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Bank of America may charge new checking account fee

Customers must agree to bank online, buy more products or maintain certain balances or face monthly charge.

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Bank of America secured net profits of $1.4 billion in 2011, compared with a net loss of $2.2 billion in 2010, signaling sustained recovery for the company. (Davis Turner/Getty Images)

Bank of America Corp. is planning to introduce a monthly fee for its checking account customers unless they agree to bank online, buy more products or maintain certain balances, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The report on the new fee initiative at the nation's second-largest bank comes after major consumer backlash last year when it disclosed plans for a $5-per-month debit card fee.

The bank eventually dropped the plan, Reuters reported.

More from GlobalPost: Bank of America cancels debit card fees

Bank of America pilot programs in Arizona, Georgia and Massachusetts are currently experimenting with charging $6 to $9 a month for an "Essentials" account, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The options being tested include monthly charges of $9, $12, $15 and $25 but give customers opportunities to avoid the payments by maintaining minimum balances, using a credit card or taking a mortgage with the bank, the Journal reported, citing a memo distributed to employees.

Banks, in general, are looking for ways to build revenue lost to new regulations that curb debit card swipe fees, according to MSNBC.

More from GlobalPost: Bank of America returns to profit

The debit-card fee wasn't the only revenue idea Bank of America shelved late in 2011. It decided not to test a plan in which customers who were about to make a debit-card purchase but didn't have enough in their account would have gotten an alert giving them the option of buying overdraft protection, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Bank managers also discussed, and ultimately rejected, a fee for direct-deposit customers who want to tap into their paycheck early, according to the Journal.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120301/bank-of-america-new-checking-account-fee