3 American banks earn $6 bln from overdraft fee, ATM

By Staff Writer

Jan 17, 2016 03:47 AM EST

The three largest banks in the US have earned over $6 billion from ATM and overdraft fees in 2015 alone. JPMorgn Chase, Bank of America (BoA) and Wells Fargo were the three banks that earned robust revenues from ATM service and overdraft fees. Banks were allowed in 2015 for the first time to disclose this information. 

The US banking consumers pay over $4 to withdraw money from an out-of-network ATM. Sometimes, The ATM fee is $5 per transaction. This results in outrage among bank consumers across the US. There was demand from public to know how much banks make from ATM fees. Subsequently, for the first time the US government in 2015 allowed banks to disclose the revenues from such services.

According to an analysis by CNN Money and SNL Financial, the revenues earned by the three major US banks equates to $26 for every adult in the country. The overdraft fees and ATM services aspects have become an issue during the ongoing Presidential elections campaign. Hillary Clinton terms ATM fees 'usurious,' while Bernie Sanders has promised that he would cap ATM fees at$2 once he's elected President.

ATM fees have become center of attention during the US Presidential election campaign. The overdraft charges are one of the major revenues resources for the banks. The major banks in the US made $5.1 billion in 2015 from overdraft fees alone. 

The combined revenues from overdraft fees earned by all the US banks were estimated to be $32.5 billion during the 12-month period ending June 2015. The revenues from total fees were $42.3 billion, as reported by Money. JPMorgan Chase earned $1.9 billion from overdraft fees and Bank of America made $1.6 billion.  
If bank customers opt for not to be in overdraft coverage, then it's required to pay for non-sufficient funds fee. In case a cheque bounce, then returned item fee should be paid. But, there wouldn't be overdraft fee for customers. The overdraft fee roughly $34, according to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Banks such as Wells Fargo made efforts to make overdraft fee details clear for the first three quarters of 2015. The details don't back that up. This is indicating the increasing overdraft fees every single quarter at the banking giants, according to ABC Wate.

However, banks shouldn't charge overdraft fees from customers as they're using an ATM to get cash. If customers opt for getting the cash despite fee imposition, banks aren't supposed to charge. According to Pew study, over half of consumers availed of overdraft facility in 2014 and not aware of overdraft service. 

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said: "Consumers, who opt in to overdraft coverage, put themselves at serious risk when they use their debit card." The average overdraft fee is $34. The latest CFPB study reveals that majority of overdrafts occur on transaction fee of $24 or lesser.

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