Sadly, about 75% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. I am one of those Americans. My husband has a decent paying job which covers all of our bills. Unfortunately, if he carried our health insurance through work, that would not be the case. So, I work to pay for health insurance and daycare. I’m not joking; healthcare automatically comes out so the amount that I get direct deposited goes straight to childcare. Pretty sad, huh? I imagine I’m not the only one either.
Because so many of us live on such a tight income, insufficient funds fees can be inevitable. I happen to think I’m an excellent bookkeeper but even the best of us mess up once in a while. It can be as simple as forgetting your monthly Netflix subscription or any other type of automatic payment. Unfortunately, an innocent mistake like this can create an even bigger issue by generating Insufficient Funds Fees.
What are Insufficient Funds Fees?
An Insufficient Funds Fee is a dollar amount that your bank charges when an account goes into the negative. Generally, these fees are between $35 and $40 so needless to say; they can add up quickly. What if I have more than one item take my account into the negative? The answer is, you will have more than one fee. Let’s say you have five purchases get your account into the red at $35 a pop. That’s $175.00!
What can I do about it?
There are many things you can do if you incur an Insufficient Funds Fee, the first would be to contact your bank to see if they can reverse one or all. If this is a first for you, they may reverse one, half or all of the Insufficient Funds Fees. Another option would be to check and see what kind of Overdraft Protection your bank offers. Most will offer an Overdraft Line of Credit; some may have a Credit Card that links to your Checking Account and likewise, for a Savings Account. With all of these options, when a purchase takes your account balance into the negative, an automatic funds transfer will take place to bring the account to a $0.00 balance. The bad news? You’ll still incur a fee except this one will not be as expensive. It will generally be around $12 and a one-time thing per incident.
What NOT to do when contacting your bank.
This is very simple, don’t be a jerk. Seriously. For one, the person on the other end of that phone may or may not have the power to help. If they do, do you think they’d be more inclined to help a humble and apologetic person or an irrational and aggressive person? Secondly, that person is just like you and me. They probably have a family that they’re working to support and you incurring an overdraft fee is no fault of theirs.
Be kind, be humble and if they choose to help, regardless of how big or small, be thankful.
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