How to Avoid Non-Sufficient Fund Fees
Nobody likes to hear the words “Sorry, but your card has been declined.” It can be embarrassing, troubling, awkward and a million other things. But, there are options available at BCU to protect you from ever being in that situation.
What is Overdraft Protection?
If your card has ever been declined at the checkout counter, you understand the feeling that goes along with a declined transaction. Overdraft protection, or Courtesy Payment (as we call it at BCU) protects you from having to deal with Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fees and charges for returned checks. With Courtesy Payment, BCU attempts to pay checks, ACHs and recurring Debit Card purchases against insufficient funds in your account. This way, you won’t have to experience the discomfort that goes along with a declined debit card or check.
The Credit Union’s Courtesy Payment service charge is $29 per overdraft, but the service charge will not apply if a transaction brings your account to negative by $5 or less. You can think of the $29 service fee as a “mini loan” provided to you by BCU. Like with any loan, it will need to be paid back in a certain number of days.
You can minimize Courtesy Payment service charges by making one withdrawal versus several. For example, one $300 withdrawal at the ATM will only incur one $29 service charge. However, making five separate withdrawals for $60 each would incur five separate fees totaling $145. In both cases, you are withdrawing $300, but the second scenario incurs a total of $116 in additional service charges.
Fee Free Solution
If you prefer to avoid the potential of incurring fees, you can always consider linking your checking, savings or money market accounts. Linking these accounts together is like your very own form of overdraft protection. If you make a transaction that brings your checking account balance negative, the Credit Union will automatically transfer funds from your linked savings or money market account. This transfer is done free of charge, however it is applied toward the maximum six withdrawal transfers per month. For assistance with linking accounts, see a representative in your local Service Center or call Member Relations at 800-388-7000.
Have you signed up for Account Alerts yet? It’s like having BCU in your pocket! It costs nothing, and is so easy to do. To get started, simply:
- Login to Online Banking
- Select Account Alerts/Text Banking under My Accounts
- Validate your email address
- Begin customizing your alerts
Note: You can set up your Visa® Credit Card alerts too by selecting your credit card at the bottom of the page.
You are also able to choose how you would like to receive Account Alerts whether by text, email or both. If you opt to have notifications sent to your cell phone, you will receive a text from the Credit Union at 20228. If you decide to receive your Account Alerts through email, you will receive an alert in your inbox from email@example.com. One question that might come to mind when signing up for Account Alerts is, “Is this safe?” Yes, Account Alerts are completely safe. The notifications do not include any personal information or your account number.
Keep in mind that Account Alerts may not always reflect pending transactions. Checking your accounts online will help verify exactly what funds are readily available for use.
You may opt-out of Courtesy Payment anytime, simply by calling Member Relations at 800-388-7000. Once you opt-out, all Debit Card transactions and ATM withdrawals will no longer be covered by Courtesy Payment and your transactions could potentially be declined at the point of sale. However, paper checks, ACH and recurring Debit Card transactions will continue to be covered.
The Credit Union offers several ways to help safeguard you from Non-Sufficient Funds including Courtesy Payment, linking accounts, and account alerts. Sometimes, these safeguard tools aren’t enough, so be sure to make it habit to monitor your bank accounts regularly. Frequent users of Courtesy Payment should consider using financial management tools, such as Pilot™, to help keep you up to date on all of your account activity.