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Limit of Six Withdrawals from Savings Accounts

Written by Nickel - 34 Comments

Did you know that the Federal Reserve limits certain transactions on your savings account(s)? Well, they do. And guess what? This morning, I received the following e-mail from ING Direct:

Based on recent activity in your Orange Savings Account, we want to remind you that you cannot make more than six withdrawals from your account each month. This is a federal regulation that all banks are required to follow for savings accounts like this one, so if this type of activity occurs more than three times in any 12-month period, we will have to close your account.

We don’t want that to happen, so here’s what you can do to prevent your account from being closed:

  • Take a look at your statements or go to ingdirect.com and review your account activity.
  • Keep track of how many times you transfer money out of your Orange Savings Account, including transfers to other ING DIRECT Accounts, and make sure you’re not making more than six withdrawals each month.
  • Make one or two larger transactions rather than moving money numerous times. This will reduce the number of withdrawals you make each month.

Give us a call at 1-888-464-0727 if you have any questions.

Save Your Money.

Apparently we approached (or surpassed, I haven’t checked) the six transaction limit last month, which triggered this message. If you’re interested in exactly what types of transactions count against the limit, check out this passage from Section 204.2(d)(2) of Regulation D of the Federal Reserve Board:

…the depositor is permitted or authorized to make no more than six transfers and withdrawals, or a combination of such transfers and withdrawals, per calendar month or statement cycle… to another account (including a transaction account) of the depositor at the same institution or to a third party by means of a preauthorized or automatic transfer, or telephonic (including data transmission) agreement, order, or instruction, and no more than three of the six such transfers may be made by check, draft, debit card, or similar order made by the depositor and payable to third parties.

In plain English, courtesy of GenXFinance

Transactions that are limited:

  • Pre-authorized transfer to a third party
  • Pre-authorized payment to a third party (ACH)
  • Pre-authorized transfer to an individual’s own non-loan account
  • Transfer for overdraft protection
  • Transfers or payments done via telephone system
  • Transfers or payments authorized via fax
  • In addition no more than three transactions may be made by check, draft, debit card, or similar order and payable to a third party

Transactions that are not limited:

  • In person request
  • Transactions initiated via mail
  • To make a payment on an in-house loan account
  • Transactions via ATM

So… If you’re like us and you rely on a high yield online savings account to maximize your interest, keep an eye on those transactions. As the e-mail from ING suggested, try to group them together and make oine big transaction instead of many small transactions. Another option would be to transition to a high-yield checking account, such as an Electric Orange account, which doesn’t have such limitations.

Published on December 3rd, 2008
Modified on September 27th, 2013 - 34 Comments
Filed under: Banking

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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34 Responses to “Limit of Six Withdrawals from Savings Accounts”

  1. 1
    Philip Says:

    I got this email recently for my october usage. I got three paychecks that month and I had it set up to automatically move some into another savings account automatically. This caused my transaction numbers to go up right there, so I changed how that transaction was done and to change some of my other patterns.

    Guess we just need to know these limits, being that I have quite a few accounts with ING but try not to move around too much.

  2. 2
    Online Banks Blog Says:

    I ran into this problem with my Wachovia savings account once. Several years ago we made the mistake of hooking our overdraft protection to our savings account. Just so happened that one day we made 6 debit card purchases that overdrafted and tapped into our savings account.

  3. 3
    Bryan Says:

    I also had this happen to our WAMU savings account this year – we had several connected checking accounts and had set up some automatic monthly transfers out of savings into checking for convenience. It was fine until there was a month where we had a number of one time bills to pay, so we went over the 6 withdrawal limit. It was a 33 dollar fee PER withdrawal over the limit. Luckily I caught it in time before we did more. Ended up turning off those automatic transfers, and now try to move money all at once.

    I’d thought that the “6 transaction limit” was just particular to WAMU, had no idea it was a Federal regulation – thanks for posting about it…

  4. 4
    Mike Says:

    This happened to me awhile back. I assumed that I would be able to transfer money in-house between all of my accounts at ING… wrong! By the time I had changed all of my automatic withdrawls to be taken from my Electric Orange account, the 3-months of doing over 6 withdrawls had already passed. It didn’t really bother me too much, as I just opened another account to take the old ones place. Hopefully it won’t be too confusing come tax time.

