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interestrateripoff

Overspending On Debit Cards Is A Boon For Banks

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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/your-mon...ml?ref=business

When Peter Means returned to graduate school after a career as a civil servant, he turned to a debit card to help him spend his money more carefully.

So he was stunned when his bank charged him seven $34 fees to cover seven purchases when there was not enough cash in his account, notifying him only afterward. He paid $4.14 for a coffee at Starbucks — and a $34 fee. He got the $6.50 student discount at the movie theater — but no discount on the $34 fee. He paid $6.76 at Lowe’s for screws — and yet another $34 fee. All told, he owed $238 in extra charges for just a day’s worth of activity.

Mr. Means, who is 59 and lives in Colorado, figured employees at his bank, Wells Fargo, would show some mercy since each purchase was less than $12. In addition, a deposit from a few days earlier would have covered everything had it not taken days to clear. But they would not budge.

Banks and credit unions have long pitched debit cards as a convenient and prudent way to buy. But a growing number are now allowing consumers to exceed their balances — for a price.

Banks market it as overdraft protection, and the fees it generates have become an important source of income for the banking industry at a time of big losses in other operations. This year alone, banks are expected to bring in $27 billion by covering overdrafts on checking accounts, typically on debit card purchases or checks that exceed a customer’s balance.

In fact, banks now make more covering overdrafts than they do on penalty fees from credit cards.

But because consumers use debit cards far more often than credit cards, a cascade of fees can be set off quickly, often for people who are least able to afford it. Some banks further increase their revenue by manipulating the order of a customer’s transactions in a way that causes more of them to incur overdraft fees.

“Banks will let you overspend on your debit card in a way that is much, much more expensive than almost any credit card,†said Eric Halperin, director of the Washington office of the Center for Responsible Lending.

Debit has essentially changed into a stealth form of credit, according to critics like him, and three quarters of the nation’s largest banks, except for a few like Citigroup and INGDirect, automatically cover debit and A.T.M. overdrafts.

Although regulators have warned of abuses since at least 2001, they have done little to curb the explosive growth of overdraft fees. But as a consumer outcry grows, the practice is under attack, and regulators plan to introduce new protections before year’s end. The proposals do not seek to ban overdraft fees altogether. Rather, regulators and lawmakers say they hope to curb abuses and make the fees more fair.

The Federal Reserve is considering requiring banks to get permission from consumers before enrolling them in overdraft programs, so that consumers like Mr. Means are not caught unaware at the cash register.

Representative Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York, would go even further by requiring warnings when a debit card purchase will overdraw an account and by barring banks from running the most expensive purchases through accounts first.

Bankers the people you can trust to screw you over.

Nice.

Edited by interestrateripoff

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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/your-mon...ml?ref=business

Bankers the people you can trust to screw you over.

Nice.

happened to a family member needing a food parcel.

we all went to complain....why didnt you just refuse payment? we demanded.

we cant. was the reply.

well, you authorise the payment at POS, you must know the position at the time. we retorted.

we dont know what else is happening on the account at the time..she said.

so, if the account was in credit AT THE TIME, how can it be subject to a charge because of other things on the account. we rested.

manager was got.

HALIFAX went bust/rescued shortly after our refund arrived.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/your-mon...ml?ref=business

Bankers the people you can trust to screw you over.

Nice.

Very dangerous to use debit cards attached to a bank account. Also its a real pain if you wish to cancel a recurring payment on a debit card (or a credit card for that matter).

I got fleeced once when Yahoo took thousands off my debit card for internet marketing due to a "system error." I got the money back, but incurred hefty bank charges. Now I use prepaid cards. If the money ain't there, they can't take it.

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