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Wells Fargo to introduce no overdraft fee bank account, limited overdraft fee account

(Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) said on Tuesday that will launch new bank accounts to limit overdraft fees for customers. 

One bank account will charge a $5 monthly fee, exclude checks, and limit spending to the amount available within the account. Customers who want to be able to write checks can opt for an account that limits overdraft fees to one per month for a $10 monthly fee. 

The new accounts are expected to launch early next year. 

Other Wells Fargo deposit accounts give customers the option to avoid a monthly fee so long as their account meets certain requirements like having a direct deposit or making a number of purchases per month. 

Overdraft fees have drawn scrutiny from regulators and politicians for years since they are typically only paid by customers with the least money. In 2009 the Federal Reserve issued a rule that prevented banks from charging overdraft fees on ATM and one-time debit card transactions unless the customer opted into overdraft protection. The rule did not apple to recurring payments like subscriptions and auto-pay.

Since the beginning of 2020 Wells Fargo has received dozens of complaints related to overdraft fees, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau database. 

Wells Fargo has taken a number of measures to help customers avoid overdraft fees. In 2017 the bank started provided real-time balance alerts to customers whenever their account fall to zero or less, stopped charging fees on accounts that were overdrawn by less than $5, and introduced a overdraft rewind feature that refunded fees charged when a covering direct deposit was received the next day. The moves have been a drag on fee income for the bank.

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