PORTLAND -- The nation's largest bank has angered many of its customers angry by announcing new debit card fees.
Bank of America will start charging customers five dollars a month for using their debit cards. Bank representatives said the charge is necessary because new federal regulations cut in half what the bank can charge retailers for debit card transactions.
Customers will not be charged for using Bank of America ATM’s, but those who make at least one purchase a month with their debit cards will be charged $60 a year.
Key Bank announced Friday it would move in the opposite direction, increasing customers’ rewards for using their debit cards.
Consumer advocates said customers’ disapproval is most evident when they take their money to smaller banks or credit unions that don't have debit card charges.
Portland banking investors question whether Bank of America is making a smart business move in today’s economic climate.
“It appears B of A is blazing some new territory,” said George Hosfield with Ferguson Wellman Capital Management. “This could be something that's changing the game for consumers or it could be something that turns out to be a bad decision for the bank.”