(Video correction: Overdraft fees are posted after the bank reviews accounts transactions for the day, not month.)

Millions of Americans have been hit with overdraft fees in the past decade. And a good number of them are eligible for refunds under the terms of settlements related to a class action lawsuit aimed at punishing banks for transaction reordering. TD Bank, Bank of America®, Fifth Third and PNC have already reached an agreement with the courts. Other banks are waiting for the court to issue a final ruling.

The lawsuits allege that banks reordered transactions to generate the highest amount of overdraft fees possible. By arranging charges from highest to lowest, rather than in the order in which they were incurred, the banks maximized their profits because customers were charged for each overdraft they violated.

The class action lawsuits hitting many of the major banks who tried to get away with these unfair practices will give the customers a small overdraft fee settlement refund, usually much smaller than what they paid, due to lawyer fees and the large numbers of people included in the settlement. However, since many likely wrote off this money already, it is pretty much found money. And, luckily, a majority of customers will receive payments even if they do nothing. However, some will have to pay extra attention, such as customers who got hit with the fee before the records were as thorough, usually before 2005.


Chase has agreed to settle for $110 million with their customers affected by transaction reordering between Jan 1, 2001 to May 24, 2011, pending final approval from the Senior Judge James Lawrence King of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The bank will pay out to all customers who had a Chase consumer deposit account and debit card from Jan 1, 2003 and Mar 29, 2010, and were charged two or more overdraft fees caused by debits posted to the account from highest to lowest dollar amount on a single day during the time period listed above.

Customers will receive payment through direct deposit, or a check mailed to the last known address if the account has been closed, after the final hearing set for Dec 10, 2012, at which point they will be able to determine how much payments will equal. Most payments will be made automatically and if you want payment you do not need to do anything, but certain people will need to file a physical claim either online or by mail. These include overdraft fees in Chase accounts in 2003 – 04 and in Bank of New York accounts from Oct 2, 2006 through Mar 31, 2007. The deadline to file one of these claims is Feb 8, 2013.

If you were a Chase customer and affected by this settlement, you will automatically be included even if you did not receive any notice unless you opt out by mail before Nov 5, 2012.

Full details of the settlement including forms, lawyer and court information can be found here.

Other cases

Other banks are in the various stages of settling. Citizens Bank settled for $137.5 million, PNC for $90 million and TD Bank for $62 million, but all these three banks await court approval and will go through a similar process in the coming months, so check back here for full details including how to file a claim when you receive contact and the settlement is made public. Be aware that different banks employ different claim filing processes, and some, like Chase, will not require a claim at all.

Citibank and Wells Fargo find themselves in middle of the process and have not disclosed the amount of their settlements, but they will likely be relatively large considering their sizable deposits. You can expect to hear from these banks in the coming months about how to file a claim and when you can expect to receive payment. Wells Fargo is already awaiting to hear what will happen to a separate overdraft case.

Finally, some other banks have already finished the whole process. National City, acquired in 2008 by PNC, has settled for $12 million and finished accepting claims on Aug. 26, 2011, and has sent out payment to customers by now,  irrespective of PNC’s $90 million settlement. Fifth Third Bank settled for a measly $9.5 million while Bancorp South got off practically scott-free paying just $1.75 million. If you have filed a claim with any of these banks and have not received payment, your claim was probably denied, but you can still try calling the hotlines on the settlement pages to find out. If your payment was less or more than you expected, it means the courts misjudged how many claimants would file valid claims and had to prorate accordingly. In many settlements, claimants are entitled to up to three times the amount they claimed if there is enough money in the fund.

Bank of America® settled in late 2011. Details on payments can be found here.

Details on other banks and where they stand in the settlement process can be found here.

Most recent case: TD Bank sued for unfair overdraft fees

Despite the $62 million settlement back in 2010, TD Bank has not changed their overdraft fee policy. This means that TD Bank customers may have still experienced abuse by the unfair policy for the last five years. Of course, this has not escaped scrutiny, and now TD Bank is once again being sued for unfair overdraft fees.

The plaintiffs assert that TD Bank has continued to process charges by amount instead of chronologically. This has led to customers being charged multiple overdraft penalties that would otherwise not have occurred. For example: if you have $10 in your bank account and you spend $2 in the morning and $12 in the afternoon, you should be charged one overdraft fee for the second purchase. TD Bank, however, has allegedly been processing the most expensive transaction first, incurring one overdraft penalty for the $12 charge and then a second penalty for the $2 charge.

Additionally, TD Bank is being accused of determining overdrafts by the available balance, as opposed to the ledger balance. The available balance is the balance TD Bank estimates you have available after all transactions are processed, while the ledger balance is how much money a customer actually has in the account. This means that TD Bank would purposefully subtract transactions from the smaller account in an attempt to incur an overdraft fee. According to the plaintiffs, about 10 percent of overdraft fees incurred would not have happened had TD Bank subtracted from the ledger balance.

This class action suit was brought against TD Bank on Jan. 8, 2015 and is currently ongoing.

How do these overdraft fee policies make you feel about your own bank? Have you been a victim of abusive overdraft fee policies?

Let us know in the comments below or share with the MyBankTracker community and leave a review for your bank.

