Jan 08, 2018
Checking Accounts

Question of the Day: Is there a fee if you don't have enough money in your bank account to cover a debit card transaction?

Answer: It depends.

  • If you have overdraft protection on your account, the average fee is $35 
  • If you do not have overdraft protection, there is no fee but you will not be able to complete the transaction.


  1. Do you have/would you choose to have overdraft protection for your bank account? Explain.
  2. What are strategies that you can utilize to avoid spending more than you have in your bank account?
  3. Would you be ok if your debit card transaction was turned down at a store? 

Here's the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.


Behind the numbers: 

Pew Charitable Trust recently published a report that demonstrates why it is so important that we teach students about overdraft protection. Here's their key finding:

Nearly 3 in 4 overdrafters do not understand that they have the right to have transactions declined without a fee if their account does not have sufficient funds to cover a debit card purchase.

The NY Times reported on this study: 

The federal government requires consumers to give permission by “opting in” to overdraft coverage for debit card purchases and automated teller machine withdrawals. If they don’t opt in, and they attempt a debit card purchase or A.T.M. withdrawal that exceeds their balance, the transaction is declined, without a fee. But many consumers — nearly three in four, according to Pew’s finding — don’t realize that they have a choice. Among those who have overdrawn their accounts in the past 12 months, Pew found, more than half are “heavy” overdrafters, who have done it at least three times.


Be sure to check out our revamped Checking Unit with new activities, videos and other resources! 











About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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