Customers Struggle to Understand Overdraft Policies

Pew Charitable Trusts
Thursday, June 26, 2014

A survey of checking account holders by Pew Charitable Trusts has found widespread confusion and dissatisfaction about financial institution's overdraft policies. Current regulations require financial institutions to obtain affirmative consent (an “opt in”) from consumers before enrolling them in an overdraft penalty plan that makes automatic short-term advances to cover transactions. The survey, however, found that more than half of respondents who had incurred overdraft penalties did not believe they had opted in to the plan. The penalties fell disproportionately on younger, lower-income and nonwhite account holders and 28 percent of respondents who paid an overdraft penalty report closing a checking account because of the fees.