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Junk Fees: Fees You’re Paying for That You May Not Even Know About

If you have a credit card or bank account, then you’ve probably been hit with junk fees. From credit card late fees to ATM fees, convenience fees to overdraft fees, U.S. banks and financial institutions are padding their profits with our money. Junk fees are surcharges that typically come as a surprise to consumers. In many cases, they appear at the end of the checkout process and their costs are not shown upfront. 

Junk fees are squeezing the middle class on essential needs like housing, banking, and travel—and it’s time to address them.

President Biden said in the State of the Union this year, “Americans are tired of being played for suckers” and said junk fees “can add hundreds of dollars a month and make it harder for families to pay their bills.” And to make matters worse, junk fees disproportionately affect low-income households and people of color, exacerbating economic inequalities. Working- and middle-class people pay billions in junk fees every year, and this is unacceptable.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took action this year to hold banking institutions accountable, ordering Bank of America to pay more than $100 million to customers for systematically double-dipping on fees imposed on customers with insufficient funds in their account.

President Biden has committed to ending these junk fees as part of his larger fight against corporate greed, and MoveOn is building a campaign to support that work by organizing our members to put pressure on corporations to end this harmful practice.

Together, we can urge the Congress and regulatory agencies to continue cracking down on these unnecessary banking and ATM junk fees across the financial sector.



  • At least 85% of Americans have experienced a hidden or unexpected fee for a service in the previous two years, and one-third of Americans say they’ve spent $100 or more on unexpected or hidden fees on the bills they regularly pay over the past decade.
  • These fees disproportionately affect low-income households and people of color, exacerbating economic inequalities. 
  • Addressing junk fees has broad support across party lines–85% of Democrats, 77% of Independents, and 74% of Republican voters support legislation that addresses junk fees.
  • 79% of Americans support the Biden administration’s plan to lower limits on credit card late fees (90% Democrats, 74% independents, 68% Republicans). 


How We’re Taking Action: 

MoveOn members are dedicated to this work—more than 140,000 members have signed a petition to break up Ticketmaster, one of the worst offenders when it comes to junk fees. 

With the Biden administration now making this a policy priority, we have a real chance to finally take on these corporations and protect everyday people from being scammed by billion-dollar companies who just want to line their executives’ pockets.

It’s time to call out defenders of junk fees and push corporations to reform extra expenses for American families. 

And that’s why MoveOn is launching a new initiative called “F*ck the Fees.”

As part of our “F*ck the Fees” initiative, MoveOn will be focused on leveling the playing field for working families under siege by:

  • Calling for corporate accountability for big corporations that are gouging consumers with these junk fees.
  • Lifting up the voices of our members who have been impacted by these rampant, abusive fees.
  • Calling on Congress and federal agencies to establish rules and regulations that support and uplift working-class Americans and fight back against these outrageous fees.


Do you know how much you’re paying in junk fees?

Using the junk fee calculator on our site, you can get an estimate of how much you’ve paid in junk fees in one year. After answering a series of relevant questions, you’ll be able to see just how much junk fees really rack up against consumers. 

Visit our F*ck the Fees site to see how much you’re paying in junk fees and learn more about how you can push corporations to reform unnecessary expenses to American families.


Additional Resources and References:

White House:

President Biden Recognizes Actions by Private Sector Ticketing and Travel Companies to Eliminate Hidden Junk Fees and Provide Millions of Customers with Transparent Pricing


CFPB Issues Guidance to Rein in Creation of Fake Accounts to Harvest Fees
CFPB Issues Guidance to Help Banks Avoid Charging Illegal Junk Fees on Deposit Accounts
CFPB Uncovers Illegal Junk Fees on Bank Accounts, Mortgages, and Student and Auto Loans
CFPB Proposes Rule to Rein in Excessive Credit Card Late Fees
CFPB Moves to Reduce Junk Fees Charged by Debt Collectors
CFPB Research Shows Banks’ Deep Dependence on Overdraft Fees
Banks’ overdraft/NSF fee revenue declines significantly compared to pre-pandemic levels


Airline Customer Service Dashboard (including free family seating)
DOT to Propose Requirements for Airlines to Cover Expenses and Compensate Stranded Passengers


Federal Trade Commission Explores Rule Cracking Down on Junk Fees
FTC Proposes Rule to Ban Junk Fees, Bait-and-Switch Tactics Plaguing Car Buyers
Federal Trade Commission Proposes Rule Provision Making it Easier for Consumers to “Click to Cancel” Recurring Subscriptions and Memberships