It seems that in some circumstances, the customer really is always right. Wells Fargo and Chase banks are month the two largest banks to completely eliminate and rollback debit card fees they had started to impose on customers. The fees ranged from $3 to $5 a month and ended up creating a viral firestorm from customers mad at the banks after they got bailed out from the US government.
Chase has not officially announced that their canceling their program but an unnamed individual interviewed by the Associated Press said, “JPMorgan Chase & Co. will stop charging $3 per month fees for using debit cards when its current pilot in Wisconsin and Georgia is completed in November.” Wells Fargo started their pilot debit card fee program on October 14th in five states. On October 28th, 2011 Wells Fargo put out a statement announcing they would be canceling this program.
It still remains to be seen if Bank of America will bend to the pressure of the angry consumers. Another private confession from a person working at Bank of America said they are trying to find ways for customers to get around the debit card fees by using direct deposit, minimum balances and more. Regardless, there still doesn’t seem to be an official statement that Bank of America debit cards fees will be eliminated but more glossed over with a PR campaign.
The winner of this debit card fees bank backlash is the local credit unions in people’s local towns. Many credit unions are seeing huge spikes in new accounts and deposits as customers angrily protest by cutting up Bank of America cards, joining Occupy Wallstreet protests and mailing in disgusted letters to the big banks. Some banks like USAA, Ally Bank, TD Bank and other federal credit union banks are promotiong their “No Debit Card Fee” plans by emailing promotions and advertising the lack of fees.
The Occupy Wall Street protests were one of the fire starters for customers to gather, collect information and decide together what to do. Some #OccupyNYC protesters could be seen with signs that said things like, “I bailed out the banks and all I got was this $5 debit card fee.” The rhythmic slogan of Occupy Wall Street protesters seems to sum up the message for everyone, “Banks got bailed out, We got sold out.”
- Debit Cards: Chase, Wells Fargo Cancel Plans to Impose Monthly Debit Fees (inquisitr.com)
- Big banks back off monthly debit card fees (abclocal.go.com)