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Debit Card Fees: Coming to a Wallet Near You

Fees. It’s a word that no one ever wants to hear, but it’s especially shocking to long-time debit card users. Unfortunately for them, it’s also a word they’re hearing more and more often these days, with a budding trend within the banking industry that looks to add monthly fees for debit cards. Wells Fargo has recently joined a growing list of banks that now charge monthly fees for debit card users. And while the fees are usually only between $3-$5 per month, many consumers are outraged at the prospect of paying for their ATM cards.

Why are banks instituting debit card fees?

So why are many banks turning to these new fees? As easy as it may be to envision, the banks didn’t just roll over in bed one day and decide to start making some extra dough off their customers. According to the Wall Street Journal, new regulations on the banking industry have left banks scrambling to find new ways to make up for lost revenue. Thus, many banks have set their sites on what used to be a safe haven from fees: debit cards.  Free checking accounts are also finding themselves on the chopping block at most major banks.

What does this mean for my credit cards?

Intriguingly, many of the fees will only be applied if you use your debit cards to pay for purchases. If you only use your debit card to withdraw cash from one of your banks’ ATMs, then you still may be able to completely avoid fees. The question that remains is will this drive consumers to start using their credit cards more often than their debit cards? The answer remains to be seen. But if you’re already paying an annual fee for your rewards credit cards, then you might as well use them as much as possible, right?

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Logan Abbott's picture

Logan Abbott is a personal finance and credit card expert with over 5 years of experience writing about each topic. He is a graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business, and also contributes to other online finance publications. He has been quoted in the New York Times, San Diego Union Tribune, TheStreet, and more.

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