December 4, 2009

An Example of How Overdraft Fees Can Pile Up

On an episode of the Suze Orman show the other day they had a guest on the show with some financial problems. The woman and her husband were struggling financially due to over spending and the husband only working part time. They made almost $100,000 between them but only had $300 in the bank. One detail stood out for me was the amount they had paid in bank overdraft fees. So far this year in 2009 they had already paid over $4,600 in bank overdraft fees. Yikes!

I've seen stories of how banks made over $36 billion in overdraft fees last year. That is in the ballpark of $300 per household. The vast majority of the overdraft fees are paid by a minority of account holders. In 2007 the American Banking Association survey found that 80% of consumers did not pay any fees. That is a whole lot of fees paid by a whole lot of people.

If you are having problems with overdraft fees then paying for your day to day expenses with cash would be one strategy. That way if you put $20 of gas in your car you won't risk running over your balance on your account and hitting an overdraft fee. Theres no overdraft fees with cash.

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