Bank customers are fighting back against overdraft fees. According to a new study by Pew Charitable Trusts, more than 60 percent of consumers have taken action after being charged an overdraft fee in the past year. Faced with confusion and frustration over the charges, some of that action has been “dramatic,” like closing an account altogether. As The Wall Street Journal reports:
Although there was some overlap among consumers, approximately 13% of people who paid an overdraft penalty within the last year say they no longer have a checking account, 19% reacted to their overdraft fees by discontinuing overdraft coverage, which consumers must opt into by law, while 28% actually closed their checking account in response to overdraft fees.”
Rules clarifying when banks can charge customers fees for an overdraft went into effect four years ago, but time hasn't made it any easier for bank customers. And while the median overdraft fee was $35, a quarter of those charged with overdrafting paid $90 or more, according to the survey of 1,800 customers. Luckily, there are slightly less people who incurred an overdraft fee over the past year — 10 percent compared to 12 percent in 2012 — but the study also found that more than half of people charged with an overdraft fee don’t remember agreeing to the service.
Younger people are more likely to incur the wrath of the fees, which has helped banks collect approximately $16.7 billion in 2011, of which at least $6 billion was from debit card use as The New York Times reports:
Young adults and lower-income and nonwhite Americans are more likely to be charged overdraft fees. Those with a credit card, however, are much less likely to pay the fees, the report found.”
The study also found that 25-year-olds are 133 percent more likely to pay an overdraft fee than 65-year-olds, finally giving people turning 26 something to look forward to.