Citizens Bank Overdraft Limit, Fees and Protection

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Mitchel Harad

We met for a burger and fries at the local diner, followed by popcorn and a movie, and finished the night with endless laughs about the dumb things we used to do in our younger years. Unfortunately, what started out as a cheap night out with the besties ended up costing an arm and a leg – $160, to be exact. How? A burger and fries cost $15, popcorn and a movie cost $20, another $10 for a drink… and then overdraft fees cost $105. Little did I know that my account was negative. All I did was tap my Citizens Bank debit card a couple of times on the weekend, and now I’m digging myself out of a financial mess.

An overdraft happens when a bank customer doesn’t have enough money in their account to pay for their goods or services, but the bank processes the transaction anyways, resulting in a negative balance and costly fees. If you’re a customer of Citizens Bank, it’s wise to understand how overdraft works. This guide will cover Citizens Bank overdraft fees, overdraft limits, and your options as a customer. 

Citizens Bank overdraft policies on computer screen

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What is Citizens Bank overdraft policy?

Citizens Bank will charge an overdraft fee for customers that have any of the following checking accounts:

  • One Deposit Checking from Citizens
  • Citizens Quest Checking
  • Citizens Wealth Checking

If your account is overdrawn, Citizens will pay the following transaction types (at its discretion) and charge you an overdraft fee:

  • Checks
  • Transactions made using your checking account number
  • Automatic bill payments
  • Recurring debit card transactions

However, Citizens Bank will not authorize overdrafts on your ATM withdrawals or debit card purchases under its standard overdraft policy. These transactions will be declined and you will not be charged overdraft fees. If you’d like to access cash from an ATM or continue to make purchases on your debit card while your account is overdrawn, you’ll need to enroll in Citizen’s Debit Card Overdraft Coverage, which you can do online, by phone or at a Citizen’s branch.

Citizen Bank’s Student Checking and Citizens EverValue Checking accounts do not come with standard overdraft coverage. So, if you don’t have sufficient available funds in your account to cover a transaction, it will be declined and, in the case of checks, bill payments and ACH transactions, the item will be returned unpaid. These accounts are not eligible for Debit Card Overdraft Coverage, so you will be unable to make debit cad purchases or ATM withdrawals that would overdraft your account.

How much are Citizens Bank’s overdraft fees?

FeeCostMaximum Per DayMaximum Daily Cost
Citizens Bank Overdraft Fee$35 per item5$175
Extended Overdraft Fee$30 extended overdraft fee on days 5, 8, and 11 of being overdrawn 1$30
Citizens Bank Insufficient Funds Fee$355$175
Overdraft Line of Credit$12 per daily transfer, $30 annual fee, plus interest on the outstanding balance$12

Citizens Bank will charge its customers a $35 overdraft fee per transaction, up to 5 overdraft fees per day ($175 per day max). The overdraft fee does not apply if your account is overdrawn by $5 or less or if the transaction that overdrew your account was $5 or less. (We’ll take a minute to note that a growing number of large banks, including Capital One 360 and Citibank have completely eliminated overdraft fees.

Furthermore, if your account balance remains negative for at least four consecutive business days, Citizens Bank will charge an additional $30 extended overdraft fee on the 5th business day. An additional extended overdraft fee will be charged again on the 8th and 11th business days – for a total of up to $90 in extended overdraft fees.

You may also be able to reduce or eliminate overdraft fees by linking your Citizens’ savings account to your checking account. If your checking account is about to be overdrawn, funds from your savings account will be automatically transferred to your checking account to cover the shortfall. There is no fee for this service, but you will still be subject to overdraft fees if you don’t have sufficient funds across both accounts.

If you face frequent overdrafts, you may also apply for an overdraft line of credit, which will automatically fund overdraft transactions. You’ll need to meet the bank’s credit criteria to qualify. The credit line carries a $30 annual fee and there is a $12 transfer fee (charged on the days when you access the credit line) plus interest on the outstanding loan balance.

