Pew conducts research on checking account practices and advocates for better policies to help consumers manage their everyday finances.
In 2010, Pew began performing regular reviews of disclosure, overdraft, and other practices at the largest U.S. banks. These studies found that policy disclosures were often lengthy and complex, that overdraft practices such as charging high fees and changing transaction order generally put customers at risk, and that consumers were not properly informed of their right to opt out of debit card overdrafts.
Pew continues to work with policymakers and other stakeholders to ensure that overdrafts are used only occasionally when a customer makes a mistake, rather than as a frequent and costly form of credit. In particular, Pew advocates for regulatory changes to enable banks and credit unions to develop new types of small-dollar installment loans that can expand access to safe, affordable credit for the millions of consumers who routinely use overdraft as a way to borrow money or who rely on high-cost credit products from nonbank lenders, such as payday loan stores.