overdraft fee

How I Got My $35 Overdraft Fee Reversed in Less than a Minute

by Tim on October 25, 2011

My wife and I have a few payments taken directly out of our savings account.  Her paychecks would go directly into the savings and there would always be enough to cover it.  Since she’s stopped working, I’ve been transferring money from our checking account to cover the payments.  Unfortunately, I forgot to transfer some money this month and the payment caused an overdraft fee to hit my savings account.  I can’t stand fees and getting knocked with a $35 overdraft fee didn’t feel good at all!

I was really close to just accepting the fee; I mean it was my mistake and all, right?

Yes, that’s true.  It was my own mistake, and in my four years of using the bank, I haven’t had any overdraft fees, so one isn’t too bad.

That’s what I thought until I read chapter two of Ramit Sethi’s book I Will Teach You To Be Rich  (No the book isn’t about getting rich quick – it’s about living a richer and fuller life by automating your finances.)  Call it coincidence that my first overdraft fee occur the week before I read this chapter in his book; all I know is that it was perfect timing and his script worked.


Ramit provided a script in chapter two (titled Beat the Banks) that walks you through the call to your bank to reverse overdraft fees.  The longest part of the call was waiting to speak with a representative.  It was simply a matter of doing it.

Reversing the Bank Charge

I was prepared to follow his entire script, which isn’t too long (three lines to be exact).  But I didn’t even make it past the first line before the representative reversed the charge.

My call went just like this:

Representative: “Hi this is Cara, how can I help you”

Me: “Hi Cara, I saw a bank charge on my savings account and I’m calling to have it waived.

Representative: “Ok, one second……..(about 10 seconds go by)……Ok, I’m going to reverse this fee as a courtesy this time, but any waivers in the future will need to be a bank error.”

Me: “Thanks, Cara, I really appreciate it.”

It sounds too simple, and I was seriously impressed with the bank that they didn’t even question or doubt that it was a simple error.  They just corrected it.

You never know until you ask, but when you do, make sure you’re prepared, to the point, and polite.  I was ready to give her the date of the fee, the account number, security question answer, and had my reason for reversal thought out.  Being polite and addressing her by name never hurts, so I always try to make that a part of the conversation.

So what about you?  Have you had a bank charge recently?  ATM fees, overdraft fees, anything?  Try calling the bank and asking for a reversal.   Don’t think this will work? Try it out and let us know in the comments.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

krantcents October 25, 2011

I incurred a late fee and interest on a credit card account. I always pay my balance every month. This month , I forgot because I am paperless. I called and had it reversed.

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Tim October 26, 2011

Good to know it works for credit cards too. I hope a lot of people try and see for themselves!

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nicole October 26, 2011

I haven’t experience this kind of circumstances..Its better to check always your card..Thank you for sharing!

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Mayor of Humbleville October 26, 2011

Hey Tim,
Sounds similar to what my husband and I do with our bills, always transferring money from one account to another, and if you just happen to forget the one time, BAM! Overdraft fees! Nice work on having it reversed… Props to you and to the bank for being awesome!
Humbly Yours,
The Mayor

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Careful Cents October 27, 2011

I encountered a similar problem at the beginning of this year, except it was both my fault and the banks fault. One tip that I found out is that some local banks or credit unions don’t allow bank tellers or other personal to waive or reverse fees. You need to talk to a branch manager, since they are the ones that are hired to keep the customers happy and all.

The fees were on a business account and upwards of $300 but with one phone call I got them reversed. It always pays off to at least contest the charges, even if they say No.

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Tony Scott October 28, 2011

I just cancelled my credit card last month because I’m sick of thinking on how to pay it every month. I’ve learned that If I want something to buy, I would rather save money to get that.

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FelipeG October 28, 2011

Honestly, I don’t use credit cards today… The first time I have that, I freaked out when the bill comes. I can hardly control my urge to purchase something not so important. So I opt not to have a card and save for anything that I want to purchase.

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Monica October 28, 2011

Kudos to you for getting the charge reversed, and considering you have had a spotless record for 4 years, it’s the least they could do! I imagine that the big banks are more willing to waive some types of feesbecause of the backlash against debit card fees, OWS publicity, etc. More people are willing to move to smaller banks and credit unions, so the bigger banks should feel more pressure to keep their current customers happy.

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Lisa October 31, 2011

Get that NSF reversed was very easy, usually they are really resistant. I haven’t had an NSF in years. I can say a great tip is to be courteous and accept blame if it’s your fault. In the past that worked well for me.

