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Education Center

Account Balance for Overdrafts

Understanding Your Account Balance

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Your checking account has two kinds of balances: the Current Balance and the Available Balance. You can view both balances when you review your account online, at an ATM, by phone, or at a branch.  AllSouth uses your Available Balance when determining whether a transaction will cause your account to overdraw and for charging overdraft fees.

We'll explain how your checking account balance works - including the differences between your Current and Available Balance.

Available vs. Current Balance

What exactly is an Available Balance and a Current Balance? Is there a difference?  Yes, there is a difference, and it could impact your account and potential fees.

  • Available Balance: Available Balance is the amount of money that is available to you without incurring an overdraft fee. This balance is updated on a continuous basis and shows holds and pending transactions that have been authorized but may not have yet posted. Your Available Balance is used to determine if your account will overdraft and incur penalty charges.
  • Current Balance: Current Balance is the total amount of money that you have in your account. Your Current Balance reflects transactions that have cleared your account, but it does not include transactions that have been authorized and are pending. The Current Balance will change depending on when transactions are debited from your account.  Your purchases, or any other charges, fees, or deposits that you make, may not appear immediately and therefore, will not appear in your Current Balance.

Which is best to use to determine if you have enough money to spend?

To determine whether you have enough money in your account to cover a transaction, always use your Available Balance. The Available Balance is based upon the deposits, withdrawals, and all pending electronic transactions on your account.

Example of Overdraft Fee for Insufficient Available Balance

Assume your Current and Available Balances are both $50, and you swipe your debit card at a restaurant for $20. A hold is placed on your account, so your Available Balance is only $30 now. Your Current Balance will still show $50. Before the restaurant charge is sent to us for processing, a check that you wrote for $40 clears. Because you have only $30 available your account will be overdrawn by $10, even though your Current Balance is $50. 

Reliability of Your Available Balance

It is important to understand that you may still overdraw your account even though the Available Balance appears to show you have enough funds. (Read more about Overdraft Services.)  This is because your Available Balance may not reflect all of your outstanding checks and automatic bill payments that you have authorized but have not yet posted to your account.  Additionally, your Available Balance may not reflect all of your debit card transactions as well.

Examples of Transactions Not Reflected in Your Available Balance

  • Outstanding Checks and Bill Payments: If you have written a check or have set up automatic bill payments, those transactions will not be reflected in your Available Balance until they clear.  These transactions will be reflected in your Current Balance and Available Balance when they clear your account.
  • Debit Card Holds: If you use your debit card and the purchase does not post to your account within 72 hours, AllSouth must release the hold on the transaction.  Since the hold has been released, your Available Balance would not reflect this transaction until the transaction clears your account.