Financial Health

How to Get Overdraft Fees Refunded, It’s Possible

In a fast-paced world filled with financial pressures, overdraft fees are too common. Even those who earn plenty of money can lose track of account balances and get hit with fees from time to time.

Here’s the good news: Overdraft fees aren’t the universal problem they once were. In fact, the new era of banking makes overdraft fees avoidable than ever, and there are ways to get those fees refunded with just a few smart moves.

Read through the following guide and utilize the tools and features in apps like Steady - you’ll be dodging fees left and right. After all, the best way to protect your bank account is to avoid fees in the first place!

How To Get an Overdraft Fee Refunded

Follow this guide and see if you can get that money back from your bank, despite drawing too much from your account.

  1. Act immediately
  2. Connect with customer service
  3. Add to your account
  4. Try a refund app
  5. Earn an income boost

If you find yourself facing an overdraft fee, don’t panic. You may be eligible for a refund, but it all depends on what you do next. 

Act Immediately

There’s no time to waste when you’ve got overdraft fees chipping away at your bank balance. Keep in mind that banks will continue to charge you additional fees for every day that passes before you address the issue, so pay it off or seek a refund ASAP.

Regarding refunds, you’ll have a better shot at recouping your cash if you act sooner rather than later. A quick response shows that you’re a responsible customer and that you won’t be making the same mistake again.

In a best-case scenario, you’ll get a notification about your overdraft, then begin the dispute process within a couple of hours. After the first 24 hours pass, your chances of a refund decline.

Connect with Customer Service

It’s time to get your money back for that overdraft fee - or at least give it your best try. It may seem obvious, but simply connecting with your bank’s customer service department will give you the greatest chance of reclaiming your lost cash, and it works more often than you think.

It will require some tact, so keep the following tips in mind when disputing a charge, and you’ll boost your chances of a refund.

  1. Speak in a calm, professional manner. Keep your cool no matter what.
  2. Be specific about your dispute, using the exact date, time, and cash amount.
  3. Explain your situation and refer to your clean track record if possible.
  4. If you’ve been a long-time bank member with few or no prior fees, mention that.
  5. Ask for a full refund at first, but see if they will settle for a partial refund.
  6. See if there’s anything else you can do to recover a fee, such as adding more money to the account (maintaining a higher balance moving forward).
  7. If you’re getting nowhere with your rep, ask to speak to someone else and start over.

With these tips, you will find that your refund may arrive sooner than you expected. Use all angles and tactics to your advantage, and mention any extenuating circumstances that might have factored into your overdraft.

We’re all human, after all, and customer service reps are looking to keep you as a member of the bank. It’s in everyone’s interest for you to walk away from the interaction a happy customer, so remember this during your negotiations. 

Add to Your Account

One of the best ways to tip the scales in your favor during an overdraft fee dispute is to add more money to your account. This will bring your balance up to a more stable level and show the bank that you’ve got the funds to avoid another fee in the future.

Furthermore, this demonstrates that your overdraft was a one-time mistake that won’t happen again. The bank is more apt to recognize you as a trusted customer and give you the benefit of the doubt.

In this situation, just a few dollars is what it typically takes. If that means drawing from your savings to add to checking, you may want to do so.

Try a Refund App

Certain applications are designed to give you a buffer from bank fees or help you recuperate losses from fines if they do happen to occur. 

Cushion is one app that negotiates with banks on your behalf, utilizing an AI model that scans your accounts and reaches out to institutions immediately. Other apps like Recoup and Harvest analyze recurring fees like subscriptions and help you identify ways to save money.

Each app works differently, and you’ll need to read the fine print before downloading, as always. However, if you juggle many accounts and already use features like Steady’s income tracker to get a top-down view of your finances, one of these additional apps can be useful.

Earn an Income Boost

If you can’t get your money back from an overdraft fee, you can always earn an Income Booster from Steady that patches up short-term loss with a little extra cash for making smarter financial decisions.

