Let’s say you just found out that you bounced a check and you’re going to get hit with bank overdraft fees. What should you do? If possible, you want to deposit funds to bring your account balance positive. But what if you’ve written checks or made transactions your account can’t cover? Here are several tips on how to handle the situation without those expensive bank overdraft fees piling up.
Call Your Bank to Stop Overdraft Fees
At approximately $30 for each overdraft, banks take in more than $30 billion a year in these fees alone. This means that bounced checks happen to almost everyone. While bank overdrafts are not uncommon, they’re still expensive. Speak to the operations manager at your bank or credit union and let them know that you’re aware of the situation and when you’ll be able to bring your account balance out of the red. A phone call could be the difference between being allowed to bring your account current or having it closed by your bank.
Apologize for the Overdraft
Reach out to your bank and to the person or business that will be on the receiving end of your mistake. If it’s a business, an apology might help you avoid any fees on their end as well as any disconnection of services, etc. If your account is usually in good standing, the business or utility is more likely to cut you some slack.
How to Avoid Repeat Overdrafts
Start by trying to maintain a balance in your account that never goes below, say $500 to $1,000. Keeping that amount of cash in your account at all times will almost ensure that you never get hit with another bank overdraft fee. Of course, there are many ways to prevent bank overdraft fees that you can start doing right away.
Another option most banks offer is overdraft protection. With overdraft protection, your bank agrees to pay any debits to your checking account no matter how low your balance—but at a price. Enrolling in this service will ensure that you never bounce another check, however, your bank will charge you for using their money. Some banks charge as much to cover your check as they do when it bounces, so make sure you’re aware of their fees before you sign up. To avoid the fees associated with overdraft protection, use your bank’s text alert system to let you know when your balance is very low. This way, you have the opportunity to deposit or transfer funds to bring your account balance positive.
If you’re really short on cash, you might consider taking out a short-term installment loan to cover you bank transactions.
How to Generate Funds
If you don’t have money to cover your bank overdraft fees, here are some ways to generate some cash:
Sell Your Valuables
Many people have valuable items in their homes without even realizing it. Pawn shops will give you immediate cash for jewelry, electronics, tools, and some collectibles. A short-term pawn loan is one easy way to stop bank overdraft fees.
Check out community sites like Craigslist.com to pick up extra work. Many people post their own ads on these sites offering their services as everything from an office assistant to a dog walker. One of the benefits of these kinds of projects is that they usually pay in cash which you can quickly deposit in your checking account.
Contact Your Church or Temple
Many places of worship have funds earmarked for congregants in need. You no doubt donate both your time and money on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and a slew of bank overdraft fees qualifies as a good reason to ask for help.
Having to struggle to cover bank overdrafts is no fun. It’s time, energy and money you could have spent on something else. If you find your checking account balance in the negative a lot, following the steps above will help you stop bank overdraft fees in the future.