Overdraft Protection

Firstmark Credit Union continually evaluates how we can better the lives of our members through high-value products and services.  We offer an Overdraft Protection Program (ODP) to pay your check transactions, and automatically drafted payments (ACH) regardless of the funds that exist in your account. With your permission, this valuable service can be extended to pay for everyday debit card items and ATM transactions.

Overdraft Protection saves you additional merchant fees, possible damage to your credit history, and any embarrassment that might result if a check or ACH transaction was returned, or a Debit or ATM transaction was declined. Members will only incur a fee when the program is used to cover insufficient funds.

Firstmark continually works to enhance the financial well-being of our members and provides many different ways to help you avoid overdrawing your account.  We offer free Online Banking so you can check your account balance every day in real-time, review payments made, view checks you’ve written, and transfer funds between your accounts.

We always want you to manage your finances responsibly, but when necessary, Overdraft Protection can keep you covered. For more information about our Overdraft Protection Program, please review some Frequently Asked Questions below or call (210) 442-0100 to speak to a member service representative.

[ + ] Learn More About Overdraft Fees And How To Avoid Them

What is an Overdraft?
An overdraft occurs when a debit transaction (for example, a check, ATM withdrawal, ACH debit transaction or debit card purchase) exceeds the available balance in your account and the credit union still pays or approves the transaction. When the transaction is covered by Firstmark, the member will be charged a fee. It is best to keep track of your balances to avoid the inconvenience and expense of overdrafts and accompanying fees.

How does Overdraft Protection work?
If you overdraw your account by a check, ACH electronic payment, online bill payment, ATM withdrawal or point-of-sale debit card transaction, Overdraft Protection may cover your transaction even though you do not have sufficient funds in your account.  If Overdraft Protection is activated, your account will have a negative balance.  You will incur a $28.00 overdraft fee for each paid or approved transaction; however, you will not incur any merchant fees.

If you have established overdraft protection to cover a negative balance through an automatic transfer from a savings account, the Credit Union will access available funds from these sources before using your Overdraft Protection overdraft limit up to the maximum allowed limit.

All members who have opted in to Overdraft Protection will have a daily limit. While the limit is accurate to pay today’s overdraft items, it may change up or down the following day. For that reason, member limits are not disclosed.  Limits are based on a number of factors including the age of the account, frequency and amount of deposits and other related account information. The account must also be in good standing, meaning the member is not in default on any share or loan with us or overdrawn on their checking account beyond 30 days.

You do not have to sign up for Overdraft Protection to work for your paper checks, BillPay or electronic (ACH) items you originated from your checking account.  However, you do have to "Opt-In" if you want the protection of Overdraft Protection to apply to your everyday debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals by completing the Overdraft Protection Service Form.

Can I make a deposit to cover an overdraft and avoid fees?
If you overdraw your account during the day, you may be able cover it and avoid overdraft fees by making a sufficient deposit that same day. Review the credit union's funds availability policy to determine which deposits could become available the same day.

Manage your account to avoid overdraft fees
The simplest way to avoid overdrafts is to balance your checking account on a daily basis. Be sure to record fees and regular account charges and don't assume transactions will not post to your account for several days.  You can also avoid overdrafts by signing up for online banking alerts to know when your account is reaching a certain balance.

Can I sign up for an automatic transfer to avoid overdrafts fees?
Yes.  Firstmark Credit Union will automatically transfer funds from your other checking or savings account(s) (Share Draft Protection) when transactions are presented that will overdraw your primary account

[ + ] Understanding The Costs Involved

We encourage you to maintain accurate records and practice good account management.  This will help you avoid writing checks or drafts without sufficient funds and incurring the resulting fees. 

The Costs Of Overdrafts At Firstmark Credit Union Fees
Good Account Management $0.00
Insufficient Funds Fee $28/item
Overdraft Protection Fee (overdraft courtesy) $28/item
Overdraft Protection Transfer from Loan Account Fee (Automated, Call-In, In-Person) $1 (in excess of 6 per month)

[ + ] Understanding Your Balance

Reading Your Balance Mon Tues Wed
Starting available balance* $1,000 $975 $1,575
Starting current balance $1,000 $1,000 $1,600
Debit Card purchase: sushi lunch ($25 + $5 tip) -$25 -$25 -$30
Direct Deposit: Jane's paycheck $600 $600 -
Personal Check: $100 to Jane's doctor $0 - -$100
Ending available balance* $975 $1,575 $1,470
Ending current balance $1,000 $1,600 $1,470

* as seen in online banking

[ + ] What is Available balance?

Available Balance = Current Balance - Pending Withdrawals/Debits

Your "available balance" is the balance in your account after deducting (1) deposits that are not yet available for withdrawal under our Funds Availability Policy, (2) debit card or other transactions that are on hold and we are legally obligated to pay, and (3) any holds on your account, such as holds on funds to comply with court orders or other legal requirements, or check holds placed due to notification of a return of an unpaid item.

Your available balance is the amount of funds you have in your account that you can withdraw or access. The credit union uses the available balance when deciding to pay items that may overdraw your account.  The available balance can be negative if you overdraw your account.

Current (ledger) balance
The current balance is the balance of the account with pending transactions that have not cleared yet. (Pending checks deposited/cashed, debit transactions, etc...) Therefore you do not have access to those funds at this point but they are going to be posted to the account once they clear.

