Everyone occasionally makes a mistake when it comes to a checking account. If you find yourself overdrawn, you need to quickly rectify the situation. If you do not, you may find yourself in a spiral of fees and bounced items that is hard to get out of. Most banks charge at least twenty five dollars for an item they return (not to mention the store charges you a returned check fee). Additionally, banks can charge as much as forty dollars for items that they pay while allowing your account to go negative. Here are the four things you should do to rectify the situation.
Time Required: 2 hours
First, you should stop using your checking account until you have sorted everything out. You should cash your paycheck instead of depositing it. If you have direct deposit, you may consider changing that with your employer.
Second, you need to balance your account with what the bank has charged you. This will give you an idea of how much you need to turn the situation around. You need to add in any returned check fees that you may have acquired as well.
Third, you need to bring your account back into the positive. If you are using cash to pay for your purchases currently you should deposit some into your checking account each pay period. You may want to talk to your customer service representative. Most banks will waive the first overdraft or returned check fee if you ask them nicely. Do not demand to have it reversed, since you did make a mistake, if you are rude you may be out of luck. The customer service representative is under no obligation to reverse the fee. When you speak to the representative you may want to explain your repayment plan to her as well.
Fourth, you should deposit money into your account until you are in the positive again. Most banks set a limit as to how long they will allow a negative account to stay open. If they close the account they will report you to ChexSystems. It is important that you pay this off as quickly as possible.
Fifth, once you have cleared everything up, you can continue to use the same account, but it is important to keep a running ledger to prevent this from happening again.