Americans prefer using their debit cards at the register, but a small fee could change that. A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds that about two-thirds of consumers use debit cards more frequently than credit cards. But when debit card holders were asked how they would react if they were charged a $3 monthly fee for their debit card, 61% say they'd find another way to pay. If the fee were $5, 66% would do the same. If the fee were $7, the figure rises to 81%.
Although banks haven't started imposing monthly fees for debit cards, higher costs could be on the way. Starting in October, a new cap will sharply limit the revenue banks can collect from merchants whenever customers swipe their debit cards, and the industry is looking for way to recoup money. Chase, for example, is testing a $3 monthly fee for debit cards on new accounts in northern Wisconsin. In Atlanta, it's testing a $15 monthly fee on basic checking accounts.