So a friend of mine in Los Angeles who shall remain anonymous, let’s call him Jaramush which is a nice name, perhaps even an improvement on his own name, well, he tells me the following tale of woe.
Jaramush has been unemployed and struggling to find work in this beautiful economy linking us all together rag-tag like. Predictably, he’s not doing well financially. He’s also not the best at math. So, using his debit card, Jaramush in Los Angeles, went over his Bank balance by $15.16. For that atrocity he was charged $175 in fees! And why wouldn’t he be? Going over your account $15 is a crime of infinite proportions. Yes, dear Jaramush, even you should know that.
Wells Fargo, bless your little heart. Oh, wait. Do you have a heart? Each transaction, of which Jaramush had 5 (that month, each a few dollars to equal $15.16 over), he was charged $35 for. Hence $35 x 5 equals the $175 in fees.
Years ago, I recall if you didn’t have the money, your card was simply declined. Now, banks have realized that allowing the customer to go over by a few bucks in their purchase and them slapping them with a $35 per transaction fees is in their best interest. Especially in this economy. In 2009, banks are expected to earn $38.5 billion in overdraft fees, up 42% from 2003. That’s BILLION. Yes, $38.5 BILLION. The people are struggling while the banks are snatching up more from them.
Now for the good news. The power of the people. Because of the attention of the media and the consumer outrage, we have people in our very Senate working for change! Hooray! If you are going to pay $1.75 for that cup of coffee and be charged $35 shouldn’t you be aware of it? Jaramush thought so.
A measure unveiled by Sen. Christopher Dodd would give Jaramush a choice in whether he wants to participate in overdraft programs that charge fees for covering ATM withdrawals and debit card transactions. The mere threat of this legislation prompted Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo to announce some changes to their overdraft procedures in September. After going on YouTube and seeing multiple rants on bank overdraft fees, Jaramush didn’t feel quite so alone and called Wells Fargo who did reduce his $175 in fees to $87.50, at least a small victory. So I say go Jaramush, out into the wide world of Los Angeles and manage your money more wisely.