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Peter November 2, 2011

I’ve had overdraft charges reversed. I did something similar where I just asked to have the charges waived since i was a longtime customer, and they gave me a similar “ok this time, but next time you get charged” speech.

I had an overdraft because of similar circumstances – a transfer I thought had gone through – hadn’t. In the end a bunch of overdraft fees went through – but were all waived by the bank.

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Raeven Western December 26, 2011

Earlier I called my bank to remove charges on an overdraft fee for checks deposited before the date listed and was not successful. Refusing to accept the outcome from the 1st customer representative, I googled ‘reversing an overdraft fee’ and came across this. So simple and it worked, I’m still amazed. Thank you!

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Raeven Western December 26, 2011

By the way, great site and I just purchased the book! Thank you

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Next day loans December 30, 2011

Its nice experience which you have shared with us and it will definitely give us some idea about how to operate our account and how to avoid the overdraft fee.

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ME January 5, 2012

Yesterday I called to have an OD reversed using your script and it worked. Unfortunately today I found that I had an additional fee that resulted from the first, so I called again and this is how it went down.

Geraldine: Hello! Thank you for being a valued Bank of America customer. My name is Geraldine. How may I assist you in your personal checking and savings account today?

ME: Geraldine, yesterday I called to have an OD charge reversed and was told that removing the original fee would automatically drop the Extended Overdrawn Balance Charge; however, I see today that that was not the case.

Geraldine: I understand your concern about refund of the Extended Overdrawn Balance Charge.

Geraldine: Let me check that and do my level best in this matter.

Geraldine: Before I can look into that, may I please have your complete name as it appears on your statement and last four digits of your account number?

Geraldine: Thank you [...] for providing me with the necessary information.

Geraldine: Kindly allow me 2-3 minutes to pull up your account and validate your information.

Geraldine: Thank you for patiently waiting.

Geraldine: I was able to pull up the account and validate your account information.

Geraldine: Please note the Overdraft fee and the Extended Overdrawn Balance Charge . are two different charges, therefore, must be processed separately.

Geraldine: I do see here a refund for the Overdraft fee.

ME: That is not what I was told yesterday.

Geraldine: Let me please check if there is a feasibility to accommodate your request for the Extended Overdrawn Balance Charge .

ME: Jeff told me that by refunding the original fee from 12/28, that the 2nd would “automatically drop off.”

Geraldine: I do apologize for the information provided.

Geraldine: I will see what I can do.

Geraldine: Thank you for patiently waiting. I still need more time on this. I appreciate your patience.

ME: Sure.

Geraldine: I’m still working on this. I’ll be with you shortly.

ME: Okay.

Geraldine: Thank you.

Geraldine: As a valued Bank of America customer, we have issued a refund for the Extended Overdrawn Balance Charge of $35.00. It will be credited to your account within a few minutes and posted to the account within 1-2 business days.

ME: Thank you, Geraldine!! You’ve been wonderful.

Geraldine: You’re most welcome.

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Joey July 23, 2012

I mean I have done this 3 times and it worked, but now they just won’t reverse anymore lol so then i just switched banks

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Karen Smith October 4, 2012

I bank at US Bank and I called to ask to have my overdraft fee of 35 dollars be waived since I haven’t had an overdraft fee before. She said that she wouldn’t be able to do it because it wasn’t a merchant error. I told her that I know that it was my fault and it was a mistake. She just keep repeating that since it wasn’t a merchant error she wouldn’t reverse it.

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Bank Overdraft Fees January 13, 2013

Simplicity is key. I recently used a technique that anybody can use where I got 13 overdrafts fees reversed completely, but it required 2 short phone calls – worth $455.

Look for “How to Reverse Bank Overdraft Fees the Easy Way” on liberatio.us.

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Cory August 21, 2013

Just got a 35 dollar charge taken off my account with a 7 minute phone call. Was told that it was a courtesy waiver and that next time I would not be able to have it waived. Worth my time, and I’m glad I found this article!

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Eliu November 27, 2013

I actually just had a $35 overdraft fee this morning and it happened because I was $1.40 short. It was actually my first fee with BoA and I did one of the online chats which did not help me at all. I then called and whoever answered was extremely helpful. I recited that first sentence in the script, and just freestyled it from there. In the end, I was being nice and the associate was being nice. He ended up giving me the $35 back :) This took maybe… 5 minutes.

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