It’s no secret that America’s big banks are raking in huge profits in fees. Last year they pocketed a cool $33 billion in overdraft fees alone. At almost every big bank, earnings are up, stock prices are rising, and those multi-million dollar CEO bonuses continue to climb higher. What we’re seeing is a massive redistribution of wealth in America. Big banks are fattening their pockets through sneaky fees that chip away at their own customers’ savings, in many cases without them even knowing about it.
Bank Fee Finder Report Exposes Hidden Fees
To shed light on the problem of bank fees, today BankFeeFinder.com unveiled a report exposing the impact of hidden bank fees on Americans. According to the report which analyzed data from over 5,000 U.S. bank customers, Americans pay $329 annually in bank fees on average. When you consider that half of households in this country have less than $500 in savings, the impact of this bank fee epidemic is even more problematic.
Part of the problem is due to the fact that people just aren’t aware of how much they’re paying in fees. A study by Common Cents found that people significantly underestimate how much they shell out in bank fees. Their research showed that people estimate they pay $5 in fees per month on average compared to data from Bank Fee Finder which shows people pay $27 in actual fees paid each month on average. That explains why many Bank Fee Finder users have been shocked to find out how much they’re really paying.
The BankFeeFinder.com report also breaks down bank fees by category including overdraft fees, monthly, ATM, and other fees. According to the report, overdraft is by far the largest fee category, with banks charging Americans an average of $250 each year. While a percentage of people paid no overdraft fees, those who did were charged an average $412. This sheds light on how banks made $33 billion in overdraft fees alone last year.
Millennials Besting Boomers
The report also found that fees increase with age. Average annual fees for Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers were $308, $401, and $413 respectively. College students paid only $212 in bank fees annually (46% less than the $329 annual average). This likely results from many banks offering introductory no or low fee accounts until students graduate.
Big Banks Rack Up Big Fees
The report also shed light on how the big banks rank in terms of average fees given 87% of the 5,000 reports summarized were from five major banks (Bank of America, CitiBank, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and U.S. Bancorp). In terms of average annual fees by bank, Bank of America account holders paid the most in fees at $497/year, and this represented 23% of all reports generated. That’s 50% more than the next highest annual average which came from Wells Fargo customers who paid $302/year and nearly twice as much as the $265/year on average that Chase customers paid.