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5 Tips to Keep Your Checking Account in the Black

These strategies can help stop overdraft fees dead in their tracks.

Allie Cuno Nov 13, 2017

Article originally published on November 13, 2017 and refreshed on March 16, 2021.

If your checking account balance has never, ever, EVER dipped below zero, this article is not for you. Seriously, pass on this one.

However, if on occasion a checking overdraft fee unexpectedly pops up in your account at the most inopportune moment, read on because these five checking account tips can help stop overdraft fees dead in their tracks.

Checking Account Tip #1: Record your transactions

It is so simple. Best of all, it works. Nothing keeps your bank account in the black better than keeping a running total of what’s coming in and going out. What was once standard procedure in mom and dad’s day is quickly becoming a lost art.

If a low balance is your norm, it’s vital that you know what checks are still floating around and what auto withdrawals are coming down the pike, because those are transactions your “current balance” just doesn’t show you.

Checking Account Tip #2: Switch auto withdrawals to Zions Bank Online Bill Pay

Speaking of auto withdrawals, they can make keeping a running total rather tricky, especially if the withdrawal amounts vary considerably from month to month (think gas bill).

If past auto withdrawals have put you in the red, consider switching to Bill Pay. Bill Pay provides more control in knowing when your money will be going out and by how much. Most banks offer an online bill payment service to their customers.

Checking Account Tip #3: Sign up for Zions Bank electronic alerts

This is a great tech tool to add to your financial arsenal. This tool notifies you by email when your account reaches a predetermined balance, which you select. Of course, this tool is not a guarantee that you will stay in the positive, but it sure helps!

Zions Bank clients can sign up for MyAlerts through online banking, or contact an online banking representative at 800-840-4999 for assistance.

Checking Account Tip #4: Apply for a line of credit or sign up for overdraft deposit transfer service

If you’re just not the transaction tracking type and view occasional overdrafts as a nasty but normal part of life, consider applying for a line of credit or signing up for overdraft deposit transfer service.

You can get more information or apply by visiting a Zions Bank branch or by calling customer service at 888-307-3411.

Checking Account Tip #5: Take care of fees quickly

 If you do get an overdraft fee, take care of it quickly and visit your bank. Don’t ignore an overdraft fee. If you do you may well incur additional daily fees — not as high but they do add up. Get to the bank and drop cash in your account, pronto! While you’re there, talk to the manager.

Many banks will give you a refund if it’s your first overdraft in, say, a year. There’s no guarantee they will refund the fee, but it’s worth asking.

For more great financial tips and strategies, visit the Community section of the Zions Bank website.

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