Sometimes getting through the month is tough. You are already struggling to pay your bills and your bank account is overdrawn. Needing cash, you’re left asking: can I withdraw money if my account is already overdrawn? Let’s take a look.

Can you withdraw from a negative account

For many people the answer will be yes, you can. However, it depends on your bank and exactly how you have set up your checking account. Sometimes you need to specifically opt in to overdraft coverage, other banks require you to opt in for overdraft protection.

Consider Chase for example. Chase’s Standard Overdraft Practice means that the bank will let you go overdrawn if there are insufficient funds for a check or an automatic payment. But debit card transactions including cash withdrawals will be refused if you have insufficient funds.

On the other hand, if your Chase account has overdraft protection enabled you will be able to withdraw cash from an account that has insufficient funds, or which is already overdrawn – but expect to pay fees.

US Bank on the other hand offers the option to opt into overdraft coverage for ATM and debit card transactions so you can withdraw an amount of cash exceeding your available balance. You can even withdraw cash if your account is already overdrawn. Like Chase, US Bank also offers overdraft protection, we’ll discuss overdraft protection more in depth later on.

How much can I overdraw my checking account

An overdraft is effectively a loan and loans always involve a credit risk assessment. The amount you can be overdrawn by on your checking account will depend on the bank’s internal criteria. Your bank will consider how long your account has been open for, how often you use the overdraft facility and whether you repay your overdraft within a reasonable amount of time.

Each bank will offer different overdraft limits, but on a standard checking account you can expect anything from a $100 limit to a $1,000 limit. High earners will qualify for far larger overdrafts. You can ensure you have access to a solid overdraft by maintaining long-term banking relationships and by always meeting repayments on your loans.

Can I withdraw from savings if checking is overdrawn

Yes, in fact you can prevent your checking account from ever going into the red thanks to overdraft protection, a facility offered by most banks. Overdraft protection links your checking account to another account you have at the bank, such as your savings account.

Overdraft protection is straight forward. If your checking account has insufficient funds for a transaction your bank will automatically attempt to transfer funds from the linked account, typically your savings account. Instead of overdrawing your checking account you simply withdraw funds from your savings account instead.

More on Can you overdraft a savings account

Watch for fees and charges

Overdrawing a checking account is not free. Even if your account is already overdrawn you will continue to be charged fees for further transactions. Mainstream banks such as Chase and Bank of America generally charge fees in the range of $30 to $40 per transaction. So, if you withdraw $20 while your account is overdrawn you can be charged twice your ATM withdrawal, just in fees.

That said banks tend to limit the number of charges they will impose on any given day. Again, it depends on your bank, but you can expect a maximum of up to 6 charges per day.

One way to prevent charges is to use overdraft protection. Overdraft protection is free with some banks, others will charge a smaller charge, say, $12 each time you make use of overdraft protection.

Overdraft alternatives

Many account holders simply do not have access to an overdraft. Or, if you are having a really rough time financially, you may find that at some point your bank will stop authorizing transactions on your checking account. Luckily there are plenty of alternatives to checking account overdrafts.

One option is a free overdraft app such as the Dave app or apps like Earnin. These apps will extend a small loan to you with no interest charges or fees. A free overdraft app is a great option if all you need to tide you over to payday is $25 or $50.

If you get paid on a monthly basis or if you are experiencing a lot of financial difficulty you could consider a larger loan from a provider like Rainy Day Lending or Avant. Always watch out for the interest costs on larger loans as interest charges can quickly eat into your ability to meet your monthly commitments.