Wells Fargo, official bank of Florida A&M, has begun testing a $3 monthly fee for debit card holders.
It is not just Wells Fargo that will be implementing monthly debit card fees. A Customer Stream news release lists Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Regions, SunTrust and BB&T as banks that have recently implemented or announced plans to begin charging monthly fees to debit card holders.
Many banks nation-wide have begun making changes to procedures to handle the current economic situation. Some of these actions included SunTrust and other banks eliminating free checking for new customers. JP Morgan Chase is also testing a $3 monthly fee in Wisconsin.
“It is understandable paying a fee when using another bank’s ATM, but now we will be paying the bank we use to hold our money,” said Taylor Washington, 20, a fourth-year business administration student from Largo, Md.
For now, Wells Fargo customers in Florida have been spared. Wells Fargo is currently testing the monthly debit card holder fee in five states; Oregon, Nevada, Georgia, Washington and New Mexico. The fee only applies to customers who use their debit cards to make purchases, not for ATM withdrawals.
Lisa Westermann, spokeswoman for Wells Fargo’s card services and consumer lending department, does not know the likelihood of the fee becoming nation-wide permanent policy.
“It is too early to tell. The fee is still in its pilot phase,” said Westermann.
An Associated Press GFK poll found that many costumers will seek other methods of paying if faced with fees. Results from the poll concluded that debit cards are used by two-thirds more consumers than credit cards.
The poll also found that, when faced with the $3 fee, 61 percent of consumers said they would find another method to pay. If the fee was $5, 66 percent would opt for another payment method. At $7, the number increased to 81 percent of consumers saying they would find another way to pay.
With Florida college tuition steadily climbing, students at FAMU are not happy about the proposed fee.
“I think they are just trying to make money since they have all these new laws about overdraft protection,” said Janai Clabon, first-year professional pharmacy candidate from St. Louis.