What Are Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF)?

Non-sufficient funds (NSF), often known as inadequate funds, refer to a checking account with insufficient funds to cover transactions. NSF also refers to the cost imposed when a cheque is submitted but the account balance is insufficient to pay it. When attempting to withdraw more money than your account has, you may encounter a “non-sufficient funds” or “insufficient funds” notification on your bank statement or at an ATM terminal (or on a receipt).
NSF checks are sometimes known as “bounced” or “bad” checks. A bank can refuse to pay a check drawn on an account with insufficient funds and charge the account holder an NSF fee if it receives the check. In addition, the retailer may impose a penalty or fee for the returned check.