How to Clear an Overdrawn Checking Account

by Miranda Morley
Forgetting to record checks can lead to overdrawn bank accounts.

An overdrawn checking account is frustrating, embarrassing and can leave you feeling hopeless and anxious. Because most banks charge reoccurring fees for overdrafts, getting the account out of the red can be challenging. Fortunately, communicating with the bank and your creditors can help you clear things up.

Cash Cover

Deposit cash the same day the overdraft occurs to avoid daily fees.

The fastest way to clear an overdrawn checking account is to deposit enough cash to cover the overdrawn amount, overdraft fees and other expenses. If you have money in a savings account or on your person, deposit it as quickly as possible. That can help you avoid the daily or per transaction fees that most banks charge when you overdraw. Although it's a costly option, you can also get a cash advance from a credit card and use it to cover your overdraft.

Reversal of Misfortune

Meet with a bank supervisor in person and explain that you made a mistake.

Some banks reverse overdraft fees for loyal customers who don't overdraw accounts often. Even if you have overdrawn your account before, communicating with the branch manager or supervisor at your bank may get at least some fees waived. Overdraft fees can be charged both per day the account was overdrawn and per transaction after that. Reducing the fees may make it possible to cover the overdraft with cash.

Hold Payments

Check your accounts online to ensure transactions you have cancelled do not go through.

If you have overdraft protection the bank continues to pay bills presented to your account, sending you further and further into debt and increasing your overdraft fees. As soon as you realize your account has been overdrawn, call merchants with which you have automated or future payment agreements and cancel them. Discuss the situation with the merchants, as they may be willing to waive late fees as long as you pay when the situation is under control.

Communication Station

Offer creditors and banks an estimate of when you can pay.

If you're unable to clear the overdraft quickly your bank may close your account, send it to collections or threaten legal action. Communicate frequently both with your bank and creditors as you try to get your account cleared. In many cases creditors and bankers are willing to work with you if they know you're trying to resolve the situation.

About the Author

Miranda Morley is an educator, business consultant and owner of a copywriting/social-media management company. Her work has been featured in the "Boston Literary Magazine," "Subversify Magazine" and "American Builder's Quarterly." Morley has a B.A. in English, political science and international relations. She is completing her M.A. in rhetoric and composition from Purdue University Calumet.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images