January 14th, 2019

How To Get A Refund On An Overdraft Charge}

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Submitted by: Robbie T. James

Overdraft charges are a relatively modern phenomenon. Rewind to about a decade ago before the advent of overdraft protection programs. At that time, banks did not charge overdraft fees. Instead, if you wrote a check that was too big, it would just bounce. Sure, you would be charged a bounced check fee (which admittedly could be quite high) but you didn’t have the frequency of overdraft fees that so many people see today showing up on their checking account statements.

Notably, it is not just the overdraft protection programs themselves that cause the problems we have with overdraft fees today: it is the combination of debit cards and overdraft protection programs that is the culprit in our collective overdraft problems. Like overdraft programs, debit cards are a relatively-recent invention by the banking industry.

The reason why:

debit card + overdraft protection program enrollment = deadly combination for bank customers is that when you have both through your checking account, your bank will actually allow you to make a charge at a store, gas station or other merchant even if your bank account balance is too low to support the charge at that time. In other words, instead of denying the debit charge, your bank will honor it – and then charge you a fee for doing so. And, these fees can range from $25 to $35 per overdraft in the case of many national banks.

Even particularly responsible bank customers who carefully keep an eye on their purchases and check their account balances regularly can run into problems. It’s likely that you have had at least one overdraft charge in your lifetime. In fact, you may have had multiple charges within the last month alone! And, just 3-4 charges can add up to a $100 in fees.

Banks, of course, are interested in maintaining the status quo as far as overdraft fees are concerned. That’s because these charges bring in about $30 billion per year in the United States alone. So, these programs are less a matter of customer “protection” (as the name implies) but rather are clearly all about bolstering bank profits.

If you are looking for how to get a refund on an overdraft charge, it won’t be easy. But, banks are more likely to refund your overdraft charges if you:

1. are able to present a rational case for why you do not deserve the pay the charges.

2. call them rather than e-mail them to dispute the charge.

3. remain polite and calm while on the phone. While you are no doubt upset about the situation given the fees you are being asked to pay, remember that this person, too, just wants to get through their day and go home. They will be reasonable if you treat them as such.

4. Be ready to relate important info like the date and amount of the transaction in question.

5. If the phone call does not work as you had hoped, ask for an address where you can send in a complaint via written letter. Remember, avoid e-mails: they are not taken as seriously. Take the time to write a letter and you will have a better chance of success.

The best alternative to spending your valuable time fighting your bank on overdraft charges is to switch banks. Few but a growing number banks now offer overdraft-fee-free checking, meaning they will not charge you an overdraft fee – even if you overdraw your account.

About the Author: For a list of non-overdraft-fee banks, check out:


. And, to find out more about banks that do not charge overdraft fees, check out:





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