Bank of America May Drop Overdraft Fees for ATM and Automated Bill Payments

Bank Fees have pushed many customers away

Bank fees have pushed many customers away, sometimes to costly financial services like prepaid cards, payday lenders, or check cashers.- photo credit: Wasserman, Boston Globe

Great news!  Reuters reports that Bank of America is considering a new checking account that will not allow customers to overdraft their accounts when making an ATM withdrawl or with automated bill payments:  Reuters “BofA considers new checking account that prevents overdraft: WSJ” 

CRC supports greater transparency and fewer fees in checking accounts.  In our September 2012 report, Checking out: How Big Banks are Pushing Consumers Out of Basic Bank Accounts”, CRC found that the five largest banks were charging fees that cost the average American anywhere from $84 to $144 a year.

In the “Checking Out” report, CRC outlined its “SafeMoney™ standards” which are account features we believe should be standard in all bank accounts:

  • Safe and affordable mechanisms to store money (such as accounts that provide FDIC, anti-fraud and theft insurance);
  • Safe and affordable ways to pay for purchases (such as through debit cards); and
  • Safe and affordable ways to build their capacity to finance large goals.

A more recent guide published by CRC, compares the checking accounts offered in California and how well they meet SafeMoney™ standards:  CRC Checking Account Guide  (updated June 20, 2013).

The industry for prepaid cards is also growing rapidly, unfortunately without much transparency for customers around fees, and also without some of the protections against fraud or theft that regular debit cards enjoy.  To read a brief explanation of prepaid cards and why CRC is concerned about the lack of consumer safeguards, visit our “Prepaid Cards” page.

To support the SafeMoney™ standards or to learn more, please contact Andrea Luquetta: aluquetta@calreinvest.org.

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