Did you know there are limits to how many times can I transfer money from savings to checking? Let's look at federal limits known as ‘Regulation D'), as well as how many withdrawals from savings you can make.

young couple, handing debit card to banker, text overlay "how many times can I transfer money from savings to checking?Even though we treat our savings account like a black hole from which we rarely extract cash, there have been a few occasions over the years when we’ve made a withdrawal. Off the top of my head, this included when we put a down payment on our home, and when we paid for our last beater car with cash.

In other words, we’ve never had problems with the monthly limits on the amount of withdrawals that can be made from a savings account. Like me, you’ve probably noticed these limits when filling out the paperwork.

But did you realize that this was because of federal regulations, and that it could end up costing you money?

How Many Times Can You Withdraw and/or Transfer from Savings each Month?

According to the Federal Reserve Board (Reserve Requirements for Depository Institutions Regulation D, or “reg d”), there is a limit of 6 withdrawals or outgoing transfers per month from savings or money market accounts.

The types of transactions that are counted towards this reg d limit are:

“preauthorized or automatic transfer, or telephonic (including data transmission) agreement, order or instruction, or by check, draft, debit card, or similar order made by the depositor and payable to third parties.”

You should also know that monthly limit is based on when the transaction is PROCESSED, not when you write the check or authorize it.

The reason for this is a savings account is classified as a “savings deposit” by the Federal Reserve Board, which carries a 0% reserve requirement for banks. In other words, the bank does not need to keep any of the money that you put into your account in a reserve (they can loan it all out and earn interest, which is why you earn interest on your savings).

BUT, if you start making lots of transactions out of the account, then you're treating it like a makeshift checking account — and the federal reserve board doesn't like that.

Note: Comments around the internet I came across while researching this article show that some banks will penalize you for making fewer than 6 withdrawals, so be sure to check with your banking institution or read the fine print on your savings account.

Savings Account Transfer Limits by Bank:

  • Bank of America Transfer Limit Per Month: Each month you can make up to 6 withdrawals from savings, with no penalties. After that, you're charged a $10 Withdrawal Fee (unless you maintain a minimum daily balance of $20,000 in the account).
  • How Many Times Can You Withdraw from Chase Savings: You're limited to 6 withdrawals from your savings account each month, and a $5 Savings Withdrawal fee is charged when you go over that.
  • How Many Transfers from Savings to Checking Allowed Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo has a 6 transfers limit, and will charge you a $15 excess activity fee for going over it. Online and mobile transfers above the limit  are automatically declined, FYI, to protect you from having your account closed down and/or converted to a checking account.

How Can this Can Affect Your Overdraft Protections and Cost You Money

Do you have your savings account linked to your checking to help with Overdraft Protection? Then you might

Banks offer Overdraft Protection, or a way to cover your purchases/debits/transactions if you don't have enough money in your checking account for the transaction. One of the ways they do this is by linking your savings account to your checking account, and then allowing (by you signing a document giving permission) them to take money from your savings and put it in your checking to cover insufficient amounts.

In theory, this saves you money because if you overdraft, then you don't have to pay that pesky $30-$45 in insufficient funds fee.

However, with the six-withdrawal limit placed on savings accounts, if you happen to overdraft too much in one month, you might still get charged a fee.

When Does Regulation D Reset for You?

The limit of 6 withdrawals or outgoing transfers per month on savings accounts resets on the first of each month. Are you in need of money from your savings account before then? Check out the following “loophole” to get around it.

ATM withdrawals from a savings account actually don't count towards your 6 withdrawals. Neither do withdrawals you make in person!

So, if you're in a pinch, you could always go to your bank, withdrawal the amount you need in person, and either deposit it into your checking account (if that's where you need it), or take the money.

Why Does Regulation D Exist?

Regulation D is a way to ensure banks keep enough “reserves” (meaning, money) on hand.

See, banks take the deposits you and others make, and they lend it out to people to earn interest. Loans to others are for things like mortgages, cars, etc. (heck, you might even have one of these loans from a bank!).

But a bank cannot loan out ALL of it's reserves (or money), because then if too many people want their money back at once, the bank might go under.

The required amount of money a financial institution (like a bank or credit union) must keep is based on the balance of it's transactional accounts (aka, checking accounts).

What are the Penalties When There's Too Many Withdrawals from Savings Account?

So what could happen if you exceed this limit, or the more stringent limit your bank imposes?

There are three possible penalties for going over your withdrawal limits on a savings account or money market account, per the law:

  1. You are charged a fee.
  2. Your account is closed.
  3. Your account is converted into a checking account.

What this will look like to you, the consumer:

  • An Error Message: Some banks will not allow the transaction to occur, and instead you will receive an error message.
  • A Penalty: You may be assessed a monetary penalty per transaction above the limit.
  • Termination/Transfer of the Account: If you go over the limit, then your account could automatically (with notification, hopefully) be re-characterized as a checking account.
  • You're Charged an Overdraft Fee: If you happen to have overdraft protection set up to come out of your savings account, and you go over your withdrawal limits before it kicks in, then you'll be charged an overdraft fee.

Have you ever exceeded the limit of withdrawals? How were you notified, and what was the outcome? 

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 10 years, her money work helping people with how to save money and how to manage money has been featured in Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here.
11 replies
  1. Megan says:

    I’ve received a notice twice in the last year that we had exceeded our limit of 6 transactions. I like to put as much money into savings as possible and then just pull it out when I need it. I suppose I understand why they have a limit, but at the same time, why should it matter if I choose to move my money around to different accounts?

    Reply
  2. Gino C says:

    i need to withdraw cash from my bank account in Canada can I withdraw $9500 twice in a month

    Reply
  3. Jack @ Enwealthen says:

    Learned something new today, thanks!

    My credit union is subject to the same limitations (always wise to check since credit unions can be very different from banks at times…) although they mention that the restriction is only on certain types of transactions. I can still make unlimited withdrawals via ATM or in person at any credit union branch.

    Since I budget by transferring money between accounts, and account transfers are limited, luckily it’s just transfers out, so the transfers in don’t count against the limit.

    Reply
  4. Christina @ Northern Cheapskate says:

    I hit the limit once at my small town local bank (some unexpected bills required me to move money from savings to checking). I had no idea there was a limit (or that I had reached it), until I got my monthly statement that had a note enclosed. They basically treated like a warning, but recommended other accounts (that had fees, of course), to consider if hitting the limit was going to be a regular occurrence. I’m definitely watchful now!

    Reply
  5. Timothy Mobley says:

    That’s a good reminder! Banks are part of the mechanisms in place to prevent money laundering and other schemes.

    Reply
  6. Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter says:

    I was aware just because of ING (now CapitalOne360). They tell you not to withdraw from a savings account more than 6 times. I have slipped past that limit twice in 10 years and they allowed it. If you press your luck, they will close your account and move your money to their checking account for you or whatever bank is attached.

    Reply
    • FruGal says:

      That’s good that they were lenient. Thanks for sharing your experience!

      Reply
  7. Bryce @ Save and Conquer says:

    I was not even aware of the limits. I guess I’m just not enough of a mogul to hit the transaction limits. It’s an interesting post, though.

    Reply
    • FruGal says:

      Haha–we’re not moguls either:). Generally we don’t take money from our savings at all.

      Reply
  8. kathryn says:

    Banks are getting strict everywhere. I’m from Canada.We have always deposited our rental income into our personal account, because that is how our properties are owned. Earlier this year, we were required to open a small business account.
    If we put in too much cash, we are penalised. It we make too many deposits, withdrawls, or transfers we are penalised.
    Fortunately, we are able to do what we need to, without ‘fines’.
    This all has to do with Money Laundering, I guess.

    Reply
    • FruGal says:

      Interesting to hear about your experience with a Canadian bank. Thank you for taking the time to share!

      Reply

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