Creative alternatives to overdrafts are not the sole domain of big banks.
First Clover Leaf Bank (FCLF), a $622 million-asset bank in Edwardsville, Ill., is now offering a special checking account that costs $14.95 per month. It ensures that unless a customer has a line of credit, a purchase will be blocked if there are insufficient funds in the account, says Chad Abernathy, senior vice president of retail banking at First Clover Leaf.
Customers have the additional option of a debit card that can be authorized to draw from a customer's other accounts at the bank to prevent overdrafts, Abernathy says. Otherwise, the card, which has a monthly fee of $5.95, would block a transaction that would overdraw the account.
Overdrafts remain a hot topic. A Pew Charitable Trusts report issued last month said that out of 1,804 consumers, more than half said they paid at least $30 in overdraft fees for each time they lacked sufficient funds. Furthermore, 20% said they paid more than $100.
First Clover Leaf's new products, called PaySound, are provided by a vendor, R.C. Giltner Services in Louisville, Ky.
"PaySound addresses the growing concern about overdraft fees on checking accounts by eliminating them," Robert Giltner, the vendor's chief executive, said in a press release Tuesday announcing its work with First Clover Leaf. "This generates interest among the consumers who want to pay for the peace of mind that their financial transactions will be processed and they won't incur overdraft charges."