It is always important for you to know your available balance before you make a payment or purchase. When you look at your account information online, you will see your account’s current available balance. This is the bank’s most current record of the money that is available for you to use or withdraw from your account. However, the bank’s available balance doesn’t include transactions that you have made that are not yet known to us, for example checks you have just written or the car payment you just authorized.

That is why the best tool to help you avoid overspending is your own personal transaction register. Use your transaction register to record every deposit and withdrawal you make whether it is by check, ATM, debit card, or automatic payment (e.g., your car payment or gym membership). Only you know all the transactions that will affect the balance you have available for making that next payment.

What happens when you spend more than you have in your checking account?  There are several possibilities.

  • Your next ATM or debit card transaction may be declined when you are attempting to withdraw money or make a purchase. There is no fee associated with a declined ATM or debit card transaction.
  • If you have Overdraft Protection, funds will be automatically transferred from a savings or credit account that is linked to your checking account. 
  • Your transaction may be paid into overdraft. If so, you will need to repay the overdraft and an overdraft fee will likely be charged.
  • Your transaction may be returned unpaid due to insufficient funds. Keep in mind that if this returned transaction is for payment of a bill (e.g., credit card, car payment or insurance premium) the party you're paying may charge a returned payment or late payment fee.


Keeping an accurate record of your transactions is one of the best ways to avoid spending more money than you have in your account.

Wells Fargo offers services, such as online and mobile banking and text alerts that help you monitor account activity and the current available balance. But remember – you will be in the best position to know exactly how much money you have to spend when you keep an accurate and current record of every transaction you have made or that may be automatically paid from your account on a future date.

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