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Bank Customers Can Be Hurt by Increasing Transaction Speed

Last week, U.S. Bank agreed to pay $55 million in a settlement. Other settlements include Bank of America with a $410 million settlement last year, and Citizens Bank with a $137.5 million settlement in April of this year.

Despite recent regulations, overdraft fees continue to be a large source of revenue for banks. In 2011, banks collected $31.6 billion from overdraft fees, according to research firm Moebs Services. In July 2010, the Federal Reserve required banks to receive permission from each checking account customer before the bank provided overdraft protection for ATM and debit card transactions.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is currently investigating the overdraft fees that banks charge on checking accounts.

A faster world driven by ever-improving technology is often seen as being synonymous with progress and is supposed to make the world easier for "us," but in this instance be careful what you wish for: the deposit that will soon be instantaneously registered by the bank's computers doesn't mean the computer is really ready to let you use the funds for your next impulse purchase or overdue bill. In fact, the computer may end up charging you for that mistaken assumption.

--By Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is chief executive of, which compares and rates more than 1,000 credit cards. He is the co-author of "The Credit Card Guidebook."

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