UPDATE: The Bank of America has issued a statement saying media reports about checking account fees are inaccurate. The Bank of America is not planning to increase checking account fees for existing customers.
Last year Bank of America wreaked up a ruckus among its customers as it toyed with the idea of instituting a $5 fee for debit-card purchases, a plan that was successfully pushed back-until now.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that BofA is currently experimenting with the idea of charging $6 a month to up to $25 on bank accounts instead of debit cards, depending on the type of bank account held by their clients. The only way the fee would be wavered is if the customers agree to bank online, buy more products or maintain certain balances.
A BofA spokesperson Anne Pace, says there is nothing new about the Wall Street Journal article. New solutions we are testing in Massachusetts, Arizona and Georgia, and all of them offer ways to avoid monthly maintenance fees. If customers do their basic banking online or via ATM, there are no fees, she said in an email to Time's Moneyland.
BofA has not commented on the timeline for the fees, and according to Pace the way the fees will be applied to accounts is still under consideration.
The Wall Street Journal's David Benoit says there is nothing surprising about BofA latest move. Regulations on credit cards, debit cards and overdraft fees have cost the bank billions in revenues, all coming from the consumer operations. The bank was going to need to find a way to recoup some of those fees, Benoit writes.
It's been a bad time for banks in terms of revenue. BofA fourth quarter revenue was down by $400 million, according to Forbes and JPMorgan Chase says its net annual income could fall by $600 million this year.
Todd Maclin, a J.P. Morgan consumer head, told the Wall Street Journal that banks are charging minimal fees compared to cable companies, but bank customers aren't going to allow banks to charge them monthly fees as easily.