December 19, 2023

CFPB: New Report Shows Many Americans Are Surprised by Overdraft Fees

New report finds many of these customers have cheaper credit options available

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today issued a new report finding that many consumers are still being hit with unexpected overdraft and nonsufficient fund (NSF) fees, despite recent changes implemented by banks and credit unions that have eliminated billions of dollars in fees charged each year. In a recent CFPB Making Ends Meet survey, more than a quarter of consumers responded that someone in their household was charged an overdraft fee or NSF fee within the past year, and that only 22% of households expected their most recent overdraft. Many consumers who were charged overdraft fees had access to a cheaper alternative, such as available credit on a credit card.

“Our research finds that American families are paying fees they do not expect, even when they have access to cheaper forms of credit,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra.

The report, Overdraft and Nonsufficient Fund Fees, explores consumers’ experiences with overdraft and NSF fees. Many consumers have access to cheaper credit sources, such as on a credit card, and report being surprised by their most recent overdraft. Other consumers appear to use overdrafts often and intentionally: in households charged more than 10 such fees in a year, more than half of respondents reported that they expected their most recent overdraft. Most account overdrafts are exempt from the regulation implementing the Truth in Lending Act, which is designed to promote the informed use of credit and make it easier for consumers to compare the cost of credit products.

Key findings from surveyed households and consumers in today’s report include:

The data for the report comes from the 2023 Making Ends Meet survey and the CFPB’s Consumer Credit Panel. The survey asks consumers about their experiences with overdraft and NSF fees in the past year, as well as their experiences applying for and obtaining credit, use of alternative financial services (e.g., payday or auto title loans), and financial pressures (e.g., difficulty paying bills or carrying an unpaid balance on a credit card). The Consumer Credit Panel, a deidentified sample of credit records maintained by one of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies, allows the CFPB to observe the credit and debt profiles of these same consumers, including their credit scores, amount of credit available, and delinquent debt.

Read the report, Overdraft and Nonsufficient Fund Fees.

Read more about the CFPB’s work on junk fees.

Consumers can submit complaints about financial products or services by visiting the CFPB’s website or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).

Employees of companies who they believe their company has violated federal consumer financial laws are encouraged to send information about what they know to

This post was originally published here.