Another Bank Cuts Debit Cards Rewards Program

Wells Fargo is no longer making their debit card rewards program available to new customers.

The bank announced last week the program ended for new customers at the former Wachovia branches on March 27 and would be terminated at the Wells Fargo branches on April 15. The bank did not announce any changes to the program for existing customers.

This continues the trend taking place with rewards programs at some of the nation’s leading banks. Chase closed enrollment in their debit rewards program in early February and will cut the program to existing customers in mid-July. In September, PNC Bank will no longer give reward points for debit card purchases to customers with free checking accounts.

These cuts are in response to the Durbin Amendment in the financial overhaul bill which caps the interchange fees banks can collect from merchants to 12 cents per transaction. Currently, the debit card swipe fees average a little over 1% of a transaction. Banks claim they will lose
billions of dollars if this change takes place. A ruling from the Federal Reserve is expected by April 21 and the law is projected to take effect on July 21.

Many other banks will likely cut their rewards program if the Federal Reserve upholds this 12-cent limit on the debit card interchange fee. All eyes are on the Fed’s final ruling in April.

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