New Federal Regulations give consumer debit and ATM card users additional options regarding overdrafts. Under changes in the Federal Reserve's Regulation E, which enforces the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, banks, credit unions and other financial institutions must offer clients the ability to make decisions about overdraft services for transactions made with debit or ATM cards.

There are 2 kinds of "overdraft services."

1. Standard Overdraft Services refers to the flat fee that we charge to cover each occurrence of an overdraft. The fee is currently $37.  If your account is overdrawn for seven (7) consecutive calendar days, we will charge an additional $5.00 per day. You have the option to "Opt In" to the Bank's Standard Overdraft Services in order for an overdraft resulting from a debit or ATM card transaction to be paid and a fee to be assessed. If you do not "Opt In," an overdraft resulting from a debit or ATM transaction will not be paid and no fee will be assessed. Overdrafts from check and online bill pay transactions will not be affected and Standard Overdraft Services fees will continue to apply.


2. Overdraft Protection Services refers to overdraft lines of credit or links to savings accounts to cover overdrafts. Depending on what type of overdraft protection and type of checking account you have, there may be fees for these services, but they are generally less costly than standard overdraft fees.

 

 

How could this impact me?

If you do not "Opt In" to standard overdraft service, ATM and one-time debit card transactions will be declined if you do not have sufficient funds in your account at the time of the transaction. For example, if you went to the grocery store and attempted to pay using your debit or ATM card and did not have sufficient funds, your transaction would be declined.

Example-"Opting In" versus "Opting Out" of accounts with the overdraft service

For consumer accounts, the following example shows how items might be handled differently between a client who "Opts In" or "Opts Out" of overdraft services for ATM and one-time debit card transactions.

"Opting In" Example

Opting In Transaction
Amount
Result Fees Running
Balance
Beginning Available Balance


$20
ATM withdrawal $20 Item is
Approved*

$0
Grocery Store Purchase $40 Item is Approved
and fee is charged*
-$37 -$77
*Items are approved for accounts generally in good standing. We pay overdrafts at our discretion, which means we do not guarantee that we will always authorize and pay any type of transaction.

A client who has opted in for ATM and one-time debit card transactions, would have the items paid and be charged the appropriate fees for this service.

"Opting Out" Example

Opting Out Transaction
Amount
Result Fees Running
Balance
Beginning Available Balance


$20
ATM withdrawal $20 Item is
Approved*

$0
Grocery Store Purchase $40 Item is declined
$0
*Items are approved for accounts generally in good standing. We pay overdrafts at our discretion, which means we do not guarantee that we will always authorize and pay any type of transaction.

The transactions would be declined if the client did not have sufficient funds in the account, and no fees would be charged.

What do I have to do?

If you want to "Opt In" to the Bank's Standard Overdraft Services click here to continue this service. An opt in selection must be made for each consumer checking account you have with us.

Steps you can take now to avoid overdrafts.

You can always sign up for, apply, and use Overdraft Protection by linking to a savings account or line of credit to help you avoid being declined at a retailer or at the ATM. To sign up for an overdraft line of credit, apply online or call the Client Service Center at 800-399-5919, option 3 for line of credit. Learn more about your overdraft protection options here.

In addition, here are some other helpful tips.

  • Use BankXpress Online Banking to find out how much money you have in your account at that moment. Remember to subtract any of your transactions that aren't listed in Online Banking as those might come to Sandy Spring Bank later in the day and reduce your available balance.
  • Sign up for Email Alerts such as our Low Balance Alert. Alerts notify you when you reach a certain balance amount that you set. Getting notified automatically about account activity and balances can help you stay on top of your transactions and balances.
  • Transfer funds between accounts. You can make a transfer in Online Banking, or through telephone banking, so that you have enough funds for a purchase or ATM withdrawal.

 

 

To "Opt In" to the Bank's Standard Overdraft Services, click here.