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Here Come The Debit Card Fees

Wells Fargo is testing a $3 use fee for debit cardsAs if consumers don’t already have enough hands dipping into their pockets, Wells Fargo is climbing aboard the bandwagon.

The big bank plans to roll out a pilot progam that will charge customers in five states $3 a month for the privilege of using its debit cards.

If you swipe, you pay.

Chase Bank blazed the trail, testing $3 monthly debit card fees in northern Wisconsin.

With the Wells Fargo pilot program, customers in Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Washington will be slapped with the monthly fee, starting Oct. 14.

The fee will apply if customers use their debit card — even once — to make purchases or payments in a given month, but not if it’s only used at an ATM.

Wells Fargo is joining the money grab, it says, because of market competition, industry trends and the Fed’s new cap on the fees banks can charge retailers whenever customers swipe their debit cards.

The cap takes effect in October, knocking the average “swipe fee” down from 44 cents to 24 cents per transaction.

Yes, the nation’s largest banks have been telegraphing potential moves like this for months as part of a furious, if ultimately unsuccessful, campaign to have the transaction fee provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law delayed.

In fact, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf earlier this summer flat out said his bank would charge new fees to recoup the $325 million the bank says it will lose each quarter as a result of the cap.

But just because this isn’t a surprise, doesn’t make it any less distasteful.

It’s yet another example of savers losing out.

What Wells Fargo does next — expand the program to other states or put the kibosh on it — will no doubt depend on how customers react.

They can jump ship to another bank that doesn’t charge for debit card use, or pony up the extra cash (which will encourage other banks to assess the same fee, no doubt).

An Associated Press-GfK poll last month found that more than 60% of consumers would ditch their debit cards if their banks charged a $3 monthly fee. Bump it up to $5, and two-thirds would bail.

Let’s see if Wells Fargo’s customers’ feet really do the talking.

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Comments (7)
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7 Existing Comments
  1. Ann Kelly said:
    on August 17th at 08:03 am

    Not surprised it’s Wells Fargo – the Mafia (along with BOFA). They charge you for phone calls, and anything else to gouge you. Their execs must get together with BofA and discuss how to screw the public.

  2. Rick D said:
    on August 17th at 08:32 am

    @Ann Wells Fargo bought Wachovia (aka walkallovaya) a while back. Their old HQ was in Charlotte, NC. BofA maintains a large business centre in Charlotte, NC as well. Go figure…

  3. Jackques said:
    on August 17th at 11:14 am

    There was a time when banks paid you for holding onto your money. It was called interest, and my mom told me that putting my money in a bank was a good way for it to “grow.”

    Well, now those people whose banking consists of cutting a hole in their mattress and stuffing dollar bills inside seem to have the economic advantage…

  4. Geoff said:
    on August 17th at 11:42 am

    No way Wells Fargo! I shall use my credit card (but not my Wells Fargo one) and you will make less money from me.

  5. Tina O said:
    on August 17th at 12:53 pm

    I’m switching to my local credit union. I’ve been a customer with Wells Fargo for a long time and just recently they have started charging fees for everything. This $3 debit card fee is the final straw. Goodbye Wells Fargo…thanks for nothing.

  6. Earl said:
    on August 17th at 10:51 pm

    Those who walk should make it hurt. When Wells Fargo gets scared and backs off on the $3 monthly charge, people need to tell them to shove it and never go back, ever. Teach them b#####ds a lesson they’ll never forget. If you don’t walk now, walk as soon as you get the bill with the $3 charge on it. Call them up and cancel your account and tell them why. When customers and profits start to dwindle, investors will scream bloody murder. Then you can laugh in their face.

  7. SuperMan said:
    on September 8th at 01:33 pm

    i think what they are doing is great

    you can just shut the hell up