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The Banking Game: Consumers 1, Banks 0. But this one ain't over.

Posted by: John Ewoldt under Financial Planners Updated: November 2, 2011 - 9:34 AM

Score one for consumers in the play by play of consumers vs. banks. Bank of America decided yesterday that it will nix its plan to charge consumers a $5 monthly debit card fee. Bank of America's co-Chief Operating Officer David Darnell said the decision was based on customer feedback. "Our customers' voices are most important to us. As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so," he said.
 

 

Bank of America now joins cooler heads at banks such as JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Twin Cities-based US Bank as holding the line on monthly debit card fees.

 

Many credit the consumer empowerment to social media, including branding consultant and author of "Brandwashed" Martin Lindstrom, who said, "For the first time ever, the volume of response is now visible because of social media."

But consumers should know that banks aren't going to quietly forget about going back to the lucrative fee trough. Banks will find other fees to add on to unsuspecting consumers. A colleague whose son has a checking account discovered that at TCF. The bank no longer charges $35 per overdraft. Now when a checking account is in arrears for more than $5, the account holder is charged $28 per day for up to 14 days until the balance is restored to zero or more. 

If you or a someone you care about is a bit sloppy about money management, ask about fees when opening an account. To be fair, many of the fees that banks foist on us can be avoided once we know the consequences. 

Meanwhile, if you're considering a switch, check out credit unions or smaller banks near work or home. They're less likely to charge fees than the big banks. 

Who's found a bank or credit union they like?    

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