My Bank Stole My Grocery Money

by Sierra Black on 4 December 2009 48 comments
Photo: Thornberry

Dear Wainwright Bank,

You appear to have stolen my grocery money.

I was surprised and alarmed to see, when I checked my bank balance this morning, that I had been charged $92.97 in overdraft fees. My statement clearly shows that no overdraft took place.

I showed my bank statements to a manager at your Davis Sq branch and asked her to explain what had happened. Her explanation was long and convoluted. Ultimately she gave me to understand that:

  • my bank statement is not an accurate reflection of the transactions on my account
  • you don’t process any transactions from the weekend until Monday
  • which I knew, and was sort of counting on when I raced to the bank Monday morning to deposit my paycheck
  • which cleared on Monday, according to your records, before any of the debits were processed
  • but you charged me an entire week’s grocery money in overdraft fees anyway
  • for one overdrawn check and — I love this — two ATM withdrawals made on Saturday.

This last part is really the kicker. On Saturday, there was over $500 in my bank account. My husband took out $20 to buy groceries and later $10 to pay for parking and tolls to get his son to the airport. Leaving, let’s be clear, over $500 in our account.

On Sunday evening, my student loan payment posted. That payment, along with a transfer scheduled for Monday, would have overdrafted my account. Which I knew. See also: so I raced to the bank on Monday morning to deposit the check I received in Saturday’s mail.

Yes, I was cutting this pretty close. A Real Grown-up would keep a bigger cash buffer in her checking account, and always balance her checkbook perfectly. Fail. I thought I might get dinged one overdraft fee for depositing the check on the same business day you were processing my loan payment.

But charging me an additional $64 in overdrafts for taking CASH out of my account? When there was money in it?

I had to ask the bank manager twice if that really happened. When she assured me it was bank policy, I had some stern words for her.

They started with, “How can you sleep at night?” and ended with, “This company makes me sick.”

Here is the gist of what I said between those sentiments:

I want to know how you as an organization dare to present yourselves as a community bank invested in social justice. This draconian banking practice perpetuates cycles of poverty for your most vulnerable customers.

For me, this was a rare bad break. It’s also a problem easily solved: I just took my business down the street to Citizen’s Bank. They offered me an overdraft line of credit with no fees (only paying interest on overdrafts), a better savings rate, and an incentive program for using “green banking” features like paperless statements and online bill pay. On top of that, they’re giving me a $100 bonus for opening an account with them. So I’ll be getting my grocery money back — from your competitor.

For people with less stellar credit or reliable income, however, your practice can be ruinous, trapping them in a cycle of debt they can’t get ahead of. That’s why new regulations make it illegal. Those regulations haven’t taken effect yet, but I would have hoped a “progressive” bank would be ahead of the curve on Not Screwing Over Its Poorest Customers.

Let’s talk a bit about your malicious accounting process, shall we? It’s no accident that you processed my transactions the way you did — debits before credits, with the largest debit deducted first even though it came in last. As one of my colleagues here at Wise Bread reported last week, banks use this shifty accounting to screw customers for excessive fees. It’s not just me being irresponsible once in awhile; it’s a system designed to rob people exactly at the moment their finances are least resilient. You’re making a killing on this. Overall, banks are expected to make over $38 billion on overdraft fees this year.

Again, this practice targets the weakest links in your system. You like to advertise yourself as helping the poor in the communities you “serve,” but even most big conglomerates have clued in and are starting to scale back their overdraft rackets. You’re not an alternative to the big bad banks. You are the bad guys.

It is a genuinely sad thing for me to finally sever this relationship. I’ve stuck by you for nearly a decade, feeling a loyalty to your stated mission that led me to excuse your high fees and poor communication skills. I really want my money to be handled by a bank that cares deeply about the community it does business in. A bank that puts social justice, human values and environmental stewardship on par with profit motive.

Sadly, you are not presently that bank. You’re a wolf in progressive clothing, preying on the neighborhoods you pretend to serve. I hope you will look seriously at reforming these practices and become the bank you pretend to be.

In the meantime, I look forward to doing business with Citizen’s, where I expect that my family and my money will be treated with respect.

No love,

Me

EDIT: Since writing this post, Wainwright has received several angry letters from other customers. A bank manager spoke with me today, refunded my grocery money and apologized, but explained again that this is bank policy and perfectly legal. It may be legal but it is still wrong. Thank you, Wainwright, for doing the right thing with me in this instance. Please reform your predatory banking practices for all your customers, not just the squeaky wheels.

