= Subscriber content; or subscribe now to access all American Banker content.

Bank of America Drops Plan for $5 Debit-Card Fee

Bank of America Corp. is dropping its plan to charge customers $5 a month for making purchases with their debit cards, said a person familiar with the situation.

The move is a dramatic retreat following decisions by several rivals in recent days to drop customer tests of the new fees. SunTrust Banks Inc. and Regions Financial Corp. also said Monday they will stop charging customers for debit-card transactions.

Bank of America decided against the fees due to negative customer feedback on the plan and the moves by rivals, which left the Charlotte, N.C. lender as the only big bank planning to levy the fee on some customers next year.

Bank of America will announce the decision today, this person said.

The announcements follow decisions last week by Wells Fargo & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to drop customer tests of the new fees.

The about-face represents a rare concession to customer sensitivities over lucrative fees. Hit hard by a soft economy and tightening regulations, banks have been adding fees on services, charging for instance for many checking accounts that used to be free.