While many people take for granted their banking relationship which can include savings accounts, checking accounts, or loans, there are a considerable amount of people who do not have these types of accounts. Financial institutions, like banks and credit unions, refer to people without a primary bank account as ‘unbanked’ and those who have a primary account but no other relationship like loans or credit cards to be ‘underbanked’. While low-income households make up the majority of these consumers, other reasons including job loss, low credit scores, and repeated overdraft activity can also land a person into that category.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recently conducted a consumer survey and found 6.5 percent of U.S. households did not have a primary bank account. While this number actually indicates a decrease from the last time the survey was conducted, there are still approximately 14.1 million adults without a bank account in the U.S.

In recent years, banks have started offering special accounts and prepaid debit cards to these consumers. Many of these accounts do come with fees so consumers need to be aware of how these fees are charged or otherwise they could face serious consequences. In some instances, consumers have been charged hundreds of dollars in overdraft and other fees that caused considerable hardship.

Some banks have faced lawsuits brought by consumers who claim they were charged excessive and improper fees on their accounts. Fifth Third Bank is one of those banks. Cohen & Malad, LLP class action attorneys brought a lawsuit on behalf of Fifth Third banking customers who allege the bank charged improper fees. Fifth Third customers who use the bank’s mobile app for deposits state the bank improperly charged them fees for immediate funds availability that is already granted to them per the bank’s own funds availability policy.  If you’d like more information about this particular lawsuit, contact us.