Overdraft Limit

What is an overdraft limit?

Your Overdraft Limit is the maximum amount that your bank is prepared for you to borrow from your current account.

When a customer exceeds their authorised overdraft limit, they go into unauthorised overdraft which often results in the customer being charged one or more fees, together with a higher rate of lending on the amount by which they have exceeded their authorised overdraft limit. The fees charged by banks can vary.

A customer may also incur a fee if they present an item which their issuing bank declines for reason of insufficient funds, that is, the bank elects not to permit the customer to go into unauthorised overdraft. Again, the level and nature of such fees varies widely between banks.


Q: How can I increase my overdraft limit?

A: In the past this was something that could only be done in-branch but more recently the option to do this online or via telephone banking has been made available too. For your bank to agree to increase your overdraft limit they may first assess the risks involved with granting you a higher limit.

This is much like any other kind of credit application, where the lender needs to assess your credit history and current commitments to gauge how likely you are to repay any amount borrowed.

Q: What is the difference between authorised and unauthorised overdrafts?

A: An authorised overdraft is a set limit that you are allowed to borrow beyond your current finances. For example, you might have an authorised overdraft for £500 that your bank will allow you to use when you’ve used the funds in that account. If you have not previously agreed this in advance, or you exceed the limit, it becomes an unauthorised overdraft. These usually carry much higher fees than an authorised overdraft.

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