Bank of America Site Crashes, Day After $5 Debit Fee Rule

Sep 30, 2011 12:09pm
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A day after news that Bank of America would hit some debit card customers with a $5 monthly fee, the bank’s home page went down on Friday morning through the early evening.

Many users reported not being able to access their accounts after logging on through the home page. By evening on the east coast, the home page was still experiencing sporadic problems. As of 7 p.m. ET, the bank’s home page was back up and running.

Earlier, a Bank of America spokeswoman said some customers were experiencing issues, but that the site was running in the afternoon.

She added, that while the bank doesn’t comment on specific technical issues, this “had nothing to do with yesterday or hacking or anything to do with customers information being compromised.”

But some visitors to the home page encountered a message that stated some of its pages were “temporarily unavailable.”

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Some users received the message: “We apologize, but Online Banking is operating slower than usual. We are working to restore full service as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience.”

Other services, including looking up an ATM or a branch, appear to be operational despite the site’s crash, as first reported by Credit.com.

Regarding the company’s announcement that they will charge $5 a month to customers who use their debit card for purchases early next year, Bank of America spokeswoman Betty Riess, said the “economics of offering a debit card have changed with recent regulations.” She said the company will notify customers in writing at least 30 days before applying the fee.

Bank of America, based in Charlotte, N.C., will waive debit card charges on premium accounts and for Wealth Management/Merrill Lynch and US Trust clients. Customers will still be able to get cash through ATMs, use online bill pay and mobile phones for free.

Banks have warned that the Durbin Amendment, which is part of the Dodd-Frank Act, could lead to negative repercussions for consumers. The amendment capped debit card transaction, or interchange, fees for merchants at 21 cents per transaction earlier this year. Before the amendment, debit card companies charged merchants an average interchange fee of 44 cents per transaction.

While Chase and Wells Fargo are testing in some markets a $3 monthly fee for users who make purchases with their debit card, they said they have no immediately plans to roll-out the fees nationally. Other banks also offer free debit card options.

 

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