Important Information About Overdrafts and Debit Cards

The following is intended for informational purposes only.  Please refer to your Deposit Account Agreement and Online Banking Access Agreement (if applicable) for full details about your account.

1.  How Does an Overdraft or NSF Transaction Occur? 

When you make a transaction and your account contains a sufficient balance to pay the item when it is presented for payment, then the item will be paid.  However, when you make a transaction, but do not have enough money in your account to pay the item when it is presented for payment, one of two things may occur:

  • (i) West Bank may return (unpaid) the transaction (“return item”) to the person or business that you attempted to pay because of “non-sufficient funds” (also called “NSF”); or
  • (ii) West Bank may, at its sole discretion, elect to pay the transaction by overdrawing your account.  This will cause an “overdraft” (i.e. negative account balance). 

Whether West Bank decides to return the NSF item unpaid or to pay the item, you may be charged a fee. Service charge and fee schedules are provided before a deposit account is opened.  Those schedules are subject to change, and are available on request, or here: Service Fee schedule

You agree that you do not have the right to make withdrawals or to cause items to be paid if they exceed the available balance in your account.  West Bank may determine whether your account contains sufficient funds to pay the items presented for payment at any time between the receipt of the items and West Bank’s return deadline.  Only one determination of the account balance is required.  If West Bank determines that there are not sufficient funds in your account to pay all items presented, we are not required to honor other items received.  Any items not paid by West Bank will be returned because of non-sufficient funds. 

2.  How and when are transactions deducted from your account? 

Some internal transactions, such as in-person cash withdrawals, telephone transfers and wire transfers result in “holds” being placed on your account when you complete the transaction(s). If a hold is created, it makes an amount of money in the account unavailable for subsequent transactions. It is similar to the money being immediately withdrawn from the account.  These transactions are posted for payment first during the next batch processing session. These sessions occur overnight after each business day.  Posting removes the hold(s) because the money is then withdrawn from the account.  Holds may also be created by other transactions, including debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals. These transactions are posted for payment in the order described below.

Deposits are credited to your account balance before any withdrawals are considered. Withdrawals are then evaluated in the following order:
(i) Internal transactions;
(ii) One-time debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals;
(iii) Recurring debit card transactions;
(iv) Automated Clearing House (ACH) withdrawals;
(v) Checks and other items.

NOTE:  Items are paid in the order of smallest to largest amounts within each category.

One-time (everyday) debit card transactions are those that are unscheduled in nature when you use a debit card at a point-of-sale (for example, at the grocery store). 

Recurring debit card transactions are scheduled in advance with the merchant on a recurring basis (for example, your utility bill or gym membership).

3.  When would West Bank Pay an Overdraft? 
West Bank may, at our discretion and as a service to our customers, pay certain transactions that overdraw your account if you have an established, well-maintained and regularly-funded account with the Bank. West Bank anticipates that you will make a deposit immediately to correct the shortfall.  This service covers overdrafts in the form of checks, ACH transactions, and recurring debit card transactions.  We charge a fee for each overdraft* that we cover, up to a daily maximum amount. (Daily maximum amount applies only to Consumer Accounts only)

*As applicable. 

  • We do not charge a fee for “force-pay” overdrafts on one-time transactions if you have not opted in.  See question #10 below for explanation of “force pay” transaction.
  • As a courtesy, West Bank will not impose fee(s) if your daily ending balance is     -$0.01 to -$10.00. For example, if your balance is $100 and a check is presented for $103.00. The check will be paid and no fee will be assessed to your account because the account is only negative $3.00.

4.  What is a Returned Item?

When West Bank does not pay an item presented because the account has insufficient funds, the check or ACH transaction becomes a “returned item.”  This means that the transaction is returned unpaid to the payee – the person or business you attempted to pay.  The transaction is marked NSF and no money is paid to the payee.  The Bank charges a Returned Item fee, up to a daily maximum amount. (Daily maximum amount applies only to Consumer Accounts only). You may also be charged a fee by the person or business that was expecting payment.

5.  What About Overdraft Services for ATM and One-Time (Everyday) Debit Card Transactions?

You must specifically request overdraft coverage for ATM and one-time (everyday) debit card transactions.  You can “opt-in” to this coverage by completing the form provided at account opening (also located on the Bank’s website) and delivering the form to one of our West Bank locations, or, you may call your personal banker or our customer service center at 1-800-810-2301.  You can also call this number to “opt-out” of this service at any time.

Overdrafts, when authorized, are subject to the following limits:

  • Essential Checking: $200
  • All other checking accounts: $500

If you do not specifically ask to opt-in to this coverage, ATM and one-time (everyday) debit card transactions that are initiated against insufficient funds will be declined.

If you opt-in for overdraft services (such services for debit cards may be terminated by you or West Bank at any time, for any reason, with written notice) for your debit card, overdrafts may be created by your use of your card at automated teller machines (ATMs) or for one-time debit transactions and West Bank may charge you for this service.  If you do not opt-in for overdraft services for your debit card, attempted ATM withdrawals and one-time debit card transactions will be rejected when there are not sufficient funds in your account to withdraw the money or make the payment.  Even if you do not opt-in, recurring debit card transactions may create a NSF situation and you may be charged a fee. A determination about whether the transaction will be authorized is made when the transaction is attempted, and is based on the account balance as of the last business day and any holds subsequently imposed on your account.

6.  Is There a Fee For Overdraft Coverage?

Yes.  An Overdraft fee is charged for each overdraft transaction occurring on an account up to a daily maximum. (Daily maximum amount applies only to Consumer Accounts only).  The fee amount is disclosed in our Service Fee Schedule.

