The bank waived my $74 overdraft fee with a 5 minute phone call.


  • I forgot to cancel my auto-subscription in time and was charged two overdraft fees of $37 each.
  • I called my bank to see if they could waive both fees, and it worked.
  • Some banks will waive overdraft fees if you give them a good reason.

It’s the day before payday. I was charged for a subscription to a dental care delivery service that I forgot to cancel when I planned everything for tee and thought I was taking the ducks in a row.

They charged twice for two different products, resulting in two overdraft fees totaling $74. An overdraft fee occurs when you don’t have enough money in your bank account to cover your purchase.

Because in the past, when I was overdrafted, I would crouch in bed, put on a gloomy yoke, cancel all my plans with my friends, and be too embarrassed to share my situation. After years of turning away from the guilt and internalized shame of poverty and homelessness, this time around, I decided to take action.

The first step was to make sure it was too late to cancel the subscription order that had put me in the red. Fortunately, the company was able to cancel the order and refund. Still, I had two overdraft charges left in my checking account.

A friend suggested that I call my bank.

Next I called a few friends to talk about my situation. In my experience, coping with debt and poverty is incredibly isolated. It can make you feel like the only person in the history of mankind to overdraw your account, and you should be ashamed to talk about it because it’s all your fault.

Again, I did a lot of emotional work on the relationship between debt and money, which allowed me to answer the phone and immediately call my friend and tell him what happened.

A friend suggested that I call the bank and see if there is anything they can do for me. I instantly said, “I can’t. that Go to work.” But what did I have to lose?

The phone call took 5 minutes.

I called the bank and explained the situation. Fortunately, I was able to see that the company that charged my account also posted a refund. The friendly lady at the customer service line said she could waive all overdraft fees on my account.

She also said that OneUnited, my bank, the largest black owned bank in America, is waiving eligible overdraft fees for cardholders up to three times a year. This is not a policy written anywhere online and it was fairly vague as to which fees were “qualified” to be waived. However, it is a policy after all.

After doing some research, I realized that many banks can waive overdraft fees by calling immediately and explaining the situation, especially during the pandemic. I also found that in 2019, large banks collected over $11 billion in overdraft fees, equivalent to about 10% of their annual revenue, and overdraft fees disproportionately affect the poor and people of color.

At the end of the day, I needed $74 more than the bank and I’m happy to defend myself.

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