End of No-Fee Banking One Step Closer

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LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29:  A customer uses a Bank of America ATM on September 29, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Bank of America annouced its plans to start charging a $5 monthly fee for customers using their debit card for purchases starting early in 2012.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: A customer uses a Bank of America ATM on September 29, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Bank of America annouced its plans to start charging a $5 monthly fee for customers using their debit card for purchases starting early in 2012. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) Photo: Kevork Djansezian/2011 Getty Images

As early as last summer, the Times' Bucks blog reported that several major banks were ending "free checking" or charging fees to customers who actually wanted to use bank branches and tellers. Today, Bucks had the latest development: monthly-fee debit cards. Of the biggies, Bank of America just announced a $5 fee, while Chase and Wells Fargo have tested charging $3 in several markets. This all comes on the eve of new regulations that will more or less halve how much banks can charge merchants for processing debit card purchases, and will likely make up for some of that lost revenue. As for the average bank customer and debit card user, this marks the end of the "Swipe Your Money For Free" era. [Bucks/NYT]