Bank of America Overdraft Guide- How to, Overdraft Limit, Fees/Charges, Refund, Overdraft Protection [Guide]

Bank of America is one of the most popular banks in the USA, having more than 66 million customers. One of things that Bank of America offers is the overdraft facility. In this guide, we are going to look at Bank of America’s overdraft services in detail including how to overdraft, what are the overdraft fees and limits involved and how to avoid such overdraft fees, how to get a refund on such overdraft fees, Overdraft protection etc.

Overdraft is simply a facility that allows you to pay for a purchase or withdraw money in excess of the balance available in your account (only when in excess of $1 over your available balance). This comes at a cost and overdraft fees levied by the Bank of America is quite hefty and acts as a deterrent to avoid such situations. 

So you have 2 options in such a situation- either have your bank decline such a transaction in the first place, without any cost or fees to you (there can still be a declined or returned item fee, will talk about this later). Or you can allow your bank to overdraw funds, which results in a negative bank balance and you get charged the overdraft fees. 

How to Overdraft Bank of America

You need to have a checking account with Bank of America, which offers Overdraft Service on transactions. You can check with bank customer are on call to see if they have overdraft setting activated on your account.

The Bank of America overdraft facility kicks in depending on the transaction- usually in case of recurring transactions e.g. a gym or streaming membership subscription you have set up on your debit card.

Or, it could be an ATM withdrawal where you specifically agree to overdraft usage. It can also be a scheduled check or scheduled bill payment on your account number or routing number.

Usually, overdraft will NOT come into play when you have one-time debit card purchase from a store etc. as such transactions are declined.

Bank of America Overdraft Fees

Bank of America charges an overdraft fee of USD 35 for any transaction or item that overdraws your account for more than $1. The fee is levied per item and for a maximum of 4 items a day.

It is also important to note the overdraft kicks in when the transaction exceeds the available balance by minimum of $1.

And figuring out the available balance can get tricky and is not simple as it looks. Available balance in your statement is impacted based on the posting order for the transactions you have made on the day,

Bank of America Website mentions that they post transactions to your account in the following order. Depending on this posting sequence, your available balance may run-into negative without you realizing it. And the account balance history is available only after transactions have been posted to your account. 

CategoryExamplesPosting order
Deposits and other creditsDirect deposit of your paycheckCash or check deposited at an ATMHighest amount to lowest
Debits with a time stampDebit card purchases/paymentsATM withdrawalsTeller cash withdrawalsOne-time transfers using Zelle, Online or Mobile Banking, over the phone, at an ATM and wire transfersChronological*
ChecksChecks you’ve writtenCheck number order*
Debits without a time stampPreauthorized transactions using your account and routing numberBill Pay paymentsHighest amount to lowest
FeesMonthly maintenance feesOverdraft feesATM feesHighest amount to lowest

It is important to note that overdraft fees can be quite exorbitant-often exceeding the amount of overdraft. So you should be looking to avoid  them in the first place. 

You can save the overdraft fees by maintaining adequate balance in your account and monitoring it using BoA mobile app. Keep it well funded before the day. You can also set daily alerts to be shared on your available balance. 

You can also consider Balance Connect, an optional service for overdraft protection. If activated, you can set up auto-transfer of funds from a linked backup account to help cover purchases and payments or prevent declined and returned transactions. But this too is chargeable at $12 for each such transfer.

Fees
Type of fees that you can find on Bank of America Account

Type of ChargeFee AmountCharged For
Overdraft Fees$35 for each item over $1.00 (Maximum 4 items per day)Fees for authorizing transactions by overdrawing your account – spend in excess of available balance
NSF: Returned Items Fees$35 each item over $1.00Fees for declined  transaction or returned. Applicable on checks, automatic bill payments, ACH transactions and other transaction using your checking account number
Overdraft Protection Fees (if you have opted for this facility by linking a backup Bank of America account to avoid overdrafts)$12 per transactionTo cover for your transactions in case of insufficient balance in your main account, BoA will automatically transfer the amount from your another linked back-up BoA account to avoid over-drawing

You can find the full schedule of fees on the Bank of America website here.

