More than three-fourths of bank customers did not pay any debit card overdraft fees over a recent 12-month period, suggest survey data the American Bankers Association released Sept. 15.

In a telephone survey involving 1,010 U.S. adults Ipsos-Reid conducted for the association Aug. 14 to 15, 77% of respondents said they did not pay a debit card overdraft fee during the previous 12 months, while 21% said they paid one or more overdraft fees. The remaining 2% were unsure whether they had paid one.

“The majority of consumers continue to avoid paying overdraft fees despite current economic conditions,” Nessa Feddis, the association’s senior federal counsel, said in a statement.

Banks are paying closer attention to customers’ overdraft-fee behavior in the wake of new overdraft-protection rules under Regulation E of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act the Federal Reserve Board put into effect this year (see story). 

Bank customers as of Aug. 15 had to opt in to receive overdraft protection on existing accounts or risk having their debit card transactions declined at the point of sale. Banks were required to get new customers’ permission beginning July 1.

Many issuers previously made the service automatic, which caused consumers to complain when their issuer charged them unexpected fees for overdrawing their accounts. Such occurrences are what sparked the Fed’s rules change.

The American Bankers Association previously announced that 46% of bank customers polled during the August survey said they had opted in to their bank’s overdraft-protection program, or they planned to do so. Another 49% said they did not opt in, and 5% said they were unsure what they would do (see story). 

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