Look Out For These Fees As Bank Legislation Goes Into Full Effect

This is the first business day financial institutions have been required to give existing checking account customers the choice to opt in to overdraft protection. Since banks are looking for ways to make up for the lost revenue by sticking it to customers in other ways, they’ve dreamed up some new ways to trick you out of your money.

Some increased fees and other tricks to watch out for, according to the Seattle Times:

• Increased or new annual fees.

• Increased interest rates.

• Increased late-payment fees.

• Shortened billing cycles to require faster payments (minimum is now 21 days).

• Added fees for not using the card or not charging a minimum amount.

• Higher fees for using the card outside of the country.

If you’ve noticed your bank getting any sneakier with its fees recently, tell us what you’ve spotted.

Watch for new fees as consumer laws take effect [Seattle Times]

Previously: Wells Fargo Ordered To Pay $203 Million For Processing Transactions High To Low, Maximizing Overdraft Fees


Edit Your Comment

  1. H3ion says:

    Haven’t notice anything yet from Amex, Chase, Barclays and BB&T. Amex has always charged a fee. The others do not. I don’t carry a balance so I don’t know what the interest rate might be and I haven’t been late with a payment in years (and that was the Post Office’s screwup).

  2. ssnseawolf says:

    Credit unions and debit cards, folks.

    Yeah, there’s reasons not to use them but I think a lot of people would be better off not using large banking institutions.

    • jennesy says:


    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      I use my credit union’s debit card every place that doesn’t take Amex. My Amex is through Costco and has no fees, at least not yet. We get back over $900 a year by using it on everything we can, so even if I were charged a small fee, if the awards dollars stayed the same, I’d proabaly keep using it.

    • Necoras says:

      I agree about the credit unions. That being said, I got a letter from mine just the other day urging me to not face the perilous world without the lifesaving properties of OVERDRAFT PROTECTION ection ection ection…….

      It would seem that even credit unions can be sneaky and greedy. Imagine that.

      • A.Mercer says:

        I get the overdraft stuff from my credit union as well. For awhile I was getting a letter that said I needed to opt in or opt out of the overdraft. I had to do one or the other according to them. I do not get that anymore. Also, on their website when you are logging in you see a notice pop up that says something like “to avoid a nasty surprise on August 16th”. Well today is the day and I have yet to receive my nasty surprise. Should I call them up and ask where it is?

        • ninabi says:

          Oooh! You must tell us when and if you do get it. It just sounds so wicked, doesn’t it? “Nasty surprise”. Honestly, what on earth do they have planned?

          • varro says:

            If you don’t opt-in to overdraft protection, the clip art on their web site turns into the girl with the card in her teeth.

      • mac-phisto says:

        yes, those letters seem a little nasty don’t they, but here’s something else to consider: have you received them from any other bank? i have 4 checking accounts (don’t ask – it’s a long story), only one is with a credit union & that is the only institution that has notified me about my options.

        why haven’t the banks? the updates to “courtesy overdraft protection” are the same for both banks & CUs. this makes me think that banks are dreaming up some nefarious method for adjusting their COD programs whereas CUs are being upfront about your choice.

        so, to you they seem nasty. to me, they’re empowering – at least i know my options (which, btw, was an opt-out, of course).

    • pot_roast says:

      My credit union already charges me a monthly fee and they have for a few years. :/

      Just need to point out that credit unions aren’t always better, despite what we keep hearing here.

  3. sonneillon says:

    Wachovia (Wells Fargo now in everything except name) does not look like it has done anything shiesty in terms of fees, could this be because I have a business account and not a regular one, or have they just not acted yet?

    Although if they charge a annual fee I will find someone else.

    • moyawyvern says:

      They started charging an annual fee for a credit line I have with them that I only have for emergencies. I didn’t know about it until it appeared. Other than that, everything else seems the same. Now if I could just figure out if that is true with the new Well Fargo credit card they sent me. No where does it have interest rate info that I can find, even on the website.

  4. qwickone says:

    What does shortened billing cycle mean? Does that mean that instead of the 30 days I currently have, I could now only have 21 days to pay? Or does it mean my billing period can now be 21 days?

    • OnePumpChump says:

      Yeah, probably. I had Chase pull that on me 4 years ago. Except they did it without any notification. And they change the length of the billing cycle two months in a row. And then two separate CSRs lied about both.

