August 16, 2011
Wells Fargo in a letter to cardholders in five states announced its plans to assess a $3 monthly fee beginning October 14 for purchases made via debit, according to MyBankTracker.
Customers in Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington “will be charged the fee for each month a purchase is made regardless of whether ‘debit’ or ‘credit’ is selected,” the site continued. ATM usage will not activate this charge, according to a Wells Fargo representative.
More than 40 million Wells Fargo customers would be affected if the new debit charges end up being applied nationwide. Wells Fargo is the second largest issuer of debit cards in the United States, estimates an April 2011 Nilson Report
“During a conference in May, Wells Fargo Chairman and CEO John Stumpf said that consumers will end up suffering if there was no delay to the industry-changing debit card swipe fee rules,” reports MyBankTracker. “The rules, that have since been finalized and set to take effect on October 1, will limit debit card interchange fees from at 21 to 24 cents per transaction, down from 44 cents per transaction.”
Experts predict Wells Fargo could lose around $812.5 million annually in debit swipe fee revenue; an improvement from an estimated $1.3 billion loss when the Fed was considering a 12-cent interchange limit.
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