Debit cards are a great resource that simplifies financial transactions. You can make purchases using available funds in your checking account. Unfortunately, consumers can accidentally spend more money than they have available in their bank accounts. The bank will help make the purchase, but you will owe the difference and receive an overdraft fee. These expenses can add up, especially if you frequently operate on a low margin. You can use financial apps that provide additional resources to shield yourself from this scenario, but you may have an overdraft fee currently on your balance. What do you do then? Can you get a refund? We will discuss the details.
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How Much Are Overdraft Fees?
Most banks charge an overdraft fee between $33 and $35. You will pay this fee for every transaction that exceeds your limit. Consumers can get multiple overdraft fees by continuing to attempt transactions with insufficient funds. You should stop making purchases with your debit card the moment you receive an overdraft fee. Continuing to purchase goods and services without solving the problem will put you into a deeper hole.
Banks charge their universal overdraft fee regardless of how far you go above the limit. For example, a consumer with a -$1 balance will receive the same overdraft fee as a consumer with a -$100 balance. Banks can close your account if you don’t repay the obligation. Most financial institutions will wait 30-60 days before taking action, depending on your account’s standing. If your account gets closed, you won’t have access to your credit card, debit card, or bank accounts. If you have a larger debt, the bank will send a debt collector after you to obtain the payment. Banks have more patience if you are only a few dollars off and have a good history with them.
Can You Get Overdraft Fees Refunded?
Consumers can utilize several strategies to get their overdraft fees refunded. While these strategies aren’t guaranteed, they increase the likelihood of getting these fees wiped off your bank account.
Get Your Overdraft Fees Waived
Ask, and you may receive. You can reach out to your bank and ask them about waiving some or all of your overdraft fees. Banks are not obligated to fulfill your request, but financial institutions may remove some or all overdraft fees to build goodwill. The bank benefits if you stay with them long-term, and these institutions prefer not to close accounts or see customers do business with another bank.
You can contact your bank via phone or email to discuss the overdraft fee refund. Being courteous to the representative will increase your chances, but it won’t guarantee that you get a refund. If the first representative you call won’t budge, you can call your bank a few hours later and speak with a different representative. If this is your first overdraft fee, mention it during the call. Banks want to keep reliable customers, and they don’t want a small mishap to ruin a long-term relationship.
Dispute Overdraft Fees
Some overdraft fees aren’t your fault. The merchant may have overcharged or provided you with the wrong order. Those mistakes can increase the final purchase price and make your balance negative. You can get a refund later that puts a few dollars in your bank account, enough to return to a positive balance, excluding the overdraft fee. You can contact the bank with the dispute, and if that doesn’t work, you can reach out to the merchant. Keep your receipts and other documentation to prove the merchant’s mistake to strengthen your case. Not all merchants will fulfill your request, but if you are a returning customer, most will pay the overdraft fee to keep the relationship intact.
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Auto Transfer Funds from Another Account
Some banks protect you from overdraft fees if you quickly transfer money from another account. You can pull money from your savings account and replenish your checking account. Following this step within 24 hours of receiving the overdraft fee can help you get a refund.
Get Overdraft Refund Assistance
If the other strategies don’t work, you can consider refund assistance. Companies will negotiate with your bank on your behalf to get overdraft fees refunded. While this strategy doesn’t offer any guarantees, having someone else do the negotiating while you’re at work can lead to a swifter conclusion. Overdraft refund assistance companies also know how to negotiate effectively because they have had experience with overdraft fee conversations. If you are not the best negotiator or don’t have enough time, an overdraft refund assistance company can help.
How to Avoid Expensive Overdraft Fees
It’s possible to get overdraft fees refunded, but avoidance is the best policy. If you never get an overdraft fee, you will never have to ask for a refund. You also won’t fall into a dangerous cycle where overdraft fees become common. Consumers can implement these strategies to avoid expensive overdraft fees and protect their finances.
Regularly Check Your Balance
Monitoring your balance will help you avoid overspending. Daily reviews will keep your budget in perspective and make you more conscious about each purchase. Keeping your balance in mind can prevent you from going overboard and ending up with an overdraft fee. You can also monitor investments in crypto, stocks, and other assets.
Set Up Low Balance Alerts
Some banks let you set up alerts that notify you when your balance is low. These notifications can pop up on your smartphone with real-time updates. In addition, you can set predetermined amounts that trigger low balance alerts. Some consumers set up alerts for when their accounts fall below $25, $50, $100, and other amounts.
Use a Prepaid Debit Card
Prepaid debit cards aren’t connected to bank accounts. You have to transfer money from your bank account to the prepaid debit card to fund purchases. Keeping your prepaid debit card away from your checking account can protect you from overdraft fees while giving you the same functionality as a debit card. You will have to continuously fund the prepaid debit card to continue using it.
Get Your Pay Early
Some people pay overdraft fees because the paycheck does not arrive early enough. An emergency expense arises, and some people will endure the overdraft fee for a quicker conclusion to the emergency. Getting your pay a few days early can give you enough money to cover expenses and avoid overdraft fees.
Opt for Quick Loans
Some people get payday loans and car title loans to cover small differences. These loans help you avoid overdraft fees, but you get stuck with high-interest rates. Those interest rates can put you into deeper debt and make it more difficult to avoid overdraft fees next time.