|One time when I was in college, I tried to use my debit card to buy something and was told by the cashier that my card was being denied by the payment system for some reason. I figured out shortly thereafter that I was broke, and the debit card machine correctly denied me from making a purchase. In plain English, my bank said, "You're trying to get money from where there's no money. You can't do that."
Fast forward several years. I have a job, tons of money (compared to when I was in college), and am sharing a bank account with my wife. One day I make the simple mistake of transferring some money to savings, and the next day we get hit with five separate overdraft protection fees. There would've been more, but apparently we (or automatic bill pay) only tried to access our money five times in that 24-hour span. In plain English, my bank said, "You're trying to get money from where there's no money. We'll charge you for that, so now you'll have less than no money."
Overdraft "protection" is broken. What exactly am I being protected from? Accessing my lack of money? The correct course of action when there are insufficient funds should be denial. But since we live in America, people spend money they don't have, and banks offering free checking need to have some form of income. I personally wouldn't mind if overdraft protection was abolished. But since I know it won't be, I've changed my life around to never use a debit card to buy anything. Credit cards to the rescue. At least they have credit limits. #money