      How much you want to bet this is going to happen more…not just shortening billing cycles, but lengthening them too, so that you’re never sure how long the billing cycle is.

      • myCatCracksMeUp says:

        Agree – and preventing that should’ve been in the bill that was passed.

      • SalParadise says:

        My god, that means you will actually have to READ the bill to determine when it is due!

        Those fiends! Will they stop at nothing to keep me from running my life on auto-pilot?

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      The former. So, your billing cycle ends on the 3rd of September, and your payment is due on Sept 24th, rather than (say) October 2nd.

  5. lawnmowerdeth says:

    Two of my cards (one BofA and one Chase) started charging me foreign transaction fees that didn’t before. Ticked me off.

    • Chris says:

      Both of mine have been charging about 3% for years. That’s why I only use my Citi card overseas – the same exchange rate with 0% fees. They even refund the 1% Visa and MC charge seamlessly.

    • ellemdee says:

      B of A hit me with a foreign transaction fee while using my DEBIT card earlier this year. Grrrr. I bought a book from a website that I didn’t realize processed their transactions in Canada. I’d made purchases from them in the past w/o fees, so this must be a newer one.

      • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

        We currently live in Germany, and Wachovia charges a pretty high precentage of the transaction cost to use the card overseas.

        I immediately signed us up for USAA when I did the math on how much husband had been paying. He had been here a while before we got married and I had never noticed.

        • Willow16 says:

          My USAA Mastercard charges a foreign transaction fee when I purchase my meds from Canada now.

          • Dallas_shopper says:

            B of A charges foreign transaction fees; I ordered new glasses from England last year and was hit with one but it was not too big, maybe $5 on a $220 purchase. I didn’t care. It was my only foreign transaction last year!

    • Dre' says:

      Wachovia is doing this as well.

  6. jennesy says:

    My IKEA credit card (which has a fantastic 6 month deferred interest option but crazy-high interest rates otherwise) just imposed a $1.99 MONTHLY FEE to keep the card open. The fee applies whether you carry a balance or not. (I believe GEMB issues the card.)

    $24/year to have a credit card from IKEA? I think not!

  7. galaxirose says:

    Wells Fargo didn’t give me a choice to opt out of the fee service, because I “linked my checking and savings accounts” back in February to avoid being charged the $35 mandatory overdraft fees (the linking took the fees down to $10). So if you’ve done that, be sure to call them up and unlink them if you don’t want those “pesky” overdraft fees.

    (Although I DID get an email stating that I should “Keep Your Checking Account Working As It Does Today!” My bad for assuming that actually applied to me…)

    Also, Wells Fargo is notoriously unscrupulous about when they decide to clear my deposited checks, and how much they decide to clear at a time. The reason WHY I overdrafted twice this weekend… Depositing the same check that I do every month, for the same amount, from another Wells Fargo customer. Typically they clear $500 of it immediately — this time it was down to $100. Oh Wells Fargo. Why do I continually choose convenience over confidence?

  8. hymie! says:

    I suspect you’re talking about credit cards, not checking accounts?

    Because my checking account does not have a “billing cycle”, and I would be thrilled with a higher interest rate.

  9. COBBCITY says:

    Yes, in true Phil Villarreal form, he has opened this story talking about checking account overdraft fees and then listed bullet points that apply to credit cards. Two different stories mushed into one.

    • staralfur says:

      Do you know what a bank is?

      • vitajex says:

        The ‘overdraft protection’ mentioned in the first paragraph does NOT apply to credit cards PERIOD.

        • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

          I think what he’s saying is if they can’t make money off your checking account, they will try to make it up by getting $$ from the credit cards they issue.

    • indiegeek says:

      Did you read the article?

      “Since banks are looking for ways to make up for the lost revenue by sticking it to customers in other ways, they’ve dreamed up some new ways to trick you out of your money.

      Some increased fees and other tricks to watch out for, according to the Seattle Times:”

      tl;dr – “We can’t take your money this way, so here are other ways we are going to take your money.”

    • CoachTabe says:

      Reading comprehension fail on your part. The opening is there to describe WHY the new credit card fees will be enacted. They lost revenue from X and want to make up for it from Y.

  10. david0mp says:

    USAA doesn’t seem to have changed anything.