How Long before Bank of America Charges Overdraft Fee

Bank of America Overdraft fees are usually charged between 1 to 3 days of the transaction.

How to avoid Bank of America Overdraft fees

The best way to avoid this is to make sure you have sufficient balance and avoid setting any recurring transaction on a Bank of America account. Let’s look at some of the ways to avoid such overdraft fees:

  • You can opt for Overdraft protection to cover up for excess amounts from another backup Bank of America Account. This does require you to have another qualified BoA account, which will be linked to your main account and you will still be charged a fee of $12 for transfer from such back-up account
  • You can sign up for receiving daily alerts on your bank balance or low balance alerts to make sure your balance is sufficient 
  • You can move your transactions to other banks or cards which do not charge overdraft fees
  • You can opt for alternative accounts from Bank of America which do not provide overdraft or charge overdraft fees such as Bank of America Advantage Banking and Bank of America SafeBalance  Banking, Advantage Savings account etc.

If you are short on cash, you can also consider other cash advance apps that come with low fees. Bank of America itself offers a Balance Assist Facility which is a short-term, low-cost loan, which can be used to borrow up to $500 (in increments of $100) for a $5 flat fee regardless of the amount advanced. You usually need to repay such loan in three equal monthly installments over a 90-day period.

How to get refund of Bank of America overdraft fees / waiver of overdraft fees

If you see overdraft fees which seem to be wrongly charged in your bank account, you can try requesting a refund. Sometimes you may incur multiple overdraft fees of $35 each for transactions undertaken in a day while only one transaction may have triggered an overdraft. Do your homework here and build up your case, before contacting the bank with a request for the refund.

It does not hurt to try. There are a couple of ways you can explore to get such fees refunded. Your past relationship and account history can work in your favour here, especially if you have not been charged overdraft fees in past or on rare occasions: 

  • Visit the bank branch and ask for refund in person
  • Call Bank of America customer care on phone with the details
  • Email them

You can contact a Bank of America specialist by scheduling an appointment using the BoA mobile App or website, if you have signed up for online banking:

  1. Sign in to the BoA mobile app
  2. Scroll down to the option “Meet with a Specialist”
  3. Tap on the “Schedule an Appointment” link and follow the steps

Bank of America Overdraft Limit 

Your overdraft limit is determined based on your account history. It may go upto $1500 per day.

Bank of America Overdraft Protection 

You can option for overdraft Protection, which is an optional service using the “Balance Connect option” on the Bank of America mobile app to avoid overdraft fees. You can link your eligible main checking account with up to 5 other Bank of America accounts. BoA will automatically transfer available funds from your linked backup account(s) to cover transactions that exceed the available balance in your main checking account. This can help you avoid declined transactions, returned checks and overdrafts.

However, this overdraft protection comes at a cost of $12 for each such transfer that takes place to cover transactions. There is no initial set up cost. 

This is not really much of a preferred option: while this is less than the overdraft fees at 1/3rd of the amount. But still at $12, it is not cheap and you can save this cost by self-monitoring your balance or simply option for no overdraft account.

How to Set up or Remove (Turn Off) Overdraft Protection

You can set up or turn off Overdraft protection by going to the Balance Connect option in the Bank of America mobile banking app, or by using BoA website Online Banking. Alternatively, you can reach BoA customer care by calling the number on your account statement or scheduling an appointment at a nearby BoA financial center.

Why won’t Bank of America let me overdraft

You may come across situations where you are not able to overdraw your account. There can be multiple reasons for this like

  • Your account type may not be eligible for overdraft service e.g: Advantage Safe Balance Account, Advantage Savings, Minor Savings Account do not have overdraft service
  • You may have already reached or exceeded your overdraft limit based on your account history 
  • If you have opted for any short term loan from Bank of America (like Balance Assist Facility) it will turn off the overdraft facility available until the loan is repaid.

WRAP UP

Overdraft fees levied by Bank of America can be quite heavy i.e. even exceeding the amount overdrawn. They tend to be a huge source of revenue to the bank and there has been an increasing trend against such fees.

So it is better off you avoid Overdraft in the first place by using the ways suggested above.

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