If you live paycheck to paycheck or are trying to pay off payday loans, overdraft fees can cost you hundreds of dollars, hundreds of dollars that you can’t afford to lose. Bank fee refund apps like Cushion, Recoup, and Harvest can save you money by automatically getting these fees refunded to you!
Anytime your bank account balance dips below zero, you are overdrafting your account. Overdrafting essentially means you borrow money from your bank to help you make a purchase you didn’t have enough money for. Overdraft fees are the money your bank charges you anytime you overdraft your account.
Here’s an example of overdrafting and overdraft fees: Let’s say you live paycheck to paycheck and your bank account balance frequently floats around $0. One day, you go out to lunch and pay $10 for a sandwich, but your bank account only has $5 of available funds. You successfully buy the sandwich with your debit card, but after you buy the sandwich, your balance goes negative and falls to -$5.
Because of insufficient funds, you have overdrafted your account and you now owe the bank the $5 you borrowed from them to buy the sandwich. The bank will then charge you an additional overdraft fee that you need to pay.
Overdrafting is a very unfortunate part of personal finances. If you live paycheck to paycheck, overdrafting your account might be one of the only ways you can afford to make necessary purchases. Even if you go $1 in the negative, you will still have to pay expensive overdraft fees to your bank.
The typical overdraft fee costs around $33 to $35. While the amount of overdraft fees you need to pay varies from bank to bank, the typical overdraft fee will cost you about this much. Some banks like Ally Bank charge you less (around $25), but the Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America of the banking world will charge you about $35.
You can expect an overdraft fee no matter what your balance is. Even if your balance in your savings account is -$1, you will still likely have to pay a $35 overdraft fee. Pretty unfair, right?
This overdraft fee is not a one-time payment either. Any time you overdraft your account, you can expect to pay this much in fees. If you just paid off your overdraft fees and have a balance above $0 again, you will still be charged an overdraft fee the next time you fall below $0. You can even be charged multiple overdraft fees in a day if you fall below $0 multiple times. Yikes!
The amount of time your bank account can be overdrawn varies from bank to bank. Typically, banks will wait about 30-60 days before they take any sort of action. Depending on your balance and your history with your bank, this could be closer to 30 days or closer to 60 days.
If you have been a long time customer with a bank and your balance has been -$1 for a month, they likely won’t take action. However, if you have only been with your bank for a short amount of time and you owe hundreds of dollars, the bank will likely be quicker to take action.
Banks can do a few things when your account has been overdrafted for too long. One, they can close your account. If you owe a small balance, this is likely the action they are going to take. If this happens, you will not be able to use that bank account or any credit cards associated with that account.
Banks can also send collections after you. If you have a huge negative balance that you have not paid, the bank can close your account and send people after you to get you to pay the balance. This is obviously the more serious scenario and won’t happen to you if you only owe a few dollars.
Banks don’t need to give notice when they are closing your account. If you rely on your bank account to make all of your purchases, you want to make sure the negative balance is paid off. Otherwise, your account could be closed when you need it the most.
Did you know that you can get out of some of the expensive overdraft fees you owe? Overdraft charges can be refunded by simply asking your bank to remove them. That’s it.
While banks make tons of money off of overdraft fees, depending on your overdraft coverage, they are willing to part ways with some of this money for each customer. Banks may do this to help you keep your account open for longer. They also might do this in an attempt to keep your loyalty with them. Whatever the case, banks often waive overdraft fees for those that ask.
You can get your bank to refund your overdraft fees by contacting a representative of your bank. By calling, emailing, or writing a paper letter to your bank, your fees can be waived if applicable. Be courteous when contacting them. They have no obligation to refund you anything!
If you frequently overdraft your account, it might be a huge time commitment to try to get your overdraft fees waived. Enter free overdraft refund apps. Let the bank fee refund apps do the negotiating for you!
These apps scan your bank account statements and find where you were charged with bank fees. The apps then call, email, or write a letter to your bank asking them to waive your overdraft fees. If successful, the apps then return most or all of your refund to you. This can help you save tens or even hundreds of dollars every year.
Depending on the app, you may have to pay a monthly fee to get them to fight for your money, or you may have to give them a share of your refund. Whatever the cost, if you are frequently overdrafting your account using a bank fee refund app can save you a great deal of money.
Let’s dive into some of the best overdraft fee refund apps!
Cushion is an awesome app that uses artificial intelligence to negotiate for fee refunds on your behalf. Cushion doesn’t stop at bank overdraft fees, however. Cushion also negotiates with other companies to try to reclaim other fees as well.
