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If you’ve banked with Bank of America, you may be eligible for some of a $100 million payout for their customers.
The U.S. Government’s Consumer Finance Protection Board (CPFB) accused Bank of America of opening credit cards and bank accounts without customers’ consent or knowledge, as well as of allegedly withholding credit card points and overcharging customers with overdraft fees.
These actions, according to the CFPB, were not only unethical, but also illegal, and now Bank of America is paying a whopping $250 million in penalties. B of A customers will receive $100 million of that.
Are you among the 68 million Bank of America customers? A refund or payout from B of A could be coming your way in the near term.
Bank of America has to pay people for opening accounts without their knowledge or consent.
According to the CPFB, Bank of America misused sensitive customer information to open new credit card accounts without customers’ permission (or even their knowledge). The CPFB alleges that they might have been doing this for a long time — possibly as early as 2012.
They’re also accused of withholding credit card rewards points and cash rewards that were promised to customers who opened accounts. The CPFB alleges that tens of thousands of customers who applied for credit card accounts over the phone or in person were denied bonuses and rewards that were promised to them, and that sign-up bonuses were also not given to some customers because of system failures.
Help us: If you received a payment for the credit card rewards, tell us how much you got from B of A in the comments below!
Bank of America is also paying customers for ‘double dipping’ overdraft fees.
The CPFB accused Bank of America of “double-dipping” overdraft fees (also called insufficient funds fees). In addition to the then-regular $35 overdraft fee, the CPFB alleges that Bank of America allowed repeated overdraft fees for single transactions, costing customers more money that they literally didn’t have.
First, the bank pays the government. Then the government pays you — probably in late May 2024.
Although the CFPB says Bank of America has already paid $23 million to customers who were denied credit card rewards bonuses, the bulk of the judgment still has to be paid. Here’s how it works:
If you are eligible for a refund or payout from Bank of America following the CPFB investigation, the CPFB will pay you out from the CPFB Civil Penalty Fund. That fund pays funds to victims two times a year — May 30 and Nov. 29.
How You’ll Get Paid
If you’re owed money in the Bank of America payout, the CFPB will contact you — usually via mail — with information about the payment and how to receive it. If direct deposit is an option, you’d get setup instructions; most likely, though, you’ll get paid via check, mailed to your address.
No timetable has been revealed just yet for the Bank of America payout, but based on other cases like this, a May 30, 2024, payout seems the most likely. You can check here periodically for more information for when the case is added.
How much you’ll receive and when you’ll get it remains to be seen, but expect to get paid back some of those nasty $35 overdraft fees. (Bank of America dropped their overdraft fees from $35 a pop to $10 in 2022.)
This isn’t the first time Bank of America has had to pay penalties.
Bank of America is one of the most-fined banks in the U.S. over the past 25 years for various harmful financial practices.
As recently as 2022, they had to cough up $10 million because they took money directly from their customers’ paychecks when they weren’t supposed to. They also had to pay another $225 million because the government said they didn’t handle the unemployment benefits properly during the pandemic.
And back in 2014, they had to pay an even bigger fine — $727 million! This time it was because they were illegally selling add-on products for their credit cards.
A separate class-action lawsuit against Bank of America is totally possible, too.
Even if a bank like Bank of America has been fined by a regulatory body, that doesn’t stop customers from filing a class-action lawsuit if they believe they’ve been harmed. Now, these lawsuits can be quite complex and can take a long time to resolve. Also, the outcome of a regulatory fine does not necessarily affect the outcome of a class-action lawsuit, as they are handled through different legal processes.
In the meantime, you should see if you’re owed any money right now from these class action settlements we’re watching.