Americans spent $11 billion in bank fees in 2015 — here’s how to avoid them

The biggest bank fees are among the easiest to avoid.

Some 10 million U.S. households don’t use any type of bank account for their money, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. While some people who don’t use a bank say it’s because they don’t have enough money, a third of them say it’s because they have a fear of high or unpredictable account fees. They may be right to have that concern.

Banks made about $11.2 billion in fees from consumers’ overdraft and non-sufficient fund penalties in 2015, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

And just 8% of account holders (typically those with low incomes, and who also may be young) carry overdrafts and pay about 75% of all overdraft fees, according to the CFPB.

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