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  • Writer's pictureBob Brooks

Is Having Over Draft Protection A Good Idea? Wells Fargo's Latest "Benefit"



Whenever I hear a bank introduce a new consumer "benefit," I immediately start listening. I'm especially interested when the bank is Wells Fargo. In the spirit of showing grace, let's just say that Wells Fargo has a pretty bad track record of doing the right thing for their customers.   

Wells Fargo's latest offer is to give customers an extra day grace period if they overdraft. The advertising says that if you overdraft your account, you have the next day to make a deposit up to midnight Eastern. It is a way to avoid overdraft fees. Of course, they automatically hit you with the overdraft fees. They remove them if you get that deposit into the bank.   

They require you to sign up for Zelle as a way to transfer money. Here is the latest mess: Wells Fargo found themselves with Zelle - Wells Fargo quietly replaces money customers lost in huge Zelle scam 

  

Here's the bottom line - be careful trusting Wells Fargo. I will let their history speak for itself. There is that part of the story.   


Here is the bigger question – Is overdraft protection of any kind worth it? Is it really doing you any favors? 


The only thing it does for you is potentially creating a bigger liability and saving you some embarrassment when the item doesn't go through. Imagine two or three transactions that created a negative balance, and you didn't know it? That could be potentially $105 worth of overdraft fees. If you don't have the money, wouldn't you rather not have the temptation to play the odds of overdraft protection? Further, is overdraft protection really protection?   


With Wells Fargo, it just changes the game to adjust the "benefit" from one day to two. Chances are, if you have a problem with one day of overdraft, then you are going to have trouble with two days. Oh, and for your convenience, Wells Fargo automatically signs you up for that service. Why don't they take that a step further and automatically sign you up for alerts that notify you of an overdraft? Doesn't make sense. Or does it...? 


Note - Wells Fargo doesn't refer to this program as overdraft protection. They have another title for this program.   

 

Check out Bob's teaching videos at youtube.com/user/prudentmoney to learn more about intentional financial stewardship. 

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