Getting Back Overdraft Fees in Three Easy Steps
In this post I talk about how to get back your overdraft fees in 3 easy steps. Coming from a banker who reverses overdraft fees all the time, it should work great for you! Before asking for overdraft fees reversed, you should understand the types of overdraft fees. This way you can have an intelligent conversation about them and increase your chances of getting the fees reversed. If you need to review the different types of overdraft fees, check out my post How Does an Overdraft Work?
Step 1: Take Responsibility.
Look at the situation objectively and realize you probably did something wrong to create an overdraft situation. If you forgot to make a deposit, forgot about a payment, calculated wrong, or any other number of reasons – That’s your fault, not the bank’s. If you think it’s a bank error or unauthorized charge causing the overdraft, that’s another post. This post is about overdrafts you caused because of a simple mistake.
As a banker, it’s very irritating to me when customers call and give me all these reasons their mistakes aren’t their fault. If you threaten me about changing banks, that will get you just as far as being rude. It’s not my responsibility to manage your account, it’s yours. I am much more sympathetic when a customer starts a conversation by acknowledging a situation and asks for my help. In my experience, the number one reason for a large amount of overdraft fees is bad money management. We have plenty of customers that make over $100,000 per year that pay as many fees as someone making $30,000 per year because they have the same money management skills. As a banker, part of my job is to help customers with better money management, and asking me for help is a great conversation starter.
Step 2: Be polite.
If you’re calling up with a bad attitude, that will get you nowhere. I find it very easy to say no to someone who’s being rude, in fact, I want to say no to that person. Calling up acknowledging you created the overdraft situation and having a polite tone goes miles for me and other bankers. Anytime a customer calls me to complain about overdraft fees in a rude or demeaning manner rarely gets fees reversed. If you have no problem being rude to me, I have absolutely no problem with you paying overdraft fees. Acknowledge your responsibility in a polite manner.
“I made an overdraft mistake in my account and need your help.”.
Step 3: Build yourself up.
If you’ve been with the bank a while, usually have larger balances, have other accounts, have a loan with the bank, or already paid a lot of fees – bring it up in a polite manner. Often times a banker is only looking at one account and not the whole relationship you have with the bank. Remind the banker you’re a customer worth keeping happy.
“Is there anyway you can help me with the overdraft fees? I’ve had a mortgage with your bank for years and always refer you business – because I love banking with you.”
I always reverse fees for customers with mortgages with the bank. If the bank makes thousands from your mortgage interest every year, the last thing I’m going to do is ruin the relationship over $75 in overdraft fees. Especially if they are referring us more business!
“I’m hoping you can help me. I’ve already paid so many overdraft fees this year and really can’t afford these fees.”
This would cause me to look at your overdraft fees paid year to date. Don’t lie about this, because the information is readily available on your bank profile screen. If you’ve already paid a bunch of fees and I know you’re a profitable customer, I’ll usually limit overdraft fees to one per day. Don't make up stories about never getting fees reversed before. All customer profiles at my bank have notes attached. If we reversed overdraft fees before, they'll be a note on your account about it. Just acknoweldge you've had fees reversed before and need help again. Honesty goes a long way with bankers.
Can you help me with the overdraft fees? I have money in my savings account and just forgot to transfer the funds. I wish you had something that did that automatically for me.
This makes me realize you have other accounts and maybe the bank didn’t do a good job telling you about overdraft coverage alternatives. Most banks have something called “overdraft sweep” from another account to cover overdrafts and avoid fees. You not knowing what we offered is our fault, not yours. In this case, I’d reverse the fees and sign you up for overdraft sweep to avoid future overdraft fees. I also have a post about other Overdraft Coverage Alternatives, if you want to learn more about them. Again, don't lie. If I look up your relationship profile and see your balance in the other account wouldn't have covered the overdraft amount, I'll think you're trying to mislead me. As an alternative, talk up your debit card usage because that makes the bank interchange fees and bankers know debit transactions are hard for customers to track.
So keep these 3 steps in mind the next time you call or visit the bank to get overdraft fees reversed. Take Responsibility, Be Polite, and Build Yourself Up. You may need to use a combination of the examples, but it’s worth the try. I have reversed thousands of overdraft fees this year alone for customers using the above methods. Give it a try and good luck!
If you have any questions or comments on this post, email me using the Contact page. I’m Banker X, and I’m on your side.
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