You open a chequing account with a Canadian bank: e.g. Simplii Financial or another bank. They ask if you want overdraft protection; you say "no thank you". They give you a Debit MasterCard or a Visa Debit card.

You go online and sign up for Amazon "Subscribe and Save". You ask Amazon to send you a case of recycled toilet paper every six months.

Six months later, Amazon tries to charge your debit card for a case of recycled toilet paper. Sadly, the transaction is declined due to insufficient funds. There's just not enough money in your bank account.

Will your bank charge you any NSF (non-sufficient funds) fee?

  • Amazon tries? Or actually charges?
    – littleadv
    Aug 27, 2023 at 6:53
  • @littleadv: Good catch! I've edited the question and changed the text in question to "charges". Aug 27, 2023 at 10:48
  • Your title says "failed", but the (edited) question says "charges"... are you asking about Amazon trying to make a charge and it getting rejected due to insufficient funds, or the charge being accepted and you being overdrawn?
    – TripeHound
    Aug 28, 2023 at 6:56
  • @TripeHound: Nice catch! I meant it getting rejected due to insufficient funds. I've edited the question to clarify. Dear TripeHound, and dear all: Please feel free to further edit the question freely, to make it better and clearer. Aug 28, 2023 at 8:41

1 Answer 1


When a debit/credit card charge is initiated the amount of the charge is passed with other information to the relevant card processing network/system (Interac/Visa/etc) for approval. If there aren't sufficient funds the transaction will be declined, so Amazon won't process the purchase and you won't be charged any fees.

I'm less familiar with Canadian banking, but this Clearly Payments blog entry indicates that:

In both Interac and Visa Debit, the funds are immediately withdrawn from the cardholders’ bank account.

If that's the case, NSF fees are not possible on debit card transactions. There could be an overdraft fee if you have opted in to overdraft protection depending on how that program works with your bank.

NSF Fee's are associated with checks (cheques up north) and pre-authorized debits (PAD which seems the same as what we call ACH in US). A debit card transaction could drive the balance down such that one of these other payment types triggers an NSF fee. A subscription using a debit card is not the same as a PAD/ACH.


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