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February 23, 2012

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Jay Gould

There is a difference between overdraft protection on check and bill payments and the one on card transactions. A missed bill payment can do real damages, such as a penalty or some other adverse action. On the other hand, a declined card transaction would only prompt the cardholder to use another card or cash for payment. The point is that, if only one of these protections would have to be made optional, that should be the one on card transactions, which is in fact the case.

Still, I don't think that banks should force their overdraft protection on check and online bill transactions on us, but the right thing should be to let consumers decide whether to opt into it or not. However, if you do opt in, you should be prepared to pay for it, because an overdraft is, after all, spending someone else's money and that has never been free.

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