Consumer Payment Card News

Overdraft Overhaul

The national outrage regarding overdraft fees, triggered by check writing and debit cards, is reaching a fever pitch as British-owned Bankrate throws more fuel on the fire. A study released by Bankrate shows overdraft/NSF fees increased 2.1% from last year to a record high of $29.58. Bankrate began tracking bounced check fees in 1998, reporting that such fees grew 25% from 1998 to $27.04 in 2006. The latest survey also shows tiered structure fees for overdrafts are becoming more popular with 26% of banks now charging higher fees after the 2nd overdraft during a rolling 12-month period. The average cost for the 2nd through 4th overdrafts under the tiered fee structure is $33.88 while the average cost for banks that have a third tier, which typically kicks in after the 5th overdraft, came in at $36.19. ATM surcharges rose 12.6% from last year to an average of $2.22. Banks increasing the fee outnumbered those reducing the fee by more than a 7-to-1 ratio. ATM surcharges have increased at a 7% annual clip over the past decade. Additionally, with interest bearing accounts, monthly service fees hit a new high at an average of $12.55, up nearly 5% from last year.

          NSF FEES
        2005: $26.55
        2006: $27.04
        2007: $28.32
        2008: $28.95
        2009: $29.58
      Source: Bankrate

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