Consumers Angry About Bank Fees

Consumers are seeing an increase in many fees for bank accounts, while at the same time they’re losing some perks that are associated with their debit cards. In fact, the concept of free checking accounts may soon be a thing of the past. What is driving this increase in fees? Regulatory efforts – designed to provide greater protection to consumers and merchants – are constraining banks’ fee revenue; this is driving banks to charge for services that were previously free and eliminate debit rewards.

Using Social Radar we found that the internet has been buzzing about bank fees for the last six months. During that time period there have been over 100,000 conversations about the topic.

Not surprisingly, most of the chatter about bank fees is extremely negative. A review of sentiment for sentences about the topic reveals that 54% of the comments are negative.

The majority of the conversation is being had on microblogs, which includes mostly Twitter.

Driving the Twitter buzz is Wells Fargo and its recent announcement that it will soon start testing $3 debit card fees. Check out Infegy’s blog for a more detailed review of Well’s Fargo: http://infegy.com/buzzstudy/wells-fargo/.

In addition, July 2011 Moveon.org petition that proclaimed “Don’t let your phone and bank fees fund Republican efforts to crash our economy:t.co/VZAOUAuvia @MoveOn” also garnered a lot of attention on Twitter.

Consumer advocacy groups are encouraging consumers to pay attention to all communication from their banks, as new fees can possibly be avoided by changing banking behaviors. For example, Bank of America’s eBanking account carries an $8.95 monthly fee, but these fees can be waived if the customer chooses paperless statements and makes all deposits and withdrawals via ATMs (and does not use a teller).

Fees on bank accounts look to be here for the long term, as financial institutions strive to maintain margins under new legislative rules.

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Categories: Financial Services

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