Saturday, August 09, 2008

bank, you just made my sh*t list

When I moved to MI, I had to open a new bank account. The bank I used in NYC doesn't have any branches around here, and I still needed a way to pay my bills. I looked around at my options and was unhappy with them. Most banks charge you a fee for checking unless you have direct deposit. Since I had no job, I obviously did not have direct deposit. (Incidentally, I still don't have direct deposit because my workplace is so small that they don't offer it.) So I chose the one bank that did offer free checking, and is conveniently about a block away.

My first interaction with the people at this bank should have been a sign. I should have run away screaming. But no. I did not heed the warnings. I continued to deposit my checks and spend my money using this bank as a middle man. I was noticing that it took several days for my payhecks to clear - like 4 or 5 days. That's fine, it's pretty normal. Then on the rare occasion that I would actually go out and spend money on the weekends, the transactions would either show up right away on the website, or not for the sacred 5 days. Either way, the bank would show me having a negative balance. However, I was never charged an overdraft fee or anything like that since I wasn't actually overdrawn. This was fine, as I deposit the exact same amount every week (to the penny!) and I do know how to manage my money and was not spending outside my means - I just couldn't rely on the website to give me an accurate or consistent number.

So I let that slide. I even found a branch near my work that was open til 7, so I could deposit my checks on Fridays after work and they would clear on Saturday (generally). The person in the bank explained that it takes a little longer when I use the ATM like I had been because the branch near my house closes at 4:30 (!). But they still weren't consistent on taking out my spending, even if I simply withdrew money from an ATM, sometimes it wouldn't show up for a week. This was working "fine" for me until last week.

I had a very important automatic withdrawl coming up. I even paid a $20 late fee to delay it a week so I was sure my bank wouldn't screw it up. Ha ha ha ha! I was very careful not to spend any money until after this withdrawl, and what little I did spend wouldn't be enough to affect it. Wrong! The bank decided to wait approximately 10 days to record a purchase. Conveniently enough, they took it out the exact same day as my automatic withdrawl, which was Friday morning. I deposit my paycheck Friday afternoon. So all of Friday I showed a negative balance of 20 bucks, which wouldn't have happened if the bank recorded things in a timely manner. When I deposited my check, I also wanted to take out some cash. They wouldn't give me any because my account showed negative, even though my check was more than enough to cover everything.

Then the clincher: This morning I woke up and my check had cleared so I was no longer in the negative range. AND they hadn't charged me any overdraft fees, which is good because I never was actually overdrafted. So I went to transfer some money from checking to savings. My savings account showed up in "my accounts" but was not an option to transfer to or from. So I tried to do it over the phone. It said that was an invalid account. I just opened the damn thing like 2 weeks ago, and had used it. Why would it be invalid? So I pressed all the buttons and waited on hold for a real person to tell me wtf was up.

Sidenote: I opened the savings account in preparation for that important automatic withdrawl, which occurs every month. I transfer some money from checking each week so I don't accidentally spend it. Then at the end of the month I transfer it all back right before it gets withdrawn. I thought it was a damn good plan, and I made sure there was no minimum balance required to open the savings account for this reason.

So the guy gets on and I'm like "WTF?" and he's like well, no you can't transfer money into your savings because your savings account is closed. Why would it be closed? I just opened it and I filled out all the paperwork and they sent me my little welcome package or whatever. And that was just a few days ago. Well apparently even though there is no minimum balance required, if you have a zero balance for 5 days the account is automatically closed. They did not tell me this or obviously I would not have opened the account. 5 days? That's not even a week. How is that "no minimum balance required?"

So I let the guy know where he could shove that policy and hung up on him. Now I'm heading off to start a new bank account at Jay's bank. Everything I've seen with him is good, plus they will give me a $25 gas card for being referred by a friend. And they are superior in every way. So I spit on you, old bank. You suck.

1 comment:

Shonda Little said...

Holy shit, I got tired just reading that. Sounds like a mess. Hope the new bank is a little more in tune with what's going on!

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