June 21st, 2010

Don’t Lose Your Safety Net

Have you ever been at the grocery store about to swipe your debit card, when you broke out in a panic, wondering if you had enough in your checking account to cover your purchase? Did you breathe a quiet sigh of relief as the transaction went through and you went on your way? Did you log into Online Banking later to find that you actually didn’t have enough money but that SMCU covered the purchase? If this seems like a familiar sequence, you have experienced the peace of mind that SMCU’s Premium Overdraft service can offer.

SMCU’s Premium Overdraft service can provide a safety net of up to $1,000 in circumstances where you accidentally write a check or make a debit-card transaction for which you don’t have enough funds. Premium Overdraft can help you avoid the additional fees that come from returned checks or the inconvenience of having an important debit-card transaction declined.

If you have ever taken advantage of SMCU’s Premium Overdraft service or think there’s a chance you might need it someday, an important date is coming. Starting August 15, 2010, if you have not opted into SMCU’s Premium Overdraft service, your ATM and everyday debit card transactions will no longer be covered. If you have already requested Premium Overdraft service when you opened the account, checks written against your account and automatic, recurring withdrawals, including those done by debit card, will still be covered, but point-of-sale purchases and ATM withdrawals will not be.

Why do you have to opt in?

Recent changes to Regulation E, which covers electronic fund transfers, require consumers to provide SMCU with specific instructions to include ATM and one-time debit card transactions, like those done at supermarkets or gas stations, in any overdraft protection program.

Opting in is Quick and Easy

If you have a checking account, you should have received a letter from SMCU explaining these changes. The letter has an opt-in coupon attached, which you can complete and send back to SMCU or drop it by any branch.

If you do not have the letter, you can call SMCU at 206-398-5500, or 800-334-2489 if you are outside of the Seattle area, or stop by any of SMCU’s eight branches. Soon, you will also be able to opt in by logging into Online Banking and selecting the Premium Overdraft form under Online Forms.

Remember, though you can opt in at any time, if you have not opted in by August 15, 2010, your ATM and everyday debit-card transactions will not be covered by Premium Overdraft.

More information
Electronic Fund Transfers (Regulation E)
SMCU’s Premium Overdraft service

3 Responses

  1. Anthony Anderson says:

    I would like protection but as a withdrawl from the savings account attached to my checking account, rather than risk a $28. charge. How do I sign up for that?
    Thank you -

  2. SMCU says:

    Good question, Anthony. What you want is called “Overdraft Protection”, as opposed to “Premium Overdraft”. If you would like to set up Overdraft Protection to draw funds from your savings into your checking in the event of an overdraft, just call our Contact Center at 206-398-5500 or 800-334-2489 or stop by any branch. It just takes a few seconds to set up. There is a $5 fee per transfer for Overdraft Protection.

  3. M Patricia OBrien says:

    I agree take it out of my savings and don’t charge me $28 bucks.