Bank of America considers checking account fee revamp: report

Thu Mar 1, 2012 7:46am EST

A Bank of America customer uses an ATM machine at a branch in Greenville, South Carolina January 18, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane

A Bank of America customer uses an ATM machine at a branch in Greenville, South Carolina January 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Chris Keane

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(Reuters) - Bank of America Corp is planning to introduce a monthly fee for its customers holding checking accounts unless they agree to bank online, buy more products or maintain certain balances, the Wall Street Journal said.

The report on the new fee initiative at the nation's second-largest bank comes after it had faced a major consumer backlash last year when it disclosed plans for a $5-per-month debit card fee, forcing the bank to drop the plan.

Bank of America pilot programs in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts now are experimenting with charging $6 to $9 a month for an "Essentials" account, the paper said.

The options being tested include monthly charges of $9, $12, $15 and $25 but give customers opportunities to avoid the payments by maintaining minimum balances, using a credit card or taking a mortgage with the bank, the Journal said, citing a memo distributed to employees.

Banks, in general, are looking for ways to build revenue lost to new regulations that curb debit card swipe fees.

Bank of America could not immediately be reached for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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