Bank of America is facing backlash from customers who’re getting shut out of the company’s free checking account offering.
According to news from CNBC, citing Mel San, a Bank of America customer who started a Change.org petition that has gained 46,000 signatures so far, customers are upset that Bank of America is doing away with its eBanking checking account that gave them access to free checking. Now, unless they have a direct deposit of $250 or more each month or can maintain a balance of $1,500 at the minimum, they must pay a $12 monthly fee. The change is expected to hurt lower-income customers who can’t meet the requirements to avoid the fees.
“Bank of America was known to care for both their high-income and low-income customers. This is what made Bank of America different,” wrote San, according to CNBC. “I urge you to let Bank of America realize that this is unfair to their customers that have been loyal to them for years.”
Bank of America told CNBC that students who are younger than 24 can receive an exemption that would let them maintain their eBanking accounts. “Our Core Checking account provides full access to all our financial centers, ATMs, mobile and online banking and offers several ways to avoid a monthly fee, including a monthly direct deposit of $250, which equates to $3,000 annually,” Betty Riess, a Bank of America spokeswoman, told CNBC. “This is one of the lowest qualifiers in the industry — and a great value.”
The account that Bank of America is eliminating was first introduced back in 2010, when the company was trying to lure customers to online banking. The account had no monthly fee, as long as customers accessed their statements online and didn’t use a bank teller. If customers used those services, they had to pay an $8.95 fee each month. The bank stopped offering the banking account in 2013 to new customers, but maintained it for those who already had it.