Overdrawn bank account? Not as much of a problem

Anthony Holloway

Chase Bank revises its policy on overdrafts

Checking account customers at Chase Bank will have the option of ditching overdraft fees next year, said Chase spokesman Mike Fusco.

“There’s been a lot of growth in debit card usage,” Fusco said, “so that’s why we’re changing.”

He said Chase policy is looking to change in four ways:

&bull eliminating overdrafts for debit cards unless the customer opts for overdraft services;

&bull recognizing debit-card transactions and ATM withdrawals as they occur;

&bull eliminating overdraft fees if a customer’s account is overdrawn by $5 or less;

&bull reducing the maximum number of overdraft fees per day from six to three.

Ashley Swiger, a Huntington debit card user, said she would like to see a change in her overdraft policy.

“I think it would be better if they didn’t let you buy something if you were going to overdraft,” Swiger said.

That’s exactly what Chase customers would face if they opt out of Chase’s overdraft services, Fusco said. Customers who still want to be able to purchase items that overdraft the account can continue to do so by contacting the nearest branch or calling the number on the back of their debit card.

Swiger, sophomore psychology major, said shopping is what gets her in trouble.

“Christmas is a bad time,” she said.

Mike Watts, a customer of Pennsylvania State Credit Union, said he wishes there were different tiers of overdrafting fees available.

“I think there should be a minimum and different fees for if you overdraft $5 versus $100,” Watts said.

He’s had bad experiences.

“I was pumping gas, and I didn’t know I didn’t have enough money,” he said. “I went over like $7, (and) it cost me $45.”

Fusco said the current tier system in place is based on the number of overdrafts in a year.

Matt Smith, a First Merit user, said his brother has gotten in trouble with overdrafting.

“My brother,” Smith said laughing, “he just turned 21 this summer, and he bought a keg, and it threw him over.”

Smith, sophomore visual communication design major, said he has been close but has yet to overdraft.

“I’ve probably been down in the cent range – under a dollar,” he said about his checking account balance.

Smith said after watching his brother and experiencing low balances himself he knows it can be tough to recover.

“If you know your funds are low, watch out,” he said.

Contact student finance reporter Anthony Holloway at [email protected]