Have you ever experienced a moment when a $10 charge ended up costing you $45 or more? You know the one time that you forgot to transfer funds, or maybe you were a little loose with your daily debit card swipes. Did you know that Americas top largest three banks earned over $6 billion dollars in ATM and overdraft fees last year. Did some of that money belong to you. It can feel really yucky when the reality of your money going down a drain meets your bank account and not in a good way.
To keep you from getting hit with excess fees, here’s 6 ways to avoid account overdrafts:
REVIEW YOUR ACCOUNTS
Make time to review your accounts daily. Believe it or not things come in when we least expect them. There won’t always be immediate withdrawals from your account when you make a purchase. Many merchants take 2-3 business days or more to process transactions and don’t forget any checks that you may have written several weeks ago that were never cashed. Record any small fees. To make sure that you’re on track I strongly suggest getting in the habit of checking your account daily. As a reminder I typically do it as many times as I brush my teeth daily (at least three times). Take full advantage of both online and mobile banking to make this process convenient.
TRICK YOUR BRAIN
Decline overdraft protection. By doing this if you attempt to make a purchase and the funds are not available your card will be declined (which is a really good thing if you don’t have the cash). The good news is you won’t be hit with extra fees. There’s a cost for overdraft protection and there’s a cost for over drafting your account. The best protection is reviewing your accounts.
PAD YOUR STASH
If it seems that you’ve been caught by a mound of fees more often than not, be sure to add a bit more cash in the account that you use the most to cover those uh oh moments.
USE CASH FOR SMALL PURCHASES
If you are making small purchases, possibly 10 bucks and below try to get in the habit of using cash. This also reduces the stress of trying to balance your checking account or forgetting where all of your money went. Small water leaks can sink a ship.
GET ACCOUNT ALERTS
Work with your bank to receive account alerts when you dip below a certain amount. If you’re not sure how to do this contact your financial institution for instructions. Be careful when using apps that help you to save money by rounding up to the greatest dollar, followed by taking the change and placing it in a savings account for you—this could hurt you more than it helps.
DON’T POINT THE FINGER
Take time to really assess your accounts and your habits. The reality is that financial institutions will continue to charge overdraft fees. Be responsible for your actions by making time for your money.
If you still slip up after taking all measurements to avoid overdrafts, contact your bank as soon as you realize this has happened. Take the lesson from this financial mishap and continue to move toward a financially confident lifestyle.