1. What is Courtesy Pay?
Courtesy Pay is a service that adds a measure of protection to your checking account. Courtesy Pay may cover your transactions when you do not have sufficient funds in your checking account for a fee as noted on our Fee Schedule. That means, instead of returning a check to the merchant because of insufficient funds, the credit union may pay your item which will save you additional charges from the merchant.
2. How does Courtesy Pay work?
If there are not sufficient funds in your checking account when a transaction is presented for payment, it may be paid using funds in this order:
- Through transfers from your Westerra savings or Money Market Account (if applicable).
Reg D limits the number of transfers from each savings or Money Market Account to six each month. Learn about transfer limits.
- Through the available balance in your overdraft line of credit (if applicable).
- Through Courtesy Pay—up to a limit of $750 for individuals and $1500 for business accounts—for a fee up to $31 per transaction. That means, instead of returning an item unpaid to the merchant because of insufficient funds, the credit union may pay your item, for the same fee, which will save you additional charges from the merchant. You then need to bring your account current within 30 days.
Once the first two options have been depleted and Courtesy Pay is used to pay your transaction, a fee will be assessed to your account for each item that draws your account negative based upon your available account balance at the time of the transaction.
3. What is the difference between actual balance and available balance?
Your checking account has two kinds of balances: the actual balance and the available balance. Both can be checked by reviewing your account online, at an ATM, by phone or at a branch. It is important to understand how the two balances work so that you know how much money is in your account at any given time.
- Your actual balance is the amount of money that is actually in your account at any given time. It reflects transactions that have “posted” to your account, but not transactions that have been authorized and are pending. While the term “actual” may sound as though the number you see is an up-to-date display of what is in your account that you can spend, that is not always the case. Any purchases, holds, fees, other charges or deposits made on your account that have not yet posted will not appear in your actual balance. For example: If you have a $50 actual balance, but you just wrote a check for $40, then your actual balance is $50 but it does not reflect the pending check transaction. So at that point, you actually have $50, but you have already spent $40.
- Your available balance is the amount of money in your account that is available to you to use without incurring an overdraft fee. The available balance takes into account things like holds placed on deposits and pending transactions (such as pending debit card purchases) that Westerra has authorized but that have not yet posted to your account. For example: Assume you have an actual balance of $50 and an available balance of $50. If you were to use your debit card at a restaurant to buy lunch for $20, then that merchant could ask us to pre-authorize the payment. In that case, we will put a “hold” on your account for $20. Your actual balance would still be $50 because this transaction has not yet posted, but your available balance would be $30 because you have committed to pay the restaurant $20. When the restaurant submits its bill for payment (which could be a few days later), we will post the transaction to your account and your actual balance will be reduced by $20.
- Available balance is used to determine when your account is overdrawn. The following example illustrates how this works: Assume your actual 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. Your actual balance is still $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 (you have committed to pay the restaurant $20), your account will be overdrawn by $10, even though your actual balance is $50. In this case, we may pay the $40 check, but you will be charged a Courtesy Pay fee. That fee will be deducted from your account, further reducing the balance.
It is very important to understand that you may still overdraw your account even though the available balance appears to show there are sufficient funds to cover a transaction that you want to make. This is because your available balance may not reflect all your outstanding checks and automatic bill payments that you have authorized, or other outstanding transactions that have not been paid from your account. In the example above, the outstanding check will not be reflected in your available balance until it is presented to us and paid from your account.
In addition, your available balance may not reflect all of your debit card transactions. For example, if a merchant obtains our prior authorization but does not submit a one-time debit card transaction for payment within two (2) calendar days of authorization, we must release the authorization hold on the transaction. The available balance will not reflect this transaction once the hold has been released until the transaction has been received by us and paid from your account.
4. If Westerra receives several items on the same day for payment from my checking account, in what order are the transactions paid?
Transactions are paid in the chronological order they are received, regardless of the dollar amount or method of presentment for payment on the account. When checks are received in the same day, they are processed in check number order. When automated (ACH) transactions are received in the same day, deposits to your account are posted first, followed by payments. If the Courtesy Pay limit is exceeded, all subsequent items may be declined or returned unpaid to the merchant and you will be assessed a fee per returned item.
5. What does Courtesy Pay cost?
There is no additional cost associated with Courtesy Pay unless you use it. You will be charged our standard Courtesy Pay fee of $31 for each item paid on your behalf which was created by check or other electronic means, up to the limit. For example, three paid items in one day will result in three instances of Courtesy Pay fees. If paying the transaction puts the account in a negative balance of $10 or less, the Courtesy Pay fee is just $10. To help you manage your account, the total fees you have paid for Courtesy Pay and items (both paid and returned) during the current month, and for the year-to-date, will be reflected on your monthly checking statement.
6. What is the difference between overdraft protection and Courtesy Pay?
Both Overdraft Protection and Courtesy Pay are designed to prevent you from having a transaction rejected due to non-sufficient funds (NSF), saving you from awkward situations, as well as from any additional fees from a merchant or biller.
- Overdraft Protection does this by allowing funds to be transferred from a previously designated account (including any savings account or overdraft line of credit you have at Westerra) to pay an item. Overdraft Protection will NOT allow the account to be overdrawn (go into a negative balance) to pay an item.
- Courtesy Pay, on the other hand, is a non-contractual courtesy offered at the sole discretion of Westerra Credit Union, where if your account is in good standing, instead of returning the transaction to the merchant, Westerra Credit Union may approve your overdrafts within your current available Courtesy Pay limit for a per item fee. You will then need to bring your account to a positive balance within 30 days.
