Banks Bury Fees in the Fine Print
January 14, 2013
Pew Charitable Trust's Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project points out that banks are embedding many checking account disclosures in 6-point type, if they are disclosing them in print at all. "No one actually reads 65 pages of disclosures," acknowledges the director of the project, Susan Weinstock. "Fees get buried in there and people don't know about them." There are as many as four dozen different potential fees tied just to checking accounts, but the wording and definitions in the disclosures sometimes leave consumers even deeper in the dark. Some of the biggest offenders, which most checking account holders never know exist until they are slapped with a corresponding fee, are disclosures governing mandatory arbitration; posting order for debits and deposits; and fees for closing an account early, handling a bounced check, using a coin-counting machine, making a very large deposit; having a dormant account for six months to a year; or having mail returned to the bank, such as if the consumer changes residences and fails to provide the new location to the bank. Alex Matjanec of MyBankTracker.com says it is difficult to get a full fee schedule until an account has been opened; but, even so, banks are constantly changing their fees. Some banks will force the customer to contact customer service to learn about a fee, he notes, "and then they charge you for talking to customer service."
External web links may expire.
Return to Headlines
Abstract News © Copyright 2008-2013 INFORMATION, INC.