How to Get Overdraft Fees Refunded

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overdraft fee refund
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Overdraft fees are frustrating. In 2022, U.S. consumers paid a total of $9.9 billion in overdraft fees.  According to the 2023 FinHealth Spend Report, overdraft fees negatively impacted low-income households the most.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of paying these bank fees. To escape the cycle, it’s important to understand what overdraft fees are and why you may be charged one.

But if you do get stuck with one, you can always ask your bank for an overdraft fee refund.

What Is an Overdraft Fee?

When you don’t have enough money in your bank account to cover an ATM withdrawal, debit card purchase, online payment, or transfer, you can overdraft your account. Instead of declining the transaction, the bank allows your account balance to go negative. When this happens, the bank will charge you an overdraft fee.

Many financial institutions require you to opt into overdraft protection to overdraw your account on certain types of purchases. These typically include one-off purchases, such as ATM transactions and everyday debit transactions.

However, you can receive overdraft fees if you overdraw your bank account on preauthorized transactions even if you haven’t opted into the program. Preauthorized transactions can include checks, recurring debit card transactions, ACH transactions, online or automatic payments, or other transactions that use your checking account number.

overdraft fee refund

How Much Do Overdraft Fees Cost?

The cost of overdraft fees varies depending on the financial institution but you can expect them to range from $0.00 to $36.00.

Here are the overdraft fees of the biggest banks in the US:

Financial Institution Overdraft Fee
Citibank $0.00
Bank of America $10.00
Chase $34.00
Wells Fargo $35.00
U.S. Bank $36.00

Occasionally, your bank or credit union may only charge you overdraft fees if you overdraw your bank account by a certain amount.

For example, Bank of America specifies in its online fee guide that it will only charge you an overdraft fee if you make a purchase that overdraws your account by more than $1. If you pay for something and your balance only falls to -$0.50, you may not be charged an overdraft fee at Bank of America.

Read the Bank of America Overdraft Fee Guide here.

How Many Overdraft Fees Per Day Can You Receive?

In some cases, you may have to pay more than a single overdraft fee if you overdraw your account. Fortunately, most banks limit the number of overdraft fees that they can charge for each business day.

Here are the maximum number of overdraft fees that the biggest banks in the US charge:

Financial Institution Maximum Overdraft Fees Per Day
Citibank N/A*
Bank of America 2
Chase 3
Wells Fargo 2 – 4*
U.S. Bank 3

💡 Note: *Citibank stopped charging overdraft fees in 2022. Wells Fargo charges up to two overdraft fees per business day for Teen Checking accounts, three overdraft fees per day for consumer accounts, and four overdraft fees per day for business accounts.

How to Get an Overdraft Fee Refund

It may seem like a hassle, and may even be intimidating. But believe it or not, banks refund overdraft fees all the time. If you gather the necessary information and prepare your argument, you’ll increase your chances of getting a refund.

Prepare your personal information

Your bank will need to verify your identity. Prepare your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social security number
  • Debit or credit card number

Introduce yourself

Start with: “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.”

Identify your points of leverage

At this point, it’s possible your bank may say that they can’t offer a bank fee refund. Don’t get discouraged. They often can if you have a compelling argument.

  • Are you a loyal customer?
  • Have you banked with the institution for a long time?
  • Do you have multiple accounts with the bank, such as a savings account, business account, or another personal checking account?
  • Do you make regular deposits?
  • Do you rarely overdraw your account?

You can use any of these arguments to convince the representative to waive overdraft fees.

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Things to Remember When Asking for an Overdraft Fee Refund

You’ve prepared all of your information. Now you should keep a couple of things in mind during the negotiation.

Be polite

A little kindness goes a long way. The representative that you’re speaking with likely didn’t write the rules on fee refunds. If you ask nicely, the representative is probably willing to give you a refund. In their eyes, they’d much rather keep you as a happy customer than risk losing you to a competing bank.

