Bank of America said Tuesday that it will assume all liability for debit card customers' unauthorized transactions.

The announcement came less than a week after MasterCard International's U.S. region said its member banks would limit the liability on MasterMoney debit cards to $50, the same amount as credit cards.

Under Federal Reserve Regulation E, failure to report a lost or stolen debit card could leave a customer vulnerable to as much as $500, or in some cases unlimited losses.

The BankAmerica policy applies to its Visa Check cards. Visa U.S.A. has not weighed in with a blanket policy similar to MasterCard's.

Eugene Lockhart, the former MasterCard chief executive officer who is president of BankAmerica's global retail bank, said, "Usage of the debit card is growing rapidly, and we want our customers to enjoy all of the benefits associated with this popular card option with peace of mind."

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