All They Had To Do Was Ask

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance

NOTD number.

That’s how many responses—and then some—regulators were barraged with after asking for insight into what kind of so-called junk fees financial companies may be charging.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Friday it’s extending the public comment period on junk fees to April 11 from the original deadline of March 31 because of the “tremendous amount of feedback” it’s received from the public. The government watchdog launched a broad inquiry in late January into what it called “exploitative junk fees” charged by banks and other financial institutions, including things like late fees, fees for paying your bill, fees for talking to a real person, and closing costs for mortgages.

“These fees impede competition by making it difficult for families to shop around based on the actual cost of a product or service,” the bureau said in a blog post. “We want to hear from stakeholders—including consumers and small business owners—from across the financial marketplace about their experiences with fees associated with financial products and services.”

The bureau defines junk fees as fees that are hidden from the customer, charged for obscure reasons, appear too high for what they provide, or seem like they should be covered by the basic cost of a service. Its recent focus on one particular type of fee it categorizes as junk—fees charged to people who overdraw their accounts—has already led the country’s biggest banks to curtail or abandon them.

It’s typical for federal agencies making new rules to solicit comments from the public, and the bureau said the input it receives about junk fees will help shape its rulemaking and enforcement process. Here’s the official website where you can chime in.

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  1. CFPB. “CFPB Extends Opportunity for Public to Provide Input on Junk Fees.”

  2. CFPB. “The hidden cost of junk fees | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

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