Will B of A’s debit-card fee cancellation undo the damage?

Facing vociferous and sustained public outcry, Bank of America and banks like it are rolling back the debit-card fees they announced in late September. Can they win back trust?

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“We have listened to our customers very closely over the last few weeks and recognize their concern with our proposed debit usage fee,” David Darnell, the bank’s co-chief operating officer, said in the company’s Tuesday statement. “Our customers’ voices are most important to us. As a result, we are not currently charging the fee and will not be moving forward with any additional plans to do so.”

Though other banks had plans for similar fees—and have also largely scrapped them—Bank of America seemed to suffer the brunt of the public outcry, as the Change.org petition makes clear.

“Bank of America likely misjudged both the consumer reaction and the delay of the others in implementing the fee,” says Gerald Baron, principal at Agincourt Strategies. “I suspect they thought the same thing would happen as when airlines implemented the baggage fees, where the first one took some heat, then the rest followed and the heat died down.”

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