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Guest's picture
MAJ

Had something almost the same happen to me a few years ago with Bank of America. Used my debit card all weekend and then had a large check overdraw my account on Monday by two cents. Two cents! Got hit with a few hundred in overdraft fees for all of the weekend debit card transactions.

Thing is, the bank doesn't wait until Monday figure out if you are have any money in your account. Go to an ATM on Sunday and try do take out fifty when you only have forty and you are going to get denied every time.

Immoral. Unethical. And soon illegal as well.

Our financial system is corrupt from top to bottom. Time for a complete overhaul.

Guest's picture
Lulu

If you only have $40 why are you trying to withdraw $50? That is more than your balance so you will get denied.

Guest's picture
Erica

I completely understand your post. I don't understand why banks like to keep kicking you when you are down. I hate our banking system today. I may take a note from your book and switch to a different bank! I love your blog!!

Julie Rains's picture

Though I loathe being in the position of defending a bank, I'll mention that there is a difference between depositing a check, and that money being posted to the account and thus generating available funds -- which may be a 3-day settlement period. The timeframe between deposit and funds beging available is called float. There is a possibility that the check may not clear and then the bank will have given out money that it can now not recoup.

This practice is long-standing; what has changed though is leniency toward float -- in the past, managers might overlook a close call if the customer has a history of keeping enough money in an account; at least, it's been explained that way to me when I cut things a bit too close. Managers also could make decisions to waive fees and often did; again that doesn't happen anymore.

Just in case anyone is counting on the 3-days, note that banks reserve the right to put a hold on money so the settlement period may be longer -- if they see a suspicious check, for example; this happened to me once b/c the teller didn't recognize a investment check but I promptly brought that to the manager's attention.

 

 

Guest's picture

We know they have their fees set up this way. We know they process the transactions in an order that is sleazy. Thus, if we still overdraft, which you did, you maybe should have known better. I would have done a transfer from savings to cover the expenses on Friday so all funds were in there, then put a portion of my check into my saving, returning the money I transferred. Yes, what they do is sleazy and possibly immoral, but we don't have to be victims. I'm glad you got your money back, though.

Guest's picture
jon

but if they dont process transaction on friday to sunday, then the savings account transfer won't happen in time either.

The only way to avoid these overdraft fees is join a bank which doesn't have these. I bet everybody in their lives, even the ones which are frugal, will get hit once with an overdraft fee. You don't have too!

A $30 fee is 3% interest a YEAR on $1000! Yet is it so easy for banks to take $30 in one day on even 2 cents (see poster above). The only way to force banks to stop using overdrafts, or overdraft fees, is leaving them as a customer. Then they'll understand!

Guest's picture
James

I've been in this situation before, and while I'm thankful that I'm no longer with the bank I was using, I'm extremely grateful for my current bank, Wachovia, and their extremely pro-consumer policies - for example, they process deposits before debits, they have a one day grace period for you to make deposits before overdrafts are calculated, and now they have a $5.00 overdraft protection limit (basically, if you overdraw by less than five dollars, no matter what, you won't get an overdraft fee).

I gotta say, I'm a very happy camper with them.

Guest's picture
Deborah

I have to agree with you about the practices being sketchy. However, as adults we have a responsibility to research the people that we do business with. I am by no means a high-roller. In fact, my income is quite sad. Part of it is my own fault for being mentally lazy and the other part is just the lack of steady income when you're a freelancer.

Before I signed up with Wachovia (which is a very good bank btw) I did my homework. I knew people who banked there around my income level who were happy customers.

If, however, you find that you dislike bank practices in general perhaps, you can try a credit union. Credit unions are designed with the community in mind and are a wonderful alternative to banks. Again, it takes a little researching. But it's worth the time and effort. After all, it is your money.

Guest's picture
Rick Roberts

Every time I come across a story like this, inevitably there is a Puritan apologist for the banks somewhere in the comments. That's the pathetic part. This is the internet age. Except for paper checks that many times still travel by gasoline and truck, there is no excuse why your balance shouldn't be accurate to the penny. Banks don't want you to know your balance because they want to screw you. Yes, Puritan Ethic apologists, we could keep a register as we did in the old days, but why, especially if we never write paper checks?

