Did you know that banks are charging for debit card transactions? This isn’t a new phenomenon, as they’ve been doing it for decades. However, recent federal laws may increase the amount of fees customers incur from using their debit card. If you have a bank checking account with a debit card, it’s important that you understand what these fees are and how they’ll affect you.
You may not realize it, but each time you swipe your debit card at a store or use it to make an online purchase, the retailer is charged a fee by the bank. If a store wants to have the ability to process debit or credit card transactions, they must pay the banks for its their use. For a while, fee amount charged by the bank was uncapped and was varied depending on the bank. It wasn’t until Obama signed into effect the Dodd-Frank Act which focused on protecting consumer’s rights and interests, one of which is placing a cap on how much banks could charge retailers and small businesses for processing credit and debit card transactions.
The Dodd-Frank Act may seem like a good idea on paper, but it’s a double-edged sword of sorts. Although it caps the fee banks charge retailers to use their cards, it’s also responsible for increasing the fees for cardholders. With less money charged to retailers and merchants, banks are looking for other methods to make up for this lost revenue, such as charging cardholders for using debit cards.
Not all banks are charging their customers for using their debit cards. Thankfully, it’s usually not a per-transaction fee either. Instead, banks are charging a flat monthly fee if their customers decide to use their debit cards. Bank of America is one such bank that’s now charging a flat $5 monthly fee to their debit card customers. Whether you make 1 transaction or 100, you’re still charged the flat $5 per month fee. Certain Wells Fargo locations are also charging their card holders a monthly fee of $3 for using their debit cards.
Both of the Wells Fargo and Bank of America debit card fee programs are new and considered to be in test mode. In fact, Wells Fargo is calling their program the pilot program. Because of this, we can expect to see some changes in the years to come. Even though they’re only charging a couple of dollars for customers to use their debit cards, it’s something that most people expect for free. Sure, the program might put some money into the bank’s pockets, but it will also turn away many potential customers.