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  • Msc8

    banks don’t rearrange a month’s worth of transactions – and it has nothing to do with “taking money out of your account faster than you are putting it in”. money is either there to cover checks written/transacations performed on/by a particular day or it is not 

    • Simon Zhen

      Msc8, you are correct. Overdraft fees are posted after the bank reviews accounts transactions for the day, not month. We’ve added a note to point out the error.

  • gwen

    chase bank receives. my check direct deposit, i was to receive a income tax check that would have came into the bank directly to the bank. i get my check direct deposit to chace on the 3rd of the month every month for 2 years. I call the bank to see how much money was in my account, 8 days later. they tdell me, so I go to the atm withdraw my limit, then I go to the bank withdraw 200.00. their was a little over a 100.00 doller left. I received a overdraft letter 3 days later. I called, then I went to two different banks trying to understand what had happen. I tried talking to a supervisor she told the young lady she wasn’t coming to the phone for me. Iwould like to know how they realize that a teller made a mistake, and didn’t post my check for 8 day later bbut chase made me pay them for their mistake. the company was made whole and the customer was left holding the debit. their was no remorise. theis was so UNfair. thanks for allowing me to vent.

  • lauren

    i got something in the mail to fill out for this claim. it said i could do it online also do you know the website?

  • Robert Al Ramos

    bank of america said they sent and paid out on november 29,2012 . I have not gotten any credit or check yet. i called numerous times to a stupid automated system and sent overnight delivery from express mail letting them know and gave all the info over 1 month ago still nothing? Where can i go to get them to pay me what they owe?

    • Simon Zhen

      There are a few reasons that you may not have yet receive a payment. It’s possible that you were not eligible for payment under the terms of the settlement. If you sent a letter to request a review, it might be taking longer to check your status.

      If you feel that you were eligible for a payment but did not receive it, even after a review, you may have lucky filing a complaint through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.


  • larry

    Ya? they settle and continue to do it! not solving the problem.. just making the attorneys rich and spreading the rest out to the masses that were ripped off by the bank. they get a bunch while the rest is passed out to the ones that were actually ripped off!
    Its bull. nothing changes

    • richard

      That’s right,they r Stoll doing it to me $140 this month

  • nancy

    I know BOA paid out already, when are TD people to get $$ what is significant about March 2013 when pertaining to TD?

    • richard

      That’s right Nancy,I’m still waiting and they did it AGAIN to me $140 this month

  • another crime victim

    I am with a bank called, PEOPLE With NO CONSCIENCE, aka PNC, the illegal practice of these fees is only the tip of the iceburg, these fees have caused my credit card payments to be unavailable to my credit card companies because the bank would take the money first, thus causing a 35$ fee from them also. I would go online to look at my account and notice that things that were not even in my pending transactions the night before, all of the sudden would be in an order making the highest amount first, now mind you this highest amount was not even supposed to be in my pending transactions until the next day this causd 700 dollars in fees LUCKY for me I had a program in my pc called quicken after MANYYYYYY calls and trips to the bank I got quicken to look in to it and out of the blue every dime was back in my account, they were caught red handed by quicken software which was automatically downloading at real time all pnc transactions. shame on u pnc

  • another crime victim

    I forgot to mention afte they were caught they said they do it that way to help the customer because they assume the higher amounts are more important. Im sure more people would of added their 2 cents but the bank got it for FEEEEEEEs.

  • jerry

    how can i tell if i am in it

  • Mel

    Really I got a whole $16.93.. granted I probably would of never gotten anything except it be for the lawsuit but heck that’s an insult. Man were all of us sitting on the wrong side of the table we should of been the lawyers that way it would of made a difference

  • James Gunning

    I am a client for citizens overdraft and still haven’t received my money yet. What is going on? The court granted it on March 12th and the payout was suppose to be on May 6th. It is past May 6th and I still haven’t received my money yet. I bet that the lawyers got paid. Every time I call the information center they don’t know when the payout is. Could you please let me know a date when I can see the payout. I have a lot of money coming. I at least had 3 to 5 overdrafts a month x 8 years. Your talking thousands of dollars.

    • Simon Zhen

      James, May 6 was the deadline to submit a claim to benefits of the settlement. It is not the date that payments were disbursed. The payout date has not been set.

      So, unfortunately, you’ll have to sit tight for now.

  • stacey meeks

    My name is Stacey Meeks i was with chase from 2004_2010 every pay period was missing $150_$275 dollars out of my pay they said i was in over draft but could never show me and would give me a lie after lie i tryed to sue but i had no help i lost out big with chase bank,pnc bank,haunting bank i and RBS bank ,i am so disappoint in the services and the treatment i receive banking with those bank because they are to help you keep your money safe.

  • xjoy

    There is a delay in dispersal of funds for PNC Bank customers as well per the overdraft website today although they stated via phone in January 2014 that the funds would be released in February or March 2014.

    • Sylvia Braddock

      Hey…i’m. Right with you guys….my mother was with union bank…she apparently had. 2/3 overdrafts amonth…At times they would literally. take all of her retirement check on over drafts…She since passed…My father tried to file a claim in January 2014. Was told deadline had passed when in fact they lied. Deadline just passed last month…Good Job Union Bank ! ! ! You guys just keep lying ….

    • Pat

      I got received a refund check for over $800 in May, 2014.