Wells Fargo Abandons Debit-Fee Plans Amid Backlash

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Wells Fargo & Co. on Friday became the latest big bank to abandon plans to start charging customers for using debit cards, in the wake of a widespread backlash against new bank fees.

The San Francisco-based bank said late Friday that it was canceling plans to start charging some customers $3 per month for using debit cards.

Wells, which has planned to test those fees in five states starting this month, said in a press release that it abandoned those plans in "response to customer feedback the bank has received."

It is the latest effort by big banks to back away from their highly-criticized efforts to charge customers more for using their existing debit cards and checking accounts. Earlier Friday, reports surfaced that JPMorgan Chase & Co. was abandoning a similar debit card fee test and that Bank of America Corp. was "likely" to give customers more loopholes to avoid its planned debit card fees.

Big banks have been raising the prices on their basic checking accounts and debit cards, in response to new federal regulations capping the once-lucrative debit interchange fees they receive from merchants every time customers buy things with their debit cards.

But the plans have not gone over well with either consumers or politicians. Bank of America set off a firestorm of criticism last month when it announced plans to start charging its customers $5 per month for using debit cards.

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