What Is an Overdraft Protection Fee?

Mistakes happen—sometimes your account balance falls too low to cover a purchase. When you opt into overdraft protection, you can select a qualified account to transfer money from in case you don’t have enough available funds. If you overdraft and are covered by overdraft protection, Bank of America will charge you an overdraft protection fee for automatically transferring the necessary funds from your linked account to the covered account to complete the purchase. The transfer will be enough to cover the amount of the purchase, as well as the overdraft protection fee.

Qualified accounts that you can link to include a:

  • Secondary checking account
  • Savings account
  • Line of credit
  • Credit card

How Much Does an Overdraft Protection Fee Cost at Bank of America?

An overdraft protection fee costs $12 per transfer, whether you move money from a savings or secondary checking account, line of credit, or credit card.

Related Fees

If the funds are low in both your covered account and your linked account, Bank of America can still charge you an overdraft item fee or a non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee.

Overdraft item fee

When you try to make a purchase without sufficient funds in your account and Bank of America allows the purchase to go through, you could get hit with an overdraft item fee. Transactions that trigger overdraft item fees include:

  • Checks or other transactions made using your checking account number
  • Recurring debit card transactions (e.g. gym memberships, streaming service subscriptions)
  • ACH transactions
  • Online or automatic bill payments (e.g. auto-pay utility bills, credit card payments)

The cost of an overdraft item fee at Bank of America is $35 for each transaction that overdraws your account by more than $1.

NSF fee

If you try to make a purchase without sufficient funds in your account and Bank of America denies the transaction, you may get hit with an NSF fee. Transactions that trigger NSF fees include:

  • Checks or other transactions made using your checking account number
  • ACH transactions
  • Online or automatic bill payments (e.g. auto-pay utility bills, credit card payments)

Each transaction denied by Bank of America due to insufficient funds costs $35. Bank of America will not automatically charge you an NSF fee for ATM or debit card transactions.

Special Considerations

Starting in June 2021, some Bank of America accounts in certain states became eligible to link more than one form of overdraft protection. Linked accounts could include secondary checking accounts, savings accounts, lines of credit, and credit cards.

Bank of America will only charge you one overdraft protection transfer fee per day, regardless of how many transactions you conduct with insufficient funds in your account. In other words, if you make 12 purchases that progressively send you farther into the negative, you would still only be charged one $12 fee for that day.

Overdraft protection can help if you’d like peace of mind knowing that your transactions can be covered even if you don’t have the funds in your account. However, overdraft protection is not mandatory; in fact, you could save a ton of money by not opting in.

Learn more about what you should know before opting into overdraft protection.

How to Avoid an Overdraft Protection Fee

Overdraft fees are one of the most common charges detected on Cushion customers’ accounts, but there are small actions that you can take to avoid them:

  • Keep an eye on the balances and charges of your primary and linked accounts.
  • Sign up for low-balance notifications.
  • Carefully consider whether you should opt into overdraft protection.

Learn more about how to avoid an overdraft fee.

How to Get an Overdraft Protection Fee Refund

Even if you’ve taken all of the precautionary steps to avoid overdrafts and carefully considered overdraft protection, overdraft fees can still happen. Fortunately, there are ways to reverse the penalties.

Here are some steps that you can take to optimize your chances of getting a refund if you decide to launch a negotiation with your financial institution.

Get your information ready

Name, address, bank account number, the fees that you’d like to negotiate, and possibly your social security number.

Introduce yourself

“Hello. My name is [your name], and I recently received an overdraft protection transfer fee while using my card. I’m contacting you to see if you would be willing to refund this fee.”

Prepare your points of leverage

Have you been financially affected by COVID-19? Are you a loyal customer who has banked with the institution for an extended period of time? Do you have multiple accounts with the bank? Do you make regular deposits? Is this overdraft a rare occurrence?

Be patient, persistent, and prepared not to get a refund every time

The representative that you’re speaking with likely didn’t write the rules on refunds, so it’s important that you’re kind and considerate throughout the process. You also shouldn’t hesitate to press the issue if you initially hear “no”—your points of leverage come in handy here. Success can depend on the representative that you’re working with, so if you’re not successful, try asking to speak with a branch manager or calling back later to speak with someone new. Unfortunately, you also have to be willing to lose some negotiations. Don’t get discouraged, and try to take the necessary steps to avoid future overdrafts.

Learn more about how to get an overdraft fee refund.

Find Bank of America’s full fee schedule here.


Last Updated on September 13, 2023