BofA to introduce $5 monthly debit card fee

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 29, 2011 12:48 PM

(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp plans to introduce a $5 monthly debit card usage fee for many of its account holders beginning early next year, the company said on Thursday.

The largest U.S. bank by assets is implementing the fee to recoup lost revenue due to new industry regulations introduced since the 2008 financial crisis limiting overdraft and other fees.

"The economics of offering a debit card have changed," said Bank of America spokeswoman Anne Pace.

Bank of America is the latest large U.S. bank to introduce a regular monthly fee for debit card use, as new limits on overdraft and other penalty fees have pushed banks to introduce wider, monthly account maintenance fees.

Pace said customers expect certain features for their accounts, like overdraft and fraud protection, and the fee will offset some of those bank costs.

She declined to say how much the bank expects to earn through these fees or how many customers will be affected.

Customers who use the debit card for purchases will be assessed the fee. It will be waived for the bank's premium or platinum privileges accounts tied to the Merrill Lynch brokerage.

The fee will not be charged for using the card to access the bank's ATMs, Pace said.

The fee will be introduced early next year.

(Reporting by Joe Rauch)