COVID-19

Big banks pledge overdraft relief so customers reap full benefits of COVID-19 checks

Nova Safo Apr 16, 2020
HTML EMBED:
COPY
Stimulus checks are fair game for private debt collectors. But big banks are offering relief for negative balances. Joe Raedle/Newsmakers
COVID-19

Big banks pledge overdraft relief so customers reap full benefits of COVID-19 checks

Nova Safo Apr 16, 2020
Stimulus checks are fair game for private debt collectors. But big banks are offering relief for negative balances. Joe Raedle/Newsmakers
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Stimulus payments have begun showing up in the bank accounts of tens of millions of people. That’s given rise to concerns about private debt collection. If you owe, the money the government is sending you is fair game.

But big banks have pledged that the money from the relief checks will not go toward negative balances or bank overdraft fees. JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup say stimulus payments will not be used to make up for overdrawn accounts.

Many Americans have begun receiving up to $1,200 from the federal government as direct deposits.

But the $2 trillion CARES Act, which authorized the payments, did not exempt private debt collectors from coming after that money. Bank fees and overdrawn accounts count as private debt.

But the big banks say they’ll give their customers a temporary break on negative balances. That comes on top of other relief, such as deferred loan payments and waived fees for various transactions.

Americans are paying close attention to the expected stimulus money, which began arriving Wednesday. Online systems were overwhelmed at a number of banks as customers checked their accounts for the funds.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.  

Need some Econ 101?

Our new Marketplace Crash Course is here to help. Sign-up for free, learn at your own pace.