Beware New, Hidden Bank Fees

Many banks are giving consumers a new type of overdraft protection that they call a "courtesy," but which is really a short-term loan that, in some cases, carries a hefty pricetag.

The loan covers withdrawals when the consumers' checking accounts come up short.

with these short-term, "courtesy overdraft loans," explains Kiplinger's Personal Finance Special Correspondent Vera Gibbons, is that they come with hefty fees, and banks are handing them out even when consumers haven't asked for them.

The Consumer Federation of America and the Consumers Union, which released a study on the product, estimate that they have interest rates at least four times greater than most other loans.

Gibbons tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm that banks "automatically attach" the courtesy overdraft provisions to checking accounts.

"It's not something you sign up for," Gibbons says, "it's not something you volunteer to sign up for. It happens automatically. Consumers are pretty much surprised about this.

"It occurs, kicks in when you bounce a check, when you go over on your debit card, even when you take out more money than you've got (in your account from) the ATM."
  • Brian Dakss

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