World

Big banks have drastically cut overdraft fees, but customers still paid $2.2B last year

240209 atm mn 1030 5dfbe1

The three biggest American retail banks collected 25% less overdraft revenue last year as the companies, under pressure from regulators to cap the fees, created new ways for customers to avoid the penalties.


JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America reported a combined $2.2 billion in overdraft fees in 2023, roughly $700 million less than the previous year, according to regulatory filings.


Overdraft fees are triggered when a customer attempts to spend more than the balance in their checking accounts. At around $35 per transaction at many banks, the fees have been a lucrative line item for the industry, generating $280 billion in revenue since 2000, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


The industry is girding itself for a battle over overdraft after the CFPB last month unveiled a proposal to limit charges to as little as $3 per transaction. Banks say overdraft services are a lifeline that helps users avoid worse options like payday loans, while critics including President Biden say the fees exploit struggling Americans.