If you’ve already been charged an overdraft fee, it’s probably too late to waive the fee or try to avoid it completely. But, you still may be able to get it refunded by following just a few steps, as long as you’re not a repeat offender. The process isn’t very complex and involves picking up the phone to give your bank a call. Here are 5 steps to follow to help you get an overdraft fee refunded:
1. Prepare Your Information
Asking for an overdraft refund can be tedious, but having all of your information ready will help make the process much smoother. Before calling your bank, you’ll want to have the following details ready:
- How much you were charged in overdraft fees
- When the charges were incurred
- What transactions caused your account to be overdrawn
- Your address
- Your Social Security number
- Your bank account number
To locate your bank account transactions and fees, you can check your bank statements, either through your online account or statement sent via snail mail. Having all of this information on hand can make it easier to communicate quickly with a customer service representative from your bank.
2. Contact Your Bank
Once you have all of your information ready, it’s time to contact your bank. Contacting your bank as soon as you realize you’ve been charged an overdraft fee is better than waiting it out. If you let these fees pile up, it could cost you more money in the end. You can find the number on the back of your debit card, on the bank’s website, or in its mobile app.
Phone calls are typically the best way to make a request when it comes to refunding overdraft fees. However, it might be possible to send a secure message online to your bank as well. Sending a secure message could be easier, but not every bank has this feature or allows these requests to be made over a message.
3. Make the Request
Once you’re connected to a representative from your financial institution, let them know you want to request to have the overdraft fee refunded. It may help to give the bank some background on what led to the overdraft in the first place. For instance, some reasons may include:
- The pay from your job was delayed
- You’ve been experiencing financial difficulties
- An unexpected transaction hit your account
- You’ve experienced a job loss or reduced income
It’s also a good idea to provide a timeline to say how soon you plan to get your account balance in good standing again to let the bank know you’re working to resolve your part of the issue.
4. Explain Your Banking History
If you’ve been a loyal customer and don’t have a history of overdraws or late payments, you could be more likely to get an overdraft fee refunded. Be sure to include this information during your call, and if you want, practice what you want to say beforehand to help ensure you don’t miss anything. You can use these terms to help influence the representative to refund the overdraft fees you were charged. Bring up points that apply to you, such as:
- How you’re a loyal customer
- How long you’ve banked with the institution
- Your multiple bank accounts, if applicable
- If you make regular deposits
5. Be Polite and Persistent
Always remember to be polite, but persistent. The representative you speak to may automatically agree to initiate a refund of your overdraft fee. But if this doesn’t happen, stay calm and avoid arguing or raising your voice. If the agent you’re speaking with can’t be persuaded, consider asking to talk to a supervisor or calling again and speaking to a different person.
Most banks don’t want to lose you as a customer, so it’s in their best interest to keep you happy, which is why it’s also important to be persistent with your request. But remember, the bank isn’t as likely to refund these fees if you have a pattern of overdrawing your account. If you’re unsure of exactly what to say once you’re on the phone with your bank, try this to get the conversation started:
“Hello, my name is [NAME], and I’ve been a customer of [BANK NAME] for [NUMBER] years. I recently noticed that I had an overdraft fee charged to my account. Because this is [a rare occurrence]/[the first occurrence], I’m calling to request the fee[s] to be waived and see if there’s a process for handling this matter.”
Feel free to share any additional details you think are relevant. The key here is to be prepared to get your points across and have an effective conversation in order to get your refund.