Consumer Finance

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Pew studies financial products to understand how they can be made safer and more transparent. Pew’s research informs policy solutions to create more effective consumer protections.

The consumer banking initiative studies the accounts that Americans rely on every day to manage their finances, including checking accounts, prepaid cards, and mobile payments.

The small-dollar loans project focuses on small-dollar credit products such as payday and automobile title loans, as well as emerging alternatives.

Our Work

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  • Consumers Need Protection From Excessive Overdraft Costs

    Over the past several decades, banks have increasingly charged consumers fees, such as for overdraft, to generate revenue on checking accounts. Overdraft programs are marketed as a service provided by financial institutions, but in practice consumers often incur unexpected fees that exceed the original transaction amount. Read More

  • How a Set of Small Banks Compares on Overdraft

    According to a survey commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2013, 10 percent of account holders paid at least one overdraft penalty fee after using their debit card. Further, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found that the median size of debit card transactions that led to an overdraft fee was $24, and the median fee assessed was $34; more than half of consumers repay the... Read More

  • Pew: Most Large Banks Fail to Meet Overdraft Best Practices

    Most of the largest U.S. banks continue to charge high, and often multiple, fees each time a customer incurs an overdraft. Additionally, more than 2 in 5 banks rearrange transactions in a manner that maximizes overdraft fees. Further, overdraft programs at a selection of small banks throughout the country are comparable in many respects to those at the large banks, with a few notable differences.... Read More

Media Contact

Mark Wolff

Director, Communications

202.540.6390