Durbin Amendment Official, BofA Launches Debit Card Fee

Oct. 3, 2011

Late last week, Bank of America announced it would levy debit card users a $5 fee to recoup revenue lost when regulators sided with merchants in their fight against interchange. Since Congress set debit interchange limits as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform effort, several major banks have announced some form of fees attached to checking accounts, which for years had largely been free. Sen. Richard Durbin, who championed swipe fee reform in Congress, had predictably harsh words for the nation’s largest bank on the day the reforms officially were enacted: “It seems that old habits die hard for Bank of America. After years of raking in excess profits off an unfair and anti-competitive interchange system, Bank of America is trying to find new ways to pad their profits by sticking it to its customers. It’s overt, unfair and I hope their customers have the final say. [Interchange] fees were designed to boost big-bank profits by charging small businesses and merchants every time a debit card was swiped. Thankfully, on October 1, that flawed system was replaced by a more transparent and competitive market.”