Do yourselves a favor. Stop doing business with banks altogether. If you can, use USAA. Otherwise, use a credit union.

I so want the banks to be punished. Writing nasty letters just doesn't feel enough. I want them to fail. In my idealist's mind, we could return to a small nation agrarian ethic and bulldoze Wall Street. They just had their most profitable year ever while we suffer. Something isn't right.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have the good fortune to qualify for banking through USAA, and am incredibly satisfied with how they treat me. I also keep an account at a credit union - which I've done for over 20 years now. I have NEVER been charged a fee that I didn't deserve. I've always gotten good service. The one 2 times I opened accounts at banks I closed them within a year because of unethical practices on their part.

Go to a credit union, they're not all perfect, but even the worst of them are better than banks. The majority are good.

Guest's picture
Cat

"The only way to avoid these overdraft fees is join a bank which doesn't have these."

Respectfully, I must disagree. There is one other way to avoid these overdraft fees, don't play roulette with your bank transactions in the first place.

Without defending bank practices, I can only say that knowing banks uniformly do this sort of thing, and given that knowing exactly how posts and drafts work "under the hood" is often a mystery, my only option is to change my behavior so that I don't encounter fees.

My changes include using (and paying off) a credit card every month for 95% of my transactions, and ensuring that I keep a cushion in my checking account so when I withdraw cash I know what's in there. I don't have a ton of transactions on my bank account (they're on my credit card) so I don't have multiple opportunities to overdraft, and I have the one main transaction where I pay off my credit card each month with my bank account. It's a large number, I know when it leaves the account, and what I'll have left afterward.

Guest's picture
John L

Cat makes a great suggestion in putting the majority of purchases on a credit card that way you have less transactions coming through your checking account as a way to avoid possible overdrafts. Another thing I wish to point out, as being a former employee of Citizen's Bank, I can assure you that their overdraft policy is no better, with the exception that they do process credits before debits.

Guest's picture
Rick

Our local bank will call us if we are overdrawn so that we can make a deposit and avoid the fee. As for other banks it is the interest rate of the fee that I object to. One recent fee worked out to be 82,563% ( http://www.rickety.us/2009/11/arkansas-bank-charges-82563-overdraft-inte... ).

Maybe my calculations are off but I think a bank should charge a fee no more than the amount of the overdraft. Perhaps they could behave like my local bank and call (or automatically email) to give you a chance to deposit funds.

Guest's picture
andyg8180

This was a poor example... You should always have a handle on your accounts and know approximately how much you have in cash... AND attach a credit line to your account if you normally hold a low balance...

If you withdrawl from an ATM that is NOT YOUR BANK, that bank will not always have an accurate balance of your account. If your treading a fine line on your checking balance, and you post 3 transactions without a high enough balance to cover it, why shouldnt a bank charge you 3 transaction fees for the 3 items you cannot cover??

Now, $30 is VERY steep, and i agree with that... If they charged you $5 per transaction you overdraw, i would be telling you to stop complaining... Fee structures are horrible, and Bank of America is the only company that sucks at the way their checks clear..."Highest first clears instead of in order of how they are presented." But, again, you should know your balance... If you cant afford it, dont buy it, or place all your purchases on a credit card and cut one check per month...

Guest's picture
Guest

I believe some of the recent bank legislation will limit 1 aspect of this.

Banks will process all debits against your account before any credits. So you make a deposit at 8 am into your account in anticipation of several debits that day. At the end of the day - they process all the debits before the credit. Even though the credit was there before the debits.

Sneaky....

The fact is - most banks will do as much as they can legally to try to force you into fees. The fees are so incredibly lucrative and profitable. I have an automatic line of credit attached to my checking account for just this reason. I'd rather pay $1 minimum in interest than $50 dollars in fees. I also try to bill as many automatic payments as I can to credit cards so I can manage cash flow. Works well if you pay your cards off in full every month. Not so good if you carry a balance.

Guest's picture
Lucille

Our bank started doing these kinds of things. Of course they didn't notify anyone of the change in practices. They must have raked in a big pile of cash as customers discovered the new creative accounting.

Our bank also no longer offers overdraft protection or the ability to tie your saving account to your checking account to automatically move money to cover. The fact that they had these tools to avoid overdrafts and removed them is even more sleazy when combined with the creative accounting to create more overdraft fees.

