What is an Overdraft Fee?

Sometimes in life, things happen that you don't intend, like getting a parking ticket or overdrawing your account. Overdrafts occur when you don't have enough money in your account to cover a transaction, but the transaction is still processed by your bank. Overdraft fees can add up–but they don't have to.

At Santander, we offer tools for keeping a watchful eye on your balances, along with options for reducing or avoiding overdrafts altogether.

How Do I Prevent an Overdrawn Bank Account?

The best way to prevent overdrafts? Know how much you have by monitoring your account balance. Try these easy ideas:

  • Sign up for Online Banking to check your balance and assess your spending power.

  • Set up customized email alerts when your account balance reaches a pre-determined limit.

  • Use a paper check register to record all of your deposits and withdrawals and maintain a running balance. (Helpful hint: don't forget to include your ATM transactions).

What Are My Overdraft Election Options?

Every time you open a checking or money market savings account with us, you can choose from two overdraft options. You can authorize us to pay some or all of your overdrafts and charge the applicable overdraft fees outlined below. You can change your election at any time by visiting a branch or calling our Customer Contact Center at 877-768-2265.

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If You Choose Some Overdrafts:

  • ATM withdrawals and one-time Debit Card purchases that overdraw your account will generally be declined.
  • All other transactions may be paid and overdraw your account.
  • You'll be charged a $35 overdraft fee for each overdraft paid item, up to six per day.

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If You Choose All Overdrafts:

  • We may pay any transaction and overdraw your account, including ATM withdrawals and one-time Debit Card purchases.
  • You'll be charged a $35 overdraft fee for each overdraft paid item, up to six per day.

We will charge you a fee for each item we return unpaid due to insufficient or unavailable funds on your account. However, if you tell us to pay "Some Overdrafts", we will generally decline ATM transactions and one-time Debit Card purchases and we will not charge you a fee. Any overdrafts that we pay must be promptly repaid by you. We pay overdrafts at our discretion, which means we do not guarantee that we will always authorize and pay any type of transaction.

Click here for an example of how these options work in a sample account.

How Much Are Overdraft Fees?

  • Overdraft fees are $35.00 each. Click here to learn about the four different types of overdraft fees.
  • Paid overdraft item fees apply only when a transaction posts and the resulting account balance is overdrawn more than $5.00.

Overdraft Fee Types1:

  • Insufficient Funds Fee – Item Paid; charged when an item is paid that puts the account balance into a negative balance.
  • Unavailable Funds Fee – Item Paid; charged when an item is paid against funds that were deposited, but not yet available for use.
  • Insufficient or Unavailable Funds – Item Returned; whenever an item is presented against insufficient or unavailable funds and the decision is to return the item, this fee is assessed to the account.
  • Sustained Overdraft Fee – After an account has been overdrawn (negative balance) for five (5) consecutive business days, a sustained overdraft fee is assessed to the account on the 6th business day.


  • A maximum of six Item Paid overdraft fees may be charged to a customer account per day.
  • There is no cap on Item Returned overdraft fees.
  • If your account remains overdrawn for 5 consecutive business days, a sustained overdraft fee is assessed to the account on the sixth business day.

Example: Your checking account balance is $2.00 and you perform two transactions, one for $4.20 and one for $4.50:

Account Balance Transaction Amount Balance After Transaction is paid Overdraft Fee Charged Notes
$2.00 $4.20 -$2.20 No Amount of overdrawn balance is less than $5
-$2.20 $4.50 -$6.70 Yes Amount of overdrawn balance is greater than $5

How to Avoid Overdraft Fees

You can protect yourself from these fees by taking advantage of two great options:

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Deposit Account Overdraft Protection

Use funds from other accounts to cover overdrafts that occur in your checking account.

  • Link up to three other Santander accounts, which can be any combination of checking, savings, money market savings or Overdraft Line of Credit accounts.
  • To cover the shortfall when you overdraw your checking account, available funds in your linked account(s) will be transferred to your checking account.
  • Included in the transfer amount is a $12 Overdraft Protection Transfer Fee (Sweep Fee).

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Overdraft Line of Credit2

Set up a revolving line of credit to automatically cover overdrafts.

  • Apply for a line of credit that covers account overdrafts by transferring into the linked checking account.
  • Pay your outstanding balance plus interest on only the amount used to cover your overdrafts.
  • Annual Fee may apply.

Click here for an example of how these options work in a sample account.

Useful Links And Documents

1 Refer to Personal Deposit Product Guide and Fee Schedule for which accounts apply fees and their dollar amounts.

2 Applications for a Santander Overdraft Line of Credit Account ("Account") are subject to credit approval. The Account provides overdraft protection for a Santander checking or Santander® Money Market savings account ("Linked Account"). The fixed Annual Percentage Rate on the Account is 18.99%. Rates and other terms are accurate as of November 01, 2015 and are subject to change thereafter. You can access your Account by special check (issued at our discretion on your request), counter withdrawal, telephone transfer ($50 minimum), Online Banking and ATM withdrawals using your Santander Debit Card. You can also advance funds via automatic transfer when your Linked Account is overdrawn. One overdraft transfer fee of $12 will be charged to your Linked Account for each day we make a transfer from your Account to cover that day's overdrafts in your Linked Account; however, this fee will be waived as long as we are advancing funds from your Account to a linked Santander Select, Premier or Premier Plus deposit account. An annual fee, if any, will be charged beginning in the first billing cycle after your Account is opened and in about the same billing cycle of each following year. The amount of any annual fee will vary based on the type of deposit account you have with Santander at the time the fee is assessed. The annual fee will be waived as long as you maintain a Santander Select, Premier or Premier Plus. The annual fee will be $25 as long as you maintain a Santander Preferred account. In all other cases the annual fee will be $50. In addition to, or as an alternative to an Overdraft Line of Credit Account, you can link your Santander checking account to a Santander savings account for overdraft protection. Ask us about any other overdraft protection options that may be available. You can withdraw funds from your Savings account no more than 6 times by computer, telephone, preauthorized or automatic transfer, check, or Debit Card purchase each service fee period. Fees apply if you exceed these limits, and if you repeatedly exceed these limits, we will close your account or convert your account to a checking account.

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