Bank of America backs off plans for $5 debit card fee

NEW YORK — Bank of America Corp. is scrapping its plan to charge a $5 monthly debit card fee.

The bank's decision to drop the fee came after a roar of customer outrage in recent weeks over the fee. Other major banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., already canceled tests of similar debit card fees last week.

SunTrust Banks and Regions Financial Corp. followed suit Monday.

Anne Pace, a spokeswoman for Bank of America, declined to say whether the company experienced a spike in account closures since announcing the $5 debit card fee in September.

But in a statement Tuesday, 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.

Pace added that a "changing competitive marketplace" also played a role.

The about-face by the banking industry comes amid growing public anger over higher bank fees. A movement to get bank customers switch to credit unions — started by a Bank of America customer — had marked this Saturday as "Bank Transfer Day."

A separate online petition asking Bank of America to cancel the $5 fee also had gathered more than 306,000 supporters this week.

Unlike Chase and Wells Fargo, Bank of America's announcement that it would start charging customers a monthly debit card fee early next year had come without any testing in the marketplace.

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