By Bernie Tafoya

October 2, 2011


With Bank of America announcing it plans to charge customers $5 a month for using their debit cards, consumers of other banks wonder if it’s only a matter of time before they’re going to face charges too. But there are alternatives.


As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the first thing you might want to consider is switching to another bank that does not charge debit card fees.


Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation spokeswoman Sue Hofer said your best bets are likely to be community banks or – if you qualify – credit unions, which are not-for-profit.


Getting money out of a no-fee ATM and paying cash is another option. So is paying by credit card.


But Tom Feltner, of the Woodstock Institute, a Chicago-based research and advocacy group, said that going “credit-only” could hurt low-income people who would not have as tight a rein on their spending as they do now with debit cards.


Ultimately, “Consumers are being stuck in the middle of this debate between big banks and big retailers. Ultimately, a lot of this lost income is going to be passed on to consumers,” Feltner said.


Feltner also suggested that consumers ask their banks for ways fees can be waived.


*These clippings are provided for “fair use” not-for-profit, educational purposes (and other related purposes). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond “fair use,” you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Please contact Woodstock Institute for more information.