7. How do I qualify for Courtesy Pay?
Requirements include, but are not limited to:
- You must be at least 18 years old
- You must have had your Westerra Credit Union checking account opened for a minimum of 30 days and in good standing
- Your account must be brought to a positive balance within 30 days
Enrollment in Courtesy Pay is automatic for the following transactions and requires no action on your part:
- Written checks
- Automated payment (ACH) transactions
At your request, Courtesy Pay may also be available for these transactions:
- One-time debit card transactions
- Recurring debit card transactions
Payments made on your behalf are at the discretion of Westerra Credit Union. Courtesy Pay program requirements and procedures may be changed or withdrawn at any time without contact. Members will be removed from the Courtesy Pay program if they do not meet the above requirements.
8. How do I add Courtesy Pay for my debit card transactions?
Courtesy Pay is not activated on your checking account for debit card transactions unless you choose to add it. If you choose to add Courtesy Pay for debit card transactions, complete the Courtesy Pay Services Opt-In Form and return it to a Westerra branch or mail it to: Westerra Credit Union, P.O. Box 9408, Denver, CO 80209—or call us at 303-321-4209.
9. What happens with my debit card transactions if I do not add Courtesy Pay?
If you do not opt-in to Courtesy Pay for debit card transactions and there are not sufficient funds in your account to cover a transaction, the transaction is simply denied, without a fee.
10. What type of transactions do not qualify for Courtesy Pay?
Certain types of access methods do not allow transactions which would overdraw your account. These include:
- Teller access at a branch
- Phone banking
- Online banking transfers
- Money Market Account checks
- ATM transactions
11. How quickly must I repay my Courtesy Pay?
When you have an overdraft that is paid through Courtesy Pay, you should make every attempt to bring your account to a positive balance as soon as possible, and must do so within 30 days. If you are not able to bring your account to a positive balance within 30 days you will receive a letter from Westerra Credit Union informing you of the situation and your options. If, thereafter, your account has not been brought to a positive balance, we may suspend your account and take other steps to recover the funds.
12. What if I go beyond my Courtesy Pay limit?
Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) items presented above and beyond your established Courtesy Pay limit may result in transactions being declined or returned to the payee. The standard NSF fee will be charged per returned item and assessed to your account. A Returned Item notice will be sent to notify you of our actions.
13. Is Courtesy Pay considered a loan?
No, Courtesy Pay is not a loan. It is a non-contractual courtesy, offered at the sole discretion of Westerra Credit Union, to members who maintain their checking accounts in good standing. Unlike a loan, no interest will be charged on the overdraft balance, although there is a per item fee each time it is used.
14. What other tools are available at Westerra to help me monitor my accounts and avoid fees?
- Set Alerts in Online Banking to let you know if your account reaches a certain high or low balance or if transactions over a certain amount take place on your account. Online Banking is free for all members.
- Download the free CardNav App to receive real-time notifications on your phone every time a transaction is made on your account. You can set spending limits, approved merchant locations and types of transactions—and you can turn your cards on or off instantly.
- Use the free Westerra Mobile Banking App to quickly and easily check your balances.
- Record all your automated transactions, bill payments, online banking transfers, checks, debit card transactions, ATM withdrawals and other payments. Ask for a check register at any branch. Be sure you are tracking your actual balance, not just your available balance.
- Apply for an overdraft line of credit. Fees and minimum payment are based upon the amount advanced. Inquire at any branch or call us at 303-321-4209.
- Transfer funds from a personal line of credit as you need it. Apply online, inquire at any branch or call us at 303-321-4209.
- Set up transfers from a savings account to cover overdrafts. Westerrra’s standard practice is to link your checking account to your share/savings account to automatically transfer funds. If you would like to link a Money Market Account or other savings account to your checking account, please inquire at any branch or call us at 303-321-4209. Learn about transfer limits.
15. If I write a check to someone and they bring it to Westerra to cash, and there are not sufficient funds in my account, will Courtesy Pay allow the check to be cashed?
Yes, at our discretion, Courtesy Pay may allow the check to be cashed and you will be assessed a fee. This is identical to how the check would be treated if it were presented through the normal banking channels.
16. How do I sign up for Courtesy Pay?
If you would like to add Courtesy Pay for debit card transactions, complete this form and return it to a Westerra branch or mail it to: Westerra Credit Union, P.O. Box 9408, Denver, CO 80209—or call us at 303-321-4209. For joint accounts, either joint owner may opt-in or opt-out. For business accounts, only a “responsible owner” may opt-in or opt-out.
17. After I sign up, how soon will Courtesy Pay be available for my debit card transactions?
- For new accounts in good standing, Courtesy Pay will become available 30 days after your account was opened.
- For existing accounts in good standing, Courtesy Pay will become available within two business days after we receive your request.
- For new business accounts in good standing, Courtesy Pay will become available 60 days after your account was opened.
18. What if I sign up for Courtesy Pay for debit card transactions, then change my mind?
If you opt-in to this service, and then at any time you wish to opt-out of using this service, contact us at 303-321-4209 or complete this form and return it to a Westerra branch or mail it to: Westerra Credit Union, P.O. Box 9408, Denver, CO 80209.
19. How do I set up transfers from savings or an overdraft line of credit to prevent overdrafts on my checking account?
To set up transfers from savings or an overdraft line of credit, please inquire at any Westerrra branch or call us at 303-321-4209.