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New Debit Card Fees - Are they Here to Stay?

6:45 PM, Sep 30, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --- Consumers are calling the new debit card fees outrageous.

Victor and Nancy Castillega ask when will corporate America stop squeezing consumers.

"We're already in such an economic situation this is not going to help,' said Victor Castillega.

MORE: Who charges bank fees?

The Bank of America fees will phase in next year. Customers will pay $5 each month they use a debit card for a purchase, there's no charge for using the card at the bank's ATM.

"We are being nickel and dimed, but this is it ... buyer beware, this is where you evaluate your bank and understand what you're getting for the fees that you're paying," said Dawn Lockhart.

Bank of America is not alone. Suntrust, Regions, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase are also charging fees.'

The American Bankers Association said the new debit card fees are a direct result of government price fixing. Federal law now limits what banks charge retailers on transactions, so banks are passing it on to consumers to make up their losses.

Customers have two choices: pay the new fees or change banks.

Lockhart, president of Family Foundations, the parent company of Consumer Credit Counseling, said this may just be the start of what consumers have to face.

"I think everybody is going to follow. I think what we're seeing is a dramatic reform in how we as consumers work with the banking environment," said Lockhart.

Lockhart's advice to consumers is don't be afraid to shop around for free banking.

"There are still organizations that provide free services for you. I know that the credit unions have not yet fully moved into that direction," she said.

Lockhart believes debit card fees are just the start in a new round of banking fees. 

"Don't be surprised. I anticipate continual change," she said.

Arnold Corr is one bank customer who said  the new fees won't not affect him. He pays for everything with cash. "I'm one of those unfortunate people that never believed on credit cards or debit cards," he said.










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