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Debit Overdraft Fees, While Voluntary, Are Still Steep

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 3:28 PM
From NYTimes.com
Even though banks now must get permission from their customers before charging overdraft fees on debit card purchases, the fees they charge are still hefty — and some big banks have increased the maximum number of overdraft fees customers can run up each day.

A review by the Consumer Federation of America, an association of nonprofit groups, found that in the year since the Federal Reserve required banks to have customers “opt in” to debit overdraft protection, the typical overdraft fee at 14 large banks is still $35, with some charging as much as $37 per incident. That far exceeds the typical debit card overdraft of $20, the report notes.

One bank, BB&T, doubled the maximum number of overdraft fees it charges in a day, to eight from four, the review found, and Regions Bank increased its daily limit to six from four.

But those banks still fall short of Fifth Third, which charges up to 10 overdraft fees per day. The bank starts off with a $25 fee, but charges higher fees for successive overdrafts in the same 12 months. That means it’s possible for Fifth Third customers to pay as much as $370 in fees in a single day if they hit the maximum, the report says.

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