Bank of America Corp. is testing annual fees of $29 to $99 on some of its credit cards.
The Charlotte banking company began notifying some customers this month that it would charge the fees starting with their February billing statements. Customers may refuse to accept the fees and close their accounts, a B of A spokeswoman said.
The company has not said how many people will be charged, but the spokeswoman said it would be "a very limited number." B of A selected customers from several card products, based on their "risk and profitability," she said.
The letter to customers said the fees are a "response to market conditions, new federal laws and regulations and the increasing costs of providing unsecured credit."
Megan Bramlette, a managing associate at Auriemma Consulting Group, said she was not surprised by B of A's move. "Although this is a test," she said, "I believe this is the beginning of a new trend we have expected to see."
Faced with rising losses, lower consumer spending and a tough new regulatory environment, issuers "believe they have no choice but to introduce annual fees to offset some of these losses. I expect other issuers will follow," she said.