Majority of Americans shocked about bank fees: report

The actual amount of bank fees paid by the average American every year comes as a surprise to most of them, a new report commissioned by TransferWise shows.

The survey of more than 2,000 people was conducted as part of TransferWise’s The Wolves of Main Street: A Study on U.S. Bank Fees.

More than 60 percent of Americans described themselves as “shocked” or “disgusted” when they learned the average household spends $290 on bank fees every year.

Even though close to half of Americans believe they are well aware of the various fees they pay, 78 percent admit they have not completely read their account’s terms and conditions, with ten percent asserting their banks do not charge overdraft and ATM fees.

“Americans are likely caught in a vicious cycle that benefits the bottom line of the big banks,” TransferWise’s United States general manager Joe Cross said. “We don’t care enough about bank fees because we’re duped into thinking they’re far lower than they are.”

Mr. Cross added banks discourage customers from checking into those fees by overloading them with fine print.

“We need to wake up to the daylight robbery and start demanding fairer, proportional, and transparent pricing.”

One reason fees may be high is because most people don’t shop around. Only 30 percent considered a switch and only 19 percent actually pulled the trigger. One in four didn’t think of switching because they felt all banks were the same.