Skip to main content
How we use cookies

Overdraft Protection

Looking for Peace of Mind? We Make It Easy for You.

By setting up Overdraft Protection on your checking account your funds are there when you need them.

Everyone makes mistakes. Forgetting to record a transaction on your checking account can happen to anyone. The best way to avoid overdraft fees that may occur with this oversight is to link your checking accounts to your savings for that added protection.

If your account is overdrawn, the funds will automatically transfer from your eligible savings accounts to cover any overdrafts or bounced checks.1

1Transfer fee of $4.00 per transfer. Regulation D Applies
Note1: If your account is overdrawn and the funds are not available to cover it, there will be a $34 overdraft fee applied to the account.
Note 2: If the maximum number of transfers allowed under Regulation D is met for that month, Overdraft Protection will not transfer funds to cover the transaction.

Safe Pay

Safe Pay is a program where Essential may honor and pay your checks, other paper items, electronic ACH debits, Visa Debit Card transactions, ATM withdrawals and Bill Pay payments drawn against non-sufficient or unavailable/uncollected funds in your Checking Account so that these items are not returned unpaid or declined.

Recent action by Congress now requires consumers to tell their financial institutions whether or not you would like to include Safe Pay on your checking account. This would apply to all transactions that could potentially overdraw your checking account such as ATM withdrawals, in store and online purchases, and purchases made by phone.

Essential's Safe Pay* works to your advantage should you unintentionally overdraw your account. This is meant as a safety measure if you accidentally write checks for more than your available balance, or if an inadvertent error causes your account to be overdrawn. It can save you the embarrassment and inconvenience of high merchant-returned check charges and possible a delinquent account reporting by the merchant, or having your debit card purchase denied at the register.

Overdraft Protection transfers from your Savings Account to cover non-sufficient funds items payable against your Checking Account (as stated in the Overdraft Protection section) and will occur before the Safe Pay program is extended.

A Safe Pay fee of $34.00 will be charged for each item paid. This fee is debited to your Checking Account. Members are required to repay Essential for all account overdrafts resulting from any item paid under the Safe Pay program, or otherwise, in a timely manner. Essential reserves the right to transfer available funds from your other Credit Union accounts to cover any account overdraft.

Payments made on behalf of members are at the discretion of Essential. Safe Pay program requirements and procedures may be changed or withdrawn at any time without contact.

If you do not want us to pay items drawn against non-sufficient funds and overdraw your Checking Account under the Safe Pay program, you must visit one of our branches to complete and sign the form to refuse and/or un-enroll the Safe Pay option. Once this form is signed acknowledging you no longer wish to participate in the Safe Pay program, we will return all non-sufficient funds items unpaid.

Safe Pay FAQs

  • What happens if I can't bring my account(s) to a positive balance?

    Your Safe Pay will be suspended or revoked until the account is returned to good standing, regardless if you've reached the $500 limit or not. If your account balance is negative for 30 days, you could lose your checking privileges at Essential FCU.

  • How long do I have to bring my account into balance?

    Generally speaking, you should bring your checking account to a positive end-of-day balance as soon as possible and certainly within 20 days. However, depending on the situation, we can ask for repayment at any time. Any deposit that is made will automatically be applied to any overdrawn balance and associated fees first.

  • I thought I had Safe Pay. Why did you return my check as an NSF?

    The Safe Pay maximum is $500, including all Safe Pay fees. Items are returned NSF if you go over the amount or if you have been taken off the list because you did not rectify your account balance. Safe Pay can be taken away if Essential FCU determines your account is no longer in good standing.

  • What is the difference between Overdraft Protection and Safe Pay?

    Overdraft Protection and Safe Pay are two separate services offered by Essential FCU. Overdraft Protection allows funds to be transferred from a previously designated account to pay an item. Overdraft protection will NOT allow the account to overdraw (go into a negative balance) to pay an item. Safe Pay is a non-contractual courtesy, offered at the sole discretion of the credit union, to members who maintain their checking accounts in good standing. Any Safe Pay amount covered by Essential FCU in the Safe Pay process is NOT considered an account holder loan and is not subject to interest being charged. Each overdraft item that is paid is subject to the Safe Pay fee. Safe Pay is an enhanced protection in addition to Overdraft Protection.

  • What if I do not want Safe Pay?

    We can change your account status so that no overdrawn items are paid using the Safe Pay service. If you say no the Safe Pay service, any future overdrawn items presented for payment against your account will be returned unpaid and a $34.00 overdraft fee will be assessed after funds for overdraft protection (if applicable) have been depleted. You may also be charged additional fees by the merchant/payee. Carefully consider your decision to say no to this program.

  • Can I use Safe Pay to pay a Essential FCU loan payment?

    No. You cannot use Safe Pay to meet this obligation.

  • What types of transactions qualify for the Safe Pay service?

    If you inadvertently overdraw your account, Safe Pay will cover preauthorized debits (ACH), bill payer items, Visa card Debit Card transactions and checks up to the Safe Pay limit.

  • Is there a charge for Safe Pay?

    Safe Pay does not cost anything unless you use it. If you overdraw your account by using Safe Pay, a $34.00 Safe Pay fee will be assessed for each item paid. Items that exceed the Safe Pay limit of $500 (including Safe Pay fees) will be assessed a $34.00 insufficient fund fee for each item and returned as NSF.

  • How do I 'say yes' for this service?

    You may visit one of our locations one of our branch locations and sign the Safe Pay form.

  • Is Safe Pay a loan?

    No. It is a courtesy service provided by the credit union to help you manage your money. This service can be withdrawn at any time by the credit union.

  • How does Safe Pay work?

    When we receive an item for payment that causes the balance in your account to go below zero, we may pay the check or debit up to a $500 negative balance including the Safe Pay fee.

  • How can I 'say yes' to keep this service on my account without any interruptions?

    To keep Safe Pay on your current checking account without any interruptions, you must visit one of our locations to sign the Safe Pay form.

  • I have always had Safe Pay on my account, why do I have to 'say yes' to keep this service?

    Recent action by Congress now requires consumers to tell their financial institutions whether or not you would like to include Safe Pay on your checking account. Effective August 15, 2010 all existing accounts must 'say yes' for this service to remain on your account.

  • Does Essential offer traditional overdraft protection?

    Yes. Essential members can choose from several overdraft protection options. If you do have Overdraft Protection on your account, it will use whatever account(s) you have set up, in the order you arranged. Then, if you have qualified for Safe Pay, it will default to that service.

  • What if I go over my Safe Pay limit?

    If you exceed the Safe Pay limit, any additional items will be returned or declined when presented for payment.

Call us at 888.369.2207 and ask about your enrollment eligibility, or to say yes to the Safe Pay Program.

*Essential will allow a negative balance up to $500. Checks that would take the member's balance below negative $500.00 will be returned and charged the NSF fee. If a member also has Overdraft Protection, the designated “protection” accounts (such as a savings or money market) will be exhausted before the Safe Pay program takes effect. Members have the right revoke the consent of Safe Pay at any time. If the maximum number of transfers allowed by Regulation D has been met for the month and the funds in the savings account have not been depleted, Safe Pay will not occur