Critics Say Bank of America Fees Hurt People with Less Income

Bank of America.jpg

Customers want Bank of America to stop charging fees for accounts with low balances. The company ended its free checking account and will start charging $12 per month.

Critics say the decision disproportionately hurts low-income consumers. The president of a financial advocacy organization explains the consequences:

“The debate over Bank of America’s accounts and fees points to a larger economic justice issue — people with less income pay more to get cash, make payments, and conduct their business. Without access to safe and affordable bank accounts, low-income consumers often turn to costly alternative financial services, such as currency exchanges or check-cashers. The bottom line is: the most financially vulnerable need more and better options to transact their business and participate in the financial mainstream.”

Few big banks still have free checking options because they are expensive to maintain. Banks prefer to move customers to digital solutions. But many low-income people don't have smartphones or reliable internet access. More than 287,000 people have signed a petition.


  • What's your view? Is Bank of America being unfair, or is this just a good business decision?
  • What is the value of a petition? On what principles of persuasion does a petition rely?
  • How well does the image on the petition site, shown here, work? The emotional appeal is obvious. Does it help or detract from the message?