As reported in the media, a spokesman for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group issued some advice Thursday for those frustrated about Bank of America’s new $3 automated teller machine fee for non-customers: Go to a credit union. BofA began implementing the higher fee in July. Reports called this the highest ATM fee ever imposed by a major bank and a move that may cause other banks to follow suit.
This is gouging, according to an online posting by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Ed Mierzwinski. He suggested that consumers take their business to a credit union in response.
Tun Wai, NAFCU (National Association of Federal Credit Union)’s chief economist, said credit unions remain a strong alternative to rising bank fees. “The very fact that credit unions are owned and controlled by members is what helps them keep fees generally below what is being charge by other institutions,” Wai noted. “With this recent action by BofA, credit unions’ lower-cost services are looking better than ever.”
In a USA Today story Thursday, Greg McBride, a senior analyst at Bankrate.com, says banks often “move like a school of fish on punitive charges such as ATM surcharges and credit card late fees,” so it’s a matter of time before other banks raise their ATM fees as well.
To read USPIRG’s comments, check out USPIRG’s Consumer Blog.