Once your bank account has suffered a negative balance due to anything other than a system complication, financial institutions penalize account holders with a charge otherwise known as an overdraft fee. Though this fee varies, it is frustrating. So, it is important to keep track of your money, here are several ways to prevent overdraft fees from happening.
Steps to avoid overdraft fees
1. Don’t rely on your “Available Balance.” Many financial institutions engage in a practice where they will reflect your “Available Balance” but can not recognize transactions that come in after the end of the business day, or checks. Available balance generally reflects the money you have in your account available to you, but a common trigger of overdraft fees occurs when the transaction is actually posting (moving from a “pending” status to “posted”). Banks generally place a hold on your money for 3 business days if it’s a credit purchase, and if the bank doesn’t receive receipt of payment by then, they will release the money back into the account. However, when a credit purchase is made, the merchant has much longer than that to collect payment. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see transactions being withdrawn days after they were made, therefore throwing off the expected available balance.
2. Arrange text alerts from your bank.
Some banks, will send you a text message when you’re nearing your account limit so you can avoid unplanned overdrafts. With Lloyds TSB, if your account goes overdrawn, you are given until 3:30 p.m. UK time to pay in the money or arrange a planned overdraft so you can avoid overdraft fees. You can also arrange texts alerts for when your account nears a low balance limit that you set.
3. Arrange for overdraft protection from your bank.
This is an agreed borrowing limit you arrange with your bank, and it can help you manage cash flow better. It gets you out of a jam when, for example, you have an urgent bill but your pay cheque doesn’t go in the bank for a few more days. You have to arrange for this with your bank, and some banks allow you to do this online or over the phone.