What is an outstanding debit card authorization?
An outstanding debit card authorization is the amount immediately deducted from your available balance while the credit union waits for the final settlement request from the merchant, which can take several days. A final settlement request is an instruction from the merchant to the credit union to deduct the exact amount of your final purchase. It follows after the debit card authorization request and completes the transaction. While the majority of transactions are settled within one business day, the actual timing rests with the merchant and is out of the credit union’s control.

Keep in mind, until the final settlement, the outstanding authorization amount may be larger or smaller than your actual purchase amount. In some cases when final settlement is delayed, the outstanding authorization is released, which causes your available balance to appear larger than you might otherwise expect.

Can an outstanding debit card authorization result in overdraft fees for me?
A merchant's outstanding debit card authorization request will alter the available balance in your account.  If, as a result, your available balance falls below zero, then overdraft fees will be charged for any transactions that post to or clears your account. For example, a debit card authorization may lead to overdraft fees in certain circumstances:

  • Those who spend the funds in their account, anticipating a delay between purchase and settlement, may experience an overdraft fee. This is because the outstanding debit card authorization reduces the available balance in the account even though the actual purchase has not posted yet.

    Example:Bob has a $100 available balance and makes a $75 debit card purchase. His available balance will be immediately reduced by $75, or the amount of the outstanding debit card authorization. If he makes another purchase or withdrawal beyond the remaining available balance of $25, it will result in an overdraft fee if Bob has opted in to the Overdraft Protection Program for ATM and one time debit card transactions.

  • If a merchant obtains an authorization for your debit card, but then your purchase is paid for by other means, the merchant must submit a reversing transaction to remove the debit card authorization. If they do not do this, the available balance will be reduced until the hold expires, normally three business days.

    Example:Sally has $250 in her account and uses her debit card to pay $175 for concert tickets. She decides, after the card is swiped, to pay by cash. The concert venue does not reverse her debit card authorization immediately and her available balance is reduced by $175. That night, a $200 check she had previously written posts to her account. As a result the account is overdrawn and a fee is charged.

Will the debit card preauthorization hold always equal the exact amount of my transaction?
No. Some merchants, especially gas stations, hotels and sometimes restaurants, will preauthorize an amount that is higher or lower than the actual purchase amount. For example:

  • Gas stations:Many gas stations preauthorize transactions for amounts ranging from $1 to $95 because they do not know how much gas you will actually pump in advance of your transaction. If they preauthorize $95, a hold will be placed for $95, even if your actual transaction is only $45. After 2 hours, the gas station must send the final transaction amount which will cause the hold to be for the correct amount.  If you are worried about large preauthorization holds from gas stations, we recommend that you use a Firstmark Credit Union credit card for your transaction.
  • Hotels:When using a debit card to make reservations in advance, hotels generally will preauthorize an amount equal to an overnight stay, or more, depending on the length of your stay. This will result in a hold on your account up to 72 hours. Then, when you actually arrive, the hotel will place another preauthorization, often larger than the cost of your stay to cover possible incidental expenses. Because these can result in significant holds against your account, we recommend always using your Firstmark Credit Union credit card for hotel reservations.
  • Car Rental Companies.  When renting an automobile, most car rental companies will authorize an amount greater than the actual cost to cover any additional expenses.  We recommend using your Firstmark Credit Union credit card when renting an automobile.
  • Restaurants.  Many restaurants authorize an amount that is slightly larger than the bill in the event that you include gratuity on your card transaction.  Alternatively, the restaurant may authorize the amount of bill which does not include any gratuity you may add.

Do all debit card transactions clear within 72 hours?
No. Some merchants will not send the final transaction through to us within the 72-hour time frame of the hold. In that case, the hold will drop off and funds will appear to be available again, however, the debit transaction still has to clear your account. Unfortunately, we have no control over how quickly merchants process their transactions.

Firstmark Overdraft Protection Guidelines:
As a service to members in good standing and to help you avoid the fees that may be charged by third parties for "bad" checks, we will strive to pay, at our sole discretion,  your reasonable overdrafts up to a dollar amount (inclusive of fees).  A fee will be charged for each Overdraft Protection overdraft item or Insufficient Funds item as outlined in our fee schedule, and you are expected to bring your account to a positive balance within 24 hours.  The total fees you have paid for ODP items and NSF items (both paid and returned) for the current month and year-to-date will be on your monthly statement.

While the limit is accurate to pay today’s overdraft items, it may change up or down the following day. For that reason, member limits are not disclosed.  Limits are based on a number of factors including the age of the account, frequency and amount of deposits and other related account information. The account must also be in good standing.  If you have multiple checking accounts, the credit union reserves the right to limit participation to one account only.

As always, we encourage you to manage your finances responsibly; however, as long as you maintain your account in good standing, we may, as a courtesy, strive to pay your overdrafts within your current available Overdraft Protection overdraft limit.  However, we reserve the right to pay overdraft at our discretion.  If you do not have sufficient funds, we return the item, and you will be assessed the $28.00 Insufficient Funds Fee.

To learn more about how to avoid overdrafts, or to apply for overdraft protection, stop by your nearest financial center or call (210) 442-0100.

If you want the credit union to authorize and pay overdrafts on your ATM and everyday debit card transactions, you must demonstrate your affirmative consent ("opt-in") by signing a separate form (Firstmark's Overdraft Service Request Form). You can print, sign and return this form to your nearest financial center, or mail to P.O. Box 701650 San Antonio, TX 78270-1650.