Most Who Opted In To Overdraft Protection Were Wrong About How It Worked

One of the results of the regulatory overhaul was that banks couldn’t automatically enroll people in “overdraft protection.” This kicked off a mammoth effort by banks to try to convince customers it was in their best interest to sign up for a program that would let them get charged $35 for overdrafting a $1 candy bar rather than go through the pain and humiliating of having a card declined. But a new survey by the Center for Responsible Lending found that most of the people who did opt in either had a misconception about how the overdraft protection, or simply wanted the ceaseless onslaught of pitches from their bank about it to stop.

Of the 33% of those surveyed who said they opted in…

  • 60% said a big factor was to not have a fee when their debit card was declined. Sadly for them, declined debit cards don’t result in a fee.
  • 64% said an important reason was so they wouldn’t bounce checks anymore. Cue descending slide whistle sound effect, opt-in rules only cover debit card and ATM transactions.
  • Nearly half simply wanted the bank’s barrage of opt-in messages by mail, phone, email, on-line and in person to stop.

If you opted-in to overdraft protection for the wrong reasons, pick up that phone and opt yourself the heck out.


Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.