Photo: Phoebe Stein
Talk about killer timing. Just as reports that Bank of America is experimenting with new fees surfaced this morning, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rolled out its new checking account complaint form.
The Wall Street Journal’s Dan Fitzpatrick and David Enrich got the scoop on BofA’s plans, which involve programs in a few states that are testing $6 to $9 monthly fees on something called an “Essentials” deposit account.
“Other account options being tested in those states carry monthly charges of $9, $12, $15 and $25, but give customers opportunities to avoid the payments by maintaining minimum balances, using a credit card or taking a mortgage with Bank of America, according to a memo distributed to employees,” the Journal reports.
This is the first significant move toward checking fees the bank has made since consumer backlash forced it to nix a planned $5 debit card fee last fall.
And like it or not, it seems consumers will just have to get used to doling out more for fees in the future – especially if they bank with the big guys.
We already pay 26 per cent more in basic checking fees today than we did a decade ago, according to a new report by Javelin Research, and larger banks charge nearly three times the average fee for basic checking services as community banks. That’s part of the reason so many customers have fled big banks altogether.
So if you’ve got a bone to pick with your bank, take a gander at the CFPB’s form. It’s as simple to use as the agency’s forms for credit cards and mortgage complaints, and you should receive a response in two to four weeks, the agency says.
As of Feb. 22, the CFPB has taken more than 20,000 consumer complaints, the bulk of which concerned credit cards.
If you’re thinking about switching to a community bank or credit union, see these tips first.
Fees are just the beginning. See what other banking trends are in store for us in 2012 >