Overdraft charges cost young adults a bundle

Closeup of check

A study by the Center for Responsible Lending says young adults are particularly prone to overdraw their checking accounts, and pay lots of overdraft fees, because they use their debit cards for lots of small purchases.

Banks and credit unions used to refuse checks or debit card transactions if there wasn't enough money in the account. Now they routinely cover such shortfalls -- charging a fee of about $30 each time they do.

"Abusive overdraft practices by banks are stripping funds from the checking accounts of young adults," the report says. "Many students and young workers find themselves owing hundreds of dollars in fees before they even realize they have overdrawn their accounts."

The center found consumers 18 to 24 are charged more than $3 in fees for every $1 their account is overdrawn.

It says at least 100 colleges contribute to the problem by forming partnerships with banks by offering ID cards that double as debit cards.

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