What is an Overdraft?
An overdraft occurs when you do not have enough money in your account to cover a check you have written or a payment you have authorized. This creates a negative balance, or an overdraft.
How Can I Avoid Overdrafts?
Due to technological advancements and extended cutoff times, the amount of time it takes for a check to clear continues to decrease. That’s why it’s important now more than ever to be proactive and manage your account to avoid overdrafts and the fees that come along with them. At Susquehanna, we offer many solutions and tips to simplify account management.
- Monitor your balance. The best way to avoid overdraft fees is to keep track of everything that goes in and out of your account. You can do this by keeping a check register (available at any Susquehanna Bank branch) and listing all of your deposits and withdrawals.
- Take advantage of the tools Susquehanna Bank has to offer. We provide a variety of resources to help you monitor your balance including our telephone, online and mobile banking services, which are available to you at no additional charge. With Online Banking, you can even set up alerts to notify you if your balance falls below a certain level.
- Don’t rely on “float time” to cover a check or payment you authorized. Only authorize a payment or write a check if you have the money in your account.
- Keep a "cushion" of extra money in your checking account. Avoid running your account balance down to almost zero and you’ll be less likely to overdraw.
- Link your checking account to a savings account or a line of credit. With overdraft protection or a "sweep" arrangement, if you overdraw your checking account, the additional money needed will be pulled from your linked checking, savings or line of credit.
What Are My Overdraft Options?
We understand that overdrafts may occur from time to time. For those circumstances, we offer several options to help cover your account.
- Standard Overdraft Practices: This automatically comes with your account and allows us to consider authorizing and paying an item (excluding ATM and everyday debit card transactions) and charging a $40 fee. Maximum of 5 overdraft item fees assessed per day.
ATM and Debit Card Overdrafts: Banks must have your consent to consider covering an overdraft that occurred from a debit card purchase or ATM withdrawal. Once you have given your consent, we use our discretion on whether to make the payment based on your account history. If we approve and pay a transaction that overdraws your account, a $40 fee will be assessed. To provide your consent, please use one of the steps below:
- Complete an Overdraft Consent Form
- Call us at 800.311.3182
- Visit any Susquehanna Bank branch
You may provide or change your consent at any time by contacting us. If you take no action, we will generally decline any requests for ATM withdrawals or one-time debit card purchases that would overdraw your account.
- Overdraft Protection: Otherwise known as a “sweep” arrangement, this service allows you to link your checking account to another checking account, a savings or money market account, or a line of credit at Susquehanna Bank. If you authorize a transaction that would overdraw your checking account, an automatic transfer is made to cover the transaction and any fee, up to your available balance or credit limit. Transfer fees of $10 may apply, but are less than the standard $40 overdraft fee. To add overdraft protection to your account, stop by any of our branches or call us at 800.311.3182.
I Still Have Questions…
Is my consent needed for the bank to consider paying a check or recurring payment that overdraws my account?
No, only ATM and everyday debit card transactions require your consent. Automatic bill payments (such as gym memberships or utilities that draft automatically from your debit card), checks and other transactions made using your checking account number will be handled by Susquehanna standard overdraft practices. We may authorize and pay overdrafts on these transactions and a $40 overdraft fee per transaction may be incurred. Susquehanna Bank pays overdrafts at our discretion, which means that we do not guarantee that we will always authorize and pay every transaction.
If I provide my consent for the bank to apply standard overdraft practices to my ATM and everyday debit card transactions, will the bank always pay these overdrafts?
No. Susquehanna Bank does not guarantee that your ATM and everyday debit card transactions will be paid even if you provide permission. These standard overdraft practices are an accommodation provided at the bank’s discretion.
If I do NOT provide my consent to the bank to apply standard overdraft practices to ATM withdrawals and everyday transactions, does it mean that I will never overdraw my account for these transactions?
No. If you do not provide your consent, the bank will generally decline a debit card purchase or ATM transaction when you do not have enough money in your account. However, there are limited circumstances when it will not be possible for the bank to avoid paying an ATM or other debit card transaction you made, even if there is not enough money in your account. You should not assume that because the ATM or other debit card transaction goes through that there is enough money in your account to cover it. In these cases, the bank may not charge you an overdraft fee, but you still must re-pay the bank to cover the overdraft.
If I have a joint checking account, do both signers on the account need to provide our consent?
No. Any owner may provide consent. The authorization applies to the account, not the individual.
If I have an overdraft protection plan linked to my checking account, do I still need to decide whether or not to instruct Susquehanna Bank to consider authorizing and paying everyday debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals that overdraw my account?
Yes. Even with an overdraft protection plan linked to your checking account, it is possible that you might not have enough funds or credit available to cover an everyday debit card transaction or ATM withdrawal. In that event, the transaction could be denied. If you have instructed Susquehanna Bank to consider authorizing and paying these items on your behalf, you may still be able to complete your transaction.
What happens if I reach the maximum of 5 overdraft item fees in one day?
The bank will continue to use discretion in paying or returning items against your account; however, you will not incur any additional overdraft item fees after the 5th fee in the same business day.
If you have additional questions, please call us at 800.311.3182.