Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out About Bank of America’s New Fee


Bank of America Corp. (BAC) announced Thursday they’ll be instituting a new $5 monthly fee for what looks like most of their debit card users.  They’re excluding those with premium checking accounts (over $20,000 in combined balances) and existing college student accounts.  Hey— that’s like two PBRs on a TOTS Tuesday in Blacksburg.

So are you outraged? Furious? Livid? Pissed? Freaking out?

Here’s some rational advice:

  1. Don’t jump ship too quickly.  A number of major national financial institutions are considering a similar measure including Chase, Wells Fargo and SunTrust.  In fact they’ve already started testing it in small markets across the country.  Bank of America is just the first to announce it across the board.  Keep in mind, some of the stalwarts like Citi and TD Bank are standing by their no-fee policies.  While they dominate the Northeast, coming from Virginia I wouldn’t consider them the most convenient banks.
  2. Relax and get a grip. If you want to disagree about the principle of the matter then fine, but as of right now it looks like you can continue your spending habits without being charged the fee. It doesn’t apply to ATM withdrawals, only debit card purchases. The kicker will be if that means only when you swipe it as a “debit” card or if they’ll include using it as a “credit” card.  If the former, then really… why are you still even pursuing this option?  If the latter, then opt for an actual credit card with no annual fee and use that instead.  Keep your cash flow readily available in your Bank of America account and then pay off the credit card charges on a regular basis to avoid any interest charges.  Almost all of the banks have taken away the rewards components of their cards so you’re not missing out there.  If anything you’re gaining by using a credit card with a solid rewards program to match your needs.

I’m not a financial pro, but this isn’t rocket science either…

Until next time, Cheers!

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About Jeremy

Born and raised in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, Jeremy grew up with the sand between his toes and the sun shining on his skin all year long. A "student of the game" in both baseball and golf, he wishes he had more time to enjoy them up in the Big Apple. A somewhat recent graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, more fondly called Virginia Tech, his studies yielded two bachelor's degrees. The first a B.S. in Human Resource Management and the second a B.A. in Public and Non-Profit Management. While he misses Blacksburg, the Home of the Hokies, he's embraced a new life in New York, where as Mr. Sinatra says, "... if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere." He currently works for New York City's premier volunteer organization, planning customized corporate service projects.
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