Cushion utilizes artificial intelligence to locate fees and then negotiate them on your behalf. It constantly scans your accounts for times when you are charged fees. After that, Cushion then automatically contacts whoever is charging you fees in an attempt to get these fees refunded.
Cushion doesn’t just contact banks about refunding bank fees. It contacts a wide variety of lenders, card providers, and other companies and tries to refund overdraft fees, ATM fees, late fees, interest charges, service fees, and many more other types of fees. Cushion supports you with services to over 15,000 financial institutions, meaning there is a big chance you can get your fees refunded wherever they come from.
Using Cushion is both easy to use and can save you a great deal of money!
Other fee refund apps make money by taking a percent of the refunds you get. Cushion lets you keep all of your refund fees and instead charges you a yearly subscription fee. There are three levels of subscriptions with Cushion; a basic $36/year plan, a $48/year plan, and a $96/year plan.
Each plan offers more and more services. The basic plan scans weekly and allows 1 negotiation a month on your behalf. The $48 plan offers 3 negotiations a month and daily scanning. The $96 plan offers unlimited negotiations, daily scanning, and “priority support.”
If you aren’t overdrafting your account very often, $36 can still save you money. If you get charged 4 overdraft fees in a year and Cushion is able to get a refund on two of them, you have already saved around $35.
If you find yourself constantly overdrafting your account and get charged various fees, the $48 or $96 can save you a great deal of money. On average, individuals get charged about $300 per year in overdraft fees alone. Paying Cushion to negotiate overdraft fees along with all the other fees can save you hundreds!
Recoup is another fee refund app that uses artificial intelligence to help you reclaim the money you lost from paying fees without you ever needing to do anything. According to Recoup’s co-founder, the average amount of fees Recoup customers have to pay is a whopping $753 per bank account!
Recoup’s co-founded also noted that on average, a Recoup customer can save $225 in the first 3 months of using the app. Overall, Recoup claims to save their customers a total of $1,000,000 most months.
Recoup also offers additional services that can help you to save money. Aside from trying to reclaim fees for you, Recoup can analyze your spending, manage your subscriptions and help prevent overdraft fees!
One your accounts are linked with Recoup, Recoup automatically looks at your accounts and shows you places that can help you save money. Likewise, they analyze your subscriptions and alert you if they think some money could be saved by cancelling old subscriptions.
Cushion also automatically alerts you when you are at risk of overdrafting your account. Since many banks fail to do this, using Cushion can save you from ever overdrafting in the first place!
Recoup has a different payment structure than Cushion. With Cushion, you keep all your refund money and pay a subscription fee. With Recoup, you pay Recoup 25% of every refund amount they get for you.
While 25% may seem like a bad deal, any fee refund money Recoup gets you is money you never had before! Also, if you don’t overdraft your account too often, letting Recoup automatically take 25% of the refund is a better deal for you than needing to pay a subscription fee.
Harvest is a subsidiary of the investing + saving platform Acorns that offers a variety of features including a fee reclaiming service.
Like Recoup and Cushion, Harvest’s fee fighting feature automatically negotiates on your behalf and tries to get fees like overdraft fees, ATM fees, interest charges, and other fees refunded.
Any time Harvest finds fees and takes action to negotiate them, it can take 2-5 days to get your refund, which is awesome. While refunds are obviously not guaranteed, knowing that Harvest is going to negotiate on your behalf and get you your money back quickly is a great thing.
Compared to Cushion and Recoup, Harvest offers much more features alongside the fee fighting feature.
For example, Harvest offers a type of credit builder loan that claims to automatically build credit for you in the background of all your other expenses. According to Harvest, this is a great way to build credit without really having to do anything.
Harvest also has a great net worth tracking feature. This allows you to see your net worth and all your assets and liabilities in one, easy to use place.
Alongside these features, Harvest also offers features that analyzes your expenses to make your spending more efficient, finds recurring payments that you don’t need anymore, and manages your debts by helping you to consolidate them and make a plan to pay them off.
Overall, Harvest has much more and much higher quality features than the other fee refund apps. Using Harvest could be a great way to manage many of your personal finances alongside the fee fighting feature.
Other than the fee negotiating feature, every feature with Harvest is free.
For the fee negotiating feature, you pay 25% of all the money Harvest reclaims for you, just like Recoup. However, instead of taking 25% of the refund money, you instead have to make a payment to Harvest that equals the 25% they reclaimed for you. While this can be annoying, the Harvest feature still saves you a ton of money in exchange for the 25% they keep.