Question: How Much Did 3 Largest Banks Make in Overdraft Fees in First Three Months of 2015?

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May 27, 2015
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Question of the Day, Research, Checking Accounts, Debit Cards, Payment Types, Current Events

Answer:  Over $1.1 Billion.

From CNN Money:

American’s three largest banks — JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo — made more than $1.1 Billion in the first three months of the year. Despite efforts to curb these charges after the financial crisis, they are still a big money maker for banks.

So, how can consumers avoid these all to common $35 charges for overdrawing their checking account?  The short answer is “Just Say No” when signing up for a bank account and you are asked by a bank representative if you would like overdraft protection. Be aware that if you say “No” to overdraft protection and you go to an ATM (or point of sale at a store) and try to withdraw more than what you have in your account that you will be denied.  Also, be aware that when the bank rep. pushes hard on getting you to sign up for overdraft protection, it may be because he/she has a strong incentive to do so (here are details on one bank’s pressure cooker sales tactics).  Don’t be like the 50% of the population (based on a Pew Study) who overdrew their checking accounts and didn’t know they had overdraft protection.

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Check out this popular NGPF Lesson which teaches students about overdraft protection through a variety of scenarios.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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