to lead the well-funded rearguard action by the ” Financial Services Roundtable” to neuter the laws. And darned if those cocktail parties aren’t working.
The Federal Reserve unveiled its ruling today on the fees banks can charge merchants for processing debit cards at 21 cents a swipe. The cap is far less restrictive than the 12 cent ceiling set by the Dodd-Frank bill, but is still less than the current 44 cent average. It’s uncertain how this will affect the consumer.
The prepaid card industry is notorious for preying on poorer consumers with hidden fees for just about every thing you use it for. There’s even fees for not using them, in the form of inactivity fees. So it’s an unexpected breath of fresh air that American Express is rolling out a new prepaid card with very few fees and a pretty straightforward approach, at least for consumers.
Now that free checking is dead at each of the four major retail banks, is there any where you can go to just have a simple checking account without paying a bunch of fees? Yup, look at your smaller local bank or credit union, or think about an online checking account, reports American Banker. Unlike the big banks that have such dominant market presence that they don’t need to compete on price, just who has more ATMs, the scrappier outfits are going to to use free checking as a competitive advantage and a way to get people in the door so they can try to upsell them to other banking products and services.
Could a future where your debit card can “bounce” be that far off? That’s what this WSJ article suggests. If so, it would be the result of another creative bit of backlash the banks are mulling in response to the 12 cent debit card fee cap scheduled to go into effect in April. Here’s how it would go down.