WAIT! High overdraft fees aren't the only way Citizens Bank is costing you money.

With inflation overheating, you've probably heard that interest rates are climbing sharply. That means that for the first time in years, it's a great time to shop around for a high interest savings account.

Citizens Bank savings accounts currently pay just 0.01% APY1 as of 11/22/2022. That means that if you have $2,500 in a savings account, you'd earn just $0.25 after one year! Move those hard-earned savings to an FDIC-insured bank paying 3.50% APY and you'd earn $87.49 after one year, and some banks now pay even higher rates!

Don't let your hard-earned savings sit there doing next to nothing. Check out the rates that you can earn at other banks:

What is Citizens Bank overdraft limit?

Citizens Bank checking  account web page

Citizens Bank’s overdraft limit is generally up to $500, though your limit may be lower and may change frequently without any notification provided to you by the bank.

Citizens Bank does not disclose the overdraft limit to customers, so it can be a guessing game as to whether or not a transaction will be paid. Your overdraft limit may change frequently, so making the same overdraft transaction (such as a $50 ATM withdrawal) on different days may not result in the same outcome. Many banks consider a variety of factors when deciding whether to approval an overdraft transaction, including the transaction type and amount, your account age and history, and your current and average account balance.

Since not all transactions can cause your Citizens Bank account to be overdrawn (see the “What is Citizens Bank overdraft policy?” section above), customers may contact Citizens Bank to request authorization of overdrafts on ATMs and debit card transactions by calling 1-888-400-5663.

Can you get a Citizens Bank overdraft fee waived?

Citizens’ Peace of Mind feature allows customers to cover their overdraft transactions by 10 PM EST the next business day, and the fee will be waived. Furthermore, customers who have the Citizens Quest Checking or the Citizens Wealth Checking also gain access to the “Citizens Fee Relief” feature, allowing customers to waive the first overdraft fee of the year, no questions asked.

If you’ve incurred multiple overdraft fees, it may be worth contacting the bank to request a refund. Most banks consider a customer’s relationship when making case-by-case decisions, and usually don’t offer more than one ‘goodwill’ overdraft fee refund per year. If your account is overdrawn, it never hurts to call Citizens Bank to request that the fee be waived – especially if your account was overdrawn by no mistake of your own.

How to avoid overdraft fees from Citizens Bank

citizens bank overdraft FAQ on computer screen

Citizens Bank provides overdraft features to aid its customers in avoiding costly fees. Some include account-based features, and other options include linking a form of overdraft protection.

Many of their checking accounts come with unique features that allow customers additional aid related to overdraft items. They are:

  • Citizens Peace of Mind: This feature allows customers to cover their negative balance before 10 PM EST of the next business day and avoid being charged a fee. The Citizens Peace of Mind feature is available for the One Deposit Checking account, Citizens Quest Checking account, and the Citizens Wealth Checking account.
  • Citizens Fee Relief: Customers with a checking account that includes this feature get a one-time pass on the first overdraft charge of each calendar year. This feature is available on the Citizens Quest Checking and the Citizens Wealth Checking accounts.
  • No overdraft fee: Both the Citizens EverValue Checking and the Student Checking have no overdraft fees.
  • Savings Overdraft Transfer: Adding overdraft protection is done by linking a savings account to your checking account. Then, when your account is overdrawn, the negative funds may be covered by the connected savings account.

While there are many tools available to avoid costly overdraft fees, they can take a big bite out of your finances, oftentimes when you can least afford them. At $35 per overdraft transaction and up to $175 in overdraft fees per day, Citizens Bank charges higher fees than many other banks.

You may want to consider adding innovative money borrowing apps to your phone, which can help you access fast funds to cover a small shortfall with no interest and low or now fees. Mobile banking apps like Chime also provide full-service banking through your phone, with no-fee overdrafts for up to $200.

Watch: Understand your overdraft plan options at Citizens Bank

Mitchel Harad
  1. Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month and Visa debit card activation. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member's Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime's discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won't cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See terms and conditions.
  2. Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

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