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Esme’s Blog: Bank Of America

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(credit: CBS News)

(credit: CBS News)

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So Bank of America is going to charge debit card fees of $5 a month if you use your card for purchases. Other banks are ready to follow. Wells Fargo is testing a $3 fee. Regions will implement a $4 fee.

Banks say they need to make the change to accommodate for a change in federal law that cuts the amount of money banks receive from a credit card swipe for a purchase from 44 cents to 24 cents.

During the financial crisis Bank of America received $45 billion in taxpayer assistance. It’s an amount they have since repaid. The company is still clearly struggling, its stock is down more than 50 percent this year.

But is this the way to convince customers you are the bank to do business with? Already the backlash is significant. On blogs and websites, customers are promising to jump ship. Fox New Anchor Gerri Willis even cut up her BOA debit card on air.

Since the financial crisis, as banks have continued to up their fees many consumers are turning to credit unions with their lower fees for financial services. As big banks continue to tighten their lending requirements, making even the most basic of loans tough to get, and as fees continue to grow across the board, perhaps we will see consumers abandon accounts or switch banks altogether.

Look no further than Netflix to realize what angry consumers can do. After changing its fees, Netflix has been in freefall. In the last 10 weeks, the company stock has lost 65 percent of its value or $10.5 billion. When enough of the little guys get angry and act, the big guys get their message loud and clear.

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