Debit Card Fees on Hold at Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo

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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

Like Netflix before them, three banks have opted to change course after the chorus of customer dissent against proposed changes got too loud. For Bank of America, the outrage at a $5-a-month debit card charge culminated in Joe Biden calling the move "incredibly tone deaf" (Joe Biden! Tone deaf!) and Barack Obama worrying publicly about customers being "mistreated" in the name of profits. Now Bank of America says their thinking on the issue is "evolving" based on what they call a "changing competitive marketplace." Chase and Wells Fargo, which were both testing $3-per-month fees, are pulling back for now as well.

"Over the past couple of weeks, customer sentiment changed," said a B of A spokesperson. But the New York Times reported that banks still need to make up for lost revenue, and therefore, even as they announced there would be no such fee for now, "no firm conclusions had been reached."

Perhaps they could split their cash business and their credit business — the name Qwikster is available.

Bank of America nixes $5 debit card fee [Money Watch/CBS]
Bank of America Rethinking Debit Card Fee [NYT]