How to Overdraft at an ATM: Withdrawing Money if Your Account Is Overdrawn

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In 2022, it’s easy to manage your money, pay your bills, and take care of your financial commitments online.

But cash is still king.

If you’re out and about and in need of cash, knowing which banks let you overdraft at an ATM is crucial. However, to access cash when your account balance is zero requires overdraft protection. This means you’ll get the money you need even if your bank balance has insufficient funds – but you’ll incur a fee for convenience.

To take the stress out of covering expenses, enjoying a night out, or grabbing that urgent purchase when you need it most, this guide will walk you through ATM overdraft withdrawals and show you how to protect yourself against high overdraft fees, outline simple ways to get the quick influx of cash you need, and offer no-fee alternates to ATM overdrafts.

Ready to take control of your finances and access the cash you need? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

What We’ll Cover:

Can you overdraft at an ATM if you have no money?

Yes.

Withdrawing from an ATM  with a negative balance is easy. But only if you’ve opted-in to ATM overdraft protection.

Your bank will automatically decline a requested ATM withdrawal (with no fee charged) unless you’ve opted in and accepted the overdraft fees that come with using an ATM to get cash without sufficient funds in your account.

Prior to 2010, banks were able to charge overdraft fees on ATM withdrawals, but following Federal Reserve Board rules that came into effect on July 1st, 2010, you’ll need to consent to ATM overdraft protection.

Think of this as a small short-term loan. ATMs that let you overdraft will allow you to withdraw cash even though you don’t have enough in your account. Most banks and credit card companies will let you do this but there are usually (high) fees for this service.

As mentioned, in order to allow your account to overdraft, you will have to opt-in for an “overdraft protection” service. This means that you will authorize your bank or credit card company to overdraft your checking account for ATM withdrawals. 

Most bank customers have this service enabled, although a survey shows that many don’t remember they were ever asked to opt-in. This contributes to the billions generated through overdraft fees, with a 64% spike in fees paid following COVID-19 lows.

FIND OUT MORE >>> Can you overdraft a negative account?

customer using ATM to withdraw money

What is the daily overdraft amount limit on ATMs?

There are no set limits on how much you can overdraft at an ATM. 

These amounts vary from one financial institution to the next and many times are even tailored to each individual account holder. Other factors to consider are whether you are using your bank’s ATM or those owned by another financial institution. Sometimes, only your banks’ ATMs will let you overdraft.

As a general rule, new account holders and those with poor credit scores are often very limited in the amount they are allowed to overdraft their accounts for (usually around $100 to $300). More established individuals with higher credit scores are often allowed to overdraft amounts sometimes in excess of $1,000. Even if you ask your bank what their particular policy is, they won’t be able to quote you overdraft figures until you sit down with them and fill out the paperwork.

When you are at another bank’s ATM the rules for overdrawing will most likely be different and won’t be as high as your bank will allow it. Some financial institutions do not even permit non-bank member overdrafts while others limit overdrafts to smaller amounts.

FIND OUT MORE >>> How much can I overdraft my checking account?

How much are overdraft fees on ATM withdrawals?

ATM overdraft fees vary from bank to bank.

This is one thing you really have to be aware of and look out for and is especially true if you are only looking to overdraft a small amount of money. 

The fees can be excessive if you are not careful and should be highly considered before you take any overdraft. Make sure you are aware of what your bank’s fees are for overdrafting the type of account you have with them. Many times overdrafts fees can be $30 or higher so it may not be worth it to overdraft your account for a $10 purchase.

Overdrafts are well-known to be costly in most instances. A 2013 CFBP report on overdraft fees determined that the average fee for an overdraft in 2012 amounted to $31.26. That was a $10 increase over a 14 year period that the company was keeping track of overdraft fees. In 2017, the average fee increased to $35. This is one of the main reasons to avoid overdrafting altogether.

FIND OUT MORE >>> How much does your bank charge for an overdraft? Check out our list of overdraft fees by bank

overdraft fees

What banks let you overdraft at an ATM?

If your bank offers an overdraft protection service, you’ll be able to withdraw cash at your nearest ATM – assuming you’ve opted-in and satisfy any requirements to access the service.

Withdrawing money when your account is overdrawn is possible through the following banks. 

BankATM Overdrafts
Associated Bank
Bank of America
BB&T
BBVA Compass
BMO Harris Bank
Capital One 360
Charles Schwab
Chase
Citi
Citizen’s Bank
Fifth Third Bank
HSBC Bank
Key Bank
M&T Bank
PNC Bank
Regions Bank
Santander Bank
SunTrust
TD Bank
Union Bank
USAA
U.S Bank
Wells Fargo

Does an ATM overdraft affect your credit score?

Typically speaking, an ATM overdraft does not adversely impact your credit score. It actually helps maintain it from having a black mark for having an insufficient fund item. 

This is one of the few positives about overdraft protection. 

The only time it will come back to haunt you as far as your credit is concerned is if you take too long to repay the overdraft amount. Keep in mind, credit card overdrafting is treated differently than ATM or debit card overdrawing and is more likely to impact your credit score negatively if you overdraft your account.

