A couple years ago when the nation’s largest banks put forth proposals to increase revenue by way of jacking-up fees – primarily overdraft fees and minimum balance requirement fees – it made a huge splash in the media and several banks backed off the fee-jacking strategy.
Today, however, overdraft fees in particular are actually as high as they’ve ever been. And while you won’t see too much difference in these fees amongst the nation’s largest banks, they’ve all still collectively gotten higher then they were last year at this time.
Below is a summary of the nation’s largest banks’ overdraft fees as of the fourth quarter 2013:
1. Bank of America – $35
2. BB&T – $36
3. Capital One – $35
4. Chase - $34
5. CitiBank – $34
6. PNC Bank – $36
7. Sun Trust – $36
8. TD Bank – $35
9. US Bank - $36 per item that’s $5.01 or more.
10. Wells Fargo – $35
These overdraft fee’s are certainly nothing to ho-hum over, especially when all of them can be incurred for taking out less than 20 bucks! Most banks set the minimum overdraft amount for a penalty to occur at around $10 – $12.50 with US Bank setting the bar the lowest at $5.01.
On a positive note, however, technology has come along way in making our life easier especially when it comes to monitoring our balance and staying on top of our bills.
Setting up text alerts from your banks notifying you when your balance is getting scarily low is one of the best ways technology has helped us stay informed on our own finances. Almost all banks and credit unions these days have this feature so be sure to take advantage of it. In most cases you can set your text alert to notify you at any number or set of numbers you specify, so for example you can get alerted once your balance is down to $500, then $250, then $100, etc.
3 Ways to Approach Overdraft Fees:
Opting-out – This means you simply won’t be able to withdrawal funds you don’t have. On the plus side, you’ll never get surprised with a $30 plus dollar fee and on the negative side, you wont have access to cash in an emergency if you’re account is too low.
Opting-in with overdraft coverage – This just means you subject yourself to your bank’s fine if you go over your balance. The plus side being you’ll always have access to cash.
Opting-in with overdraft protection – You’ll have to link another account to your checking account that has funds available if needed. This is usually a savings account or money market account. If you overdraft your checking, the bank will simply auto-withdrawal from this linked account.