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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Banking Lesson ~ Pay Close Attention to Your Account Details

Something I will be doing in 2009 is to watch over my bills and banking even closer than I have been. Due to identity theft last year, I pay close attention to all the details of my accounts.

I use the toll free automated account information my bank offers almost on a daily basis to make sure all is well. I guess it became a nervous habit since the identity theft situation.

On Friday I had a dispute with my bank. I knew my balance was wrong for some reason and when I called the bank, they said a 'fee' was taken out of my account because it was overdrawn when a check was presented. I knew that wasn't true, so I looked further into this situation.

Calling the bank again, I received the most ridicules response. I was told the automated system is not current for debit card use and I shouldn't depend on that for current balance information. What? Why would a bank then offer such account information? I depend on my bank to give me 'current' information. Then it was suggested that I use my ledger to keep track of my transactions. Duh...Thank you for the advice... I do, but I also have everything in my head. That is why I knew something wasn't right with my balance. I use my debit card for most of my transactions. Writing checks only about once or twice a month. And, I happen to know that debt card purchases ARE immediately taken from your account.

Anyway, not caring for the silly replies I was receiving, I spoke to a manager, who insisted I was overdrawn when a check was presented on 12/26. um...I have a deposit slip from the same day showing hundreds of dollars. How is this possible? The manager suggested I use their online banking to actually see the transactions that have posted, are pending etc..., which affect my balance.

I was a bit leary to do this due for fear of identity theft, but I thought... let me see what this manager is speaking about. It was the best thing I did! I was able to find not only one mistake, but TWO!

The check that supposedly overdrawn my account on the 26th, the bank took the fee out on 12/24...um, wait a minute. Then they took another fee out on the 26th. I couldn't believe it. The online banking was showing a positive balance on the 24th, why take out a fee? Meanwhile, looking at the deposits, I noticed they had me in arrears online on the 26th (even though there were 3 deposits on that day).I also had in my hand, a deposit slip showing a balance with hundreds of dollars from that same day.

I got in my car Saturday and headed to the bank with a print out of the online banking and my deposit slip. The woman at the bank didn't know what to say, but did offer that what they look at on their screen, is different than my online banking.

What????? Is she now saying that not only is the automated information not current, but the online banking system isn't either??? She said the check was really presented on the 24th even though it states otherwise on the online system. It really doesn't matter because there was money in my account either day. I was questioning the fees taken from me.

She couldn't put back the fees in my account until it was approved from her supervisor, who of course wasn't working that day. Now it has to wait until tomorrow.

The lesson here and my suggestion to all is to really pay attention to your account details. So what if it takes alittle extra time. There are possibilities of error. And I'd much rather have the money in my pocket than give it to companies for errors 'they' cause. Those fees removed from my account amount to over $70...Can you imagine the money that bank makes if they do this to even half their customers nationwide????

Be smart...be on top of things and don't just settle for explanations the company gives you. If something doesn't sound right or make sense, dig further until it does.

PS: The bank I'm speaking about is The Provident Bank and if they do not immediately put back those fees on Monday, I will be making a complaint with my State Banking and Insurance Department, so they can look into my banks unique practices. I have proof in black and white, so I doubt there will be any problems.

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