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2011’s Smartest Moments in Pop Culture


6
Debit Card Fee Debacle
Due to consumer activism, Bank of America dropped a $5 debit card fee.
Due to consumer activism, Bank of America dropped a $5 debit card fee.
Scott Olsen/Getty Images

When Bank of America announced its plan for a new $5 fee for debit card transactions, customers revolted. Following the bank's $45 billion taxpayer-funded bailout from the federal government, people didn't take too kindly to being charged -- albeit a nominal sum -- in return. Molly Katchpole of Washington, D.C., became the face of the backlash against Bank of America by starting an online petition to stop the company from levying the debit card fee. Her Change.org petition attracted more than 300,000 signatures, President Obama even spoke out against the fee, saying it was "not good business practice" [source: Gandel].

Soon after, big bank rivals Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase abandoned similar fee plans, and on Nov. 1, Bank of America capitulated as well [source: Bernard]. But that wasn't before some Bank of America customers jumped ship in revolt. Following the $5 debit card fee announcement on Sept. 29, the Credit Union National Association reported 650,000 new accounts, which is attributed to consumer discontent with larger financial institutions like Bank of America [source: Kim].


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