    I assumed this was an online bank thing as I have never ran into this problem at my local bank and I transfer money between checking and savings there all the time.

  5. 5
    Patrick Says:

    Yeah, I got the same thing with HSBC a year or two back. I made sure that I had my direct deposit put into my checking and then transferred things over either online or via the ATM. It’s also another reason why I’ve been looking for another checking account.

  6. 6
    jdmitch Says:

    Yup, I got that email last srping. That’s why, NOW, with my personal system my twice-monthly paycheck goes into my Electric Orange account. Then EO disburses to my Savings Account (ING) and “daily spending” Checking Account (Intrust Bank) on a weekly basis, and my Fidelity IRA on a monthly basis.
    Basically, you just need to use Electric Orange as you “clearinghouse” account and the others as deposit endpoints. You shouldn’t use a savings account as your “clearinghouse” account for making distributions. You really don’t miss out on much interest that way (aka lost interest = difference in interest rates / 52 – if your average time between EO and ING Savings is a week to disburse)

  7. 7
    KJohn Says:

    I got into a big mess because of this. The email sent by the bank didn’t reach my inbox. It went directly to my spam folder and I continued deducting money from my Savings Account. This went on until I got a written notification delivered by my postman.

  8. 8
    Miss m Says:

    I used to have 4 automatic withdrawals set up from a savings account, then I had to make several additional withdrawals from that account and oops I went over the limit of 6. I switched all my automatic deductions over to my checking account so I wouldn’t run into that problem again.

  9. 9
    DW Says:

    We got one of those notices from our brick-and-mortar bank a couple of years ago, too. I suspect everyone runs afoul of that rule one time or another …

  10. 10
    Neko Says:

    If you have a Money Market Account you are limited to 3 withdrawals per month. I had a Capital One Direct account a few years back and made 4 withdrawals for 3 months in a row.

    All of a sudden I received a check in the mail from Capital One Direct accompanied by a statement informing me that I had violated SEC Regulations and therefore could no longer bank with them.

    I was like, what . . . . ?

  11. 11
    Morp Says:

    With ING Direct the easy way around this is to simply close the account that is nearing it’s withdrawal limit and open another ING savings account. You can endlessly do this to avoid this problem.

  12. 12
    gm Says:

    They don’t mind a large number of deposits however…only a problem with the number of withdrawals :-)

  13. 13
    banana1217 Says:

    I was concerned about the 6 withdrawals from the savings account so I asked an ING Direct CSR about this. He said that you get 6 withdrawals per savings account per month. He said each sub-account also gets 6 withdrawals per month.
    I now do what jdmitch suggests and use the Electric Orange checking account as the “clearing house” and then disburse into my sub-accounts. I now have several sub-accounts that I can withdraw from and I have not come close to reaching the maximum withdrawal per month.

  14. 14
    Danielle Says:

    We hit this at our brick and mortar back a while ago. We were using our savings account to pay our mortgage and a couple other bills, and when we also transferred money back to our checking a couple times that month… we hit the 6 and they let us know right away!

    This is also one of the reasons I have a “clearing house” checking account for our bills.

    Good to bring up though.

  15. 15
    Rebecca Says:

    Glad you posted this! I just checked and I made exactly six withdrawals from my ING account last month. They didn’t send me that same email, though.

    jdmitch – I will use your suggestion of using the Electric Orange account as a “clearinghouse” from now on. Thanks for the tip.

  16. 16
    Paul Says:

    I am surprised to see the number of people who are tapping into their savings. Not good signs.

    Withdrawals are limited to 6, in an MMA OR savings account. This is to discourage using it like a checking account and so the bank can better keep track of how much money is in these savings accounts.

    6 is pretty generous, 3 of which can be a written check. These accounts are for saving, if you are making more than 6 transactions out, you are looking for a checking account. “You can’t have your cake, and eat it too”.

  17. 17
    jdmitch Says:

    Paul,

    I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure FCN readers haven’t been “tapping into savings”. I believe most have been using a high-interest savings account as a “clearinghouse account”. Meaning, paychecks are deposited into the HISA and then the HISA puts a budgetted amount into various spending / investments accounts.

