America's three biggest banks continued their ongoing joke on poor people last year by collecting $6 billion from overdraft and ATM fees, and 2016 is looking even more bleak.
The ATM war chest collected by JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo amounted to $25 for every adult in the United States, according to a report by SNL Financial and CNNMoney published last week.
The report found that the average overdraft fee was $34, yet most overdraft charges occurred on transactions of $24 or less. Banks and credit unions charge about the same for an overdraft protection fee, reported Tribune News Service this week.
Though banks like Wells Fargo promised to help customers understand what overdraft charges they face, all three banks' overdraft fees rose every quarter of last year.
The problem only stands to get worse -- this has the attention of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, who have turned overdraft fees into a political talking point. Sanders wants to put a cap on ATM fees at $2, as well as overhaul credit rating agencies and make them nonprofits. Clinton called ATM fees "usurious" and unreasonable.
They both make good points. Out-of-network ATM fees hit an average of $4.52 in the fourth quarter of last year, and the city with the lowest average fee was Seattle, with an average of $4.21. Just look at the highs:
- Atlanta $5.15
- New York $5.03
- Phoenix $4.88
- Miami $4.84
- Milwaukee $4.78
ATM fees have risen for nine straight years. Who will stop the madness?
The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is currently "considering" putting restrictions on overdraft fees, but for now, there's no light at the end of the tunnel for consumers.