If you're a Bank of America customer, having a debit card is about to become a lot less fun.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that BoA is about to start charging customers $5 a month for any month in which they use their debit card to make a purchase. Why? Well, its basically punishment:
The bank, like others, has been testing ways to recover debit-card revenue that is going away because of new regulations.
Banks previously had charged merchants 44 cents on average every time they accepted a debit card for a purchase. Under new regulations that take effect Saturday, banks with more than $10 billion in assets will be able to charge merchants only 21 cents to 24 cents per transaction.
Bank of America and other big banks have said they will compensate by charging customers. "The economics of offering debit cards have changed," Pace said in an interview.
So: A service that used to cost no money (because it wasn't really a service) is now costing money. It's all the government's fault! This is like a bully punching your little brother when you don't give him your lunch money, and then telling your little bro that the whole thing is your fault.
Also, if you were planning on fomenting a large-scale rebellion against these new charges, good luck. The charges won't apply to the people Bank of America cares about keeping:
[Customers] also can make debit purchases free if they have a mortgage from Bank of America or if they have a total of $20,000 on deposit at Bank of America and in certain Merrill Lynch accounts...
We are not generally radical people, but this is the kind of thing that makes us want to storm the barricades.