Overdraft Fees: Compare What Banks Charge

Spencer TierneySeptember 6, 2019
On a similar note...
On a similar note...
Overdraft Fees: Compare What Banks Charge

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Editor’s note, March 23, 2020: Many banks and credit unions are temporarily waiving overdraft fees in response to widespread financial distress caused by the coronavirus situation. To find out if your bank or credit union is one of them, call its customer service line.

An overdraft fee is often one of the most expensive fees from a bank, but not all charge the same amount. And some banks don’t even have an overdraft fee.

» Looking to lower fees? Jump ahead to banks with low or no overdraft fees.

Overdraft fees by bank

Financial institution

Overdraft coverage fee (per item)

Max fees per day

Total possible cost in a day (excludes extended overdraft fees)

$28

Unlimited

No limit

$25

1

$25

$35

4

$140

$35

4

$140

BB&T

$36

6

$216

$38 ($32 in Calif.)

6

$228 ($192)

$36

4

$144

$25

Generally 5, may be higher with transactions involving BECU loan payments

Generally $125, may be higher with transactions involving BECU loan payments

$0 transfer fee from linked account

N/A

N/A

$0 transfer fee from an overdraft source

N/A

N/A

$34

3

$102

No overdraft program or fees

N/A

N/A

$34

4

$136

$35

7

$245

Comerica

Up to $38

5

Up to $190

$29.95

No maximum number; up to $300 negative balance

No limit

$30

No maximum number

No limit

$0 transfer fee from an overdraft source

N/A

N/A

$37

5

$185

$35

3

$105

$39

5

$195

$38.50

5

$192.50

$20

3

$60

$36

4

$144

$36

6

$216

$35

6

$210

No overdraft program or fees

N/A

N/A

SunTrust

$36

6

$216

$35

5

$175

$0 transfer fee from a linked account

N/A

N/A

$33

5

$165

$29

3

$87

$36

4

$144

$35

3

$105

What is an overdraft fee?

When a transaction drops your checking account balance below zero, a bank or credit union will choose to reject or cover the transaction. You may be charged fees in either case. The charge for a rejected transaction or check is known as a nonsufficient funds fee, while the charge for an approved transaction is called an overdraft fee. Some banks charge multiple nonsufficient funds or overdraft fees per day if you make many transactions with a negative balance, meaning you could owe hundreds of dollars in penalties.

You can read our explainer on how to avoid overdraft fees. As a rule of thumb, it’s best not to opt in to overdraft coverage for ATM or one-time debit card transactions if you think you will have issues with overdrafts. When you opt out, the negative debit or ATM transaction will be declined and you won’t be charged a fee.

Some banks don’t charge overdraft fees if an account is overdrawn by $5 or less at the end of the business day. So if you buy a $6 sandwich with $2 in your account, you would be exempt from a fee.

If you're looking for banks with no or low overdraft fees, here are our recommendations.

Banks with low or no overdraft fees

Simple Simple Checking & Budgeting
NerdWallet rating 

at Simple, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Simple

  • No overdraft program or fees.

  • No monthly account fees.

Simple has no overdraft program, no overdraft fees and no insufficient funds charges. The fee-free bank is mobile-optimized and helps curb overspending with its Safe-to-Spend balance, which excludes scheduled bills and savings goals from your available balance.

Chime Chime Spending Account
NerdWallet rating 

at Chime, Deposits are FDIC Insured

Chime

  • No overdraft program or fees.

  • Highly rated mobile apps.

Chime, another nontraditional service, doesn’t let you overdraw your account; it has no overdraft or nonsufficient funds fees. Instead, any payments or withdrawals that would result in a negative balance are generally rejected. The bank also has an early direct deposit program, so you can get your paycheck up to two days early.

Capital One Capital One 360 Checking®
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Capital One 360

  • Free transfers from linked savings accounts.

Capital One 360 lets you opt into an overdraft line of credit with a variable rate and no annual or sign-up fee. You only pay interest on the overdrawn amount, no fixed fee. There are other options too: free overdraft protection transfers from a linked Capital One 360 savings account, and more conventional overdraft coverage at $35 per charge, which has a one business day grace period. If you don’t opt into these services, your transactions will be declined by the bank, free of charge except a $9 fee for any returned checks.

Discover Bank Discover Bank Cashback Debit
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Discover Bank

  • No overdraft fee.

  • Offers free overdraft protection via linked account.

With Discover, you can link a qualifying savings or money market account for free transfers if you don’t have enough cash in your checking account. Otherwise, the bank will return the transaction that would cause a negative balance, at no charge to you.

TIAA Bank TIAA Bank Basic Savings
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

TIAA Bank

  • Free transfers from linked accounts.

The online financial institution TIAA has a free overdraft protection transfer service from a linked account. Outside of this, you’d pay a $30 nonsufficient funds fee for each declined transaction, up to two per day, except for one-time debit card and ATM transactions.

Schwab Bank Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking®
NerdWallet rating 
Read review

Charles Schwab Bank

  • Free automatic transfers from savings and brokerage accounts.

This investment brokerage’s checking account doesn’t have fees for overdraft protection services. When you overdraft with your debit card, Schwab automatically pulls money from your linked Schwab One brokerage account or your Schwab savings account for free. If funds are not available, each transaction will trigger a $25 nonsufficient funds fee, up to $100 a day.

Overdraft protection

Outside of the banks without any overdraft coverage fees, you can generally find a cheaper option with overdraft protection transfers.

These are opt-in programs that link a second account to your checking account. An overdraft would trigger a transfer from the second account to cover the transaction. The linked account can be a savings account, credit card, line of credit or even another checking account, depending on the bank’s policy. The cost of this transfer is around $10 or $12, although it can be cheaper. Sometimes the service is even free.

» Looking for a savings account with low fees and good rates? Read NerdWallet’s list of best savings accounts.

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How to get overdraft fees waived

If you’re charged an overdraft fee, here are some ways you may be able to get it waived.

  1. If you don’t have a history of negative transactions, contact your bank’s customer service department and ask if they will waive it.

  2. Ask about forgiveness policies. Some institutions have once-a-year fee forgiveness programs for customers in good standing.

  3. Ask about “rewind” programs. If you have an electronic deposit scheduled for your account that would have covered the overdrawn transaction, some banks will consider waiving the fee if the deposit arrives soon enough, usually by the next morning.

Overdraft fees, especially from overdraft coverage, are some of the steepest fees that banks charge. Knowing these fees might help you consider to opt out of the programs or find cheaper overdraft alternatives that your bank offers.

» Want to learn more? Read NerdWallet’s explainer on overdraft fees for more on overdraft programs.

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