Staff Editorial 10/6: Bank fees just don’t please

Natalia Leal withdraws money from the ATM on October 5, 2011. "I heard they'€™re charging $5.00 a month now, which ends up to be $60.00 a year, that'€™s ridiculous. I don'€™t care how convenient this ATM is, I'€™m switching banks."€ Natalie Edgar//The Miami Hurricane

As if money wasn’t tight enough already, banks will start charging debit card users $5 per month for purchases made with their card in 2012.

Bank of America is the most recent bank to make this decision and, as UM’s on-campus bank, it affects most of us very directly.

If we step back and take a look at recent trends, this new fee is not surprising. Free checking accounts are a thing of the past; according to a report relased by The Miami Herald, only 45 percent are free, which is down from 75 percent in 2009. ATM fees have also been on the rise.

However, being charged for spending our money seems ridiculous.

New federal regulations limit the amount banks can charge merchants when a customer uses his or her debit card.

This will most likely lower Bank of America’s revenue and the new fee is being enacted to offset this. In other words, customers are now responsible for paying for what merchants used to.

Should we be saddled with this responsibility? It feels more like a punishment than anything else.

The use of debit cards will probably decrease once this fee goes into effect, with people either turning to cash, checks or credit cards to make their purchases.

Credit cards present the same ease and convenience as debit cards, but may have some unfortunate consequences. If we become reliant on credit, it sure won’t be doing our economy any favors.

One would think (and hope) that Bank of America would keep us broke college students in mind when figuring out exemptions from the fee, but think again.

Only certain premium accounts will be exempt; that is, accounts with more than a specific amount of money in them.

These figures haven’t been released yet, but it’s probably safe to assume that an account filled with minimum wage paychecks from an on-campus job won’t cut it.

If you still want to use a debit card, the University Credit Union is an option with fewer fees. Changing banks may be a hassle, but $5 per month adds up.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.