Three Things Your Bank Won’t Tell You

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Believe it or not, the very places you trust with your money could be ripping you off!

The On Your Side Investigators are working to keep more of your money in your pocket by exposing bank secrets.

Imagine paying almost $900 in a single overdraft period.

It’s a worst case scenario, but an example of just how quickly those fees can multiply.

Outrageous and unfair is how many consumers describe bank policies and practices.

Mandi Freeman says she was shocked and upset to learn about something her bank was doing.

“So your bank was charging you because you weren’t using your debit card enough?” we asked.

“That’s correct,” replied Freeman.

The whole concept sort of seems like an oxymoron, charging you to access your own cash.

“Remember this is the consumer’s money, this is the family’s money,” says Mark Chalos of Lieff Cabraser.

Chalos’ Nashville law firm has successfully sued banks for egregious practices.

He told WREG, “The banks are making money off of your money!”

Which takes us to one of the first things banks don’t tell you: they often re-order transactions.

#1 – Re-ordering Transactions

“What we’ve found is that the banks are re-ordering the checks, taking the largest check and cashing that first, paying that first for the purpose of creating more bounced checks,” Chalos explains.

So forget everything you learned about balancing your checkbook in chronological order!

Many banks will deduct the biggest check first, no matter when you wrote it.

Combine this with treating debits and credits differently, placing holds on certain deposits, and that may add up to insufficient funds, which then leads to the second thing banks often don’t tell you!

#2 – Overdraft fees

“So not only do you have two bounced checks, you’ve got a pile of fees on top of it,” adds Chalos.

Federal regulations require banks to ask customers whether they want to opt in or out of overdraft protection, but research shows some customers still don’t understand it.

Furthermore, banks are cashing in when your money runs out.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, non-sufficient funds and overdraft fees made up more than 60 percent of banks’ fee income in 2011.

Chalos said, “They end up costing families an awful lot of money and they make the banks very rich.”

There are overdraft fees, returned item fees, extended overdraft fees, even a fee to transfer money from a linked account for an overdraft.

Which leads us to the third thing banks don’t tell you about, hidden fees!

#3 – Hidden Fees

Freeman almost dumped her bank recently.

“I had a plan, you don’t swipe my card 10 times within a month, then I get charged $8,” she explains.

What’s worse, she called and couldn’t get straight answers.

Freeman said, “I had to call and just wait, listening maybe 20 or 30 minutes on hold. A lot of times they weren’t informed. I had to go to the actual bank website, then I went into the branch and the guy didn’t know about the fee.”

Chalos says, “A big part of the problem is that the banks do not disclose all of the fees.”

The On Your Side Investigators called dozens of area banks to ask about fees.

The good news is, several of the people we talked to could at least provide a basic explanation of a few fees.

Beyond that, we were directed to websites or told, we’d get more information after signing up, which makes it harder to shop around.

To read the rest of this story, visit our affiliate station’s website WREG – Channel 3 by clicking here. 


  • B. Wilson

    Sounds like the reporter and some customers need to get their facts straight. First of all, Opt in Opt out is only for everyday debit card transactions, not for checks that you write or reoccurring ACH debits.
    Hidden fees, are you kidding me? You, as a customer, are responsible for reading the paper work that your bank gives you, as well as your statements that come in the mail. Your fees are well defined in the paperwork that you are given at the time of opening an account, as well as online. When fees change, you are notified when you receive your monthly statements. Again read what your bank sends you in the mail, it just might be important. Being charged for NOT using your debit card? Sounds like your account has requirements for you to meet to avoid getting a monthly fee. This is the biggest joke of an article I have ever read and it makes the reporter, Mark Chalos, look like an idiot. One last thing, banks are a business and businesses are out to make money, so why would you expect your bank to not make money?

  • bobreal

    My “X” kept overdrawning the checking acct $500 for 10yrs…
    Now that I’m rid of her; I have money in my wallet and at least $300 in the acct at the end of each month..

  • dgraci

    Banks are indeed a place that you should not trust with more than 30% of your money. Everything else you need to have on your person, and in these days, preferably in metal or coins. They have already begun to charge for deposits and you cannot withdraw more than $2K in some banks in a given time period.

    You want to know why? Because ALL big banks are owned by one group of banksters who want to control the world economies. They have already moved the chess pieces to bankrupt the US and other states. “Oh, conspiracy theorist,” you say? You bet it is, and it has been for a long time. Just go find out where our tax dollars are going. You’ll be angry, you’ll be disturbed… maybe, just maybe, you’ll help turn this around. Not much time left. What will happen, will happen rather quickly.

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