We have started moving some of our money over to an ING account. At least they have a sane overdraft policy of just charging you a flat interest rate on the funds your borrowing. IIRC the rate was 5%.

Guest's picture

Years ago, my bank offered me free overdraft protection. If I overdraw, it transfers $200 into my checking account, which has a daily interest rate, plus a $2.00 fee. As long as I catch this in a few days, I can transfer money back to pay off the overdraft fund, and only be out the $2.00 fee plus a little bit in interest.

I don't need it often, but when I do, it saves me a lot of money and headache.

Guest's picture
Guest

I'm confused... Transactions were made over the weekend knowing there wasn't enough money in the account, and then a check was hurriedly deposited Monday morning in the hopes it would clear before the debits went through.

BUT if the transactions had been handled in order, then wouldn't the bank have been in the right to levy the fees? They did, after all, overdraw their account.

I'm not defending the bank, but I don't think people can expect to beat them at their own game.

Guest's picture
Russell

All banks do *not* do this; or at least, not all financial institutions. I have banking at a credit union (EECU) for roughly 20 years. I'm fortunate in that my wife and I are no longer living close to the edge of our means, but even when we were we did not recieve this kind of treatment.

I strongly recommend looking into credit unions.

Guest's picture
Sasha

I had a similar issue with a, get this, local credit union. The process disgusted and annoyed me. On top of their horrible hours of operation, they had the unmitigated gall to charge me all types of fees based on transactions literally minutes apart. I had paid for my car note on Friday and sent an auto transfer from ING on Thursday. It got there on Monday, the same day the car payment came out. According to my online statement, the credit came in minutes before the debit. I still got charged the "Overdraft fee". I have a new account now and am so glad about it.

When I closed my old CU account, the CSR had the nerve to ask me, "Why are you closing your account?" I nearly told her, but thought better of it and just laughed.

Guest's picture
jgrow2

They'll do the same to you if you're not careful.

There is a lot about banking practices that need to change, especially in the age of near-instant electronic transfer. Your employer, for example, should be offering you direct deposit. In turn, his bank should be doing its best to offer your employer direct deposit abilities as part of the corporate bank account and tie that to whatever accounting software your employer uses.

The banking system at this point relies upon a mix of the old and just enough of the new to give banks an advantage over their customers. They're run less like the banks of yore and more like rackets. The fact that fees are a profit stream proves my point. It's organized crime, or a lot like it.

Guest's picture
Ellen

You do make a few good points about non-sense practices of banks - showing you a different balance than what is actually available and not posting deposits on weekends.

However, as responsible adults, we should all take the time to either balance our accounts (it's OUR money = it's OUR responsibility) or be sure there is enough money in the accounts before we spend. This is no different from when our parents parents had to keep track of everything with a paper ledger to ensure they had the money in the account. Yes, banks charge disgusting fees when you screw up, but it is actually up to you to handle your own money, not the bank to make sure you are being responsible - they just punish you when you are not responsible as strict parents would.

I wish people would quit using banks as a scapegoat for their own irresponsibility.

Guest's picture
Val

Ellen,

I have to say that while I agree that "our money is our responsibility" one issue that Sierra is writing on is that she was also charged overdraft fees when she had money in her account - so it is perfectly responsible - she was perfectly responsible in this action - to withdraw money from an account that has enough money in it and she should not have been charged overdraft fees for that amount. She was, however, charged overdraft fees because the bank processed her debits out of order.

And isn't it also the BANK'S responsibility to post the correct amount available? We enter an agreement with a bank and they should be RESPONSIBLE enough to keep up their end of the contract, yes?

Why don't we heft some of the responsibility (of being "responsible adults" - lemme ask, is it cold out there on the cross or do you guys just hang out on it for fun?) on the banks? Is it responsible, ethical or moral to charge overdraft fees for money withdrawn from an account with funds available?

Also: Living hand to mouth is not necessarily an issue of "personal responsibility" - some very responsible people work as dishwashers all their lives and make maybe $1000/mo (speaking from experience) - the cost of living makes it impossible to avoid running to the bank on monday morning to deposit a check to cover a loan payment (or whatever it is) - so is it a personal responsibility issue? are you guys so disgusted with minimum wage slaves for actually working jobs that don't pay them enough to live on that you will keep arguing that it is an issue of being a "responsible adult"?

