Sunday, November 24, 2013

Financial Tip: Have an Overdraft Fee Waived (No Phone Call or Trip to the Bank Required)

Most of us have had it happen to us at some point: You check your bank account one day, expecting to see a certain amount of money safely stashed away, but somehow you're missing an extra $35 from said account.

"How can this be?  Wait a minute... a certain subscription fee was charged unexpectedly and I got overdrafted by $2.00!  Damn it, now I'm out $35 more!"

Broke due to overdraft fees?  No problem!
This happened to me just recently, and I almost just took the loss, chalking it up to a failure on my part to keep my finances in order.

However, with the multitude of articles on the web devoted to getting fees waived, I decided to test my luck and see how much truth there is in having the bank forgive me for a careless mistake.  Surprisingly, I had no trouble at all getting that pesky overdraft fee refunded.  And the best part is, I didn't even have to leave my keyboard.

Most banks these days have an online interface for customers to check up on their bank accounts over the internet.  Some banks even have a messaging center, where you can ask questions or get help from a specialist, much like any other tech support service on the web.  All I did was log into my bank account online and send a message to the bank's "Help & Support" center.  The message was something along the lines of:

"Hello, I was hoping to have an overdraft fee waived if at all possible.  I made a mistake and I would greatly appreciate a bit of leniency regarding this problem.  Thanks so much for your time and service!"

That's it.  Short and sweet, with a bit of humility and politeness.

Sure enough, not even 24 hours later, I received a reply in my messaging center explaining that my bank would be happy to refund my fee, and offered me some tips on how to keep from getting overdrafted again.  After viewing my account balance, I noticed that the bank had re-deposited that $35 they took as an overdraft fee.  I really needed that extra cash (who doesn't?), and I was amazed at how easy and simple it was to have this fee refunded to me.

Most financial gurus will advise you to make a phone call to your bank's customer service line, sitting through seemingly endless automated messages, until you finally reach a human on the other end.  They will tell you to apologize profusely to your customer service representative, in hopes that they might have mercy on your soul (and your wallet).

Some of those gurus will even tell you to make a trip down to your local branch to talk to a manager face-to-face, supposedly making it harder for them to refuse you a refund on your fee... due to human interaction and compassion and all that good stuff.

Online specialists are happy to help waive fees
I'm here to tell you that you don't have to jump through those hoops.  Just send a polite message to your bank's help and support center online, explaining the situation.  For an introvert like me, this is a much more convenient solution to the problem... and just as effective.  While all of the methods will probably work, the one that I chose is probably the fastest and easiest way to have your money refunded.  If it doesn't work for some reason, try the other two as well.  Worst thing they can do is say "no" and the best thing they can do is give you your hard-earned money back.

So skip the lines and put down the phone.  Just send a message to your bank and get your overdraft fee waived... no muss, no fuss!

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