What Is an Overdraft Fee?
M&T Bank issues you an overdraft fee when you don’t have enough money in your account to complete a transaction but the bank pays for the transaction anyway. This will cause your account to have a negative balance, and you will incur a fee on top of it.
Transactions that can trigger an overdraft item fee include:
- Checks or other transactions made using your checking account number
- Automatic bill payments (e.g. auto-pay utility bills, credit card payments)
The bank can cover other types of overdraft transactions as long as you opt in first, including:
- Everyday, non-recurring debit card transactions (e.g. gas, groceries)
- ATM withdrawals
M&T Bank is not obligated to cover any transactions that overdraft your account, regardless of transaction type or overdraft protection status. The decision is ultimately at the bank’s discretion.
How Much Does an Overdraft Fee Cost at M&T Bank?
M&T Bank charges $38.50 per overdraft fee.
The fee only applies to transactions that cause you to overdraft your account by $5 or more. For example, if you make a purchase and your account only falls to -$4.50, you will not incur an overdraft fee.
If you overdraft your account, a number of scenarios could occur.
- Overdraft fee
- Insufficient funds fee
- Overdraft protection transfer fee
Overdraft fees most often occur when you are not opted into overdraft protection and the bank allows you to overdraft your account on checks, automatic bill payments, and other transactions made using your checking account number.
Insufficient funds fee
An insufficient funds fee is sometimes called a non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee or returned item fee. The bank charges an insufficient funds fee when you make a purchase but there are not enough funds in your account to cover the transaction. Instead of covering for you, the bank will decline the transaction, or return the item unpaid.
M&T Bank charges $38.50 for each transaction that causes you to overdraft your account by $5 or more. The fee applies to checks, automatic bill payments, and other transactions made using your checking account number; M&T Bank will only charge you an insufficient funds fee for ATM transactions and everyday debit purchases if you have opted into the service.
Overdraft protection transfer fee
Overdraft protection transfer fees most often occur when you are opted into overdraft protection and the bank allows you to overdraw your account by transferring funds from a qualifying linked account. Rather than a $38.50 overdraft fee, M&T Bank will charge a $12.50 overdraft protection transfer fee.
To enable overdraft protection, you must link a qualified account so that the bank can transfer funds from one account to another in the event of an overdraft. Qualified accounts include:
- Savings account
- Line of credit
- Credit card
M&T Bank limits the number of overdraft fees — including both overdraft fees and insufficient funds fees — to five on a single day.
If you hold a MyWay Banking account, you will not receive overdraft fees. In most cases, your transaction will be declined if you do not have sufficient funds in your account to cover the purchase. If your account does happen to overdraft, M&T Bank will not charge you an overdraft fee.
If you opt into overdraft protection, it’s nice to know that money can be automatically transferred into your account if you do not have sufficient funds to cover a transaction. However, by opting into overdraft protection, you may actually be doing more harm than good. According to a study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, accounts opted into overdraft protection pay more on bank fees than accounts that are not opted in.
Remember: You can opt into or out of overdraft protection at any time.
How to Avoid an Overdraft 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 your account balance and charges.
- Sign up for low-balance notifications.
- Carefully consider whether you should opt into overdraft protection.
How to Get an Overdraft Fee Refund
Even if you get stuck with an overdraft fee, there are ways to reclaim that money and avoid future mishaps.
Here’s what you can do to increase your chances of success when you negotiate bank fees with your financial institution.
Prepare your information
Name, address, bank account number, and the fees that you’d like to negotiate — have them ready for the bank agent.
“Hello. My name is , and I recently received an overdraft fee while using my card. I’m contacting you to see if you would be willing to refund this fee.”
Have your points of leverage ready
Have you been financially affected by COVID-19? Are you a loyal customer who has banked with M&T Bank 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
Remember: Kindness is key. The representative that you’re speaking with on the phone likely didn’t write the rules on refunds. You also shouldn’t hesitate to press the issue if you initially hear “no” — that’s what your points of leverage are for. Sometimes, success depends on the representative that you speak with, so try calling back a few days later to speak with someone new.
Lastly, you may lose some negotiations. Try not to get discouraged, but do try to take the necessary steps to avoid an overdraft fee in the future.
Find M&T Bank’s full fee schedule here.