How to avoid overdraft fees

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We know from hearing from our customers and from being customers ourselves that overdrafts can happen. Sometimes, we’ve heard a customer tell us that they use a register booklet AND our digital services regularly, but still managed to incur overdraft fees.

Life can move fast and everyone can make a mistake or miss something – even if they try to write everything down. We’ve got tools to help as well as some helpful tips that may help you keep track of your finances no matter what comes your way.

1. Use a calculator

An old carpenter adage states, “Measure twice, cut once”. Even if you are a math whiz, it can always help to double check to make sure you have all your figures correct. Chances are your smartphone has a calculator built in, but a quick search online will result in a number of free calculators you can use. 

2. Record every transaction including applicable bank fees

Some people like to write down the exact figure to the penny, while others prefer to round the figures in the checking account up so they can have a cushion. Either way, write each and every thing down. For more tips, check out my previous blog here.

3. Record Direct Deposits

If your job offers direct deposit, it will be a time saver for you. Not only will you avoid a trip to the bank, the funds are immediately available in your account once it has been posted. However, be careful not to record your deposit until it’s officially posted into your account.

4. Record Check Deposits

If you receive a paper check, ask a teller about when the funds will become available or consult with your financial institution’s Disclosures. Ours is located at the bottom of our website. Instead of recording the date that you make the deposit, I find it easier to enter the day of when the check will become available. For example, if I’m a new customer and I deposit my check on May 3, 2012 and was told it’ll become available in five business days then I jot down May 10, 2012 on my register and highlight it in orange. Generally, most funds will become available to you within one or two business days. Keep in mind that your bank needs this time to get the funds from the issuer’s financial institution, even if the funds are coming from an account from the same institution. A teller can give you an estimated time when the funds will become available. If there is a longer delay, the teller will hand you an extra slip or you will receive a letter in the mail.

5. Use Register Software Programs

I recommend that you enter your figures manually on a daily basis. When you export six or more months’ worth of transactions into your electronic register, it will cause a world of confusion. For example, we presently show the available balance and current balance in the transaction history section. Available Balance is the amount that is available for withdrawal. Any holds that exist are reflected in this balance in accordance with our funds availability policy. Your Current Balance represents the prior business day’s closing balance adjusted for any transactions received by us but not yet posted.

6. Back your account up with overdraft protection

At Webster, we have multiple ways to provide some protection that may help you avoid an overdraft and the associated fees that come with them.

7. Savings overdraft protection

With this service, your Webster savings and checking accounts are linked, and funds are automatically transferred to cover any shortfalls. There is a transfer fee for this service (waived for Premier customers). Please see our Deposit Account Disclosures for further details and limitations.

8. Overdraft line of credit

The second option is to apply for an overdraft line of credit. Upon approval, your over-balance checking transactions will be covered up to your credit limit. Interest charges and an annual fee may apply (annual fee waived for Premier and WebsterOne customers).

To learn about how these services work in more detail, please read: A Guide to Managing your Checking Account and reach out to your local Webster banker or call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for more information.

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General Disclosures

The opinions and views in this blog post are those of the authors, and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Please consult professional advisors with regard to your individual situation.