Lots of people hate overdraft charges. Almost 40 percent of Americans say they find it more annoying to pay a $20 bank fee than to wait in line at the DMV, according to a recent Nerdwallet survey.
Good news: Ramit Sethi, bestselling author of "I Will Teach You to be Rich," says you don't need to get stuck paying them. "These are essentially ways for banks to get fat off of your money, and I hate it," he says. "What I want you to know is how to get these fees refunded."
You usually get hit with an overdraft fee when you use your debit card and don't have enough money in your checking account. Your bank will cover you temporarily, but it charges you a penalty of usually between $30 and $35 each time.
That can really add up. Collectively, Americans paid $34.3 billion in overdraft fees last year, according to a report from Moebs Services.
If you've gotten hit with a fee, Sethi recommends calling up the bank and following a script like this:
Customer: I just saw this bank charge for overdrafting and I'd like to have it refunded.
Bank: I'm sorry, that's not an option that's available to us.
Customer: Well, I've been a good customer since 2009 [or whenever you started banking there] and I would hate to have to leave because of one overdraft. What can you do to help me?
If you're polite but firm, and you remind the bank that you're a loyal customer, you'll find that this usually works, says Sethi: "90 percent of the time they're going to say, 'Wow, my computer just magically allowed me to waive that fee as a courtesy!'"
Keep in mind that banks are much more willing to waive a fee if it's the first time you ask, he says. If you regularly overdraft, it can become more difficult to get the fee waived.