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How to avoid overdraft fees

Constantly finding yourself racking up fees for bounced checks or insufficient funds?

Overdraft and non-sufficient fund fees are frustrating. By understanding how overdraft fees work and using these tips and tricks, you can work to avoid extra fees.

Can you get overdraft fees waived?

"Our goal is to always try to help our members," said Sharon Cook, branch manager at Numerica’s Wenatchee location. "While there isn’t a blanket policy for waiving fees, each member situation is unique. If this is a one-time occurrence or we’ve been working with a member on their finances, it gives us the ability to try and make things right."

Why are there overdraft fees in the first place?

Fees are charged when items try to clear the account and the funds are not available. 

Numerica works to be very transparent with our members, and a fee schedule is provided to every member.

How do overdraft fees work (at Numerica)?

The overdraft happens when the available balance is less than what is being charged. There are two kinds of balances, an "actual" and "available" balance.

Actual balance

Also known as ledger balance, is the amount of money that is actually in your account at any given time, but doesn’t include transactions that are pending.

Available balance

Is the amount of money in your account including pending transactions. Numerica uses available balance. 

When a transaction clears is dependent on the store, or merchant. If your account is already overdrawn and multiple transactions get paid, you may be charged more than one fee.

What’s the best way to avoid overdraft fees?

The best way to avoid overdraft fees is to avoid having insufficient funds.

"Creating a budget is the first step to understanding your money," said John Barbero, branch manager at Numerica’s Sprague branch in Spokane Valley. "By planning ahead for fixed expenses like rent, phone, or a car payment, you can be confident in how much money you have left to spend on those items that are harder to predict."

Numerica has several tools to help you avoid overdrawing your account.

This budget worksheet can help you get your finances in one place. Take the time to find out how much money you really need and how much disposable income you can play with. Your budget will protect your bottom line and keep you from incurring overdraft fees.

If you are looking for a more high-tech solution to creating your budget, use Online Banking and check out Numerica’s budget tools. You can analyze previous spending, create categories and even set budget recommendations based on previous transactions.

Another option is setting low balance alerts in Online Banking.

"Low balance alerts are one of my favorite tools, because it is a personal safety net," Barbero said. "You can set a dollar amount, and if you dip below that, you will get a text or email. That gives you the power and flexibility to control potential overdrafts."

How do I opt out or in to overdraft protection?

Numerica has three ways of protecting you with our Overdraft Protection. You can take advantage of these when you open an account or anytime afterwards (as long as your account is in good standing).

  1. Standard Protection
    Comes with your Numerica account and covers checks, in-person withdrawals, automatic bill payments, and other electronic transactions. There is a $30 fee for each use with no more than five fees ($150) per day.
  2. Transfer Protection
    Use another Numerica account (savings, checking, credit card, line of credit or home equity line of credit) for overdraft protection, and it will only be $5 per transfer. Plus, you’ll have two free transfers per month from any Numerica account.
  3. Courtesy Pay*
    If you’ve opted-in, ATM transactions and everyday debit card transactions will be covered for a fee of $30 for each item paid. The maximum number of overdraft fees charged in a day is five (5) or $150 per day.

You can add overdraft protection at any Numerica Branch

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Remember, you’re not alone in this financial journey. Stop by any branch, and let’s start talking about your financial well-being today.

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February 1, 2023