This month, Bank of America will be moving all of its customers off of a popular free eBanking service and into new accounts that will charge a $12 monthly fee unless people hold a balance of at least $1,500 or a direct deposit of $250, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
The eBanking accounts were introduced in 2010 and were free as long as customers didn’t use a bank teller for deposits and withdrawals. Now, the bank’s poorest customers will be charged a relatively enormous amount just to maintain basic banking services:
More often than not, poor people have terrible banking choices in this country. According to one report, in 2015, 7% of Americans were “unbanked” (without any checking or savings account) and nearly 20% were “underbanked” (with a checking or savings account, but also reliant on alternative financial service providers like payday loans). Young, black, and Latinx households are the most likely to find themselves disconnected from our country’s financial institutions.
Bank of America’s decision will only make it more difficult for people struggling to make it work to access their services.