The Center For Responsible Lending has put together a report that examines the disastrous effect of overdraft fees on Americans who depend on Social Security for all or part of their income. Despite the fact that they’ve had checking accounts all their lives (and presumably know what they’re doing), each year older Americans pay 4.5 billion dollars in overdraft fees– and on average they actually pay more in fees than they receive in credit when the overdraft is triggered by a debit card transaction.
Bank of America charged Jason three overdraft fees for the hell of it, even though his account balance never approached $0. Jason called the bank for an explanation, and was told that due to some mathematical wormhole controlled exclusively by Bank of America, he now owed $105. Tired of the bank’s nonsensical jibber-jabber, Jason printed out his statement and headed to the local branch…
Jenn’s checking account with Bank of America recently had a policy change designed to increase overdraft fees, and it worked: sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning she was hit with 6 NSF charges going back the previous 48 hours, because she was about 15 minutes late transferring funds into her account the day before. Technically she had broken the new policy, but Jenn hadn’t realized or remembered that there was a policy change and she was taken by surprise. She decided to try to reason with BoA’s corporate office about the fees, and explain why she thought they were unfair.
“Keep track of your bank balances!”—pretty much every week on Consumerist either we or our readers say something like this.