The Overdraft Report

The Authority on Overdraft Fees

Advocating for a Just Banking System

Do you hate overdraft fees? 
Then you have come to the right place!

WiseWage's Overdraft Report is the authoritative source on everything about overdraft fees. We have research, blogs, and FAQs about overdraft fees. How can we help you? 

Our Research on Overdraft Fees

Featured Papers

Consumers are being ensnared into paying billions of dollars in overdraft fees every year, and often the only reason is because their banks have designed checking accounts that trigger overdraft fees. The result is a system that puts the interests of banks ahead of those of consumers, using methods that are sometimes deceptive (but legal), to the expense of regular people.
A key finding is that banks can design their overdraft products to increase the costs for consumers. We find that the likelihood a consumer receives an overdraft fee varies widely from bank to bank.
Another key finding: most consumers do not understand the opt-in rule; they believe that since they have not opted in to overdraft, they cannot receive a fee. This is not true, as any account will trigger an overdraft when a check is written for more than the balance. Few consumers understand how overdraft fees work, and it costs them dearly.
The report also includes comments and complaints made by consumers.
This paper discusses the results of overdraft mystery shopping in four states.
Banks derive the vast majority of overdraft revenue from a relatively small percentage of struggling customers who repeatedly overdraft, and who are disproportionately lower income or people of color.
The project investigated whether large banks provide accurate and full information on overdraft products and services
The groups conducted 64 visits at 39 branches in Chicago, Durham, New York City, and Oakland. The four largest banks by deposit size in each city or state were selected, including Bank of America, BB&T, BMO Harris, Capital One, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, SunTrust, Union Bank, and Wells Fargo.
• In all four cities, banks’ explanations of overdraft programs were inconsistent, and often unclear and incorrect.
• Bank employees often did not correctly explain howoverdraft fees are triggered.
Bank employees frequently did not explain the opt-in requirement for ATM and debit courtesy overdraft.
Our data point documents the amount of revenue received by banks for overdraft fees in 2018.
The top banks for overdraft fee revenue are:
JPMorgan Chase
Wells Fargo
Bank of America
TD Bank
US Bank
PNC Bank
Regions Bank
SunTrust Bank
Woodforest National Bank
Capital One
Citizen's Bank
Fifth Third Bank
M&T Bank
TCF National Bank
Compass Bank
First Convenience Bank
Huntington National Bank
Arvest Bank
Santander Bank
Citizen's Bank of Pennsylvania

Additional Resources on Overdraft

Data from Call Reports, Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, December 31st, 2019.

Key Findings Include:
Banks charged consumers $11.68 billion in overdraft fees in 2019.
Overall, fees charged have increased since 2018.
Banks such as Woodforest, USAA, TCF, First Convenience, and BBVA earned more than half of their checking account fees from overdraft.
Results from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's inquiry into financial institutions' overdraft programs for consumer checking accounts.

Key findings include:
Costly service: The percentage of accounts experiencing at least one overdraft or NSF fee in 2011 was 27 percent.
A few pay a lot in fees: More than one-fourth of consumer checking accounts incurred more than 10 overdraft or NSF in 2011.
Some banks close accounts involuntarily when they have too many periods with unpaid balances.
Opt-in rates for overdraft services varied widely among banks in their study population. .
A bill sponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The Stop Overdraft Profiteering Act of 2018 would ban overdraft fees on debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals, and limit fees placed for checks and recurring payments.

Key aspects of the bill:

Prohibit financial institutions from charging more than one overdraft fee per month and no more than six in one calendar year.
Mandate a 3-day waiting period before consumers can sign up.
Increase disclosures.
Eliminate posting methods (high-to-low) that trigger additional overdraft fees.
Limit overdraft fees on recurring payments.

How to ask your bank to cancel your overdraft fees

Make a phone call. Never try to contest an overdraft fee from your app or online. Demonstrate your expertise. Research your account records online before you call.
Emphasize your value as a customer. Financial institutions keep a record of your lifetime value, including the number of products you have and the amount of revenue you have generated. The customer service person at your bank will be reviewing it when you are on the phone.
Review the bank's overdraft fee policies. You can find them online, usually in the 'terms and conditions.' Know how your bank orders your credits and debits. Use this info to determine when your overdraft occurred.
Have confidence. Stay on the phone until you are satisfied. Many banks refund as many as half of all overdraft fees.
Image of Adam Rust
Adam Rust has defended the interests of consumers against harmful financial practices since 2005. He has written extensively about overdraft fees, payday lending, credit insurance, student loans, prepaid debit cards, high-cost installment loans, and subprime mortgage lending. As the Director of Research at Reinvestment Partners, he works on policy issues related to new financial technologies, the loss of bank branches in rural areas, and opportunities to increase access to the banking system. He serves on the Board of the US Faster Payments Council.
You can contact him at adam at reinvestmentpartners dot org.

The WiseWage Overdraft Blog

We Recommend You Try a Bank Account Without Overdraft Fees

For Those Who Want a Simple, No-Fee Checking Account

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  • Unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements
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Obtain DD number after account approval (several days)
Sign up in AppStore, Google Play, or desktop

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  • NO monthly service, minimum balance, OR foreign transaction fees
  • Option to receive pay up to 2 days early with Direct Deposit for free**
  • Deposit checks with your iPhone or Android
  • Fee-free withdrawals at 55,000+ Allpoint ATMs worldwide
  • Open an optional interest-bearing Savings Account paying 1.61%
  • No Fee Overdraft up to $50 for qualified customers***
  • No foreign transaction fees
Get Direct Deposit number immediately on your phone.
Apply via Varo's iOS, Android mobile app, or desktop
Issuer statements available on each full card detailed page by clicking on the green buttons.
* Other fees, terms and conditions apply, See Cardholder Agreement on provider's website.

Overdraft FAQs

Can I Receive an Overdraft Fee for an ATM Withdrawal?

What is overdraft protection?

What banks earn the most money from overdraft fees?

Can I overdraft my NetSpend card?

Can I close my checking account with a negative balance?

Can I be charged for an overdraft fee after I close my bank account?

How can I avoid overdraft fees?

Do banks ever waive overdraft fees?

How do I know if I have Overdraft Protection?

Are overdraft fees tax deductible?

How does an overdraft occur?

Can I overdraft with my debit card?

Can overdraft fees hurt your credit?

Can a bank increase the number of overdraft fees I receive?

What banks charge the lowest and highest overdraft fees?

About WiseWage
This blog is authored by Adam Rust. He has worked to defend consumers against harmful financial practices since 2005. He has written extensively about overdraft fees, payday lending, credit insurance, student loans, prepaid debit cards, high-cost installment loans, and subprime mortgage lending. He serves on the Board of the US Faster Payments Council.
Rust is Director of Research at Reinvestment Partners in Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of BankTalk. He is the author of "This is My Home: Challenges and Opportunities of Manufactured Housing" and has testified to Congress on how to redress some of the problems with manufactured housing. See more on his LinkedIn profile.

All Our Articles on OverDraft