Bank of America Corp. plans to charge a $5 monthly fee for its debit-card users, joining a number of other banks that are pressing their customers to help recover lost revenue from new regulations.
Bank of America and other debit-card issuers, including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and Regions Financial Corp., are trying to offset an estimated $6.6 billion annual revenue hit stemming from new limits on so-called debit-card swipe fees.
The limits, finalized by the Federal Reserve Board in June, take effect Saturday and will reduce the amount of money merchants pay banks to 24 cents per transaction from a current average of 44 cents. Bank of America has said it expects the caps to erase $2 billion in revenue annually.
In other words, "if we can't gouge the merchant, we're going to gouge the consumer."
Wells Fargo said it will charge a $3 fee for debit and ATM card customers in Nevada, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico and Georgia starting Oct. 14. Like Bank of America's, Wells Fargo's fee applies when a customer makes a purchase with the cards and not ATM transactions.
J.P. Morgan has been testing a $3 fee in a small market in Wisconsin since February. Regions Financial and SunTrust Banks Inc. also have added monthly fees for some debit-card customers.
Keep 'em coming.
Citigroup Inc. said last week it was raising fees on certain checking accounts but would not charge fees for using debit cards.
Trish Wexler, a spokeswoman for the Electronic Payments Coalition, a trade group that represents Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and several large banks, said the new fees are "unintended consequences that have come up as a result" of the Durbin amendment.
Unintended consequences? Unintended consequences? How does anyone fall for this b.s. anymore?
In other news, Bitcoin fees continue to hold at zero.