Overdraft Fees and Protection Because Nobody is Perfect

Saturday morning rolls around and as I give a quick look at my phone with one eye open,  my dog simultaneously does her patented Siberian husky hooooooowl that “I am ready to go and this is to alert you to get out of bed and off your phone, because it’s party time for me”.  During this time I see an email from my bank alerting me of a low balance.  This is not entirely uncommon, because when the end of the month comes, my transfers are occurring for larger amounts of money and I keep just enough around for a coffee or lunch during the week, which is well below the $100 alert I have set up.  Right below that email was a Negative Balance alert, right then I said Oh S***!   As I already mentioned today is Saturday, the business day ended on Friday and I was screwed.  I made a personal finance mistake, spent more than I earned and caused my account to go negative!  Please do not make me wear the Scarlet letter ‘A’ or conduct a Salem Witch Trial accusing me of personal finance witchcraft, because nobody’s perfect right.

After my Saturday morning walk filled with coffee, my dog nearly ripping off my arm after multiple squirrel chases, and a little cold rainy weather I was ready to see how much I owed for my stupid mistake.  I logged in to see a bunch of negative amounts, fees, waivers, transfers, and a positive balance for those keeping score at home it looked a little like this guy to your right.

How my account looked!!!!

How my account looked!!!!

Negative Amounts

When I looked at my bank account I realized right away what had happened, my trusty 1987 Ross bicycle needed air this past week and when I noticed that bikechicagothe wheel was so dry that I could strip off the tire trim and see the inter-tube, that I needed to make haste to the local bike shop.  At the local bike shop, the crafty salesmen not only suggested the tire, but an inner tube as I explained my bike most likely hadn’t had a tire change in the past 10 years or so.  He offered to put on the inner tube and bike tire for a charge of $10, I usually attempt to at least give it the old DIY try, but since I already face enough danger on the construction crazed driver filled streets of Chicago, I decided that a loose or deflated tire didn’t need to add to my worries or Mrs. Even Steven.  Well $36 and some change later and I find out why I am getting a Negative Balance alert, it was my 1987 Ross Bicycle.


The good news in this story is I have overdraft protection, so rather than a $36 Overdraft Fee, yep banks got to make money somehow and fees are one of the 3,142 ways they do, I was instead charged $12.50.  If my options are $36 or $12.50, well I think it’s pretty clear which one I’m taking.  The fee was listed as an Overdraft Protection Fee, honestly $12.50 to transfer over some money from another account because I forgot might sound like a stick in the eye, but remember banks are for profit companies and instead of a stick in the eye, they just want to poke you in the arm, don’t worry it will heal.

Waivers and Transfers

Apparently I am just full of good news because of the type of account with the bank I have they actually waive any fees when the transfer occurs from a linked account.  So the waiver refunded the $12.50 like it never happened.  In this case I had a little bit of money in a savings account, but I also had an old credit card that I keep linked.  I don’t physically have the card, but I keep it open and on file for instances just like this, now I’m not a huge fan of credit cards sine I owed a ton of money on them not long ago, but today might be the only day that I can say I am glad I have one, I mean it saved me $36.  I do owe my credit card $50, so I can either transfer from another bank or wait until I get paid in the upcoming week, so I suppose it’s not all bad.

Positive Balance and Lesson Learned

At the end of the day when I looked at my account, I had a positive balance.  I made a mistake, I usually transfer the money I need right away after I make an unexpected purchase.  I prefer to go with the method of not keeping money in my account very similar to why I don’t keep junk food in the house because this way I won’t eat it.  Now it almost cost me $36 or $12.50 in fees, but I had my alerts and overdraft protection in place and the total damage was $0*.  I should probably have a lesson learned from this personal finance mistake, but when the whole ordeal costs $0, it’s tough to see a lesson or something I should change in my finances.  I thought about adding an extra $100 into this checking account to avoid any transfers taking place, but I guess the best lesson for me is that having Overdraft Protection on your account could save money, there lesson learned.

Do you have any lessons or suggestions you have learned from an overdraft fee or overdraft protection?  Do you have overdraft protection on your account?


*No fees have been charged on my credit card that I know of, although I do have a $50 balance

13 Responses to “Overdraft Fees and Protection Because Nobody is Perfect

  • Glad to hear that your fee was 1) reduced and 2) waived. I find that most banks will remove any overdraft fees if you simply ask. I do not have any overdraft protection and like you made a stupid timing miscalculation with my checks paid etc. that I ran a negative balance ans was charged $34 in overdraft fees. I simply went into the my local branch two block away and spoke with the manager and without hesitation she removed the fee. All I had to do was ask. She could also see from my history that this is not a normal occurrence and was simply an error I made. Thanks for sharing your experience. Glad it didn’t cost you anything in the end.
    DivHut recently posted…June Stock ConsiderationsMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Certainly the art of negotiation could be involved if you get hit with the overdraft fee, good work on your end getting it waived.

  • We do have overdraft, but can’t remember the last time it has to be used. Just really try and be diligent with keeping track of our debits. We use a credit union and often they will waive fees in cases like this. Glad it work out for you.
    Brian @DebtDiscipline recently posted…Net Worth Update: May 2015My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Yeah I’ve heard more leniency with credit unions, since I work for a bank I don’t think I’d change at this point, I know the accounts pretty well.

  • All of my accounts are linked with overdraft protection.

    Before I moved to the credit union I used to keep all of our cash in a savings account and only keep enough in the checking to pay the bills that were coming out of it. But they were all set up on automatic transfer.

    I do remember a time that I forgot about something I paid for with a check that I completely forgot about. But as you described my accounts were set up with the overdraft feature so transfers were made automatically with no fee.

    But know I am with a credit union that pays a higher interest rate in my checking than in my savings as long as I keep at least $25K in it. So we just keep all of our money in our checking account.

    Dominic (Gen Y Finance Guy) recently posted…My Trading Story – Podcast Interview with Brandon ClayMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Checks are easily missed, unless you use the good old check register that my parents use! Yeah hard to overdraft on 25K, nice move;)

  • Credit unions are great for overdraft. Since I don’t overdraw often, I’ve had great luck getting my bank to waive the fee. Another perk of working with smaller financial institutions!
    Ali recently posted…Stress Spending and How to Avoid ItMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Smaller institutions or having a family atmosphere where they know know your name helps during the talk of waiving fees. Hard to treat you like a number when they know your name is Ali or Steven.

  • My ‘real’ job is working at a bank, so I want to thank you for the extra $12.50 (even though you got it waived…). And all the other fees. I hate them too.

    Overdraft protection is great even if you make a small math mistake. Or forget about an auto-pay amount. Or actually need the extra money. Too bad you did not just use a phone app, and transfer the money manually, on the spot.
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    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      I also work at a bank so I’m probably just like you on fees. Yeah I had no idea I was negative until the next day, usually I check the account just got busy and didn’t look.

  • The whole “Charge you to use your overdraft protection” is new to my bank. It used to be that if you overdrafted your account, it would automatically move money over free of charge. After all…you could have just done a manual transfer for free. But now there’s a fee, which I find asinine.
    Brock @CleverDude recently posted…Customer Service Shout Out: Dairy Queen and FlapdoodlesMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      1 year ago

      Being on the banking side and the customer side, I certainly understand both. Banks are for profit companies and any new laws or legislation to regulate only makes the bank find a new revenue stream, sounds like that’s what may have happened on your side. I have heard the complaint many a time, that the money was there and I don’t disagree with you.

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