Be persistent

Don’t hesitate to press the issue if you initially hear “no” — that’s what your points of leverage are for. If you’ve prepared correctly, you should have several arguments ready.

If you continue to hear no, you can escalate the issue to a manager. When you ask to speak with someone who has more authority, be polite. If you ask rudely, you may hurt your chances of getting bank fee refunds ever again.

Success can depend on the representative that you speak with. Try calling back a few days later to speak with someone new. Once again, politely let them know why you deserve a refund, and see what happens.

Be prepared not to get a refund

Finally, you have to be willing to lose some negotiations. Banks refund fees at their own discretion. Plus, the more you overdraft, the less able you will be to get overdraft fees refunded.

You won’t win the full refund amount every time. You might get a partial refund or no refund at all. Try not to get discouraged, but do take the necessary steps to avoid overdraft fees in the future.

How to Avoid Overdraft Fees

The specific steps you need to take to avoid overdraft fees depend on the bank. So we’ve compiled the different ways you can avoid overdraft fees when it comes to the biggest banks in the US.

How to Avoid Overdraft Fees at Wells Fargo

wells fargo logo

To avoid Wells Fargo overdraft fees, you can link one of each of these accounts to your checking account:

  • Wells Fargo Savings Account
  • Wells Fargo Credit Account 

In the event of an overdraft, Wells Fargo transfers or advances funds from one of these accounts to your checking account (without charging any fees). You can also choose which account is prioritized but savings accounts are prioritized by default.

Since Wells Fargo doesn’t charge non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees, you can also just turn off overdraft services altogether to prevent overdraft fees.

💡 Note: Not all Wells Fargo accounts are eligible for linking. To find out if your savings or credit account is eligible to provide overdraft protection, call 1-800-225-5935.

How to Avoid Overdraft Fees at Bank of America

Bank of America Logo
You can avoid Bank of America Overdraft fees by signing up for Balance Connect. Balance Connect is an optional service for Bank of America’s overdraft protection which allows their customers to link up to five (5) other BoA accounts to an eligible checking account.

In the event of an overdraft, Balance Connect automatically transfers available funds from your linked accounts to cover the overdraft amount.

Not all BoA accounts are eligible for linking, however. Qualified accounts include but aren’t limited to:

  • Savings or secondary checking account
  • Line of credit
  • Credit card

How to Enroll In BoA Balance Connect in the App

To enroll in Balance Connect through the BoA App, follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to the Bank of America Mobile App
  2. Select the Checking Account you want to connect
  3. Go to the Account Management Section by scrolling down
  4. Select Balance Connect for Overdraft Protection
  5. Toggle Balance Connect On
  6. Choose up to Five Eligible Accounts to connect
  7. Select Next at the bottom of the page
  8. Review the Terms & Conditions and Press Save

How to Avoid Overdraft Fees at Citibank

citibank logo

You don’t need to do anything to avoid Citibank overdraft fees because it has stopped charging said fees since 2022.

How to Avoid Overdraft Fees at Chase

chase logo

You can link a Chase Savings Account to your checking account by going to this page:

If your checking account does not have enough money, Chase will take the available funds from your savings account instead, allowing you to avoid an overdraft fee.

💡 Note: Overdraft Protection isn’t available for the following accounts: Chase Secure Checking and Chase First Checking.

How to Avoid Overdraft Fees at U.S. Bank

us bank logo

You can opt into U.S. Bank’s Overdraft Protection to link up to three (3) eligible accounts to cover overdrafts on your checking account. Accounts that are eligible for linking are as follows:

    • U.S. Bank Savings Account
    • U.S. Bank Personal Checking Account
    • Money Market Account
    • U.S. Bank Reserve Line of Credit
    • U.S. Bank Credit Card
    • U.S. Bank Personal Line of Credit
    • U.S. Bank Home Equity Line of Credit

💡 Note: Lines of credit and credit cards are subject to eligibility requirements and credit approval.

Last Updated on June 06, 2024
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this website is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as financial advice. Consult with a financial professional for personalized guidance regarding your specific situation.

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