Editor’s Note: Overdraft Apps provides detailed product reviews and recommendations based upon extensive research and our own hands-on testing. We may earn a referral fee when you sign up for or purchase products mentioned in this article.
Even the most financially savvy people can find themselves with a negative bank account balance from time to time – you might be the same.
Although convenient, overdraft fees can soon add up, so it’s a good idea to bring your account back into a positive balance as quickly as possible if you’re dealing with an overdrawn checking account. But with that said, how long can your checking account be overdrawn before more severe consequences occur?
Read on to find out.
How long can your bank account be negative?
Overdraft products vary from bank to bank. On the whole, your bank won’t take too kindly to you relying on overdrawing and having a negative balance for too long, as it shows that you’re struggling to manage your finances.
Banks typically attempt to notify you when your checking account goes overdrawn so that you can deal with your insufficient funds sooner rather than later.
If your balance remains negative for between 3-31 consecutive business days (each bank’s policy will vary), you may be charged an extended overdraft fee even if you don’t have any more payments scheduled to be taken out. These fees can send your balance even further into the red.
In most cases, banks will close a checking account after 60 days of being overdrawn. Ask your bank about the terms of their overdraft policy to find out the exact length of time your account can remain overdrawn.
If your checking account gets closed because of overdraft issues, you may end up being reported to ChexSystems, a consumer reporting agency. Many banks use ChexSystems to determine whether they should approve your application for a bank account.
Learn More >>> What does an ‘Overdrawn Bank Account’ mean?
“My bank account is negative and I have no money”
Let’s say your checking account is overdrawn by $50. If you find that your entire paycheck is being swallowed up by your overdraft and you’re struggling to bring your checking account back into a positive balance, the first step is to speak to your bank to tell them about the problems you’re experiencing.
They may be able to help you by arranging an affordable repayment plan. However, if you still can’t pay off your overdraft, your bank may decide to close your account and then report you to ChexSystems. If this happens, you could have problems opening a checking account elsewhere.
It can be challenging to pay off your overdraft if you don’t have any spare cash lying around. However, it’s not impossible. If your bank will give you a little breathing space to raise some funds, the best thing to do is try to earn some extra money to clear your negative balance. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Sell old items that you no longer need on eBay or host a yard sale
- Do small jobs for cash. Check out Fiverr, where you can make $5 plus for quick gigs. Or, Upwork, a freelancing platform where you can carry out a range of jobs online
- See if you can pick up extra hours at your existing job
- Cash in your loose change collection – coins can add up, and you may have more stashed away than you think
Best ways to avoid becoming overdrawn
Most banks offer overdraft protection plans alongside their checking accounts. There are some plans where you can link another account (for example a savings account) to your checking account. If a transaction takes you overdrawn, funds will be automatically transferred from your linked account into your checking account to cover the overdraft. Flat transfer fees usually apply – check with your bank to find out how much.
Watch out for forms of overdraft protection that aren’t linkable to another of your accounts. These tend to charge you a fee for every overdrawn item, usually in the region of $35 each time and you can be charged more than once in a day.
One way to avoid becoming overdrawn is to opt out of overdraft protection altogether. In this case, your debit card payment will be declined or your check will bounce, and you won’t be able to go overdrawn. However, you’ll likely be charged a Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fee by your bank. You may also receive charges from the company that had the transaction returned.
The ideal way to avoid a negative balance is to monitor and control your finances effectively. Doing so will enable you to stay on top of your income and expenditure each month. You’ll also find keeping up with automated payments much easier.
This way, you’ll be able to see beforehand if you’re likely to go overdrawn. You’ll then have time to take action, such as cutting back on your spending in other areas for a while.
Short on cash?
- 9 Best Money Borrowing Apps (that we downloaded and tried!)
- Top Cash Advance Apps (get the money you need FAST)
- How to Borrow $100 Instantly (avoid overdraft fees)
Watch: What to do if your bank account is negative for too long
WAIT! Why borrow quick cash when you can earn it?!
Cash advance apps can be a great tool for getting a little extra cash when you need it, but you’ll need to repay it – plus fees – wihtin a week or two. Did you know there’s an easy way to earn extra cash that’s yours to keep?
KashKick is a wildly popular service that lets you earn money for playing games, completing surveys, signing up for trial offers and more. (You’ll even earn cash for just completing your profile!) You can earn cash today and withdraw your earnings through PayPal once you’ve reached $10. You can earn over $100/month with KashKick – and you don’t need to spend a dime or take out your credit card to do it.
There are dozens of high-paying offers available on KashKick, and if you’re into playing new games on your phone, you can earn some serious cash for doing what you love. Though offers change regularly, there are currently1 more than three dozen offers available where you can earn cash – sometimes over $100 – just by downloading and playing popular games like Coin Master, Monoply Go, Bingo Blitz, and more. These games are all free to download, and no in-app purchases are required to earn with KashKick.
Get paid to play on your phone >>> Check out KashKick
- $100 Instant Loan Apps:We’ve Tested Dozens - February 13, 2024
- Credit Strong Review – Boost Your Credit and Savings - January 5, 2024
- Best Cash Advance Apps of 2024: Fast and Easy Ways to Top Up Your Bank Account - January 4, 2024
- As of February 13, 2024. Offers may change and may not be available to all users. Eligibity requirements apply. See KashKick's Terms of Service for full details.