Banking is easy– that is, until you lose track of what’s in your account. If you end up overspending, get ready for the excessive overdraft fees that come with doing so. This might not be as easy as it sounds. Some banks charge $34.00 in overdraft fees, like Citibank. Some charge even more, like University Federal Credit Union which charges $40.00 in overdraft fees. Of course, they won’t charge you once and leave it at that, and of course, they won’t take into consideration the amount that you overdrew. A $1.00 charge on your already minus account will ensure you get yet another overdraft fee. There is no limit to the amount of overdraft fees your account can have, but some banks will freeze your account should you have too many. How many have you had at one time? Did you think it was fair? Thankfully, some banks do let you opt out of “overdraft protection”, which may be more aptly named “overcharge guarantee”.
In recent years, many bank customers and clients have begun to complain about the exorbitant amount of overdraft fees. They ask banks these questions: Are they really necessary? (Maybe.) But, why are they so expensive? (We don’t know.) In fact, banks do know, because they know exactly how much they make by charging and collecting overdraft fees– a multibillion dollar sum.
Once these answers became clear, bank customers and clients began to claim that most overdraft fees were excessive, unnecessary, and even painful. Dealing with them can actually lead to stress and lost purchases as a result of a minus on your account. Are your checks being filed to cause you to overdraw your funds? Some banks do this to steal your money. Unfortunately, too many of overdraft fees and a minus on your bank account can lead to bad credit. Say goodbye to that car loan– that tuition loan– that credit card.
Now, the public is no longer willing to deal with these excessive, exorbitant overdraft fees. They have taken to filing class action lawsuits against banks, some of which have returned multimillion dollar settlements like the one against Citizens Bank for 137.5 million dollars. However, is that enough in light of the billions of dollars some banks make by charging and collecting overdraft fees.
To conclude, with banks collapsing and bank security up in the air, here are six tips to safer banking to keep you away from some of the problems that come with banking, especially the problems associated with overdraft fees.
Talk to your bank account about your account and the one that is right for you — changing to a simple bank account may be a smart decision.
Open a bank account that does not charge you monthly for not using it — avoiding monthly charges is one way to keep your bank account healthy.
Check your bank account regularly even if you are not spending any money — sometimes, unexpected fees or payments can pop up, setting you up for an over drawl later on.
Don’t spend more than you have — part of this is not just knowing what’s in your account, but being strict about placing limits on your spending.
Avoid loans — loans are great, but do you really need one right now? Can you pay it off in time?
Call your bank and get that overdraft fee canceled — many people don’t know you can do this, but be polite if you do decide to call.
Jennifer Machie writes on behalf of Paul Colley, a personal injury lawyer at Colley & Colley, LLP.