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My Checking Account is Overdrawn, What do I do?

Right now my checking account is overdrawn $370 dollars. The bank told me that if I don't clear up the overdraft in forty-five days, they will close the account and I will not be able to open another bank account for five years. Is that true and is there anything else I can do?

The bank is certainly within its rights to close out your account if it's overdrawn for forty-five days. You have an obligation to take care of that overdraft, and forty-five days is actually a rather generous length of time to do it.

It's likely that your bank reports charged-off overdrawn accounts to a credit reporting agency such as Chex Systems. Other banks that subscribe to Chex Systems will see that report if you apply for an account elsewhere. Those banks decide on their own whether they will open an account for someone who has had an overdraft charged off elsewhere.

Your bank may have a policy of not allowing former customers with charged-off accounts to open new accounts. However, they cannot prevent another bank from adhering to a different policy.

Make a real effort to deposit money to your account to get rid of the overdraft before your bank closes the account. Don't write any more checks until the matter is resolved. If your bank has a fee for ongoing overdrafts, try to work with the bank on a repayment plan that might avoid those added fees.

Published on 1/24/07