RELATED ISSUE >>> If you are purposely looking to overdraft your debit or ATM card, you should check out cheaper solutions such as personal loan apps

credit score graphic

What are my options to overdraft my account from an ATM without paying overdraft fees?

Just 16% of Americans carry cash. So if you’re looking to donate less of your money to your bank via ATM withdrawals, we don’t blame you.

If you have an overdraft agreement with your credit card company or bank, it will allow you to do this for a fee (usually $35). But although this offers convenience, the sky-high fees and multiple daily overdrafts (most banks charge between 1 to 6 overdraft fees each day) can leave you under financial stress.

However, you can sign up for different services that might reduce these costs. 

Some banks have provisions where money will automatically be transferred from one account to another such as checking accounts or savings accounts. Once you overdraw your balance from one account (the one you used your debit card with), it will automatically take funds from your other account to cover the excess. Although this typically incurs a linked account transfer fee, these are less than overdraft fees.

Another solution you might consider if you want to save money is to use apps such as the PockBox.com app

PockBox will let you borrow money (up to $2500) very quickly. The application process takes about 5 minutes and is very straightforward. This is ideal if you actually need a larger buffer than a few bucks and could make you save hundreds of dollars on overdraft fees.

FIND OUT MORE >>> Can you overdraft a savings account and save money in overdraft fees?

How to top-up your checking account instead of overdrafting

There are two approaches when it comes to withdrawing money at an ATM.

Option One: Use overdrafts to withdraw the money you don’t have, incur a fee, and pay back both the overdraft and the overdraft fee when you can.

Option Two: Top up your checking account and withdraw the money you do have, avoid a fee, and pay back the amount on terms you’re in control of.

Here are a few popular and proven apps to help you fill your bank account with the cash you need and make ATM withdrawals without copping heavy fees.

PockBox

PockBox is the perfect app to top up your checking account (with up to $2,500) and use the money to buy stuff online. The process is sleek and straightforward. You will just have to give some information about yourself. The PockBox app should then connect you to the best lender possible and approve you in a matter of minutes.

Go to Website

Chime

Chime is one of the leading companies in a new wave of financial technology apps that make it easier, more convenient, and more affordable to manage and access your money. One of Chime’s most useful offerings is SpotMe®, which lets you make debit card purchases or ATM withdrawals that overdraw your account with no overdraft fees. Limits start at $20 and can be increased up to $200.*

There is no cost to enroll in SpotMe, and once you set up your account to receive a qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more a month, Chime will cover up to $200 in overdrafts on your account – without charging you overdraft fees! 

Here’s an example of how SpotMe can help you avoid sky-high fees:

You want to pay for a $65 dinner, but only have $50 in your bank account. With most banks, if you use your debit card you’ll instantly be hit with an overdraft fee of $35 or more, turning that quick meal out into a $100 affair! But if you’ve set up SpotMe (and have your paycheck regularly deposited into your account) and use your Chime debit card to pay for that meal, that $15 overdraft will be covered with no fee to you. The next time you make a deposit to your Chime account, the $15 negative balance will be instantly cleared.

While SpotMe doesn’t have high overdraft limits, it will show you how much you can spend right in the app to help you avoid fees, as well as those embarrassing moments when your transactions are declined. You can access $20 in overdrafts right away (which can help you avoid those frustrating fees banks charge you for being overdrawn by just a few dollars) and you can grow your limit over time.

Click here to sign up with SpotMe for fee-free overdrafts – it’s fast and easy!

BONUS: Tips to help you avoid an ATM overdraft

There are thousands of ATMs across America that let you overdraft, but if you’re looking to stay on top of your money and access cash you already have, consider the following money management tips:

➤ Become familiar with how your bank accounts and credit cards work with overdrafts

➤ Track your spending with both store and ATM receipts

➤ A low-interest credit card may be cheaper than the fees associated with an overdraft. You can pay off your balance before interest accrues to save money

➤ Link your checking and savings accounts so you can automatically transfer funds in the event of an overdraft situation

➤ Ask your bank to set up low account balance texts so you can spot cash flow problems before you incur fees

➤ Try having some cash on hand for unexpected purchases and emergencies to avoid dipping into overdrafts

Final thoughts and what to do next…

ATM overdrafts provide extra cash when you need it, but you’ll need to stay on top of the high fees to avoid falling deeper into debt.

Wherever possible, use your own bank’s ATM so you won’t be refused an overdraft. Or, if you’d rather have the money you need without overdrafting at an ATM, use alternative services like:

These no-fee alternatives will let you borrow money and save hundreds of dollars on overdraft fees. When you’re aware of the absorbent amount of fees that come with ATM overdrafts, it’s easier to assess whether the protection is worth having or if opting for an alternate service is the better option.

*Chime SpotMe eligibility requirements and overdraft limits: Chime SpotMe is an optional, no fee service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Spending Account each month. 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 Friends transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by, and debit card issued by, The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

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