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Preventing Excessive Overdraft Charges

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With Courtesy Pay, Meriwest is covering your purchases when you have insufficient funds in your account. This service is designed for when you might make an honest mistake in your check register, have unplanned expenses, or run short on cash unexpectedly. However repeated use can be very costly because $35 is charged to your account every time an overdraft occurs. Consider the steps below, particularly linked accounts, to help avoid overdraft charges.

Tips To Prevent Excessive Overdraft Charges:

  • Set up free Overdraft Protection Transfer. When you link your checking account to savings or an available line of credit at Meriwest, we will move funds at no charge to cover any overdraft (aside from the applicable APR for a line of credit loan). Funds are transferred in $100.00 increments. You can easily set up Overdraft Protection Transfers in online banking.
  • Keep your check register up-to-date. Record all checks when you write them. Also record all ATM/debit card transactions and don’t forget to deduct any fees, ATM surcharges, etc. You can also register for our mobile banking app and use our Quick Balance feature to check your balance at any time.
  • Use automatic payments. Setting up automatic payments from your checking account for utilities, loans, and insurance bills is a great way to go. That way you will have fewer checks to write each month and fewer checks clearing from your account. With automatic payments, you can specify the exact date that the money leaves your account. Be sure to make note of all automatic payments in your check register. We also offer Bill Pay, a service to help manage all your bills online.
  • Check your balance.  Review your account statement every month. Also frequently check your balance online, on our mobile app, at the ATM, or by calling or visiting us. If you have any doubts about your true account balance, hold off on any big purchases until you are able to balance your checkbook.
  • Stash some cash. Overdrawing your checking account by even a few pennies can trigger fees. Add a small cushion to your account by putting in a small amount of money and keeping it there from month to month, say $100 or any amount you feel comfortable with. Even $50 will do.
  • Sign up for online alerts. Log into Online Banking and click the "Account Management" tab to set up online alerts. You can receive an email or text message when your checking account balance dips below a certain limit; say $50 or $100. This way, you will know it is time to stop spending or time to add more cash to your account. 
  • Understand how holds placed on your account – when you buy gas, check into a hotel, or rent a car – can affect your balance. These merchants as well as some others place “holds” or “pre-authorizations” on your checking account when you pay by debit card, often for a set amount or even the full amount of the bill plus twenty percent or more. While no money actually leaves your checking account at the time of the purchase, a hold does affect your ACTUAL balance versus your AVAILABLE balance for a few days. 

If being in Debt is a cause of your overdrafts you may want to consider the services of a credit counselor. Most reputable credit counselors are non-profit and offer services at local offices, online, or on the phone. If possible, find an organization that offers in-person counseling. Local consumer protection agencies, and friends and family may be good sources of information and referrals.

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