August 14, 2012 | In: Opinion

What Is the Maximum Number of Overdraft Fees Per Day?

I had an overdraft charge this morning – the thing is that I used the wrong account to make a purchase, and I got dinged with a ridiculous $30 ($29.95 to be exact) just because I bought some fruits worth $7 with my Interac card at the local grocery. In any case, I felt really bad about it and I called the bank and told them that I wanted my money back, and they happily refunded the overdraft fee. So I asked the lady on the phone, “how many times can I get dinged overdraft fees? I mean, what is the maximum number of overdraft fees that I can incur in a single day?”

Her answer was, “Sir, it’s unlimited – every time you make a purchase and you go below 0 you’ll have to pay overdraft fees”.

“Unlimited”, which means that one can owe the bank literally hundreds of dollars if he does this all day (I mean if he’s crazy enough to do this all day). So I thought, what’s the point and what’s the benefit for someone to be allowed to spend a few dollars extra on something that he may or may not need? Most people get overdraft charges by mistake – they never intend to withdraw more money than they have – they just don’t know how much money they have, and that’s why they think that the card will stop working once they run out of funds – but it doesn’t – it gives them the couple of dollars that they need extra, and then it dings them 15 to 20 times that amount.

I think the whole concept of overdraft fees is unethical, the bank can simply block the card when it runs of out of money, the same way they do it with credit cards. But the job of the bank is to suck our hard-earned cash from our pockets, regardless of the means.

I’m wondering whether the regulators monitoring these banks are aware of these unscrupulous activities or not. And if they are, and I’m sure they are, then how come they don’t do something about it? At least make this as an opt-in feature, where people would have to accept getting charged ridiculous amounts in exchange for a couple of bucks to buy a coffee, rather than not being able to buy that coffee at all.

Is our financial system, and those monitoring our financial system completely corrupt now? Is the financial system there to protect our interests or just to benefit from us?

Governments across the world should intervene to prevent this unethical activity which is doing absolutely nothing for the economy.

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