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What is overdraft protection?

Overdraft protection is an agreement with the bank or financial institution to cover overdrafts on a checking account. This service typically involves a fee and is generally limited to a preset maximum amount. Banks are not required to offer any overdraft protection programs, and even when they do, they may retain discretion to pay or not pay a particular overdraft transaction. You should review your deposit account agreement and check with your bank to find out the terms and conditions of any overdraft protection programs that it may offer.

Last Reviewed: October 2020

Please note: The terms "bank" and "banks" used in these answers generally refer to national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches or agencies of foreign banking organizations that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Find out if the OCC regulates your bank. Information provided on HelpWithMyBank.gov should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion of the OCC.

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