Overdraft fees getting less expensive, but still used by the majority of banks

Financial expert offers tips to avoid incurring the extra cost

InvestigateTV - Despite a trend towards more consumer-friendly overdraft policies, a recent study by Bankrate.com found that 96% of banks charge overdraft fees and 87% also charge non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees.

Greg McBride, the chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com, said the average overdraft fee is $29.80, which is down 11% from last year’s record high of $33.58.

McBride explained that the downwards trend is likely because banking fees are being scrutinized by regulatory and legislative bodies.”This is a fee that has been in the regulatory and legislative crosshairs for a while, McBride said. “So, banks realize that they better adopt change.”He had several tips for consumers to avoid these fees:

Check your balance before you spend money: Make sure you have enough to cover the transaction.

Set up email or texts alerts for low balances: You can move money among accounts before there is an overdraft

Set up a link between your checking and savings account: This feature will cover any shortfall with your funds, instead of using the bank’s money.

Some banks will charge a fee for moving money for you, so check with your financial institution for specific details on your accounts.

For more information, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s website is filled with articles and advice on banking and financial institutions. They have a comprehensive article about overdraft fees and many other help topics available.

Rachel DePompa

Rachel DePompa

Rachel DePompa is NBC12's On Your Side Investigator. Before joining WWBT in March of 2008 Rachel worked in Roanoke, Bristol and Harrisonburg.