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Friday, October 7, 2011

A simple solution to Bank of America's new $5 debit card fee

Bank of America will start charging debit card holders a $5 monthly fee, as reported in many sources (including HERE).  This has gotten a lot of press, and I heard a story about a BofA customer bringing a petition with 100,000+ customer signatures in opposition to the fee.  I also hear that Wall Street protesters citing this as an other example of corporate greed and general badness on the part of the banking industry.

Now I know that it is easy to get caught up in all of the rhetoric.  Point taken.  However, I do think that many who complain about the fee forget one very simple reality of this situation:  you don't have to do business with Bank of America.

That's right:  if you don't like the fee then you can simply bank with another institution.

Some will claim "Steve, all the bank will start doing it eventually", but like most generalizations, this one isn't entirely true.  Yes, I suspect that many banks will impose similar fees, especially large, multi-state banks.  I am reasonably confident though that the fee will not become an industry standard, at least not across all segments of the banking business.  So what are your choices?

  • Small, Community Banks - I've read where some industry analysts predict that many small community banks will not impose the fee.  
  • Credit Union - Almost everyone these days can join a credit union.  Read HERE.

So enough already with the whining and victimology.

As a side note, I suspect that BofA is imposing this fee precisely because they want to thin their customer ranks of those clients with relatively small account balances.  That is certainly the bank's right, but it is certainly our right to not do business with BofA.

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