If you’re reading this article, you’re probably the kind of person who is looking for a straightforward explanation of how a Chase overdraft fee works and how you can get them back, written in plain English with minimal jargon.

You’ve come to the right place.

Let us begin, first by defining in plain English some jargon that’s commonly thrown around.

What is an overdraft?

An overdraft is a deficit in your bank account caused by spending more than there are funds present in your account to cover that spending.

In simple terms, an overdraft occurs if you spend more money than you have.

This carries consequences.

What is an overdraft fee?

An overdraft fee is a fee that is charged when you spend money you don’t have in your checking account. For example, if you have $0 in your checking account and you spend $10, you will get charged a fee.

A Chase overdraft fee is $34 and is “a standard service that comes with most Chase checking accounts.”

Chase caps the amount in fees that can be charged on a daily basis at $102, which means that after three over-drafting transactions are processed, any further over-drafting transactions are automatically declined.

For example, if you buy a $3 cup of coffee with a $0 balance, then a $2 bagel with a -$37 balance, and then a $1 pack of gum with a -$73 balance, you won’t be able to run another transaction on the same day until you bring your account back to a positive balance.

Starting Balance ($) Cost of Item ($) Fee ($) Ending Balance . ($)
0 3 34 -37
-37 2 34 -73
-73 1 34 -108

Chase charges two kinds of overdraft fees: insufficient funds fees and returned item fees.

What is the difference between an Insufficient Funds Fee and a Returned Item Fee?

Insufficient Funds Fees are charged when Chase steps in to cover one of your transactions. What you end up owing is the fee and the amount Chase had to lend you to process the transaction.

Returned Item Fees are charged when Chase does not step in to cover one of your transactions.

What is overdraft protection?

Overdraft protection is an optional service that prevents your transactions from getting declined when you run out of money in your checking account.

With Chase, overdraft protection refers to a link between your savings account and checking account.

When you run out of money in your checking account to cover a transaction, if you have opted into overdraft protection and there are sufficient funds in your savings account to cover the transaction, Chase automatically transfers money from your savings to your checking account to cover the transaction.

A withdrawal fee of $5 (also known as an Excess Activity Fee) is charged after more than six withdrawals are made from your savings account.

With Chase, there is a key difference between its standard overdraft service and overdraft protection.

Unlike its standard overdraft service, Chase’s overdraft protection covers everyday debit transactions, which are not otherwise covered.


This means that if you did not opt into overdraft protection, if you overdraw your account, Chase will not by default cover all your debit card transactions.

Only checks, automatic payments and recurring debit card purchases will receive coverage. 

With Chase, the problem with overdraft protection is that your savings account may get converted to a checking account if you make more than 6 withdrawals from it in any monthly period. Once converted, your former savings account will now start charging you a higher monthly maintenance fee of $12 (unless you close it as soon as the conversion is complete, which is what we at Harvest Platform would advise you do).

How can I avoid a Chase overdraft fee?

Besides having enough money in your checking account, you can also transfer funds to cover the overdraft. However, if you are transferring funds from an external account, chances are you’ll still get charged a fee since external transfers can take a few days.  

With regards to timelines, you can deposit a check or make the necessary transfer of funds:

  • At a branch before it closes
  • At an ATM before 11 p.m. Eastern Time (8 p.m. Pacific Time)
  • Using Chase’s website or on their app, before 11 p.m. Eastern Time (8 p.m. Pacific Time)

Additionally, Chase will not charge you an overdraft fee if you bring your account balance to an overdrawn status of $5 or less.

You can also set up alerts with your bank so that you are made aware of a potential overdraft situation when your account balance nears zero.

Since auto-pays are processed by default even if you’ve overdrawn your account, they tend to lead to overdraft situations and fees. Monitoring your auto-pays so that you can cancel them before they hit can help prevent overdrafts.

I’ve been already been charged an overdraft fee. How can I get a refund?

You can always reach out to Chase to ask for fees back. Be direct and mention which fees you want refunded. This tends to speed up the fee refund process as it makes it easier for Chase to process the fees you want refunded.

Alternatively, we can help negotiate them back on your behalf.

You won’t have to say a single word to Chase.

Once you sign up, we’ll do the work.

So you can get on with your life.