U.S. Bank announced in a press release that it's lowering overdraft fees. The new policy won't start until August, but beginning that month, if you overspend by less than $20, each overdraft fee will be just $10. Meaning, if that $4 cup of coffee put you in overdraft, or a $19 meal at Appleby's, or any charge under $20, the overdraft charge will be just $10. That should make a lot of U.S. Bank customers happy.
If you overspend by $20.01 (hopefully they'll give you a break in that case) or more, you can expect an overdraft fee of $33, which is lower than its current overdraft fee of $37.50.
These lowered fees come on top of changes the bank announced last fall: If you go into overdraft by $10 or less, you can expect the fees to be waived completely.
In the press release, Richard Davis, chairman, president and CEO of U.S. Bancorp., offered the standard line about doing this because the bank cares about its customer. "We began implementing changes last fall based on what we heard from customers, all of which were centered on giving them the power to choose what's right for them," said Davis. "This approach is very consistent with how we approach our customer relationships. Customer service is part of who we are, and we are confident this policy will increase customer satisfaction."
And obviously this new change has nothing to do with the fact that starting on Aug. 15, 2010, all banks, by law, will have to have permission from their customers before charging overdraft fees. If customers want, they'll be allowed to opt-out so they won't get overdrafts -- they'll be turned away if the debit card doesn't go through, but they won't have an overdraft fee. If this law wasn't in place, obviously U.S. Bank would still be lowering its overdraft fees.
Geoff Williams is a frequent contributor to WalletPop. He is also the co-author of the book Living Well with Bad Credit.
U.S. Bank overdraft fees getting lower starting in August