- An overdraft is a financial facility that allows you to withdraw more money from your bank account than you currently have.
- It provides short-term funds to cover expenses when there are insufficient funds in your account.
- Overdrafts come with fees and interest charges and should be used responsibly.
An overdraft is a financial arrangement provided by banks that allows you to spend more money than you currently have available in your bank account. It acts as a short-term loan, allowing you to withdraw funds even when your account balance is insufficient to cover the transaction. With an overdraft, the bank covers the shortfall and allows you to make the payment or withdrawal.
For example, let's say you have $50 in your bank account, but you need to make a purchase for $100. If you have an approved overdraft facility of $100, the bank will cover the additional $50 needed to complete the transaction. This way, you can make the purchase and have a negative balance in your account, up to the approved overdraft limit.
How does an overdraft work?
When you use an overdraft, you are essentially borrowing money from the bank. The bank charges fees and interest for the amount you borrow. The fees can be either a fixed amount or a percentage of the overdraft limit, and the interest is typically calculated based on the outstanding overdraft balance.
It's important to note that overdrafts have limits set by the bank, and you need to have an approved overdraft facility in place before you can use it. The bank may review your financial history, credit score, and income to determine the overdraft limit they are willing to offer you.
To use an overdraft, you can make withdrawals from an ATM, write checks, or use your debit card for transactions. The overdraft amount and associated fees and interest will be reflected in your account statement, and you'll need to repay the overdraft balance along with any accrued interest and fees within a specified time.
Overdrafts in the real world
Let's say you have a bank account with an approved overdraft limit of $500. You unexpectedly face a medical expense of $400, but your account balance is only $100. In this situation, you can use your overdraft to cover the expense. The bank will allow you to withdraw the additional $300 needed, bringing your account balance to -$300.
Over the next few weeks or months, you replenish your account and repay the overdraft balance along with the applicable interest and fees as per the terms agreed with the bank. This allows you to manage your cash flow and deal with unexpected expenses, even when your account balance is insufficient.
Final thoughts on overdrafts
An overdraft is a financial facility that enables you to withdraw more money from your bank account than you currently have available. It provides a short-term solution to cover expenses when your account balance is insufficient. Overdrafts come with fees and interest charges, so it's essential to use them responsibly and understand the terms and conditions set by the bank. They can be helpful for managing cash flow and addressing unexpected financial needs, but it's important to repay the overdraft balance within the specified time to avoid additional costs.