Offering daily news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Bank of America announces $5 monthly penalty for debit card use

Bank of America Bank of Greed, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, announced today that it will begin charging customers who use a debit card tied to their checking account a $5 monthly penalty. (BofA is calling it a fee, but of course it’s really a penalty). BofA is planning to introduce the penalty early next year.

Just a few weeks ago, Bank of America alerted customers in Washington and Idaho by U.S. Mail that it was imposing new terms and conditions for its financial “products”, including checking and savings accounts.

Under the new terms, monthly fees are the norm unless customers take action to prevent them from being collected.

Wells Fargo and Chase are also “testing” debit card penalties on unlucky customers in certain areas, though neither of those banks has confirmed that such penalties will become part of their nationwide policies.

One reason Wall Street banks are looking for ways to extract more of their depositors’ money is because a new regulation is going into effect that caps the fees that they can charge merchants for processing transactions made with a debit cards. Since banks have lost some of their power over merchants as a result of this regulation, they’re leaning on their depositors to make up the difference.

Although Wall Street banks are among the biggest, most powerful corporations on the planet, there is no law that says any of us have to keep our money with them. We at NPI strongly urge all of our readers to go bankless and join a credit union if you haven’t already. Credit unions offer benefits banks simply can’t match, like better rates, lower fees, and superior service.

Since credit unions are owned by their members, there are no outside stockholders to pay. All profits get returned to members.

The Pacific Northwest is home to many fine credit unions. Some credit unions have very few restrictions on membership; BECU, Watermark, and Qualstar are open to anyone who lives and works in the Evergreen State, for instance.


  1. Posted October 2nd, 2011 at 8:32 AM | Permalink

    Well, of course BofA and all other banks will find ways to make up for their lost revenues. Did anyone really expect them to cheerfully write off their losses and move on? Whoever did expect that probably also believed that retailers will be passing their savings on to their customers. Ever since the Fed cut the debit interchange fees it was obvious to anyone who was paying attention that consumers will end up footing the bill.

  2. CristobalS
    Posted October 10th, 2011 at 3:17 AM | Permalink

    Obama slammed Bank of America in a meeting with George Stephanopoulos earlier this week. The president was unhappy about the financial institution charging customers a fee to use debit cards. “You don’t have some inherent right to get a certain amount of profit,” the president said. “You have to treat (customers) fairly and transparently.” Americans, echoing the president’s emotion, have been turning to credit unions in record quantities.

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  1. By Meet the hypocrites: Bank of America – NPI Advocate on October 27th, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    […] may recall that a couple of weeks ago Bank of America Bank of Greed instituted a $5 monthly penalty for customers who use a debit card that is tied to their checking account. All the while, modern-day Scrooge,  CEO Brian Moynihan was […]