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How to Avoid Being Charged Overdraft Fees

Overdraft fees can take a big bite out of your checking account, so keep track of your finances and avoid future overdraft fees.


  • Step 1: Choose the right bank Choose a bank or credit union that provides their customers with overdraft protection.
  • TIP: Realize that banks and credit unions are competing for your business, so choose carefully.
  • Step 2: Link checking and savings Sign up for an overdraft protection plan that links your checking account to your savings account or a credit card.
  • Step 3: Check account balance Check your account balance frequently and keep track of your deposits and withdrawals in your checkbook register.
  • TIP: Don't forget about automatic electronic payments you may have set up with utilities, loans, health clubs, or other institutions.
  • Step 4: Get alerts Have your bank e-mail or text balance alerts to your computer or phone to keep you informed of your balance.
  • Step 5: Keep extra money Whenever possible, keep some extra money in your account to allow for mistakes and avoid overdraft fees.
  • Step 6: Review statements Review your bank statements each month to see what checks or transactions have or have not cleared.
  • Step 7: Opt out of protection plans Opt out of protection plans so that your debit card will be declined if there isn't enough money in your account to cover the transaction. It'll be embarrassing, but a little embarrassment is better than paying $35.00 for a cup of coffee.
  • FACT: According to the Center for Responsible Lending, debit-card overdrafts are the single largest source of overdraft fees.

You Will Need

  • An overdraft protection plan
  • A savings account
  • A credit card
  • A checkbook register
  • Balance alerts
  • Extra money

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