Sunday, February 21, 2021

Did you overdraw your bank account? Here is what to do


Photo by Adam Satria on Unsplash

Did you mail a cheque only to be notified that it bounced? Or perhaps you tried to buy something with your debit card, and when you checked your online statement later, you were shocked to find a negative balance. You just spent more money than you have, so what do you do to fix it?

First, don’t panic. It’s not a fun situation to be in, but it happens. Follow these tips to get back in the black as soon as possible:

The Consequences of Overdrawing Your Account

The consequences of an overdrawn account depend on your bank’s specific policies. If you have opted-in to overdraft protection, then the transaction you were trying to make will still go through because your bank will cover the amount. In this instance, your bank will charge you an overdraft fee, which will likely be around $33. If you don’t have overdraft protection, though, then you may be charged an NSF fee (nonsufficient funds fee) that is a similar amount, but your card will decline, or your cheque will bounce.

Overdrawing your account now and then isn’t the end of the world if you can pay the fee, but relying on overdraft protection too often could result in your bank terminating your account. It may also report you to a debit bureau that may make it more challenging to open a new chequing account in the future.

Plus, it may not be your bank who takes action against you if you’re in the red for too long; services you pay for may cancel on you if they don’t receive payment in time. 

What to Do if You Overdraw Your Account

Those are a few examples of consequences, but what should your next steps be?

Don’t Spend Anymore

This should be obvious, but it’s worth repeating: don’t spend any more money with the overdrawn account. It’s understandable if you have essential expenses coming up, but don’t use the account at all, if possible. Check on your upcoming subscriptions or auto-payments that could put your further in the red. Only once you have replenished your accounts’ funds should you resume spending.

Keep in mind that if you don’t have a backup source of money, then your bank will automatically use your next deposit to cover your negative balance. Your negative balance likely includes the fee, so factor in this change for your monthly budget.

Replenish Your Funds

You probably guessed this one, but replenish your account as soon as possible. Don’t let it remain negative for too long, or your bank may charge you extended overdraft fees, which can accumulate quickly. Use your savings or another backup account to bring your overdrawn account back up to zero, preferably higher.

If you don’t have any other sources of money to make your checking account positive again, then consider borrowing from someone you trust, picking up a side-gig, or selling items you don’t need.

Another option is to use Earnin, which allows you to access your income on time if your bills are due before your paycheck arrives. Pay cycle delays may have been the reason you overdrew your account in the first place, so next time, you can use Earnin to take out up to $100 per day, $500 per pay period, and avoid paying overdraft or NSF fees. Earnin then deducts the amount you used from your paycheck once it’s deposited.

Check if You Were Charged Overdraft or NSF Fees

You have to opt-in to overdraft protection, but if you aren’t sure whether you have it or not, it’s possible you signed up for it without realizing what it is. Though you’ll know when making a debit card purchase immediately (the card will decline if you don’t), double-check with your bank if you realize you are about to overdraw your account with a written check. In this situation, you have time to contact your bank and the recipient and void it before it’s deposited. Likewise, look for an NSF fee on your account so you can pay it before you plan next month’s budget.

Contact Your Bank

If you attempt to make a transaction that overdraws your account, contact your bank’s customer service center and find out if they can remove any fees that will put you in further debt. It never hurts to ask, and the worst thing they can say is no. Bank representatives may be even more inclined to help you out if you have been an outstanding customer in the past or if you explain your situation to them.

Enable Low Balance Alerts

You can connect various apps to your bank account that will notify you when funds are running low (including the previously mentioned Earnin). This way, you’ll know how much money you have in your account before you attempt to make a purchase with non-sufficient funds, and you can avoid an NSF or overdraft fee altogether.

Overdrafting your bank account can be alarming, but here are strategies you can use to get back in the black quickly and (hopefully) avoid paying additional fees.


This article originally appeared on Earnin.


Please note, the material collected in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as or construed as advice regarding any specific circumstances. Nor is it an endorsement of any organization or Services.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Cash out refinance: How to know if it is time


Photo by todd kent on Unsplash

Traditional refinancing entails swapping out your current debt, often a mortgage, for another loan with better terms. For example, many people choose to refinance their homes when housing market interest rates drop so they can pay less money in the long run.

What is a cash-out refinance, though? It’s a little different. Instead of trying to pay less, you borrow more than your house is worth and use the extra money for other debts, purchases, or payments.

How do you know if acquiring funds this way is right for you? If it is, when is the best time to do it? Let’s dive into why people choose to go through this process.

What is a Cash-Out Refinance?

You might use a typical term-and-rate refinance to exchange your mortgage for one with lower monthly payments or another benefit. However, a cash-out refinance means you switch out your mortgage for a larger one. 

