Protecting yourself from those overdraft fees

A study released last month by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) showed that debit card purchases and ATM withdrawals account for nearly half of all overdraft fees.

“It happens more with debit cards than with checks,” said Partners Trust Bank Branch Vice President Terri Slater. According her, misconception accounts for a big portion of the problem. “Many customers think the charges will not be approved if they do not have enough funds,” Slater said. She explained that many people, especially young people, do not realize they must account for checks that are on hold and look at both their available balance and their actual balance. “Some merchants don’t send their transactions through right away,” Slater said.

At Partners Trust, Slater said she has noticed a trend among young account holders to use their debit cards for purchases of very small amounts. “They spend two dollars here and two dollars there, by the end of the day they could have seven or eight $30 overdraft charges,” Slater said.

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