Our responsibility is to call bullshit when we see it and THIS IS BULLSHIT!

Anyway. This letter started as a direct response to one person and then branched out as a general message. Good luck to everyone!

Guest's picture
Jen

Oh my gosh! This exact same thing happened to me two weeks ago at TD Bank...except I was charged $175 in overdraft fees. They posted the debits to my account before the deposit, even though all of the transactions occurred on the same day and there was sufficient money in my account to cover all but one transaction (which would have put my account $2.94 negative)...unfortunately that was the biggest debit.

The manager explained that they process debits not in the order that you made them, but from largest dollar amount to smallest, as a "courtesy" to the customers, because they assume the largest amounts are the most important. Thus, every transaction that posted after that one large one was an overdraw, never mind that I had plenty of money to cover them when I actually made the transaction. They would not budge on removing/amending the fees.

I, too, ended up closing my account on the spot and walking down the street to Citizen's Bank...and they are great and actually I have a much better deal there than I had at TD Bank in the first place (Free checks! Bonuses for paying bills online! No ATM fees!).

Guest's picture
Em

Wise Bread,

As a loyal reader, I am a bit disappointed by this blog entry. I always admire your encouragement and savvy tips on financial issues. However, this post advises your readers that it is ok to blame banks for our own financial irresponsibility and that we should not have to suffer the consequences. This article is a classic example of someone spending more money than they have available, then blaming someone else for their actions. In a time when many have finally been hit hard because of their thoughtless overspending, shouldn't you encourage people to adapt better financial habits rather than give them someone else to blame?

I hope to see more helpful articles in the future.

Em

Guest's picture
Cathie

I had a similar experience with TD bank last week, with over $200 in fees. They credited my account, though, when it was discovered that they really did screw up. They had taken out payment for a debit that occurred over a month ago, and then again just last week. Since I had already deemed it paid, there was not enough in the account to cover it again, and everything else that came through initiated overdrafts. I am so thankful that they returned the money, since they are the big bad institution that can easily say, "tough luck; not our problem." I've been tempted to go all cash and use money orders and/or credit cards.

Guest's picture
Cat

I am also surprised, and more than a little disappointed, to see this kind of article on Wise Bread. I consider myself a fiscally responsible person, and I come here to learn about other ways to be fiscally and personally responsible.

This entry, in which the author abdicates all personal responsibility, instead choosing to highlight overt drama while demonizing the banking industry ("My Bank Stole My Grocery Money" - really? Your irresponsible juggling of withdraws and deposits along a thin wire of one business day isn't your fault at ALL? Is this your first checking account?) is not the quality I had come to expect from this blog.

Guest's picture
dalgal

By your own admission you were overdrawn and now you are bitching on here about it! You say that you ran to the bank Monday to deposit your paycheck knowing they didn't process weekend transactions till Monday! Seriously? Stop complaining about your own financial inadequacies. I'm really not defending the banks, sure they do sneaky things. But this is YOUR FAULT not theirs. You admit that the weekend transactions made you overdrawn, you admit it, stop complaining that the bank called you on it! What do you imagine would happen if the bank DID process weekend transactions immediately? Yeah you'd have more charges, so thank your lucky stars, pay the fees you incurred (cos you admit it, you were overdrawn) and manage your money better!

Guest's picture
b. rizzle

Sierra your story is unfortunately not that uncommon. Bank fees make up the large majority of bank revenues, not lending.

In your case, the bank policy reflects the normal debits before credits system. Basically Saturday and Sunday don't really exist because they aren't banking days. So between Friday night and Monday morning your account was negative 3 times before coming positive.

This is in my opinion criminal, because less than 10% of the banks customers make up 90% of their fee revenue in most cases. And nearly always that 10% are the people struggling financially, the people who need a break and can't afford on average $30+ for overdrawing their account even by $1.

When considering where to bank, make sure you look into their fee structure, enroll in an auto transfer program between your checking and savings accounts if you have them, and go straight to the branch manager in the store if you are ever charged. In most cases, a community bank will refund the fee once or twice for you, just ask and if that doesn't work get loud.

National banks are a whole different bureaucratic animal. Glad to hear you got your money back this time.

Brian
Editor, www.SocialMediaDefined.com

Guest's picture
Des

You can deposit checks into your bank's ATM. We do it all the time. You could have deposited it on Saturday when you got it, and then you would have had enough to cover the money you spent.

