How to avoid NSF fees
Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 1:48PM
StarChoiceCreditUnion in Checking Account, Overdraft Fees, Star Choice Credit Union

I bought this pack of gum today. Wrigley 5 - Cobalt. Probably my favorite flavor of gum...but that is beside the point.

I bought this pack of gum for $1.39, and in my opinion, it was $1.39 well-spent. The shocking thing is some people are paying up to $30 for this exact same pack of gum.

How can this be, you ask? Overdraft fees.

Imagine this scenario: You stop into the gas station for a pack of gum-$1 and some change...$2 at most-and mindlessly hand the cashier your debit card, he or she swipes it, and you leave with your pack of gum. Little did you know you just paid $30 for a single pack of gum-because you didn't have enough money in your checking account to cover it.

Overdraft fees are extremely frustrating and you can end up paying hundreds-even thousands-of dollars a year to your financial institution by not carefully managing your money.

Here are 3 tips on how to avoid overdraft fees and how to stay on top of your account activity!

  1. If you have a checking account at Star Choice Credit Union, we offer a completely free service through our online banking that allows you to sign up for e-mail and/or text alerts. There are many different options to choose from including when and what time to notify you. For example, you can choose to be notified when your checking account goes below $50, but don't send text alerts from 10pm-6 am, because that is when you are catching up on your much needed sleep! It's pretty cool and very convenient, you can find out how to get set up here!
  2. Keep a record in your checkbook register! Many people make the mistake of relying on their "available balance" which doesn't necessarily include all of your pending transactions. If you make a record of every purchase, you won't have to worry about whether or not your available balance is including all of your recent transactions or checks you may have written.
  3. Look into overdraft protection. I'm not saying sign up for it, nor am I saying opt-out of it. Each person is different-you will ultimately be the one to decide if this is a good fit for you or not. For some people, overdraft protection is great and can save them the embarassment of a declined card or a bounced check every once in a while, but for others it just gives them the go-ahead to spend more money than they have. One thing to consider is that with overdraft protection, you are still paying about the same amount for the service as you would an overdraft fee, it just means that your financial institution will cover the transaction, so your card will not get declined and your checks will still clear, regardless of the amount in your checking account.

If you have trouble staying on top of your account activity and find yourself giving the majority of your paychecks to your financial institution in fees, take these tips to heart and start spending your hard-earned money on something worthwhile!


Article originally appeared on Star Choice Credit Union (
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