Consumers will switch banks over added fees

The controversial new fees being added by banks for debit card accounts will likely lead to a large number of consumers switching to different, less expensive financial institutions.

A recent poll from the Research Intelligence Group found that about 30 percent of U.S. banking customers would leave their financial institutions as a result of fees for debit card use being added to their accounts, according to a report from Bloomberg News. Further, 43 percent said that while they wouldn’t switch, they would use alternative payment methods, such as credit cards or cash, instead. Just 13 percent found the fee increases “reasonable.”

Consumers who fall in the lower or middle income groups were more likely to pay the fees, as 22 percent of those making between $35,000 and $49,000 per year were willing to do so, the report said. Just 14 percent of those making $100,000 or more felt the same way. This is likely because those in lower income groups have fewer banking options available to them.

Bank of America, whose $5 fee has caused the biggest stir of any fee in recent months, has said that the majority of consumers will be able to avoid the charge depending on their banking habits.