Pew: Banks Still Gouging Customers With Confusing Overdraft Rules
Read any good bank disclosure forms lately? Researchers at the Pew Charitable Trusts carefully read checking account disclosures from 12 of the nation’s largest banks and 12 of the largest credit unions to see what a new customer would face.
In a just-released report, Pew says the disclosure documents are long and confusing which can result in costly and unexpected penalty fees for overdrawing that account. By one estimate, Americans paid $29.5 billion in overdraft fees last year.
“They make it pretty complicated,” says Susan Weinstock, director of Pew’s Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project. “Consumers tell us they don’t read these things because they’re impossible to read.”
Nessa Feddis, a spokesperson for the American Bankers Association, questions Pew’s findings and conclusions. “They seem to be saying that they don’t have much confidence in American consumers or their choices,” Feddis said.
The Pew report also calls for regulatory changes to increase transparency and protect bank customers from predatory practices.