What is an overdraft?
A bank overdraft is a line of credit that covers your transactions if your bank account balance drops below zero.
Bank overdraft definition
An overdraft facility linked to your everyday transaction account is an unsecured line of credit designed to cover short-term cash flow shortfalls.
When would I need an overdraft?
We've all been there, when the bills are due and payday hasn't come around yet. Overdrafts come in handy when you need to proactively manage these common cash flow situations.
Where an overdraft facility is not arranged in advance, banks charge what is known as an “account overdrawn fee” when your balance goes below zero.
For example, at Westpac this fee is $15, charged once on any given day that a customer overdraws their account and it isn't corrected by the end of the day (excluding the Choice - Concession holders and Reward Saver – Under 12 accounts).
Benefits of a bank overdraft
An overdraft allows you to access extra funds through your transaction account up to an approved overdraft limit, avoiding overdrawn and dishonour fees.
Interest is only charged on the amount overdrawn (when fees and charges are paid on time). A monthly service fee may also be charged, depending on the type of overdraft you choose.
You can make withdrawals using your overdraft in all the usual ways, including at an ATM, in branch, Debit Mastercard, BPAY®, Online, Mobile, Telephone and EFTPOS.
Overdrafts don't have a set repayment schedule, allowing you to decide when you want to make a repayment, for example, when your salary is credited to your account.
You should also carefully consider the overdraft limit you apply for to avoid overspending.
Credit criteria, terms and conditions, fees and charges apply.
Types of bank overdraft
At Westpac, we offer two types of overdraft for personal use:
When is a bank overdraft not the best option?
Overdrafts are useful for covering short-term cash flow short-falls. However, they are not suitable for consolidating debts. Learn more here about debt consolidation.