Banking

Wells Fargo Softens Overdraft Policy

Aiming to boost its reputation after a fake account scandal last year, Wells Fargo announced Tuesday (Nov. 14) the launch of a new overdraft feature that will reduce the hit to customers.

The embattled bank said the new feature, dubbed Overdraft Rewind, will automatically reverse overdraft fees assessed on customers’ accounts. In a press release, the national bank noted that the feature will kick in if an overdraft fee hits the day before a direct pay deposit is scheduled to show up in the account. As long as the direct deposit is received the morning after a customer's account is overdrawn and it covers the charge, the bank will not charge any overdraft or insufficient funds fees. Customers do not need to take any action to receive the new benefit.

“We’re always looking for new and better ways to help our customers manage their accounts, and many customers have told us that they are frustrated by unexpected overdrafts the day before their next paycheck is direct deposited into their account,” said Ed Kadletz, head of Wells Fargo’s deposit products group. “By looking back at a customer’s prior-day transactions when a direct deposit is received by 9 a.m. local time, we’re now able to effectively ‘rewind’ any overdrafts from the previous business day that are covered by that deposit, helping our customers to avoid overdraft fees and bridge the occasional gap between paychecks.”

Wells Fargo also announced it will no longer charge overdraft fees for any transactions that are $5 and under. Research has shown countless Americans have had to pay overdraft fees as high as $35 on charges of much less. The new per-transaction threshold complements the bank’s existing policy of not charging an overdraft fee if a customer’s available balance and ending account balance is overdrawn by $5 or less and no items are returned for non-sufficient funds at the end of processing for that business day.

These moves are an expansion of the June launch of Wells Fargo's alert feature, a function that automatically notifies customers by email if their account balances drop to zero or less. On average, the bank sends out more than one million zero and low-balance alerts during any given day.

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