7.  Is There a Fee For Returned Items?

Yes.  A Returned Item fee is charged for each transaction that is returned for non-sufficient funds up to a daily maximum amount (Daily maximum amount applies only to Consumer Accounts only). The fee is disclosed in our Service Fee Schedule.  In addition, a fee also may be assessed against you by the business that had expected payment, and those businesses may re-submit the item in an attempt to collect the funds due them, which may create multiple Returned Item charges for the same item.

8.  Are There Alternatives to Standard Overdraft Coverage?

Yes.  West Bank offers Savings Overdraft Protection, which simply links your West Bank savings or money market account to your checking account to prevent you from overdrawing your account.  There is a fee for this service as disclosed in our Service Fee Schedule.  This fee is less than the Overdraft or Returned Item Fees.

9. How does Savings Overdraft Protection work?

Each automatic transfer from your savings or money market account to your checking account is processed in $100 increments regardless of the amount of the overdrawn item. If the savings or money market account balance is less than the amount needed to cover the full transfer, then the balance in the account will be transferred and you may be charged an overdraft fee, as well as the transfer fee. The transferred amount from your savings or money market account includes the transfer fee. Transfers initiated by the Savings Overdraft Protection service are included in the limit of six (6) transfers per statement cycle for savings and money market accounts. Please see the Deposit Account Agreement for more information on Transaction Limitations.

10.  Do Debit Card Transactions Clear My Account Immediately?

No. Debit card transactions made using your personal identification number (PIN) typically, but not always, come out of your account during the next batch processing, which may be the same day as the transaction. These PIN-based debit card transactions will typically appear on your statement as “POS Withdrawal”. Signature-based transactions (transactions made without providing your PIN) will usually clear within a few days, depending on the merchant’s procedures. These signature-based transactions will typically appear on your statement as “POS Purchase”. In this way, signature-based debit card transactions are similar to checks, which usually are presented for payment some time after you make a payment.  Therefore, even though at the time of the signature-based debit card transaction there were sufficient funds in your account, and the transaction was authorized by West Bank, if you later cause other items to be presented for payment before the signature-based debit card transaction, an NSF situation may occur. You usually cannot control when a signature-based debit card transaction is presented for payment. Once a debit card transaction has been authorized, it cannot be returned (This is known as a “force-pay” transaction). 

A debit card transaction may be preauthorized for an amount different than the final settlement amount.  Examples of these types of transactions include pay-at-the-pump gas purchase transactions that preauthorize for $1 and later clear for the full purchase amount, and restaurant transactions that can be preauthorized for 15-20 percent more than the check amount to leave room for a tip, but later clear for the agreed-upon amount.

For these reasons, it is important that you keep close track of your account balance and make sure the balance in your account exceeds the total of the items you issue for payment.

11.  Can I cover an insufficient funds item and avoid fees? 

If you overextend your account during the day, you may be able to avoid overdraft fees by making a sufficient deposit that same day. 

12.  How to avoid overdrafts.

The best way to avoid Overdraft and Returned Item Fees is to manage your West Bank account carefully. Here are some simple steps to get you on your way.

  • Keep your check register up to date. Record all checks when you write them in your check register along with other transactions when you make them. And don't forget to subtract any fees.
  • Review your account activity and statements carefully. With Online Banking, you can view transactions and monitor account activity, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When reviewing your West Bank account activity, remember that some checks and payments may not have cleared or posted to your account yet.
  • Pay special attention to electronic transactions. If you use an ATM to withdraw cash or your Debit Card to make a purchase or get cash back, be sure to record the transaction in your register.
  • Don't forget about automatic payments. If you have automatic payments and deductions from your West Bank account, such as your mortgage payment or health club fee, remember to set aside money for them and to record them in your register.
  • Record all transactions immediately and do not assume that they will take days to post to your account. Information from checks that you write to pay for purchases or expenses (such as credit card or utility payments) may be used to make a one-time electronic transfer from your account. Funds from these transactions may be withdrawn from your West Bank account on the same day you make the payment.
  • Consider Direct Deposit. Many of the checks that now come to you in paper form - including your payroll checks - can be deposited directly into your West Bank account. That means you won't have to wait in line to make the deposit yourself, and you won't have to wait for checks to clear.
  • Set up Online Banking alerts.  Set up alerts using Online Banking.  You will receive an automatic email alert to notify you if your account balance goes below a threshold that you set. 
  • Consider savings overdraft protection. Your West Bank savings or money market account may be used to provide overdraft protection for your checking account.   There is a fee for each automatic transfer associated with this service.


12.  Are There Other Sources Available For Information on Budgeting, Financial Education or Credit Counseling?

Yes.  There are several sources that provide free consumer information to assist you in managing your finances.

Consumer Credit of Des Moines
6129 S.W. 63rd Street
Des Moines, IA  50321
(800) 955-5765

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
Consumer News & Information
1100 Walnut St., Box #11
Kansas City, MO  64106
(877) 275-3342 (877-ASK-FDIC)

Federal Reserve Board
Federal Reserve Consumer Help
P.O. Box 1200
Minneapolis, MN  55480
(888) 851-1920

Consumer Federation of America
1620 I St., Suite 200
Washington, D.C.  20006
(202) 387-6121

Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C.  20580
(202) 326-2222

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
P.O. Box 4503
Iowa City, IA 52244
P.O. Box 4503
Iowa City, IA 52244

Questions/Information? If you need more information, stop in one of our West Bank locations, call us at (800) 810-2301, or email us at