    “Clearinghouse” is actually a VERY good money management strategy. However, as many have learned you need to use a HICA (checking) rather than a HISA as the “clearinghouse”. You just make sure your deposit of HICA>HISA is dated for the day of or day after your paycheck deposit.

  18. 18
    Paul Says:

    jdmitch,

    More money should be going into savings and not out. If people are over drafting, and saying they are hitting over 6 transactions out of their savings, that’s not its intended use.

    My method is a direct deposit into my checking. I pay my bills from there, and every week I have an automatic transaction to deposit money INTO my savings.

  19. 19
    philip Says:

    I am with jdmitch, if I can put my money into the savings account and earn a little more interest I see no reason not to do it that way. I will pull the money out of my “spending savings” when my mortgage comes up and when my credit card bill comes up, really the only 2 payments I make out of that account.

    It is just another game they allow (or force) you to play like credit card rewards.

    Tell me a reason that I should not use the account this way and earn a little more out of it?

  20. 20
    nickel Says:

    jdmitch is correct. We’re not “tapping into our savings.” Rather, we intentionally keep our local checking account (which earns a pittance) as low as possible and hold all other money in a high yield savings account until it’s needed (we have a separate savings account for longer-term savings).

    There are also instances in which people automatically transfer money from savings accounts to retirement accounts. Some mutual fund companies, including Vanguard, make a withdrawal for each mutual fund that you invest in (even if they are held within the same IRA), rather than lumping them together into one withdrawal and then splitting across funds on their end. Thus, what is functionally one withdrawal from your perspective becomes multiple withdrawals when executed.

    Regarding the “intended use” of a savings account, I’m of the opinion that anything that stays within the rules falls under the intended use of one of these accounts. There’s no reason that they should only be used only for long-term savings that will remain at the bank indefinitely, which is what you seem to imply. You just have to strategize to stay under the six monthly withdrawal limit. The idea of lumping multiple withdrawals together into one large withdrawal is a good one.

  21. 21
    Paul Says:

    I stand corrected. There is no tapping into savings going on here.

    Staying within the limitations of the 6 transactions is perfectly fine. I transfer out of my savings into retirement accounts. Most of the comments were of people going over this limit.

    I too hold all other money in my high yield savings and keep my checking as low as possible. But I do it checking first, then into savings, and not the other way around. That’s the method that works for me. Others say they do it the other way around, which works the same, and that’s good.

    philip, INGDirect compounds monthly, other banks compound daily. It works out better for me to make deposits weekly. Your average daily balance would be the same either way compounding monthly. Your situation may be different than mine.

    Nickel, great post. Helpful information for those who were unaware of this. I was surprised to know this limitation was on savings accounts. I thought it was only on MMA’s before.

  22. 22
    nickel Says:

    Yeah, we also go checking first, then savings, but we have things like that Vanguard auto-investment gotcha that get us close to the limit. I could always pull that directly from checking, or transfer back to checking before Vanguard pulls it, but that increases the risk of an overdraft. Anyway, this is the first time in years of doing this that we’ve eclipsed the limit, so I’m not too worried.

  23. 23
    MarkyMark&ThaFunkyBunch Says:

    What’s weird is that if you withdraw/transfer money from your savings via ATM or from over the counter this is okay and does not count againt you 6 transaction limit. It it only applies to “non-signature” transactions (Yes, your ATM PIN is considered an electronic signature). I don’t understand why the rule isn’t absolute and why the distinction exists because I don’t believe there were that many (if any) electronic transfers in 1933.

  24. 24
    Anarchist Says:

    Just another example of the government sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong in an attempt to control their “sheep”!

    What’s next? A limit on the air we breath? A limit on how many times you can use the bathroom? Maybe a limit on how many times a month you can have sex?

    Come on, it’s your damn money people! The government had no right to regulate how you use it or how you want your money moved within a financial institution!

    This country has become an institution for the rich and powerful and not the people.

  25. 25
    Joe Says:

    I had this happen to me for the first time at Chase. I can understand IF it were a high yield account, but I have a .1% interest rate on this account! I agree, it’s our money we should do what we want. Me, I’ll be closing my savings using my safe from here on out. Why should I let them have my money? I’m not getting interest and I may have to pay them a fee? Give me a break!

  26. 26
    Gina Says:

    Anarchist:
    I agree with your assessment of the level of government interference. I personally cannot understand what situation would require a federal law to be mandated to place such a restriction on a person’s private activities. It is outrageous that the fed would assume that people are too dumb to manage their own lives and that they must do our thinking for us.
    However, that being said, I don’t know why you would make the statement that the country has become an institution for the rich and powerful, and not the people. This country, like ALL countries, is made up of both rich and poor, powerful and weak, good and bad. You can’t just label one group better or worse than another. People who judge others (unjustly and without reason) based on anything other than their personal merits, are prejudiced. Saying that “all rich people are bad” is a falacy and smacks of bigotry.
    Keep the argument on a logical level – it’s a bad law and it should be either justified or repealed.

  27. 27
    MG Says:

    Chase Bank has been charging me a savings withdrawal limit fee on ATM withdrawals. So far 4 this month. They’ve reversed off 3, but I haven’t talked to them about the 4th yet. If ATM withdrawals are specifically EXCLUDED, as you say, WTF is Chase Bank charging me withdrawal fees for? The only way I’ve moved money out of my account is by ATM withdrawal, as always. This is the first time they’ve ever CHARGED ME a fee for ATM withdrawals. 4 times, no less… I think they’re being very evil at the moment and trying to collect fees they have no right to.I’ve filed a complaint with the reserve. We’ll see what they say.

  28. 28
    MG Says:

    As you say, it appears the fed issues the guidance here:

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/....._depos.pdf

    “Other, less-convenient types of transfers, such as withdrawals or transfers made in person at the bank, by mail, or by using an ATM, do not count toward the six-per-month limit and do not affect the account’s status as a savings account.”

    It seems like they’re saying ATM withdrawals should not count toward the 6/mo “transfer” limit. Ergo, Chase Bank is evil. Or at least not applying Reg D correctly if they’re trying to use it to justify cash-grabbing $5/transactino fees for ATM withdrawals specifically excluded under Reg D.

  29. 29
    MG Says:

    Furthermore, this link is similar guidance from the Fed:

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/...../19970320/

    “As it is generally more convenient to make a transfer at home than to go to a branch, withdrawals or transfers in person at a branch are unlimited. Withdrawals from an ATM machine, which involve more inconvenience than home banking, and transfers by mail or to repay loans from the institution (other than overdrafts), are also unlimited.”

    Bottom line, Chase is out of line IMO. Methinks my complaint to the Reserve is meritorious, though I didn’t have these two links at the time…

  30. 30
    Andrea Says:

    You all should call and ask for your money back. Chase bank has done the same thing to me. I promptly called them upon review of my bank statements and explained to Chase that this “rule” was not explained to me. They refunded me a portion of my money.

  31. 31
    Vic Says:

    I would sure like to hear a justification for this regulation. It has caused hardship and expense for no apparent reason. Looks to me like some bureaucrat is making up rules to justify his existence. Someone please enlighten me.

  32. 32
    Charlie Says:

    Vic, it has been a while since I learned about this, so please take what I say with a bit of a grain of salt.

    The regulation has to do with the difference between checking and savings accounts. Checking account balances tend to be a lot more volatile, it is the account people ‘transact’ with. You would like to ensure that no matter what, a bank will have enough money on hand to honor checks, withdrawal requests, etc. and so the Federal Reserve requires that a certain percentage of checking accounts assets stay ‘in the vault.’ The classic, old timey idea of a savings account is a lot more stable: people put money into savings that they don’t plan on touching for a while. So, savings accounts require little, if any, money be put ‘in the vault.’ This means that the bank can lend out the entire balance of the account and therefore earn more money (which is passed on in the form of higher interest rates).

    If the regulation did not exist, banks would push all their checking customers into MMAs, since it would allow them to skirt rules on how much to hold in reserve. So, they had to do something to make MMAs an unattractive place for people to put their ‘transaction’ money. Hence, Regulation D.

  33. 33
    phyllis Says:

    Iam in pursuit of an account where me and my husband can save for an event or what ever. and know that are money is save as well as getting it when the deadline is up. and as well as having a plan. And having a compenent banker to accompany us.

  34. 34
    joe waldner Says:

    I was charged 15 dollars fo exceeding six transfers withen 12 months from my savings this is from pnc bank Iwould like to know who gave them permission to do this when I asked they said the government and pnc gets to keep it

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