Checking Account Risks at a Glance
From the report “Hidden Risks: The Case for Safe and Transparent Checking Accounts"
The Pew Health Group's Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project conducted a study of checking account terms and conditions that examines both the state of the marketplace and the effect of current regulations covering these accounts. Pew analyzed more than 250 types of checking accounts offered online by the 10 largest banks in the United States, which hold nearly 60 percent of all deposit volume nationwide.
In researching checking accounts, Pew charted the median and the range for many fees, the variations in key practices and the extent of certain practices. The figures below display some of Pew's most important findings from its recent report, Hidden Risks: The Case for Safe and Transparent Checking Accounts.
- $36 is the median transaction amount that causes a consumer to overdraft - Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, “Study of Bank Overdraft Programs” (November 2008), available at http://www.fdic.gov/bank/analytical/overdraft/FDIC138_Report_Final_v508.pdf.
- $38 billion is the amount Americans are estimated to spend on overdraft fees in 2011 - Press Release, Moebs Services, Overdraft Fee Revenue Drops to 2008 Levels for Banks and Credit Unions, (Sept. 15, 2010), available at http://www.moebs.com/Pressreleases/tabid/58/ctl/Details/mid/380/ItemID/193/Default.aspx.
This fact sheet focuses on the lessons learned from consumers who purchase and use prepaid debit cards. More info
An interactive graphic demonstrating how banks can reorder a checking account customer’s transactions in a manner that maximizes overdraft fees. More info
An interactive map highlighting the checking account practices of the 10 largest U.S. banks and the percentage of people without bank accounts in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More info
The Pew Health Group’s Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project investigated checking accounts offered by the ten largest U.S. banks, which held nearly 60 percent of the nation’s deposit volume.
View an interactive graphic presenting a state-by-state overview of Underbanked or Unbanked households. More info
"Hidden or unexpected fees” were cited as the number one reason Greater Los Angeles’ working poor, those who are employed yet remain in relative poverty, closed bank accounts in the past year, surpassing job loss or lack of money, according to a survey of predominately Hispanic, low-income households. More info
Based on a study of checking account terms and conditions in April 2011, Pew developed a model disclosure form for checking accounts, similar to a nutrition label for food or a Schumer Box for credit card offers. More info
A checking account is the most basic and necessary financial product for American consumers. Nine out of 10 Americans have a checking account, making it the most widely utilized financial services product in the United States.
View an infographic presenting figures from the most important findings of the report. More info
The Pew Health Group’s Safe Checking in the Electronic Age Project responds to the FDIC’s call for comments on FIL-47-2010, Overdraft Payment Programs and Consumer Protection. The FDIC issued proposed guidance for public comment on how banking institutions it supervises should implement and maintain oversight of automated overdraft programs. More info
"A study by the Pew Safe Credit Cards Project found that card issuers are complying with a new law this year that prohibits numerous deceptive practices. Previously, all card issuers tracked by Pew used at least one practice that is now illegal." More info