The debit card trap

Source: New York Times (Free Registration)

Not many people would knowingly pay more than $35 for a cup of coffee. But far too many people are getting saddled — with no warning — with outsized bills for minor purchases, under a euphemistically labeled “overdraft protection program” that most major banks have adopted over the last 10 years. Before that, most banks would simply have rejected debit transactions, without a fee, when the card holder’s account was empty. Now, they approve the purchase and tack on a hefty penalty for each transaction.

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