Additionally, some of these exciting companies Steady partners with to offer Income Boosters are neobanking alternatives, not traditional banks. These neobanks, like Chime, offer no-fee banking and come personalized for your needs.

With these trusted neobanking partners recommended to you by Steady, you'll be covering your old overdraft fees and preventing new ones from ever happening in the first place.

How To Avoid Other Bank Fees

  1. Use no-fee checking
  2. Opt-out of overdraft protection
  3. Track your balances
  4. Set up alerts

Overdraft is just one aspect of the modern minefield that is bank fees. You also need to watch out for:

  • Minimum balance fees
  • Checking account and savings account withdrawal fees
  • Late fees
  • NSF fees (non-sufficient funds fees)
  • Maintenance fees
  • Out-of-network ATM fees

Thankfully, there are ways to dodge those fees altogether with just a few smart moves. Here’s what we suggest you do right now to take back control of your bank charges.

Use No-Fee Banking

Today’s most popular neo-banks are known for forward-thinking features like no-fee service and increased ATM access. Aspiration, Chime, and Varo Money each offer their take on the neo-bank trend and put the customer first with outstanding policies and practices.

No-fee banks might not have the established infrastructure and branch selection of traditional financial institutions, such as Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo, or Citi Bank; however, the advantages of mobile banking and zero fees make up for that.

Just browse through your options in the “Boosters” tab - the rocket ship icon at the bottom of the Steady app - and see what no-fee bank opportunities are on offer. Steady will even pay you extra cash rewards just for making smarter financial decisions like finding the perfect no-fee banking option for you.

Opt-Out of Overdraft Protection

Don’t forget that banks are legally required to allow you to opt-out of overdraft protection services. Instead of the transaction going through and getting fined, you won’t be able to complete a purchase with insufficient funds.

You might feel a pang of embarrassment when confronted with this situation, but for many people, it’s the more intelligent way to handle things. By eliminating the ability to overdraw in your debit card transactions, you ensure that you’ll only purchase things you have enough money for. 

Opting out of the overdraft coverage that some banks offer can ensure you never open your online banking app or check your bank statement and find a negative balance.

Track Your Balances

Back before the digital revolution, overdraft fees were harder to avoid. Now that you have 24/7 visibility into our accounts balances with a swipe of your smartphone, there’s not much of an excuse to get hit with these fees.

Make a habit of tracking your income across your accounts and connecting them to your Steady interface for total transparency. The “Income” tab will display all your key info in one place, so you’re never left guessing! You can set income goals, keep track of what’s coming in, and keep tabs on your progress over time. 

Set Up Alerts

We don’t expect you to check your bank account balance before every transaction, and when life gets in the way, we can lose sight of these things.

That’s why setting up alerts on your mobile app or notifications is a high-IQ financial move that everyone should incorporate, even if you’re conscientious about balances. 

This way, you’ll get a push notification that tells you when you’re on the verge of an overdraft and can avert disaster.

Why Do Banks Charge Overdraft Fees?

On the one hand, banks make big bucks by charging overdraft fees, so it’s simply a part of doing business. However, it’s also meant to maintain their reputations with retailers and other partners facilitating transactions.

Banking is about minimizing risk and maximizing trust with partners, members, and everyone else involved. Overdraft fees are a way to keep risk low and encourage good banking habits while scraping some profits off the top. 


With our modern banking infrastructure, there’s no reason to live in fear of overdraft fees. You have the power of tech - including Steady - to help you navigate the pitfalls of fees and stay on top of your finances at every turn.

In the meantime, you’ll know what exactly to do if you are confronted with a fee, so stick to the script and get that cash back where it belongs. Better yet, make those necessary smart money moves and never worry about overdraft fees again. 


How to Get Overdraft Fees Refunded | Credit Karma

How to Avoid Overdraft Fees | NerdWallet

Preventing and Managing Overdraft Fees | FDIC