General Question

Nevada83's avatar

Can you buy food with a debit card if it has a negative balance?

Asked by Nevada83 (833points) May 6th, 2018
10 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

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Darth_Algar's avatar

Depends on your bank’s policy. Mine would allow it then slap me with some hefty overdraft fees.

LadyMarissa's avatar

Depends on the agreement you & the bank have on your checking account. It really doesn’t matter if it’s for food, clothing, or a party, the bank sees it as the same thing…money that you don’t have. At one point, my bank would let me draw up to $25 over my actual account balance. Then they charged me a $40 overdraft fee for using the $25.If you’re overdrawn at the bank, you’re better off asking friends or family for a loan or at worst ask them to have you over for a meal.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Yeah, it’s called overdraft protection. Most banks offer the customer the choice of whether to have overdraft protection or not, but not all banks do.

If you do have it and use your debit card then it should work fine and you’ll owe the bank the cost of the debit plus whatever fees. If you don’t have overdraft protection then the sale will be declined at the point of purchase.

For checks overdraft protection keeps your check from being sent back to the store and the store potentially pressing fraud charges against you (most wouldn’t for a single incident, at least not without giving you the opportunity to settle what you owe first, but legally they could).

chyna's avatar

What they said above.
I just want to add that I have been in your shoes and understand this is something you probably have to do to buy food. But if there is any way you can borrow money from a relative or friend for food, please do so. The amount of money that you will have to pay back is not worth it. You will be even more in the hole than you already are. You are already negative, you will be in the hole for the amount of food and then for fees and overdraft. It’s going to take a lot of money just to get to zero and that’s money you need for yourself.
Good luck.

johnpowell's avatar

If you can tell me how you got in this situation I can send you a walmart gift card or something to sort you out for a few days.

And tomorrow morning I would be at a food box place and the food stamp office. Call churches. There are options that do not include a 35$ fee to buy shit food.

Kardamom's avatar

I’m not sure what state you live in, but if you are in California, consider applying for Cal-Fresh right away. They will be able to help you feed yourself and your family, without you having to pay a potential fine at the bank.

Times are tough, don’t let pride get in the way of applying for this, or similar food benefit programs in your state. No one should go hungry : )

Here is more info on Cal-Fresh

MrGrimm888's avatar

Great advice above.

I would add, that overdraft fees apply to each use of the debit card. So. If you have to do it, do it in one use. The fee for my bank, is like $35. If I use the card once, it’s 35, and just whatever I overdrafted. Repeated use will exponentially increase your debt, and therefore your problem.

If you have a car , cellphone, and meet certain low expectations, you can drive for Uber, Lyft, Uber Eats etc. You can cash out at the end of your shift, with a small penalty! It’s better than a pawn shop…

I’m sorry you’re in this predicament. I’ve been there…

Peace n love.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah. If you’re going to go over drawn, and assuming you have an ODP, you need to do it big time. You don’t want to get clocked a $30 over draft charge on a $5.00 purchase.
I can go up to $750.00 on my ODP. I’ve used that like a low interest loan a couple of times. $30 on a $500 loan is not bad.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Call your bank and ask what their policy is. Like others said, if I know I have to overdraft I try to do it only once so there’s only one fee. Instead of swiping your debit card a bunch of times for small purchases, try using an ATM to withdrawal a larger amount of cash at once and keep your fees to a minimum.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

No. That is the beauty of, and the reason why your bank encourages you to use it. I never use mine but that’s just me. I write checks for utilities and groceries.

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