According to the Wall Street Journal (Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Experiment With Higher Checking Fees, 2/19/11) Chase is testing new and higher fee regimes in select markets. These test are being done on new accounts only
We can only presume they are trying to find the point at which customers push back too much.
The nation’s largest banks are testing how much their customers are willing to pay for checking-account services that used to be free.
Bank of America Corp. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., the two biggest banks as measured by assets, have begun trying new fees in pilot tests from Hayward, Wis., to Newnan, Ga.
They include an account that charges a $3 monthly fee for debit cards. Another account designed for electronic-only banking charges customers a $12 monthly fee if customers go to a teller for assistance. In the test programs, some bare-bones checking accounts also now carry base fees ranging from $6 to $9 a month.
The new fees, which are limited to accounts for new and prospective customers in the pilot programs, can typically be waived if customers meet certain criteria.
The pilot testing is the latest indication of the push to boost fees as banks scramble to make up billions of dollars of revenue expected to be lost from new federal restrictions on debit cards.
Chase seems to gong further than other banks in their test of new fees
Chase, which has launched the tests in some of its smaller markets such as northern Wisconsin and Atlanta, is one of the first banks to explore monthly fees on debit cards.
Until now, debit cards have usually been a free part of a basic checking account. One new account Chase is testing includes a $3 monthly fee if the customer wants a debit card. It is aimed at less-affluent customers who don’t keep a lot of money in the bank.
“My anticipation is that we will change these tests over time and might introduce some others,” said Charles Scharf, who runs J.P. Morgan’s retail operations and describes the law as “a terrible mistake for consumers, small banks and small merchants.”