Yielding to overwhelming consumer outcry, big banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America abandoned plans to implement a monthly fee on consumers who use their debit cards for transactions beyond ATM use. This may have started an avalanche of fee reductions, suspensions and eliminations by some of the other large credit card issuers in America.
Across the country, big banks have become increasingly vilified over the past few years by consumers and Congress alike. The CARD Act that was passed in 2009 was a step taken by politicians to reform unfair credit card practices, and recently frustrated consumers took matters into their own hands by orchestrating “Bank Transfer Day” during which many moved their money and accounts from larger retail banks to regional banks and credit unions offering more personalized services and fewer fees.
Some credit card issuers seem to be extending an olive branch of sorts to consumers by eliminating some of the fees attached to their accounts. Some of the changes include:
Bye-bye Balance Transfer Fee
There is a new version of the Chase Slate card available that does not charge the typical 3% balance transfer fee, as long as the balances are transferred within 30 days of the account being opened.
No more Foreign Transaction Fee
Chase did away with the 3% foreign transaction fee on the Sapphire Preferred credit card earlier in the year. Likewise, Citibank eliminated their 3% foreign transaction fee from their ThankYou cards, both Premier and Prestige. The most recent credit card company to follow suit is Discover, who just did away with their 2% foreign transaction fee. These changes will not only benefit travelers but also anyone who purchases an item from a different country or who has a purchase routed through a bank on foreign soil.
Ramping Up Rewards
In their efforts to attract new accountholders with good or better credit scores, many credit card issuers have bulked up their rewards programs. These programs are designed to incentivize spending and regular usage of the card, as well as to reward cardholders for their loyalty. Large cashback bonuses, generous airline mile matching programs and enticing retail promotions are just a few examples.