We need banks but if you’re not careful - they’ll nickel-and-dime you to death. And some of the fees are voluntary.

That’s the weird part. One of the most lucrative fees the banks charge is for overdraft protection on your debit card. While it’s a nice thing to have, it might cost you $20 - $30 each time you use it. But it’s something you have to opt IN to. Meaning that if you don’t ask for (or approve it) your ATM or debit card will simply be declined (with no fee) if you try using it when there is not enough money in the account to cover the purchase.

Do you really need to use your debit/ATM card when you don’t have enough money in your account to cover the purchase? If so, then get this coverage and watch the fees rack up. But if not - and you can actually live on the money you actually have in your account - don’t sign up for it and save the money.

The stats are ugly on how much the banks make off of this one fee and much of it comes from repeat offenders. If you find yourself using this dozens of times a year, re-think your finances. You’d doing something wrong.

The audio:

And the video:

Top shot: Dave Scott of Motown Digital, Me, Mark Lieberman - discussing Tucker #1043 at the Troy Traffic Jam last weekend.

Follow me on Twitter: @stevelehto

Hear my podcast on iTunes: Lehto’s Law

Steve Lehto has been practicing law for 25 years, almost exclusively in consumer protection and Michigan lemon law. He wrote The Lemon Law Bible and Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow.

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