Understanding Overdraft Fees for the Top 20 Small Business Banks

Understanding Overdraft Fees for the Top 20 Small Business Banks

Setting up a business bank account is a necessary step for any business owner. It’s important to keep your personal and business finances separate from each other for liability and tax purposes, and maintaining separate accounts is one of the simplest ways to do that.

But how do you know what bank is right for you and your small business? You should consider much more than which bank is close by or which one you’re currently using to manage personal accounts. Though there are many reasons to a select a business bank, one of the most important is understanding the bank’s overdraft fee policy.

First, let’s clarify four of the most common types of overdraft fees:

  1. Overdraft Fee: This occurs each time the bank approves a transaction that exceeds your available balance.
  2. Non-sufficient Funds Fee (NSF): This occurs each time the bank chooses to reject a transaction that overdraws your balance. For example, say a recurring payment of $200 was posted. It overdraws your account, and the bank rejected the payment. This pushes the payment back to the vendor, and you’ll be charged a fee.
  3. Overdraft Protection Fee: According to ValuePenguin.com, this is a fee that is charged every time the bank arranges a transfer from another one of your accounts (usually your savings) to cover the overdraft. Most banks offer this service on an opt-in basis, and they usually charge the customer anywhere between $10 and $12.50 per transfer.
  4. Extended Overdraft Fee: This fee happens when you leave your account balance in the negative for several days. Usually, banks allow you five business days to fix your balance before this fee comes into play.

Before 2010, many financial institutions automatically enrolled customers in overdraft protection programs unless you willingly opted-out. Now regulations require you to opt-in instead, so you’re not automatically signed up. There are a few reasons why people advocated against automatic overdraft protection:

  1. Very high fees could accumulate quickly
  2. Banks used fees as a source of revenue
  3. Fees are not uniform or monitored, making it difficult to understand when fees will be assessed
  4. Higher possibility of having your account closed

Overdraft Fees for 20 Small Business Banks

Being a small business owner, you’re already short on time, so let us help you get started with your banking decision. We’ve researched the top 20 banks for small businesses and put this list together to help you understand their overdraft fee structures better. Check them out below, ranked from lowest overdraft fee to highest.

  1. Capital One
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $9
    2. Overdraft protection: $0
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $0
  2. Ally Bank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $25
    2. Overdraft protection:$0
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $0
  3. Alliant Credit Union
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $25
    2. Overdraft protection: $3
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $0
  4. Discover Bank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $30
    2. Overdraft protection: $0
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $0
  5. CitiBank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $34
    2. Overdraft protection: $10
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $0
  6. Chase
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $34
    2. Overdraft protection: $10
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $15 every 5 days
  7. KeyBank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $34
    2. Overdraft protection: $10
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $28.50 every 5 days
  8. Wells Fargo
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $35
    2. Overdraft protection: $12.50
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $0
  9. Bank of America
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $35
    2. Overdraft protection: $12
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $35 every 5 days
  10. TD Bank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $35
    2. Overdraft protection: $10
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $20 every 10 days
  11. Associated Bank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $35
    2. Overdraft protection: $10
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $7 daily
  12. Citizens Bank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $35
    2. Overdraft protection: $12
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $30 every 3 days
  13. US Bank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $36
    2. Overdraft protection: $12.50
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $25 weekly
  14. PNC Bank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $36
    2. Overdraft protection: $10
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $7 daily
  15. BB&T
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $36
    2. Overdraft protection: $12.50
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $8 daily
  16. Regions Bank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $36
    2. Overdraft protection: $15
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $0
  17. SunTrust Bank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $36
    2. Overdraft protection: $12.50
    3. Extended overdraft fee:$36 every 5 days
  18. Fifth Third Bank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $37
    2. Overdraft protection: $12
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $0
  19. The Huntington National Bank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $37.50
    2. Overdraft protection: $0
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $20 every 10 days
  20. M&T Bank
    1. Overdraft/NSF: $38.50
    2. Overdraft protection: $12.50
    3. Extended overdraft fee: $38.50 every 5 days

How to Avoid Overdraft Fees

For whatever bank you choose to use, it’s responsible to understand their overdraft fee structure. However, it’s best to try to avoid overdraft fees in general. Below are a few solutions to help your business stay on track.

Monitor Your Balance

Always understand your business’ account balance. Almost every bank has a mobile app, and its most basic function is to keep you informed of your balance. Most apps also let you set account alerts to notify you if your balance is under a preselected amount.

Understand Your Transaction Schedule

Knowing when invoices are coming in and expenses are coming out is critically important for predicting your account balance and keeping it in the positive. Tracking your transactions via software or chart will help you understand if you need to take action and reschedule something before it’s too late.

Link Another Account or Card

Link your business checking account to a savings account or line of credit. If you have overdraft protection and overdraw your checking account, the bank you’re with will take money from your linked savings account or another associated account to cover the difference. There may be a fee associated with this, but it’s usually much lower than an NSF fee.

Beware of Overdraft Protection

Lastly, use overdraft protection with caution. By implementing the tactics above, signing up for overdraft protection can help you save money (for example, a $12.50 over a $35 fee). However, that does not mean that these fees can’t pile up if misused. Be sure to read all fine print to ensure you fully understand your bank’s fee structure and policies.

Overdraft fees are some of the steepest fees that banks charge, so understanding your bank’s policies and fee structures up front will help your small business save money and stay on top of your financials.

Do you belong to one of the banks above? Let us know on Twitter @Revenued_com.

Chris Keller is a veteran in business finance. Prior to starting and managing his own business, he managed product lines at two Fortune 500 companies focusing on their Profit & Loss statements.
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Understanding Overdraft Fees for the Top 20 Small Business Banks

You should consider much more than which bank is close by or which one you’re currently using to manage personal accounts. Though there are many reasons to a select a business bank, one of the most important is understanding the bank’s overdraft fee policy.