Major banks that hope new monthly fees for debit card use will help them recoup the higher income they used to earn from merchants on such transactions might be disappointed.
Substantial proportions of consumers say they won't pay the new fees, according to a recent online survey that found 43 percent of respondents would change their payment method and 30 percent would quit their bank, rather than pay a debit card fee.
Only 13 percent of the respondents said they were willing to pay a debit card fee and then only if it were "reasonable," the survey found.
The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Oct. 7-10, 2011, by The Research Intelligence Group, or TRiG, a marketing research firm in Ft. Washington, Pa.
TRiG CEO Bruce Shandler said in a statement that financial institutions "will certainly take a hit in the hearts and minds of consumers" if they impose a monthly debit card fee.
The catch, of course, is people don't always follow through on their intentions. The researchers noted that far fewer consumers would change banks to avoid a debit card fee if such fees were universal and couldn't be avoided that way.
Switching also is predicated on the customer's awareness of the bank's fee structure, which is often not the case.
"Customers," the researchers said, "historically, do not have a strong sense of their (bank) fees."
Of those who said they'd change their payment method, the survey found 28 percent intended to use cash while 15 percent planned to use credit cards instead of debit cards. Changing payment methods was the most likely strategy for people who were ages 45 to 64 or had a relatively lower annual household income.
Changing banks was the most popular solution for people who lived in the Western U.S., were ages 18 to 54 or had an annual household income of $100,000 or more.
People who lived in the Northeast, were 61 or older or had an annual household income in the $50,000-to-$100,000 range were most inclined to increase their credit card usage.
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