Overdraft Abuse: Readers' Stories (Submit yours)

Excerpts from our readers’ stories

... Had they processed the 6 small purchases first, my overdraft fee would have been only $35.00, but the way they did it, I ended up paying 2000% interest on money "borrowed" for not even 2 days!! ...

...I have a wife and 4 year old daughter and we are a regular working family.  We watched as [our bank] would REMOVE items that it showed the previous day had already CLEARED our account and place them in a "pending" status only to clear one huge house payment and then resend through about 5 other small transactions overdrafting our account.  One was about around $2 dollars and they charged $35 each time!!! ...

...Recently I was stung with $156.00 NSF Fees due to a 5 cent overdraft. While balancing my account I noticed the possibility of this happening and made a $60.00 deposit just in case. The first thing they did was credit my deposit and then added two NSF fees of $38.00 each which automatically put me in the red. Then they ran the two debits and added two more NSF fees. So instead of running the debits after the deposit which would have not put me in the red, they ran a total of $152.00 in NSF fees....

... One time I overdrew less than a dollar and they still charged me $33.00.  There have been several occasions where I should have only received one fee but they manipulated the order in which items were paid and charged me for five or six overdrafts instead...

...I have been charged over $350 in bank charges for under $20 overdraft... 

...My daughter also has had some awful experiences with overdrafts which has eaten up her entire check just to cover a few dollars.  I know that they have to take measures to keep things in order, but there are also times when the punishment in no way fits the crime...

...If the banking regulators were even half paying attention they would know something fishy was going on and put a stop to it. I actually went without money to feed my kids several times as the result of their unscrupulous greed...

...I ended up being $295 in the red and being that I am unemployed, it took me a long time to get the fees paid.

...There have been weeks where an automatic payment will go through that we forgot about, causing our acct to be short. Then we will have a series of checks come through for payment. The bank makes sure they put the largest amount through first so that all the rest of the checks that could have been paid will bounce. We have been charged 320.00 dollars at a time. This causes us huge hardships, and its almost impossible for us to play catch-up, its starts a vicious, downward spiral....

...I have had problems in the past with overdraft penalties that have added up to 200.00 to $300.00 over a 2 or 3 day period. I would think that my direct deposit had gone through, so I would make sometimes just $2.00 or $3.00 purchases at  stops along my routes and because the deposits hadn't gone through, my bank would tack on an extra $22.00 overdraft penalty to each transaction. I never intentionally draw on my account when I know the money is not there....

...we had 6 overdraft charges and a daily 5 dollar fee for evry day that we were overdrawn, about 230 dollars worth of fees that were supposed to be only one 34 dollar fee...they had manipulated our account usage to make it look like we had written the check first and then had made all those purchases.so they got more money in fees.
I called to try to have the fees reversed and was told that I needed to only spend what is in the account to avoid unnecessary fees(DUH!!)...

...I had owned this account for over 20 years and had never had an overdraft situation.  I contacted the bank and they confirmed that the account was empty and 11 items had bounced.  Upon further investigation I found that there was a single transaction that I had no record of.  When I investigated the transaction I found out that it was a dentist that I had not visited in over a year. When I called the dentist office I was told that they were having trouble with my insurance company and decided to draft my account...

...I received 210.00 worth of overdraft charges.  When I went to the bank, I was told that the funds were not available technically until a business day later. When I worked as a teller, if funds were not available to the customer immediately, we let them know right there on the spot.  Ever since deregulation of the banking industry, the public has been getting screwed...

...I have a bad run of luck and am trying to squeak by until my check comes in one day.  I have $6 in my account.  I have a check hit the bank for $7.50.  My bank kindly pays it and charges $32 for their trouble.  I am now $33.50 in the hole. But that wasn't the really bad part.  Five more checks hit at the same time, each a $32 charge adding up to $190!  And we think they are being nice giving us "Free Checking!"  My total amount of the checks came up to $56.38!  These were small because I knew I was pushing my luck but needed stuff to live!  I hoped they would clear one day later.  So out of an $800 check which is budgeted down to the penny each month I am now shy $246.38!  It's worse if you don't have any money forthcoming to cover the deficit because they start charging $6 a day for neg. balances lasting 5 or more days! ...

...I have been with my bank for quite a few years now and I am also on social security disability. I recently had my account overdrawn not realizing that it had happened until my social security check was deposited minus the amount owed plus HUGE fees. They refused to remove the fees...

...when my husband and were first on ss. we had to figure out how to budget on a monthly income the overdrafts and atm fees were like an assault...

...[my bank] continued to allow me to use my check card for small purchases even though I was overdrawn.  Each time I used my card, they charged my account with a fee of approximately $30.  By the time this matter was brought to my attention, they had charged me hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees for an overdraft amount of under $100...

...once i clear up the levy on my account i will but putting my money under my bed...

...I had an issue once where I had made a small error in my checking account.  Wrote a check and it did not have enough funds in the account to cover it.  So I was charged a $25.00 overdraft fee (that didn't show up on my statement immediatly).  Which then in turn made it so that after I made my next deposit i was then $25.00 off in my check book plus the error I had made.  So then the next three checks didn't make it through which brought my boucned check fees up to $100.00... and I still was unaware of this.  Until after about 3 weeks of this accumulating issue, I was approximately $400.00 in debt.  It was an insane rolling snowball effect.  I ended up being very late with my rent AND my car payment, which of course again, cost me even more in late fees with them.  All of that for (I believe) a $10.00 checking error...

Has something like this happened to you?

Consumers are catching on to the ways in which banks artificially increase overdrafts, costing their account holders billions per year in unfair fees.

Congress was poised to make a difference in November, when the House Financial Services Committee was debating H.R. 946, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney's bill to stop unfair overdraft practices.  Unfortunately, the bill has stalled, but it will be considered again next year.

Tell us your story

Tell us your overdraft abuse stories, so we can show Congress the breadth of this problem when the time comes.  This information will be used for research purposes, and we will not share any identifying information without contacting you first. 

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