How to get a refund on your bank overdraft fees

November 13, 2015

Staying on top of your finances can be tricky, but if you follow some simple strategies, you can at least get your overdraft fees waived.
Overdraft fees can add up quickly and are one of the biggest obstacles that prevent people from paying off debt and achieving their financial goals. So what can you do when faced with overdraft charges? Here are some tips to help you stay on top of your overdraft fees and get your money back.

How to ask for an overdraft fee refund

Banks spend a lot of money trying to get new customers and to keep the ones they have. The money you deposit into a checking or savings account is used to loan to other customers. Banks then profit by charging interest on loans, which means that once they have you as a customer, you are of value to them and they really don't want to lose your business.

Thus, it can be easy to leverage your negotiating power in order to maintain a good standing with your bank. To pursue an overdraft fees refund, you can call customer service and ask for the fee to be removed from your account. When speaking with a customer service representative, be polite but firm in your request. Tell the customer service person that you would like for the fee to be removed, and then explain why it would be in their interest to waive the fee and, in turn, retain you as a customer. If you have been a good and responsible customer, it's likely that they will eventually offer you a fee waiver.

How not to ask for an overdraft fee refund

There are a few things you can say on the phone with your bank representatives that may actually hurt your chances to receive an overdraft fees refund. For example, one of the least effective questions to ask the bank is, "Did I do something wrong?" By asking yes or no questions, you open the door for the bank's representative to pin the blame on you.

Another not-so-helpful thing to say is that you were not aware of the fees. It's ineffective to say that you didn't know about the fees because they are always written in fine print on some kind of contract that you have (at some point) signed with the bank.

Finally, it's not helpful to give in and say, "Fine, I'll pay if I have to!" Giving up and agreeing to pay so easily ruins the chance that the bank will waive fees for a strong and demanding customer.

Ultimately, focusing on your history with the bank and your interest in genuinely being treated as a valued customer are the best strategies to successfully get your overdraft fees waived. The next step, once the fees are waived, is to focus on staying on top of your finances so that you never have to worry about overdraft charges surprising you in the future.

How to get a refund on your bank overdraft fees
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