Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Overdraft Fees Rise Again, to $30 Average

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The law of unintended consequences has struck again, as political efforts to curb high bank fees, mainly through the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, apparently have fallen short for banking consumers.

In a report released Tuesday, Moebs Services reports the average cost of a bank checking account overdraft has risen to $30 per transaction.

On the surface, that's not a huge difference on a year-to-year basis. Moebs reports that average national overcharge fees stood at $29 per transaction last year, and a $1 uptick isn't exactly burning news.

But when you look back several years, bank consumers are seeing a significant rise in overdraft charges -- especially credit union customers:

Median national overdraft charge per transaction

Banks this year: $30
Last year: $30
In 2011: $30
In 2010: $30
In 2009: $29

Credit unions this year: $28
Last year: $27
In 2011: $25
In 2010: $25
In 2009: $25

Average (both) this year: $30
Last year: $29
In 2011: $28
In 2010: $28
In 2009: $26

Financial reform did a decent job holding down overdraft charges for large bank customers (industry-wise, overall overdraft revenues are down across the board), although those penalties and fees didn't decline for bank consumers.

But smaller banks and credit unions weren't targeted, at least significantly so, by Congress. Thus those financial institutions were able to hike overdraft charges and escape federal government oversight.