When you use a debit card, you are spending your own money and it comes straight from your account. If you use your debit card for every day bills and purchases, it is a good idea to check your balance regularly so your account doesn’t get overdrawn, which may result in fees, interest and dishonoured payments.

If your bank balance falls below zero, it can be overdrawn. For example, this can happen when your bank honours a transaction such as a direct debit or payment using a card linked to your account that exceeds your then available funds. If your account is overdrawn, you may be charged an overdraw fee plus interest on the overdrawn amount.

A dishonoured payment is any payment you wish to make but is not paid because there is not enough money in your account to pay it. Check with your bank about whether you will be charged a dishonour fee and if there is a grace period before you are charged.

Here are some ways you can avoid these fees on your account.

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1. Check your balance regularly

Checking your balance regularly will help you have a clear view of what’s coming in and out of your account so you always have enough for scheduled payments and bills.

It will also help you to spot anything that is unusual. You can turn on Simple Balance in the CommBank app to quickly check your balance when you log on.

2. Expect the unexpected

It’s a good idea to make sure you have enough in your transaction account to cover your everyday expenses plus some extra money to pay for unexpected expenses so you don’t fall below zero. Work out how much you need as a buffer to make sure you are not missing out on interest you could earn if you had it a savings account.

When you set your budget, make sure you allow for your annual, monthly and quarterly bills so large bills don’t come as an unexpected shock. Factor in your annual car registration and services, visits to the dentist as well as events such as weddings and birthdays.

3. Know the fees

Take a look at the fees on your transaction account, so you know when they are charged and how you can manage them. Typical fees include monthly account fees, assisted withdrawals in a branch or at a post office and international transaction fees.

If you make a payment that needs to be converted from foreign currency to Australian dollars, you will be charged an international transaction fee. You will also be charged if you pay for something in Australia but the person or company you are paying or buying from is based overseas.

Things you should know

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. Some terms and conditions apply to our financial wellbeing features – please see commbank.com.au for details.