New overdraft rules: What you need to know — and do

New overdraft rules: What you need to know - and do
New overdraft rules: What you need to know - and do

Beginning July 1 for new bank accounts and August 15 for existing ones, banks will now have to offer you the option of enrolling in overdraft protection programs. In other words, they'll have to ask for your permission before they slap you with a $30 fee if you overdraw on your debit card for a $4 cup of coffee.

As a result, banks have been trying very hard to get their customers to sign up for overdraft protection, making it sound like all sorts of dire consequences will come to pass if you pass on their offer of "protection."

"In general, banks emphasize the convenience and not the fees," says Jean Ann Fox, director of financial services for the Consumer Federation of America.

But they may have an uphill battle, says Lauren Bowne, staff attorney for nonprofit group Consumers Union. "Based on the consumer complaints we've received, I'd be surprised if any of these consumers sign up to be charged for this type of expensive overdraft loan," Bowne tells WalletPop.