JPMorgan to halt debit rewards programs

Beginning on February 8, JPMorgan Chase is set to end enrollment for its popular debit card rewards programs, closing the service off to customers who are already enrolled.

JPMorgan says the decision is the result of new regulations that restrict the amount lenders can charge for checking account services.

Industry analysts say this could mark the start of a trend among major credit card issuers, as Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo have reported they are considering making similar changes. Under the bank’s debit rewards program, existing customers attain 1 point for every $5 they spend on the card, The Associated Press reports. However, consumers can pay a $25 dollar annual fee to quadruple their point earnings.

Consumer advocates say this may help curb the number of Americans suffering from debt by inspiring them to stop chasing unrealistic rewards with increased spending. For example, customers who are enrolled in the Chase rewards program must spend $25,000 to obtain a $50 gift card from Macy’s, the news source says.

Debit cards have recently boomed in popularity, as many have turned away from credit cards, or have been locked out of the lending system altogether.