College students risk paying hundreds of dollars in fees each year if they overuse campus banking products, according to Consumer Reports.
Frequent use of such products can cost students $250 each year unless they avoid "point-of-sale PIN fees, high overdraft fees and high out-of-network ATM fees," Consumer Reports said in a news release Thursday.
The magazine compared the average costs of campus banking products offered by nine different financial firms. Fees vary widely from one campus to the next, suggesting that schools are not making enough effort to negotiate better deals for their students, the magazine said.
In addition, obtaining fee schedules was often difficult, the magazine said. Some schools "fail to present financial aid disbursement options in a 'clear and neutral' manner" and even appeared to encourage students to select school-sponsored accounts.
Consumer Reports made several recommendations for financial institutions and regulators, including the establishment of partnerships between schools and financial providers that seek to eliminate "controversial fees and policies" and aggressive marketing.