We’ve already learned that retailers are unlikely to pass on debit charge savings from last year’s financial reform bill. In fact, some, like Home Depot, are already telling investors that they plan to increase their profits by millions because of the “reform.”
So who’s going to pick up those lost revenues in the banking industry? It sure as hell isn’t going to be the banks or the wealthy few with premier accounts.
Brace yourselves, but it’s going to be consumers, as the Associate Press reports Saturday:
Bank of America is testing a new lineup of accounts that come with fees ranging from $6 to $25, depending on the level of service selected. Citi already revamped the terms on its checking accounts last year to include higher fees in many cases. Chase, PNC Bank and Wells Fargo ended or scaled back their debit rewards programs.
And more unwelcome changes are likely in store. Among the possibilities: Fees for debit cards and even a $50 or $100 cap on transactions.
"Banks have two ways they can cope; they can cut costs or they can raise revenue," says Bart Narter, a banking analyst with the consulting firm Celent. "They’re going to have to charge you for things that they used to give away, like online bill pay."
It would be pretty difficult to chalk this up as some sort of progressive victory against the big banks. Instead, as is often the case, the ones left holding the bill are consumers.
If only someone had seen that consumers would not benefit from the swipe fee reform and had proposed a sensible delay to study the issue.