    • 6T9 says:

      I’m actually looking at swapping everything to my USAA account. They are more solid than any financial institution I’ve ever used. My ex-wife works in the business of insurance claims and she has told me that USAA is the best, hands down as far as service. They don’t pull any of the games that result in customers getting the run around. They have no fees….blah blah blah. Everything they do just seems to be 180 degrees from every other bank.

    • DingoAndTheBaby says:

      They changed the look of their website. That’s about it, though. ;-) Definitely can’t beat them. I had them about 8 years ago, got rid of them – I don’t know why – for BofA. Yes…ridiculously stupid move. But, switched back about 2 years ago.

      HOWEVER…one gripe with USAA: Their debit cards are MasterCard-branded, and a lot of ATMs in foreign countries don’t recognize MasterCard. A Visa-branded debit card would be so much easier. Right now, I only have two options for banks in any city in Japan from which I can withdraw money: Citibank or JP Bank.

    • nbs2 says:

      Not true.

      Every single day, they become a little more awesome. And becoming more awesome, my friend, is change we can believe in.

  11. Consumeristing says:

    As a consumer this fees help protect you. Or something.

  12. julia says:

    I was watching a segment on the TV about the new rules, and they said they are doing away with the inactivity fee
    Currently some card providers levy an inactivity or dormant fee on account holders who do not actively use a card. This practice will no longer be allowed under the latest reforms.

  13. menty666 says:

    I thought one of the reforms was supposed to be a 30 day period from close to due? Did they nix that? I know I’ve had to watch one of my credit cards like a hawk because it closes on the 14th, I don’t get the bill for another week (even electronically it takes them 2-3 business days) and then when I pay via my credit union’s bill pay it takes another week or so for the payment to go out. Too early and you get snagged on the previous bill, too late and you get hit with a late fee and a ding.

  14. Kingeryck says:

    For the love of God, I am sick of telling people this. Overdraft protection is what PROTECTS you from OVERDRAFTS ie an automatic savings account transfer or line of credit. Paying or not paying overdrafts is NOT overdraft protection.

  15. prismatist says:

    Wow. All the recent posts about new fees and changes to banking practices make me glad I live in Canada. US lawmakers should just kill all current bank legislation of every kind, and copy Canadian law verbatim. Not only do we have no such issues to worry about, our banks are still profitable and didn’t get slammed by the credit crunch like yours did. My advice to you all: walk away from US banks and sign up with a Canadian bank that does business in the US.

    • MedicallyNeedy says:

      I want a Canadian Debit Card! Is that legal for an American? I know people sell Canadian Dish network in Mexico with NY local channels. (Probably “not” legal.)

      • prismatist says:

        I’m sure it’s legal, but you’ll be paying crazy out-of-country fees. See if there is an RBC, BMO, CIBC, Scotiabank, or TD bank in your area, then check their policies against home-grown ones. If they operate their US business anything like their Canadian business, you’re in for a treat compared to the crap I keep reading about US banks. Again, it utterly astounds me that banks are able to get away with any of the junk I read about on this site.

  16. vicarp says:

    I don’t have CC’s anymore. I leaned on them heavily when I was unemployed.

    Last year I consolidated and killed them all right before the last legislation. All my cards jacked up my interest rate to 29% and lower my balance to right above what I had on them (even though I had never been late, always paid more than the min balance, and was nowhere near the limit), therefore Killing my credit.

    I decided to go into debt -management w/ a non-profit, and my life is WAY EASIER. I don’t have to worry about this BS and do not charge anything ever. And i don’t carry the “worry” and guilt about having a growing CC debt. I have a plan, and am almost done paying them FINALLY.

    It was also a good lesson on living within my means, which i wasn’t able to do until I took that step.

  17. MedicallyNeedy says:

    I understand Bank of America has added an E-Commerce visa debit card. No fee zero balance except if for any reason you want to see a real life teller, it’ll cost you!

  18. TTFK says:

    Oh, First National played with my APR alright…

    … They just reduced my Purchase APR to 0% for the rest of the year, nothing to buy, no transfer or anything else required :)

  19. ram0029 says:

    We use Arvest bank. This month we noticed a $5.00 fee for including the photostat copies of written checks with our monthly statement, always free before. No explanation of the fee, had to call and be told. Asked them why we were not notified before the change, they said it was included with the previous statement. Sure enough, a single sentence buried within said they would start charging hehe.

