It’s happened to all of us: A budget miscalculation or oversight that resulted in an unexpected shortage of funds. That’s why having overdraft protection is convenient and useful.

What is an overdraft?

An overdraft is a negative balance and can occur when you spend more money than what’s in your account.

What is overdraft protection?

Overdraft protection provides coverage when transactions exceed the balance in your account. This gives you peace of mind and eliminates the annoyance of a rejected check, debit card or ATM transaction, and the potential for overdraft fees.

How can I get overdraft protection?

To get overdraft protection, just link up to three eligible accounts1 to your checking account. Then funds can be transferred automatically if you overdraw your account.

Eligible U.S. Bank accounts include:

Set up overdraft protection.

Once you've decided which accounts you want your overdraft protection transfers to come from, you're ready to set up overdraft protection. To do this, simply do one of the following:

  • Log in to online banking, then go to your checking account and select the Overdraft protection options link.
  • Call us at 800-USBANKS (872-2657).
  • Talk to a banker at a U.S. Bank branch.

How does overdraft protection work?

Once you link your accounts, funds will be automatically transferred from the linked overdraft protection account as follows:

  • If the negative available balance in your checking account is $5.01 or more, funds may be transferred in multiples of $50, and the overdraft protection transfer fee will be charged.
  • If your negative available balance is $5.00 or less, the transfer amount will be $5.00, and the overdraft protection transfer fee will be waived.
  • When the overdraft protection transfer is made from a linked deposit account (U.S. Bank consumer savings account, money market or a secondary checking account), there is no fee.

If the account linked for overdraft protection doesn’t have sufficient funds to cover the overdraft:

  • The available balance in the linked account will be transferred to reduce the overdrawn amount.
  • If there’s another account linked to your checking account, funds will be transferred from that account in multiples of $50 to cover the remaining negative available balance.

For example, let’s say your checking account balance is $42 and the available balance in the linked credit account is $1,000. If you write a check for $125, this would overdraw your checking account by $83. We would transfer $100 from the primary account linked for overdraft protection, which includes enough to cover your negative balance and your overdraft protection transfer fee.

Overdraft protection transfer fees (and how to avoid them)

When the overdraft protection transfer is made from a linked deposit account (U.S. Bank consumer savings account, money market or a secondary checking account), there is no fee. For most U.S. Bank checking accounts, this fee is no more than $12.50 if the transfers are made from a linked U.S. Bank credit account (U.S. Bank Reserve Line of Credit, U.S. Bank credit card, U.S. Bank Personal Line, U.S. Bank Home Equity Line of Credit, and/or other lines of credit).

Ways to reduce or avoid overdraft protection transfer fees:

  • Set up account alerts and receive email or text messages when your balance is low or when payments are due.
  • Monitor your account and transfer funds into your checking account on your own before an overdraft occurs.
  • Explore your checking account options by visiting your local U.S. Bank branch or by calling 800-USBANKS (872-2657).
  • Download the U.S. Bank Mobile App to your mobile device.

What’s the difference between overdraft protection and standard overdraft coverage?

Overdraft protection lets you link accounts so you can transfer funds to your checking account if a check, debit card or ATM transaction exceeds the available balance in your account.

The term standard overdraft coverage at U.S. Bank refers to how we will handle the transactions. If a transaction takes your account’s available balance below zero, we look to your standard overdraft coverage selections to decide how we will handle the transaction. U.S. Bank may authorize and pay overdrafts for these types of transactions for a fee:

  • Checks and other transactions using your checking account number
  • Automatic bill payments
  • Recurring debit card transactions (such as automatic gym dues)

We will not authorize and pay overdrafts for these types of transactions unless you say "yes" to ATM and debit card overdraft coverage:

  • ATM transactions
  • Debit card purchases (e.g., paying for gas at the pump, buying groceries, buying something online)

Each overdraft item we pay on your behalf will be subject to "Overdraft Paid Fees". Please see your Consumer Pricing Information (PDF) disclosure for more information.