(Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
Over 200,000 people have signed a petition to protest Bank of America’s plans to charge customers a $5 fee if they use their debit cards to make purchases.
Bank of America sparked outrage across the country after announcing Sept. 30 that it plans to start charging its customers $5 dollars a month to use a debit card.
One Bank of America customer, Molly Katchpole, was so furious with the new fees that she launched an online petition on Change.org last week that asks the bank to reverse decision. The petition, entitled “Tell Bank of America: No$5 Debit Card Fees,” garnered over 153,000 signatures in just one week for her online petition.
On Thursday, Katchpole, 22, delivered the petitions to a Washington D.C. branch, cleared out her Bank of America account, and cut up her debit cards. As of Saturday evening, the petition has collected over 211,000 signatures.
“This is an outrageous fee,” Katchpole remarks in the petition’s description.
“What's worse is that Bank of America's decision to charge customers for debit card use will likely spread to other banks. Wells Fargo and Chase bank have already announced plans to test a $3 monthly fee to their customers.”
Katchpole says it's not fair for the bank to charge the fee after taxpayers bailed out Bank of America when they were in the midst of financial problems.
“When the recession first hit, we gave Bank of America billions of dollars in bailout money. Our reward is higher fees for the same services. At some point, we've got to say enough is enough,” Katchpole said.
CNN anchor Ali Velshi says Katchpole should garner support from the Occupy Wall Street protest organizers, which have voiced strong objection to the bailout money for big corporations.
“If these two groups got together there would be big change for sure,” Velshi said on CNN this week.
Bank of America is not alone in its move to charge monthly debit card fees. In the wake of The Dodd-Frank Act's Durbin amendment, which caps fees banks can charge merchants for debit card transactions, other U.S. banks have recently announced or plan to implement monthly debit card fees as a way to make up for lost revenue.
Citibank has announced it will start charging customers $15 a month for a checking account, unless they maintain a certain balance or use specific options.
Meanwhile, Wells Fargo & Co, JPMorgan Chase & Co and SunTrust Banks Inc. are among the banks that are testing or expected to roll out monthly debit card fees.