Ask Andy: First Tennessee Bank dropping debit card fees

(WMC-TV) - Customers gave it the evil eye. So First Tennessee Bank...blinked.

Tuesday, its head of consumer banking announced First Tennessee will cancel its plans to implement debit card fees.

"While customer feedback about our debit fee plan was largely positive, we believe this change in plans will ensure that we remain competitive with both large and small players in our markets going forward," said First Tennessee's Dave Miller.

The bank had originally planned to start charging fees on debit cards Oct. 22. According to the policy, First Tennessee would have charged four cents on PIN transactions and 14 cents on signature transactions, up to a maximum of $3 a month. There were never any plans to levy fees on debit card cash withdrawals from First Tennessee ATM's.

A bank spokesperson called that plan "consumer friendly" because it didn't drop a flat fee on customers -- just a capped fee based on usage.

Let's be honest.

There's nothing "consumer friendly" about having to pay up to an extra $36 a year in fees while you're constantly keeping track of what kind and how many debit card transactions you complete.

There's nothing consumer friendly either about having to withdraw wads of cash to avoid getting dinged with a debit card fee -- and losing the luxury of using your card to track how you spend your money.

It's all water under the bridge now. First Tennessee's backing off.

Its folks said despite the Oct. 22 implementation date, no customers were ever charged, so no refunds are due.

Other banks are getting the message. To date, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Chase have announced they're ditching their own plans for debit card fees.

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