Nearly three out of four American don't plan to pay to be able to make purchases or withdraw money when their checking balance reaches zero, according to a survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, as Americans try to rein in spending after the financial crisis.
The results were released Monday on the eve of a crucial deadline in a new federal regulation that governs how banks should authorize such overdrafts.
Starting Aug. 15, overdraft fees can only be imposed on existing customers who have explicitly opted in for coverage, under a rule the Federal Reserve published last year.
Industry studies show that the average overdraft fee charged by a financial institution is $27, with about half of the more than $37 billion generated in fees in 2009 coming from debit card and automated teller machine overdrafts, according to the foundation's release.
Many banks, which are eager to retain these fees, have recently launched campaigns encouraging consumers to opt in.
However, the results of the online survey last month of 2,089 respondents showed only 26% said they would want to have the option to overdraw.