Suntrust Bank: ruthless, predatory charges. Usury?

I think at one time or another, most people have had a bank account go below zero because of a mistake.  When that happens, banks usually charge a fee, often about $36.  I recently had too many of those fees to mention, and most of them were due to charges on my check card (debit card) that were for less than $15.

I thought a debit card meant that it would only allow you to use what is in the account.  I thought that was the whole point.  But I went over the limit, or under the limit, to be more accurate, as my balance went below zero due to a mistake.

I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve had hundreds of dollars in “NSF fees” (Non-Sufficient Funds), but that the average transaction was less than $15. Meaning that I had charges of $3 at McDonald’s, $5 at Home Depot, and several other charges around $10, mainly for food.  Each one of those charges incurred a $36 penalty.  The NSF Fees were about quadruple the actual charges.

(I know, it’s horrible.  I went to McDonalds.  I usually eat healthier.)

I went to the bank and they told me that this was a “service” that they do for me and the service they offer is that they allow you to use your card when the money isn’t there, but it costs $36 each time.  So I was paying a $36 fee for transactions that averaged $10.

Then I explained that the reason I have all these $36 charges is because they have given me all these $36 charges.  I kept depositing money in the bank but I couldn’t catch up with all their charges.  The reason I didn’t have enough in the bank was because they kept charging me.  Without all the charges, I’d be in the black by a lot.  I could understand the first couple, but not all the ones after that, especially for things I bought for less than $10.

Some people, such as bank employees, would take pleasure in this – “You broke the rules, you should have known…”

I’d publish the actual bank statement here but I don’t have time now.  I will though if the bank doesn’t return the money.  It is a predatory practice.  It is usury.  These fees are way more than the percentage rates of even the highest credit cards, and they levy them right away.  It should be illegal.  In fact, it will be by this summer, so I guess the banks are getting as many in as they can now.

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