There used to be a time when balancing one’s checkbook was a regular activity. There are some who still do it but most of us have become lax, given the variety of ways we can spend money, and the difficulty of keeping track of them all. The widespread use of debit cards has meant that most people avail of an overdraft facility without realizing it immediately. The fee payment schedule is when most of them become aware of the emergency cash loan that they’ve taken.
The best way to avoid overdraft fees is of course to ensure that you never use the facility. Here are a few simple tips to keep overdrafts at bay and save a packet in charges. The first is to find out if your bank already provides bounce protection as a part of the overall package. If so, ask them to withdraw the facility. By mid 2010, it will become illegal in the U.S. for banks to enforce such covers on customer accounts without taking their consent first. Nothing works like good money management, so always keep tabs on your cash inflows and outflows.
In case you need to keep a backup option handy, look at ways to link your savings account to your checking account. There would still be a charge if you overdraw, but it will be significantly less than what you would pay otherwise. Use text-alert and email-alert facilities from your bank to keep track of your major transactions. Seeing those figures individually can give you more insights about your money management skills than you ever had before. Keep automatic bill payment options in mind always; we often forget to factor these in while estimating our available balance.
Finally if you have still availed of an overdraft, try to get money back into your account at the earliest. Even a few dollars above the limit attracts a fee. You could also try to get your bank to waive charges if the overdraft was a one-off event.