New Fees for Debit Card Purchases

It's quick, convenient, and hassle-free. That makes using a debit card very popular.

According to the latest numbers from Visa and Mastercard there are 520 million debit cards in use today. But those numbers may start to drop.

Bank of America says come January, it will charge its basic checking account customers $5 a month to use their debit cards for any purchases.

Some we talked with say that would be enough to get them to switch banks.

Esther Moon told us, "I would definitely pick a different bank. I know I use my debit card enough that that would keep me from picking that bank."

Amanda Crusch says, "I would definitely stop using it. That's too much. That's kind of unnecessary."

I called around and found most banks don't charge for debit card purchases and have no plans to do so.

Those include: U.S. Bank, ENT, Compass Bank and USAA. Chase and Wells Fargo are testing the idea.

Chase is charging its basic customers in Wisconsin $3 a month and starting in October Wells Fargo will charge a $3 monthly fee for customers in Georgia, Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada, and Washington.

First Bank has the highest fee I found in Colorado. It charges customers $7.50 a year and that annual fee will soon be going up to $10.

The best advice: do as Mark Van Horn.

He says, "I put everything on the credit card, pay my bill in full when I get it and that seems to be the cheapest way to go."

You may not want to consider doing away with your debit card, but that may be your best bet: avoiding fraud issues and pesky fees.

If you have the discipline get a regular credit card and then pay it off every month.

Another option is a secured credit card which comes with fee, but will help you build a credit history while protecting your bank balance at the same time.

Banks are now charging debit card customers because of changes in bank regulations. They're making the cards less profitable.

In fact, some financial institutions use to offer rewards for debit card use. Experts say most are now scaling those back or doing away with them altogether.


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