Tags: Bank | America | bofa | fees

WSJ: Bank of America Again Considers Fees for Basic Accounts

Thursday, 01 March 2012 02:34 PM

Bank of America may slap fresh fees on customers that don't bank online, buy enough goods and services or maintain balances, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Low benchmark interest rates, slow growth and regulatory uncertainty is prompting the bank to find revenue wherever they can, even if it means checking-account holders.

The bank's revenue fell 22 percent to $26.2 billion in 2011, the Journal reports.
Bank of America pilot programs in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts are experimenting with charging $6 to $9 a month for an "Essentials" account.

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"It is unclear whether the bank, which counts more than 55 million U.S. households as customers, will stick with its initial idea for a basic flat-fee checking account that doesn't offer a way to avoid paying a charge," the newspaper reports.

"That scenario is considered less likely than telling checking-account customers they will face a new fee unless they go online or take other steps outlined by the bank."

The bank ruffled feathers among customers when it planned to roll out a $5-per month debit card fee, a plan that was later scrapped.

A bank spokeswoman says the plans are under consideration and not in the process of being imposed right now.

"We've been testing these solutions for over a year now," says Bank of America spokeswoman Anne Pace, according to U.S. News & World Report, adding that customer feedback about the new programs has been overwhelmingly positive. "There's really nothing new here," Pace said.

"There's no fee if you do your basic banking online or via the ATM," Pace adds.

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