Block That Overdraft

It's great to have options, like courtesy pay and other forms of overdraft protection, in case you overdraw your checking account. But consider an overdraft a wake-up call that you need to pay better attention to your balances and spending habits.

These days we have to focus on multiple ways that money flows from our checking accounts. It's great to be able to:

  • Make an ATM withdrawal
  • Use a debit card to pay for dinner and a movie
  • Write a check when you pick up some groceries

That is, it's great until you forget that you paid your mortgage by ACH (Automated Clearing House).

The burden is on you to know where you stand as all these transactions take place. Record transactions in your check register, including every ATM and debit card use, ACH payment, fee, deposit, and cash withdrawal. Keep track of when bills come in and payments are due.

One way to do this is to use HUECU's online banking services. We give you 24/7 access to your account so you can monitor your balance—and keep a close eye on any fraudulent use of your accounts as well.

If you share an account with a spouse, it can be an even bigger challenge to stay aware of each others expenditures so you don't inadvertently overdraw your shared account. Again, online access gives you daily updates about your balances.

Another simple service is direct deposit of your paychecks and any other recurring deposits, say, for Social Security or pensions. Make it easy on yourself—use direct deposit and you won't have to worry about whether or not your deposits make it into your Harvard Credit Union account on time.

Bottom line: Don't let the ease of covering overdrafts lull you into sloppy money management habits. If you experience an overdraft more than occasionally, step back and figure out why—and how you can avoid it in the future. For more help keeping your bills and income in sync, check out our Interactive Coaches or utilize one of our quick and easy Financial Calculators. You can also stop by any of our branch locations, email us or call us at (617) 495-4460.


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