The Most Common Ways Banks Overcharge Their Customers

March 30th, 2016

Ideally, banks are supposed to act as a safe harbor for your money. But some banks have been extracting more and more money from their customers through excessive fees. Since your bank can take fees directly from your account, you may not even notice that this has impacted your balance if you aren't looking closely.

Below are some of the more common fees banks typically charge:


You'll be charged an overdraft fee if your spending exceeds the amount of money you have in your account. Regardless of whether you've overdrawn by $100 or $1, the bank will issue the same fee.

According to, the average overdraft fee is $35.20. This fee is often charged per item.

Some banks have more flexible policies than others. They might limit the number of items that can generate an overdraft charge per day.

If you have a savings account at the same bank, see if you can link your accounts to avoid overdraft fees.

Stop payment

Banks will charge a stop payment fee when you stop a check or place a hold to prevent a payment from processing. The average fee for this is $32.40.

Many people don't realize that a stop payment order has an expiration date. Usually, a bank will put a hold on a payment for six months.

After those six months are up, the payment can go through. If you want to continue freezing that charge, you'll have to put another stop payment request in before the first one expires.

Deposit item returned

If a check you tried to cash bounces, you'll have to pay a deposit item returned fee. Even though the person who wrote you the check is the one who didn't have the funds to clear the check, you'll be expected to pay a fine.

This fee is relatively small, around $13. Nevertheless, it is a charge that many people don't know about for something that isn't their fault.

Lost debit card

If you've lost your debit card, chances are you're already feeling anxious. Depending on your bank, some cardholders will also have to worry about fees to replace their lost card.

While some banks replace your card for free, others will charge you between $5 and $8 for a new one. If you need a rush delivery, expect to pay $30 or more.

Foreign transaction and international ATM fees

Most travelers know to expect currency differences when traveling to another country. Nonetheless, some people don't realize that their bank will charge them a fee for using their card abroad. Banks usually charge a conversion fee ranging from one percent to three percent of the purchase.

You'll also be charged if you use an ATM in another country. This is generally a flat fee per withdrawal of $3 to $5.

If you travel frequently, consider getting a credit card that doesn't have a foreign transaction fee. Chase, Capital One, and Discover all offer these type of cards.

Using a teller

Yes, you may have to pay a fee if you use a teller. Some banks charge you for going to a teller rather using an ATM or online banking. Fees vary by bank, but are usually around $4 to $9.