How to Get a Refund for Overdraft and Other Bank Fees

An overdraft occurs when money is withdrawn in excess of what is available in your account. It is an extension of credit provided by a lending institution when an account balance reaches zero. Overdraft allows you to continue to withdraw funds from your account, even if it has no money or insufficient funds to cover the amount of the withdrawal.


Overdraft fees can be irritating and put a strain on your financial stability. You can expect to incur a fee if you conduct a transaction or make a withdrawal without sufficient funds in your account to cover the expense. Luckily, it is possible to have bank fees reversed.


Banks spend a lot of money to bring in new customers, so they will sooner waive a few overdraft fees than lose you as a client. Since customer satisfaction is so important to banks, if you gather the necessary information and frame your refund request properly, in most cases they will be willing to comply.



How to request an overdraft fee refund


The bank covers payments that would otherwise be rejected, or in the case of cheques, would bounce. The interest on the loan, similar to credit cards, is usually between 21% to 22%, and typically a fee associated with each overdraft withdrawal. Banks are not legally required to notify you when an overdraft or non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee is applied and deducted from your account, so it is critical to vigilantly monitor your accounts. You can also get reversals on your NSF fees, bank fees, maintenance fees, and late payment fees.


So how do you request a refund for fees? It’s simple… you ask!


While it may appear inconvenient, or even intimidating, if you gather the necessary information and prepare your argument, you can improve your chances of getting the refund.



Preparing your argument


Before making the call to the bank’s customer service, or going in-person, there are a few things you should prepare. First, be sure to have your personal information such as your name, address, social security number, and your debit or credit card number on hand to verify your identity.


Always remember to be polite when making a refund request. Simply acknowledge that you saw the charge and respectfully ask if they would be willing to refund the fee. In many cases they will agree to provide you with the refund, however, if they say no there are a few arguments that you can present that may change their mind. Consider the following when forming your request:


  •  Point out if you rarely get overdraft fees. It reflects well on you if you don’t frequently surpass your limit.


  •  Has COVID-19 played a part in your financial instability? Banks may be more forgiving if the fees were a result of an unforeseen pandemic.


  •  Acknowledge if you are a long-time customer. Banks are more likely to reward your loyalty as an account holder than charge you random fees.


  •  Do you have multiple accounts with the bank, such as a savings account, business accounts, or personal checking account?


  •  Do you make regular deposits?


If you are still unsuccessful, ask to speak with somebody else. You may get connected with another representative who is more forgiving or has more elbow room for providing refunds.


All of these arguments are deserving of a waived bank fee, but there are a few more factors to keep in mind while you’re making your refund request.


  1. Be respectful and polite
    The customer service agent that you deal with most likely didn’t make the rules that they are following, so treat them respectfully and be polite when making your request.
  2. Have several arguments prepared
    Upon your initial request you may be denied the refund. Don’t let that dissuade you from leveraging your other arguments that may be more convincing or deserving to receive an overturning of the fee. If you still hear no, ask to speak with a manager, they may have more leeway when it comes to providing refunds.
  3. Refunds are not guaranteed
    Although it is possible to get banks to refund fees, it is not guaranteed. Even if they agree to give the refund, it may not be the full amount. Don’t let that stop you from trying but do take the necessary actions to avoid future fines.


Overdraft, non-sufficient funds, ATM fees, credit card interest, and late payment fees are some of the most common bank fees. Fortunately, by following these tips you can craft a proper refund request, giving you an edge.


You can avoid these kinds of fees completely with responsible cash flow management.


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