Guest's picture

Thank you so much for sharing this. It made feel better. This morning, I had to deal with this issue with TD Bank. It's a horrible practice and has left me with hundreds of dollars in fees.

I have been making small steps towards improving my financial situation. I don't want to live paycheck to paycheck anymore. I even took out a 403b Loan to help fund my new checking account at Citibank so I can stop having this problem.

My heart goes out to you,

Aspiring Millionaire

Guest's picture
heath

Banks are designed to make a profit.

Credit unions are designed to serve their members.

There is almost always a good local or regional credit union that can serve all your banking needs.

If you are eligible, USAA is about the best there is. But any would be better than a bank...

Guest's picture
Guest

@ Sierra Black

This article essentially mirrors the one by Will Chen one week ago, with the same conspiratorial conclusion but less drama. Many reader comments from people in Chen's article were as equally irate. The root of these grievances is, fundamentally, a lack of accountability by account holders.

The checking service of a bank is a business arrangement. The holder agreement received at the outset, as well as the periodic amendments to that agreement, reflect this purpose. Passive acceptance by consumers is implied consent. By law, overdraft fees may be the penalty for mismanagement (FDIC Reg. Cat. 6500, § 205.3(b)(3)(i)).

Question everything you do not understand when the regulations are given to you. It's not the bank's responsibility to safeguard your funds.

Guest's picture
Someone with Manners that doesn't abuse people in CS jobs.

It is not the bank's job to babysit your account. Just wanted to clarify that point.

Guest's picture
Cathy

I echo the disappoint mentioned by Em and Cat - not the kind of article I've come to expect from WB. You admit lack of personal responsibility more than once and blame the bank?

Are current bank practices questionable? Maybe, but it's not the only industry that takes advantage of irresponsible behavior. However, millions of responsible adults are able to function within the current banking practices without getting hit with overdraft fees. There is a lot in life that's unfair and/or questionable, but no one is going to look out for you but you.

Guest's picture
wildgift

It seems absurd that the bank would want to screw over its customers like this. They should record credits before debits, and charge a small fee when doing otherwise would have resulted in an overdraft fee. It could be automated.

Guest's picture
Jim

Its easy to assume that the bank manipulates this to maximize fees and cause they are evil and just want your money. But to play devils advocate they are doing customers a service by paying higher value withdrawals first. Look at it this way: if you have $1000 in your account and you write one $5 check at Starbucks and then on the same day you write a $1000 check to your mortgage then which check would you like to post and clear first? Would you prefer the process the $5 to pay Starbucks then not clear your mortgage? I'm pretty sure most customers want the mortgage to be paid as a higher priority. Generally larger withdrawals are more important and consumers want the big checks to go through first to ensure they are paid. So it makes sense for the bank to pay the higher value withdrawals first. Back in the olden days before overdraft fees you would be paying $25 for each of several bounced checks and your bills wouldn't have been paid. Now you're paying $25-35 for each overdraft but your bills go through. As the consumer we are supposed to keep track of our check balance and not spend more than we have.

Course I'm not saying overdraft fees are great and I do think that some banks have purposefully set it up to milk as much as they can out of you in fees.

Guest's picture
Four Pence

I am fairly new to following Wise Bread but, as someone who works to live within my means, it seems that this article is just the whining of someone who did not do that, thus not being wise.
Yes, large corporate banks charge exorbitant fees. But they charge them to anyone who chooses to do business with them and then chooses not to manage their resources, however little they have. Credit Unions tend to be a better option for those of us who do not have much extra cash; fewer monthly transactions; pinching pennies here and there, all things that can help. We all know large banks can be predatory, but whining about our mix-ups while playing with predatory banks does nothing to help instill lasting change.
It seems a blog entry highlighting how we can wisely manage our resources would be more helpful for this site.

Guest's picture
Jansen

Before everyone stating that's it's the account holder mistake remember this point. Banks are profit driven businesses.
Just like any big corporate business, it's driven by ethics and leadership or lack of both.
Everyone makes mistakes. But if your bank or local businesses decides that it can capitalize on your mistake to maximize their profit. Please change banks. Because if their leadership encourages it to happen, who knows what else they're getting away with.
Choose a bank which takes care of their customers first. That bank will also undoubtedly take care of their shareholders too. This is capitalism at work. Support the business that supports your community.

