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Overdraft Protection: Only Protecting Your Bank's Bottom Line?

No one wants to suffer the embarrassment of a returned check or declined debit transaction, but a government bureau suggests that the ills of overdraft protection may be even more painful.The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently issued a preliminary report on its investigation into bank and credit union checking account overdraft policies. The findings indicate that opting in to overdraft protection programs may put consumers in danger of excessive fees and involuntary account closures.The risks of overdraft protectionIn 2010, a new federal law prohibited banks and credit unions from automatically enrolling customers in overdraft protection programs. Instead, consumers were required to opt in to these programs, which are designed to pay for transactions up to a certain amount when account funds aren't available to cover them.Banks often market overdraft protection programs as a benefit to consumers. However, the CFPB report cautions that these programs often come with hefty fe...

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