Banking

As Debit Card Fee Caps Come Into Effect, Banks Raise Fees on Consumers

Are you ready for the next move in the war on consumers? Banks are preparing to institute debit card fees in response to the caps that are about to go into effect. Tomorrow marks the day when a cap on debit card fees charged merchants will go into effect. Banks stand to lose billions in fees – even though the modified rules aren’t as limiting as those originally proposed.

Banks have been moving to increase revenue for months now. Indeed, banks have been raising interest rates on credit cards and encroaching on free checking since the passage of the Credit CARD Act of 2009. As a result, consumers are feeling the effects of higher fees. And it doesn’t look like there is an end in site.

Debit Card Fees

Bank of America is implementing a $5 monthly fee for those who use debit cards. Some regional powerhouse banks are also charging fees for debit card use. So, if you use your debit card during the month, you might find yourself charged for the privilege. This is a fee that might not be waived for a certain balance requirement, or for a minimum number of transactions.

And, as you might have noticed, these aren’t the only fees. Free checking is disappearing rapidly from many bank offerings, and a number of banks are raising their ATM fees. I just noticed that the fee at my bank went up for using the ATM to withdraw money from another account; it now costs $4 to perform such a transaction at my bank. I don’t use ATMs very much – and I’ll probably use them even less now.

Are Banks Trying to Encourage Credit Card Use?

Of course, if you are going to be charged a fee for using a debit card, there is a good chance that you will resort to using something else. With debit card fees capped, banks stand to make more money with credit cards. Credit card transaction fees are usually higher, so issuers make more money when you use them instead of debit cards. The increased fees might be meant to push more people into use credit cards for the revenue.

This is more evidence that it is time to check with your bank. Pay attention to what you bank sends you, and be on the alert for additional fees. It’s time to be a savvy consumer and shop around for low-fee accounts, and maybe change banks.

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