Guest's picture

As we have all probably heard in the news, the banks will stick it to you any way they can.

Its up to us to remain repsonsible and not to let it happen.

Guest's picture
Guest

Disappointing article...shouldn't Wise Bread bloggers be wise with their $$$? I mean seriously, I read Wisebread to learn how to be more financially savvy - and I have learned so much and generally enjoy the articles but not this time. Enough with the whining - take some responsibility, balance your checkbook, maybe look into direct deposit if you are cutting it that close.

Guest's picture
Fiscally Responsible in Ft Worth

The point of the article is not that the issuing bank is not justified in their initial overdraft fee(s) - the point is that there is ZERO grace with banks now-a-days. Last year, my bank told me that if I made a deposit in the drop box over the weekend, the deposit would get processed before the debits on the next business day. This policy CHANGED. Consequently, my bank (and others)have chosen to notify me (and the author, and other customers) of this policy change by charging overdraft fees. Then NOT offering to give grace the first time it happened.

If the policy changes - fine.
If I deserve overdraft fees - fine.
If I've been a loyal customer without overdrafts in the psst - give me a break at least the first time this happens!! That's just customer service 101.
Give me the benefit of the doubt the first time I overdraw and I won't complain.

In an ideal world, I would have over $100 cush in my checking account at all times. No doubt. Quit saying this isn't an article that belongs somewhere fiscally responsible people operate. Quite a few of us fiscally responsible people have been biten by the banks on this one.

Thanks for reading my two cents.
Fiscally responsible in Fort Worth, TX

Guest's picture
Guest

Never have less than $100 in your checking account's available balance. No exceptions.

Guest's picture
Guest

They started with, "How can you sleep at night?" and ended with, "This company makes me sick."

I recently had a conversation with one of my credit card companies that included, "Aren't you embarrassed to work for a company that would do something like this? If I were you, I would have quit as soon as I saw those letters going out." Then I closed my account. They had decided to unjustifiably raise my APR to 29.99%. A practice all too common right now as credit card companies try to squeeze as much money as possible out of us little guys while they still can. But that's a topic for another day...

Guest's picture
Guest

I'm with Cat, Em & Guest on this one.

Andrea Karim's picture

I want to be clear that credit unions are not free from this behavior, either. I had recent experience with my credit union in which I was charged $75 in late fees due to an accounting error by my company's payroll. It happens.

Guest's picture
Someone with Manners that doesn't abuse people in CS jobs.

Why are you angry with your bank? Did they spend the money? It seems to me you're upset they don't settle transactions on the weekend, If they had, you probably would have had more fees(look at it again)

There is no reason to pay a bank fee. They're easily avoidable. You said so yourself. You don't keep your register like you should. There's a cost associated with that. You unfortunately had to pay it. I have before as well, 16 in one day. It was not my banks fault I did not keep my account properly. I was an adult(well, just barely, 18) and I took responsibility for it. Then I started maintaining my account and only spending my money, not theirs. And always remember, a check is just a piece of paper until it's collected. Collection can take as little as next day, to several days. Thank the government that your check is made available to you next day in most cases even though it's not collected.

Enjoy Royal Bank of Scotland. You are aware that is what RBS stands for right?

The funny part is, your bank probably actually valued your relationship when you did not. They paid your student loan payment when you did not have the money in the bank to pay it. Banks do that if you've been with them for awhile to avoid your embarrassment(and not to mention the added cost of a returned check from the student loan company and potentially losing a favorable rate, often an incentive offered by student loans and credit cards)

I think you owe that Manager an apology. I think I would also like to know how you sleep at night to personally attack someone like that when it's your fault, not theirs.

Now, your argument is, "I don't do this all the time, I should get an exception" Lets answer that this way. You have two people in front of you. One is absolutely horrible at keeping their account and gets 12 overdrafts a month. The other, slacks a little but usually has enough money to cover it and gets a couple. Would you, 1. waive for the customer with $500 in overdraft charges to help them so they can actually buy groceries? Or 2. waive for the one time overdraft just because it's an inconvenience?

And again, I have to re-state after reading some more of the comments. HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT? Personally attacking someone doing their job is completely unacceptable. Your bank, and "Submitted by Guest on December 7, 2009 - 12:00."'s credit card

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Guest

Long live the Credit Union.