You may have heard the term “NSF” floating around lately. If so, you likely read or heard it in the news, at work, or maybe from a friend. This is a personal finance term that has a direct impact on how much of your own money you actually get to keep at the end of the day.
If you are wondering, “What does NSF stand for?,” here is a definition, along with some important points you should know about personal finance that could save you hundreds of dollars or more a year.
NSF simply means “non-sufficient funds.” Usually, the term is used to refer to the situation whereby you make a charge to your checking account – usually a debit, credit, or check charge – for an amount that exceeds the balance of your account. An NSF situation almost always results in your having to pay a fee of $30 or more to your bank each time.
Another common term for “NSF fees” is “overdraft fees.” Here are 3 points about NSF fees you should know.
1. You may be paying NSF fees to your bank each month: Most people are not aware that nowadays the majority of banks automatically enroll their new checking account customers in something called an overdraft protection program. Once enrolled, you will be liable to pay your bank big NSF (overdraft) fees every time you overdraw your account.
2. You will have to pay fees even when your bank accepts a debit transaction for an overdrawn account: Overdraft protection programs are set up in a way that allows new debit card charges to be accepted and covered by your bank – even though your account has a negative balance at the time that results in your having to pay a fee. This practice is quite sneaky on the part of banks: it means you could end up paying 1, 2, 3 or more NSF fees in a given day without even knowing it – adding up to $100 or more.
3. You can protest overdraft fees and sometimes win: If an overdraft fee has shown up on your bank statement recently, you can sometimes protest and win. However, doing so takes your valuable time, and winning is not guaranteed.
Take the time right now to go back through the past 2-3 months of bank statements and add up how much you have paid your bank in NSF fees. The number may surprise you. The good news is that some banks now offer no-overdraft-fee checking accounts, which means they will cover your overdrawn charge but still not charge you a fee – ever.…