Best practices for avoiding overdraft fees
An overdraft occurs when there are insufficient funds in an account. If you make a purchase with your debit card and there’s not enough money in your account, your financial institution may charge you an overdraft fee. Depending on the fee, this could become an expensive scenario. We’ve compiled a list of best practices for avoiding overdraft fees.
Be aware of your account balance
Checking your account weekly (or more often) is a good habit to form. By checking your accounts frequently, you’re aware of the funds available in your account and how much you have left to spend. It allows you to monitor for any suspicious transactions. You can check your Georgia’s Own account balances 24/7 via online banking, our mobile app, or TeleTalk.
Set up alerts for low balances
Balance notification is a handy feature that lets you set up personal notifications when your checking account drops below a certain amount. This will give you a heads up to hold off on further transactions until you can add funds. With a Georgia’s Own account, you can choose to be notified via text or email.
Link your account to another account
Mistakes happen—whether it’s an accounting error or a temporary shortage of funds, overdraft services are designed to provide a backup for those moments. You can link another Georgia’s Own account to cover the shortage when there is not enough cash in your account. The fee with this option is much smaller than the cost of a returned check.
Set up direct deposit
Setting up direct deposit means that your paycheck is automatically deposited into your account. This can prevent check holds or a delay in deposit. It ensures you get access to your money faster and can help prevent an overdraft. Some financial institutions even offer early access to your money. Our Perks+ Checking account features Early Direct Deposit, allowing you to receive your direct deposit funds up to two days earlier* than traditional banks—which can make or break whether your account overdrafts.
Weigh the pros and cons of opting in for overdraft protection
Pros of opting in for overdraft protection
When you opt in for overdraft protection, your transaction will not be declined—but you will normally be charged a fee. Overdraft protection is helpful in the event of an emergency, and it can save you from embarrassment at the gas station or drive-thru. If you overdraft, make a deposit as soon as possible after the overdraft occurs to avoid additional charges. If it’s your first overdraft, contact your financial institution. In many cases, they may consider waiving the fee if it is a first-time offense.
Cons of opting in of overdraft protection
By opting in for overdraft protection, you still need to pay whatever fee your financial institution charges. If you don’t have overdraft protection or enough funds available in your linked account, your purchase is declined. Some people might also view overdraft protection as an opportunity to overspend because they may not understand the fees involved. Overdraft protection policies vary by financial institution, so be sure you understand your financial institution’s rules and whether or not overdraft protection is right for you.
*Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date. Click here for FAQs.