If you slip up and make a purchase with a check or debit card your balance won't cover, you'll pay more than ever for the error these days.
Like ATM fees, overdraft fees tend to rise at or near the rate of inflation, and this year is no exception. The average nonsufficient funds, or NSF, fee rose 1 percent, from $30.47 last year to a record $30.83 this year.
Tip: Thanks to the Fed's Regulation E, which forces banks to get a customer's opt-in before charging him or her an overdraft fee for a debit purchase, it's easier to avoid overdrafts.
All you have to do to avoid overdraft charges is refuse to opt in. That way, if you don't have enough money to cover a purchase, your card will simply be declined at the register and can't be used to complete the purchase while costing you a hefty fine.
Alternatively, many banks allow you to set up a linkage between a savings account or line of credit and your checking account, allowing you to tap them if you don't have the cash to cover a purchase.