How to get overdraft fees refunded

Young man standing alone in his kitchen, smiling as he reads on his phone about how to get overdraft fees refundedImage: Young man standing alone in his kitchen, smiling as he reads on his phone about how to get overdraft fees refunded

In a Nutshell

If you face pesky overdraft fees, you may be able to get them refunded. Or you could find a bank account that doesn’t have overdraft charges or offers tools that can help you avoid overdrawing your account.
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If you’ve been hit with overdraft fees, there may be a way to get your money back.

An overdraft can occur when you try to spend more money than you have in your account balance. Overdrafting can often lead to overdraft fees and bank charges. Whether a deposit didn’t clear as fast as you thought it would or you simply weren’t paying attention to your account, you might be able to get a refund on your overdraft fees, which can add up quickly. Let’s take a closer look at how to get an overdraft fee refund and what you can to avoid these fees in the first place.

Can I get my bank to waive overdraft fees?

Some banks may refund an overdraft fee after you contact customer service and explain your situation, especially if you’ve been a loyal customer and rarely overdraw your account. Other banks might have a formal program that either waives or helps you avoid overdraft fees.

Wells Fargo, for example, offers the Overdraft Rewind program. The bank states that as long as you make a direct deposit to cover the deficit by 9 a.m. the next morning, your overdraft fee will be waived. If you have an account that receives direct deposit, you’ll benefit from this feature automatically.

With Bank of America’s Balance Connect, you can link to five other accounts and transfer additional funds when you need to avoid an overdraft fee. These accounts can be other checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards and lines of credit.

Huntington Bank is another bank that can help you save on overdraft fees. If you overdraw your account by $50 or less, you’ll be covered by the $50 Safety Zone and won’t have to worry about an overdraft fee. There’s also a 24-hour grace period that gives you 24 hours to make a deposit and avoid any overdraft fees.

How to avoid overdraft fees

While you might be able to get your overdraft fees refunded, it’s better to avoid them altogether. Here are some tips on how to do so.

Keep track of your balance

Make sure you know how much money is coming in and going out of your account at all times. You can keep track of this manually on paper or electronically by checking your account on the computer or on your phone. If your bank offers it, enroll in low balance alerts so you receive a notification any time your account goes below a certain threshold.

If you don’t have enough money in your account to pay for a purchase, your bank may transfer funds from another checking or savings account to cover the shortfall. All you have to do is link to the alternate account. Check with your bank to find out if this is an option.

Choose a bank that doesn’t charge overdraft fees

Some banks don’t charge overdraft fees on all checking accounts — though this might mean that they don’t offer an overdraft protection program at all. If your current bank charges overdraft fees and you tend to overdraw your account often, it may be worth it to switch to a different bank without overdraft fees. Just make sure you’re aware of other fees like returned check fees and ATM fees.

Opt out of overdraft protection

By opting out of overdraft protection, you won’t have to pay overdraft fees. But keep in mind that if you try to buy something and don’t have enough money in your account, your debit card transaction will be denied. Even though you might be a bit embarrassed, you’ll save on overdraft fees.

What you need to know about overdraft fees

Overdraft fees aren’t cheap. In fact, they can run you anywhere between $30 and $35 per transaction. Some banks may even charge you several overdraft fees per day — or even extended overdraft fees when you have a negative balance for a certain number of days. That’s why one overdraft fee can quickly add up to a lot of money.

What’s next?

If you overdraft your checking account every once in a while, it might not be too much of a concern as mistakes can happen. But if you find yourself overdrafting often, you may be spending more than you earn or not paying close enough attention to your finances. It may be a good idea to take a closer look at your monthly budget and figure out how you can tweak it to avoid overdraft fees in the first place.

About the author: Anna Baluch is a freelance personal finance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. You can find her work on sites like The Balance, Freedom Debt Relief, LendingTree and RateGenius. Anna has an MBA in marketing from Roosevelt Un… Read more.