Follow These Steps to Prevent an Overdraft Fee
It’s the notification no one wants to get: you’ve overdrawn your account. It’s enough to ruin anyone’s day (and maybe even cause a minor middle-of-the-supermarket meltdown). It’s never fun to lose money because you’re already out of money, but thankfully, it’s an easily preventable moment.
There are some surprisingly simple ways to manage overdraft fees and avoid them entirely. With these pieces of advice, you’ll make overdraft fees a thing of the past.
How to Avoid an Overdraft Fee
Opt out of Overdraft Protection
A declined card at the end of a long coffee line or with a full cart of groceries can be frustrating and uncomfortable, but if avoiding an overdraft fee is a priority, it might be a necessary evil. When you opt out of overdraft coverage from your bank, you’ll be barred from making purchases that put you in the red. It’s a simple precaution to take—you can’t get hit with an overdraft fee when you can’t overdraw—but it’s a decision you have to make.
Use a Prepaid Card
Another way to avoid overdraft fees entirely is to switch to a prepaid debit card. Similar to your typical debit cards, they let you pay on the go and make deposits and withdrawals easy, but these hold a finite amount of money on them at a time. They won’t automatically take money from an account, so you’ll have to reload it when you want to use it. You won’t be able to overdraw on this card, but some charge for declined transactions. Like opting out of overdraft protection, this method may slightly limit the financial freedom you have with your current card but would save you from the pain of an overdraft fee.
Turn on Text Alerts
Your phone is always with you, so put your bank account in the palm of your hand with your bank’s mobile app and text alerts. One well-timed notification when you’re in danger of incurring an overdraft fee can save you a lot of headaches. Most banks of today have a handy (and free) mobile app that will help you see unwanted fees coming from a mile away.
You’ve Overdrawn...Now What?
You might not have seen this overdraft fee coming, but you can keep it from getting any worse! The second you see you’ve overdrawn, put money into the account as soon as possible. Many banks will charge you additional overdraft fees for each transaction that puts you farther and farther into a negative balance.
Consider switching to a bank or credit union like IBMSECU that offers an overdraft protection service. This proactive service can see when you’re approaching the overdraft danger zone and automatically deposit money into the account, preventing fees or card rejections.
Overdraft fees aren’t fun for anyone. By taking just a few simple steps, you can keep your account happier and healthier and your stress levels lower.