Friday, October 21, 2011

Bank Fees Fuel Consumer Anger

People are angry at the proposed debit card fees and nearly one-in-three consumers say they will take their money elsewhere.

According to a new study by The Research Intelligence Group, 30% of banking customers say they will leave their institution should the bank start charging a monthly fee for debit card use. This anger is even more pronounced with younger (35%) or more affluent (37%) consumers.

Another 43% of consumers said they would choose a different method of payment. 28% said they would pay by cash, while 15% claimed they would use a credit card.

Regions and SunTrust have already started assessing a monthly fee on debit card usage. Bank of America will begin charging a $5 per month fee in 2012. Chase (one state) and Wells Fargo (five states) are testing this fee in various areas.

The survey was performed by The Research Intelligence Group from a representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults in early October.

Consumers do not like paying a monthly fee for using their own money. These fees are also being assessed by some banks that we, the taxpayers, bailed out a few years ago.

Lawmakers are also upset.

After Wells Fargo announced a 21% increase in their third quarter profits, Senator Dick Durbin sent a letter asking the bank’s CEO to explain the need for a new debit fee. Durbin had previously sent a letter to Bank of America, reprimanding the bank after it announced plans to charge consumers for debit card usage.

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