I want the Canadian Government put a cap on the amount that banks can charge as an NSF fee
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I am making this petition to protect people from being punished for falling on tough times. If you have ever been in a situation where you have had to start counting your pennies closely and had very little wiggle room only to be hit with a non-sufficient funds fee, then this petition is going to hit close to home for you.
For example, let's say your car insurance is $100 a month and it comes out the same day every month like clock work. You know this, and you are prepared. Things haven't been easy lately maybe your hours have been cut back, you have been laid off and are awaiting employment insurance, or you have had some big unexpected expenses come up because life likes to throw us all a curve ball now and again. You have just enough sitting in your account, let's say $105 so you're safe. Then that $15 account fee comes out. You're now sitting at $90 probably with out even realizing it and when your car insurance comes out your bank sends it back and hits you with a $45 NSF fee. A punishment for falling on tough times that leaves you with $45 in your account, now your insurance company is calling, you are $55 short and you beg them to let you catch up when you have money. I could go on and on but I'm sure anyone that has been in this situation knows how this becomes a very slippery slope.
Sometimes it's not as simple as that. For some people its a credit card payment that gets automatically debited or a gas bill that has unexpectedly increased that starts this downward spiral that can be incredibly hard for many to get out of. Canadian banks charge between $45 and $48 in NSF fees, apart from Tangerine who charges $25, which for many Canadians can mean the difference between getting groceries, putting gas in their car to get to work, or buying a necessary medication.
I understand that there are people that choose to spend their money unwisely, but I do strongly believe that many people being punished for coming up short are responsible individuals that have ended up in a difficult financial situation that has been out of their control and in my opinion, these high non-sufficient funds fees are kicking these people when they are down. Because of this I do not propose that Canadian Banks be forced to do away with NSF fees, but I do feel that they should be forced to lower them so that people that choose to spend their money unwisely still must pay the piper but those individuals that have been put in a tough situation are not forced under water.
So, let's talk numbers. In the event you know you are going to come up short your bank will likely tell you to apply a stop payment which will still cost you money. I couldn't find what all the major banks charge in this case, but I do know that one bank charges $12. Another thing to keep in mind is that your bank might, or very likely, will not let you apply a stop payment to every institution auto debiting from your account in which case you will just have to accept that NSF fee. There is also the situation of institutions trying to pull a payment from your account more than once if it was returned to them and of course you will be charged more than one NSF fee. Anyone that has been fortunate enough not to land in this situation can now likely see how this can become a slippery slope.
Looking at the difference in Canadians habits versus situations and considering the limited options when using stop payments, I propose that Canadian Banks cap non-sufficient funds fees at $20. I would like to go further and request that the amount of times an NSF fee is applied to a specific transaction be restricted to once per month. For example, referring to the car insurance we went over earlier. If your insurance company were to try to pull your insurance payment out again in 5 days, you would not be charged an additional non-sufficient funds fee for one calendar month for that tansaction.
I hope we achieve a positive outcome that helps so many struggling Canadians make ends meet and I hope that this petition has shed some light for people that have been fortunate enough to never be in this situation. Thank you for your time to everyone that reviews this petition and I would like to extend my deep appreciation and gratitude to those individuals that sign it.
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