A bump in overdrafts in the third quarter suggests that more Americans are struggling to make ends meet.
Lenders took in an annualized $31.8 billion in overdraft income a 1.6% increase from the previous period, according to a quarterly report from economic research firm Moebs Services. While average overdraft fees held steady at $30, consumers overdrew their accounts more frequently. The average customer overdrew his or her account 7.1 times annually, compared to an average of seven times in the previous period.
Americans have had a harder time covering expenses as they feel the effects of the government shutdown and automatic tax increases dating back to the beginning of 2013, according to the firm's chief executive Michael Moebs.
As Americans respond to "uncertain economic times," they are "having a harder and harder time keeping the checkbook balanced," Moebs said in the release.
While overdraft fees can have a big impact on individual customers, Moebs says that the quarterly increases in revenue and volume won't make a big difference to lenders.
"The slight uptick in overdraft revenue does not add much to a financial institution's bottom line" compared to cost control and lower expenses, Moebs said in the release.
The report drew data from a number of sources, including a representative survey of roughly 2,890 financial institutions as well as figures from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve.