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Understanding Your Balance

One of the keys to managing your money successfully is understanding how your banking activity affects the balance of your account.

Your banking activity could include debits, credits, or transfers, and, based on the way these activities post to your account, your available balance is impacted:

Transaction Types

First, let's define the different types of transactions:

  • Credits – deposits or transfers of money into your account. Credits include cash or check deposits you make at the teller line or ATM, Automated Clearing House ("ACH") credits such as automated payroll deposits, and online banking transfers into your account from another account
  • Debits – withdrawals or transfers of money out of your account. When you write a check, use your ATM or Visa® Debit card to withdraw funds or make a purchase, or make online transfers out of your account such as a bill payment, we debit your account for the amount of the transaction

Available and Current Balance

Next, it is important to understand the difference between what is listed as your available balance and your current balance. These are not always the same figures.

  • Your available balance is the amount of money immediately available for withdrawal. This balance includes transactions that have posted to your account as well as any "pending" signature debit card transactions (i.e., when you press credit). Your available balance is reduced by the amount requested for authorization from the merchant and shows as “pending” until the merchant presents the transaction for settlement. At that time, your balances are reduced by the transaction amount. This typically takes one to three business days.
  • Your current balance is the amount of money in your account after transactions have officially posted. These would include cleared checks as well as debit card transactions that have been finalized. Pending and memo posted transactions are not included.

Transaction posting order

Finally, you need to understand how we post transactions, and how our posting order can affect your account's available balance. Except for the processing of real-time transactions, including, but not limited to, wires, ACH, debit card, ATM withdrawal, internal funds transfers, bill pay, and assuming all deposit and withdrawal transactions below are made and received by us within the same business day, transactions currently post to your account in the following order:

  1. Credits in descending dollar amount
  2. Bank initiated debits in descending order amount
  3. Non-returnable debits in time stamp order (e.g. wires, ACH pre-fund transactions, debit card, ATM withdrawal, internal funds transfers, bill pay)
  4. Non-returnable debits not time stamped (e.g. “on us” cashed checks in check number order)
  5. Returnable debits, ACH debit (non pre-fund transactions) by PAR number then checks in check number order
  6. Post-system generated transactions: service charges and fees

Note: It may take up to three days for certain debit card purchases to be presented to First Tennessee from the retailer.

Please be aware that if your account's available balance is insufficient to cover a transaction, your item will be considered "NSF" (non-sufficient funds) and we will either reject or return the transaction or pay according to our standard overdraft practices or if you authorized the bank to pay overdrafts on ATM and everyday debit card transactions. Most NSF items result in an NSF or overdraft fee to your account.

Even if your account becomes overdrawn during the day due to real-time processing, no overdraft fees will be charged if your account is returned to a positive balance by the end of the Business Day.

Click the links below to view some account posting scenarios and how they would impact account balance.

Scenario 1

Additional Information


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