    Canceled that crap, $60 a year for something we have never needed anyway, was just a minor convienance.

    The sneaky fee train barrels on!

  20. Oakscl says:

    Started working for a certain bank that sounds like Sells Margo as this started changing. I haven’t see any fees in regard to overdraft changes, though due to a California law change, they decided to do away with free checking a couple months ago. Or so the trainers said. However, WF.. er.. SM is now offering a Debit Card Overdraft Service if you wish to intentionally overdraft your account. I’ve gotten a surprising amount of calls about people who wish to allow the overdrafts to happen and not allow their cards to be declined at all. Of course, the overdraft fee will be assessed at that point unless they have ODP.

  21. Max5695 says:

    There are good credit unions and there are bad credit unions. There are also bad banks and good banks. Credit unions, like banks, are businesses and they want to make money to stay in business. However, Credit Unions are not-for-profit. Technically, they make some profit in order to stay in business, but the members are the owners of the credit union. If the credit union does well, the members will get that money back in the form of better rates and fewer fees. Banks on the other hand live to make a profit. The stock holders and rich executives are constantly pushing to squeeze every single dollar of profit out of their customers. I’ll take my chances with a credit union, rather than reward corrupt and poorly managed banks.

    You have to shop around for a good credit union or a local bank. Compare the rates online and pick one that is best for you. I compared savings rates online and Alliant Credit Union gave me the best rates, and they beat every major bank at 1.5%.

    • dwtomek says:

      As a member of a credit union I definitely have seen the rewards of my credit union’s success. I get the privilege of seeing them blow through their apparently massive profits so as to maintain a not-for-profit status. Accidentally screwed the customer’s a little hard this year? Just tear down a 5 year old branch and replace it with a new $20 Million headquarters. Now it’s just operating expense. I presume a fair portion of their fleecing has also gone to gratuitous raises for the execs. Thankfully I am no longer poor so most of their attempts at fleecing me are for naught. However, they are definitely inching closer to the breaking point where I start shopping for a new financial institution.

      • Max5695 says:

        There are corrupt credit unions and corrupt banks. If your credit union is corrupt, then it’s time to think about taking your money and leaving. If you disagree with how a business is run, it is time to show the business that you disagree and leave.

        There are plenty of well run and ethical companies to bank with. There are some that manage their customers’ money well. Yes, money can be spent recklessly by any company. However, at least some construction workers are being employed. Money that is invested in jobs goes back into the economy to stimulate economic growth. Why is California building high-speed rail? Isn’t it a waste? People will be employed, jobs will be created, unemployment benefit use will go down, and more money will go to stimulate the economy. If they are spending on construction, they can also spend more on loans to local businesses. Some banks are stingy with their money and are not lending, but credit unions and local banks are more likely to lend money to local businesses. The economy keeps getting stimulated. That is a good thing.

  22. Dre' says:

    Wachovia added a fee for getting prints of your cashed checks on your paper statements. $2 a month extra & you have to contact them to turn off what once was a free & default part of your statement.

  23. BurtReynolds says:

    Haven’t noticed anything on my BofA checking/savings, Costco Amex, or Discover Card. I keep looking though. I am convinced BofA is going to try and get me somehow.

  24. Mecharine says:

    Anyone know of imminent changes in Capital One’s fees?

  25. banmojo says:

    Used to be using Visa overseas was better than taking cash/checks; not anymore! Often one gets the best rate by changing money PRIOR to traveling (destination sites often screw the tourists, especially during peak seasons, with crappy exchange rates – changing at your home bank will often get you a better rate – just make sure and call first to arrange for the exchange as they will often have to get the foreign currency transferred from their main (NYC/DC?) branch; of course, with this method, one has to have some ballpark figure for how much cash they’ll need :^)

  26. Jimmy37 says:

    I don’t worry about most of the stuff. I pay my balance off every month. I don’t buy what I can’t afford. If my CCC starts charging inactivity or membership fees, bye-bye card.

  27. rosufo says:

    Just logged into my Wells Fargo checking account this morning and saw a ‘Monthly Service Fee’ for $15.00. Never had this fee before. I looked at the past statements and no such fee. I went to their fees page on the website to see if I can find out what it could be but the only items I found that had a $15 fee was a wire transfer and an international transfer return fee. Neither of which I did. I will be calling them to find out WTF it is. If anybody else knows what this might be please let me know.