Overdraft fees can significantly burden your finances, especially if you frequently find yourself overdrawing on your bank account. But what exactly is an overdraft fee, and how can it affect your money? In this article, you’ll explore these questions and discuss the options available for avoiding overdraft fees, including finding a bank with no overdraft fees.
What is an overdraft fee?
An overdraft fee is a charge that a bank imposes on a customer for exceeding the available balance in their account. For example, if you have $100 in your account and try to make a $110 purchase, the bank will charge you an overdraft fee for going over your available balance. Depending on the bank, overdraft fees can range from $25 to $35 per transaction.
How can overdraft fees affect your money?
Overdraft fees can add up quickly and significantly impact your budget. For instance, if you incur an overdraft fee of $30 every time you exceed your available balance and do this four times a month, you will have paid $120 in overdraft fees alone. This is a significant amount of money that could have been put towards other expenses or saved for the future.
Additionally, overdraft fees can lead to a cycle of debt. If you cannot cover the overdraft fees and the additional purchases you made, you may have a negative balance that continues to grow as you incur more overdraft fees. This can be particularly problematic if you are already struggling with financial issues. For example, “Checking and Savings members who receive $1,000 or more in qualifying direct deposits over the preceding 30 days are eligible for Overdraft Coverage,” explains SoFi advisors.
How to avoid overdraft fees?
There are several ways you can avoid overdraft fees:
- Keep track of your account balance: One of the most effective ways to avoid overdraft fees is to keep track of your account balance. This can be done by checking your account online, through your bank’s mobile app, or by keeping track of your purchases in a budgeting app or spreadsheet.
- Set up account alerts: Many banks offer the option to set up account alerts that notify you when your balance falls below a certain amount or when you make a purchase that would cause an overdraft. These alerts can help you avoid overdraft fees by reminding you to transfer money into your account before you exceed your balance.
- Use a debit card with overdraft protection: Some debit cards offer overdraft protection, which allows you to make a purchase even if you don’t have enough money in your account. However, this service is often accompanied by a fee, so it’s important to weigh the cost of the fee against the cost of an overdraft fee.
- Choose a bank with no overdraft fees: One of the most straightforward ways to avoid overdraft fees is to choose a bank that doesn’t charge them. Many online banks and credit unions offer checking accounts with no overdraft fees, saving you significant money if you frequently overdraw on your account.
Overdraft fees can be a significant burden on your finances, but there are ways to avoid them. By keeping track of your account balance, setting up account alerts, using a debit card with overdraft protection, or choosing a bank with no overdraft fees, you can save yourself the hassle and expense of overdraft fees. If you’re looking for a bank with no overdraft fees, be sure to research and compare the available options to find the best fit for your needs.