Why would anyone want to borrow a bigger mortgage? It’s a way to access the value of your home that you own through a loan instead of selling it. If you have paid off any part of your mortgage, then you have built “equity.” You cannot use your home’s equity to make purchases in illiquid form, so taking out another loan and using your equity as collateral allows you to use that value as cash.

How Does a Cash-Out Refinance Work?

Next, how does a cash-out refinance work? Most lenders limit the amount you can cash out to between 80% and 90% of your property’s equity, so you cannot withdraw as much as you might hope. 

Because you are borrowing against your equity, you need to have accumulated a sufficient amount (in other words, you have paid off a sizable portion of your mortgage). It’s also advisable to keep around (and sometimes required) 15-20% of your equity once the process is complete. For example, if your home is worth $400,000, you could take out another loan worth 80% of your home’s value, which is $320,000. How much money you have left to spend on other things depends on your mortgage balance. If you have $150,000 in equity and $250,000 left to pay, you would have $70,000 left over.

What Can You Use a Cash-Out Refinance For?

How you use your refinance money is up to you. Many people use their new cash to pay for: 

        Outstanding bills and debts, including credit cards

        Make a significant purchase, such as a vehicle

        College tuition

        Major home renovations.


Do you want to modernize your kitchen but can’t afford to? Do you want to go back to school but don’t want to burden yourself with high-interest student loans? While there are other options you should consider first, cash-out refinancing can provide you with the funds you need for significant expenses.

Is it Necessary for Me to Cash-Out Refinance?

No, it is not strictly necessary for anyone to exchange their mortgages for a larger one and withdraw the difference. You might hear of your neighbours and friends refinancing their homes in the traditional sense because the market is optimal, but the cash-out variety is not a trend you need to jump on if you don’t need to.

People have different reasons to refinance their homes this way. Some might owe a wide variety of debts and want to consolidate. Others might have fallen on hard times and need a large sum of money as soon as possible, but they don’t have any other options than to sell their possessions if they don’t want to move. They cannot sell their equity, though, so the best option is to use it as collateral for another loan.

You might be considering cash-out refinancing because delays in receiving your paycheck have made you miss important payments. You had to dip into your savings, which you prefer not to do, but having larger savings from your home’s equity could be useful in the immediate future. Instead, you can turn to apps like Earnin that allow you to access your money on time, up to $500 per pay period. Instead of doing a cash-out refinance to borrow a large sum to pay off monthly bills, you can use Earnin to take out your own earnings.

What are the Disadvantages of Cash-Out Refinancing?

There are several disadvantages to consider before you cash-out refinance. One of them is closing costs, which are typically between 2% and 5% of your loan and can, therefore, amount to thousands of dollars. Similar to how you must pay for private mortgage insurance if you put less than 20% when buying a house, you will have to pay for PMI if you borrow more than 80% of your property’s value. 

Time is also an essential factor. It may take longer to pay off your house, and your monthly mortgage payment could increase. Though interest rates associated with this kind of refinancing may be lower than HELOCs or home equity loans, your lender might charge you a higher interest rate than the first time around.

Cash-out refinancing has its uses, but consider the pros and cons carefully and talk with a financial advisor before deciding it’s right for you.


This article originally appeared on Earnin.


Please note, the material collected in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as or construed as advice regarding any specific circumstances. Nor is it an endorsement of any organization or Services.

Fixed Microsoft Outlook unable to open any URL link in email problem

If you are using Microsoft Outlook as your email client, and facing the problem of unable to open any URL link in your emails, this could be a workable solution for you.

The symptom: whenever you click on a link in your email, expecting your web browser to open the link, or in the case of a mailto email address link, expecting Outlook to open the New Message window for you to write a new email to the recipient, you will get this pop-up error message instead: "Your organization's policies are preventing us from completing this action for you. For more info, please contact your help desk".  

However, if you are using Outlook in your home computer, or your IT personnel told you that they didn't impose any such restriction on your computer, then the actual problem is possibly due to corrupted Windows registry.

You can try to fix it by resetting related Windows registry entries to their original form.

To do this, use Notepad or any text editor to open a new plain text file, copy and paste the following content into it.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@="\"C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Internet Explorer\\iexplore.exe\" -nohome"
@="\"C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Internet Explorer\\iexplore.exe\" %1"


@="\"C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Internet Explorer\\iexplore.exe\" -nohome"
@="\"C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Internet Explorer\\iexplore.exe\" %1"



Save the above content in plain text as "fix-my-links.reg".

Login as a user with Administrator rights, and double click on this file fix-my-links.reg to fix your Windows registry.

After that, you should be able to open the URL links in your emails in Outlook now.

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.