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Did You Overdraw Your Account? Here's What to Do

January 7, 2021

Did you mail a check only to be notified that it bounced? Or perhaps you tried to buy something with your debit card, and when you checked your online statement later, you were shocked to find a negative balance. You just spent more money than you have, so what do you do to fix it?

First, don’t panic. It’s not a fun situation to be in, but it happens. Follow these tips to get back in the black as soon as possible:

The Consequences of Overdrawing Your Account

The consequences of an overdrawn account depend on your bank’s specific policies. If you have opted-in to overdraft protection, then the transaction you were trying to make will still go through because your bank will cover the amount. In this instance, your bank will charge you an overdraft fee, which will likely be around $33. If you don’t have overdraft protection, though, then you may be charged an NSF fee (nonsufficient funds fee) that is a similar amount, but your card will decline, or your check will bounce.

Overdrawing your account now and then isn’t the end of the world if you can pay the fee, but relying on overdraft protection too often could result in your bank terminating your account. It may also report you to a debit bureau that may make it more challenging to open a new checking account in the future.

Plus, it may not be your bank who takes action against you if you’re in the red for too long; services you pay for may cancel on you if they don’t receive payment in time.

What to Do if You Overdraw Your Account

Those are a few examples of consequences, but what should your next steps be?

Don’t Spend Anymore

This should be obvious, but it’s worth repeating: don’t spend any more money with the overdrawn account. It’s understandable if you have essential expenses coming up, but don’t use the account at all, if possible. Check on your upcoming subscriptions or auto-payments that could put your further in the red. Only once you have replenished your accounts’ funds should you resume spending.

Keep in mind that if you don’t have a backup source of money, then your bank will automatically use your next deposit to cover your negative balance. Your negative balance likely includes the fee, so factor in this change for your monthly budget.

Replenish Your Funds

You probably guessed this one, but replenish your account as soon as possible. Don’t let it remain negative for too long, or your bank may charge you extended overdraft fees, which can accumulate quickly. Use your savings or another backup account to bring your overdrawn account back up to zero, preferably higher.

If you don’t have any other sources of money to make your checking account positive again, then consider borrowing from someone you trust, picking up a side-gig, or selling items you don’t need.

Another option is to use Earnin, which allows you to access your income on time if your bills are due before your paycheck arrives. Pay cycle delays may be the reason you overdrew your account in the first place, so next time, you can use Earnin1 to take out up to $100 per day, $500 per pay period, and avoid paying overdraft or NSF fees. Earnin then deducts the amount you used from your paycheck once it’s deposited.

Check if You Were Charged Overdraft or NSF Fees

You have to opt-in to overdraft protection, but if you aren’t sure whether you have it or not, it’s possible you signed up for it without realizing what it is. Though you’ll know when making a debit card purchase immediately (the card will decline if you don’t), double-check with your bank if you realize you are about to overdraw your account with a written check. In this situation, you have time to contact your bank and the recipient and void it before it’s deposited. Likewise, look for an NSF fee on your account so you can pay it before you plan next month’s budget.

Contact Your Bank

If you attempt to make a transaction that overdraws your account, contact your bank’s customer service center and find out if they can remove any fees that will put you in further debt. It never hurts to ask, and the worst thing they can say is no. Bank representatives may be even more inclined to help you out if you have been an outstanding customer in the past or if you explain your situation to them.

Enable Low Balance Alerts

You can connect various apps to your bank account that will notify you when funds are running low (including the previously mentioned Earnin).2 This way, you’ll know how much money you have in your account before you attempt to make a purchase with non-sufficient funds, and you can avoid an NSF or overdraft fee altogether.

Overdrafting your bank account can be alarming, but here are strategies you can use to get back in the black quickly and (hopefully) avoid paying additional fees.


Photo by Adam Satria on Unsplash

Please note, the material collected in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as or construed as advice regarding any specific circumstances. Nor is it an endorsement of any organization or Services.

1Disclaimer: Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection. Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

2Disclaimer: Balance Shield cash out is subject to your available earnings and daily pay period max. Other restrictions and/or third party fees may apply. For more information visit earnin.com/TOS.

3NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the U.S. or DC. Games begin each Sunday starting 12/6/20 at 9:01 p.m. ET and end the following Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET with the last Game ending 12/19/21. To download the App, view the Official Rules, odds disclosures, prize details, and alternate means of entry, visit https://www.earnin.com/wewin/. Void where prohibited. $10,000,000 grand prize payable over 29 years. Sponsor: Activehours, Inc. (d/b/a Earnin ®), 200 Portage Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

4Disclaimer: Up to 2 days early is based on comparison with traditional banks. Exact timing is dependent on your employer's payroll policies. For more information on eligibility and requirements of Earnin Express, visit earnin.com/TOS.

5Source: Internal analysis conducted by Earnin on December 10, 2020.

1Restrictions on use of Services and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/ privacyandterms for details.

2Balance Shield cash out is subject to your available earnings and daily pay period max. Other restrictions and/or third party fees may apply. For more information visit Earnin.com/privacyandterms.

3Tip Yourself Account funds are held with Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC and FDIC insured up to $250,000. Tip Yourself is a 0% APY and $0 monthly fee service. Other restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/privacyandterms for details.

1Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection. Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

2Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

3Balance Shield cash out is subject to your available earnings and your daily pay period max. Other restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.

4NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the U.S. or DC. Games begin each Sunday starting 12/6/20 at 9:01 p.m. ET and end the following Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET with the last Game ending 12/19/21. To download the App, view the Official Rules, odds disclosures, prize details, and alternate means of entry, visit WeWin Game & Sweepstakes Official Rules. Void where prohibited. $10,000,000 grand prize payable over 29 years. Sponsor: Activehours, Inc. (d/b/a EarninⓇ), 200 Portage Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

5Tip Yourself Account funds are held with Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC and FDIC insured up to $250,000. Tip Yourself is a 0% Annual Percentage Yield and $0 monthly fee service. Your Tip Yourself Account and any Tip Jars are not Savings Accounts. For more information/details visit earnin.com/tos.

6Up to two days early is based on comparison with traditional banks. Exact timing is dependent on your employer’s payroll policies. For more information on eligibility and requirements of Earnin Express, visit earnin.com/tos.

7Your Max on Earnin Express is up to 80% of your payroll or $1000, whichever is less. The 80% is dependent on you routing your full paycheck to Earnin Express. For more information on eligibility and requirements of Earnin Express, visit earnin.com/TOS.

8By using Cash Back Rewards (powered by Empyr) you allow participating merchants and/or card networks details of your transactions. For more information, see Earnin.com/tos.

9Learn how we collect and use your information by visiting our Privacy Policy.

1Disclaimer: Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see earnin.com/tos for more details. Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection.

2Disclaimer: Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection. Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details

3Disclaimer: Community Member must have had at least 1 successful debit with Earnin. Limit to 1 Max Boost per pay period. A boost will not adjust a Community member's daily max. Restrictions may apply, see earnin.com/tos for more details

*Disclaimer: Balance Shield cash out is subject toyour available earnings and daily pay period max.Other restrictions and/or thirdparty fees may apply. For more information visit earnin.com/TOS

1Restrictions may apply, see earnin.com/tos for more details. Tip Yourself Account funds are held with Evolve Bank & Trust, member FDIC and FDIC insured up to $250,000. Tip Yourself is a 0% Annual Percentage Yield and $0 monthly fee service. Your Tip Yourself Account and any Tip Jars are not Savings Accounts. For more information/details visit earnin.com/tos

2Disclaimer: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the U.S. or DC. Games begin each Sunday starting 12/6/20 at 9:01 p.m. ET and end the following Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET with the last Game ending 12/19/21. To download the App, view the Official Rules, odds disclosures, prize details, and alternate means of entry, visit https://www.earnin.com/wewin/game-rules/. Void where prohibited. $10,000,000 grand prize payable over 29 years. Sponsor: Activehours, Inc. (d/b/a Earnin), 200 Portage Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306.

3Disclaimer: Restrictions Apply. See earnin.com/tos for more information

*Disclaimer: Up to 2 days early is based on comparison with traditional banks. Exact timing is dependent on your employer's payroll policies. For more information on eligibility and requirements of Earnin Express, visit earnin.com/TOS.

**Disclaimer: Restrictions and/or third party fees may apply, see earnin.com/tos for more details. Lightning Speed may not be available to all Community Members. Cash Outs may take up to thirty minutes, actual transfer speeds will depend on your bank connection.

*(*) Internal analysis conducted by Earnin in January 2021, represents total users who Cashed Out at least once from January 1 to December 31, 2020.

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