Depositing Checks In A Bank Of America ATM Is A Huge Pain In The Butt

I thought I’d give your readers a heads-up on how much Bank of America sucks, and why you should make all deposits to a bank teller and never, ever at the ATM.

About 2 months ago, I deposited a nice, fat commission check into my account via the B of A branch ATM. All seemed well, and I noted that the deposit showed up online at my B of A account.
24 hours later, the entire check had been reversed back out of my account, being noted as ‘non-negotiable, deposit correction’.

I

went to the bank branch once I realized what happened, and the bank manager told me there was nothing that she could do, was unable to find out why it was kicked out, and that I’d have to wait for the check originals to be mailed back to me. I asked why I couldn’t just get a scanned copy from the bank and she said they did not have scanned copies.

I ended up talking to different (new) employee, and he managed to get through to the right department and find out what the heck happened. It showed that the MiCR line was invalid. He magically was able to get a copy of the scanned check (wait… I thought they did not scan copies?) which I presented to the counter clerk, who verified that it was indeed good. I also verified the check with the issuing bank and got a letter showing that the check and MiCR line was good. I showed this to the manager, and she informed me that she still needed the original before she could do anything, and I’d have it in 3-5 business days.

Well, almost a solid month later, (and now FIFTEEN overdraft fees, and multiple desperate trips to the bank, and calls to customer service asking for help) still no originals in the mail. I asked what we’d do if the copy never showed up at all, and she kept putting me off, and was horrible, rude, and curt. I gave up on her, went to another branch armed with all of my information and check copies, and was able to find a nice gentleman who was willing to help. Of course by that time I’d had my company cut me a replacement check and opened a new account at a different bank. The helpful guy did get me a counter credit for the overdraft fees, but they would not reverse them (so it still looks like it was my fault).
I did get the originals back, and surprise! It looked exactly like the original (as copies are meant to do). Nothing was wrong with the check.

I’ve closed the B of A account after 15 years.
Crazily enough, my fiancé (different last name, no linked accounts, no way for the bank to associate us) deposited two smaller checks into the ATM about 2 weeks ago. (I warned him!) And don’t you know, they kicked his out as well. This time, it’s because the checks were made out to “Jim Smith” instead of “James Smith”. Never mind that Jim has had an account with B of A for 10 years and has deposited numerous checks written out to “Jim Smith” with no trouble.

And guess what? The bank manager (different branch) told him that they do not scan checks that come through the ATM. (LIES!) He had to wait for the originals. His came faster than mine (but not fast enough to alleviate frustration and time wasted going to the bank several times), and he had the overdraft fees that were incurred as a result reversed- but not without resistance. They wanted to give him a counter credit as well. On top of that, when he insisted the overdrafts be reversed instead of credited, the bank manager went back in his account and noted that, ‘well, I see you had an overdraft fee here in September, as well…’ with the implication that Jim was just trying to get overdraft fees reversed for the hell of it, as opposed to their bank error.

Jim has closed his account as well.
I suppose I could understand their complete lack of assistance if either of us had a history of trying to pass fraudulent checks, or if we were new account holders, but we were both long-term account holders with no previous issues.

Way to go, Bank of America!!

Keep up the good fight, Consumerist gang!

Warmly,
Stacy C

Yuck! Thanks for the letter, Stacy. We hope you’re happier at your new bank. Anyone else having problems depositing checks at Bank of America ATMs or are Stacy and her fiancé just unlucky?

(Photo:Bob Reck)

Comments

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  1. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    ATMs are good for small deposits, but I don’t trust them with large deposits. I am a new B of A customer and have had numerous corrections and overdraft fees ($35) to my checking account. It always seems the mistakes they make are never in my favor, though.

  2. scoosdad says:

    OK, I’ll start… why did the lack of a successful deposit of one check trigger 15 overdraft fees? Were they trying to withdraw funds that weren’t in the account because the check failed to deposit? Rule number one of banking– if it ain’t in the account, don’t try to spend it.

    Warmly,
    scoosdad

  3. chuloallen says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie: actually, they have a system where they will pull out your largest charges first then the smaller ones then credit your accout for any deposits- meaning – lets say u have 100$ you charge 80$ , 20$ then 10$, 5$ and 3$ and 2$ and u deposit 20$ – so u expect to have 120$ in your account and a debit of 120$
    BOA will first take 80$ out of the 100 – then the 20$ then the 5*, 3* and 2* on over charge- then credit your 20$ – so they can charge you 3 times for overdraft. instead of charging based on when the charges are made

  4. BugMeNot2 says:

    I’ve been depositing my checks at a BofA ATM for years, never had a problem.

    But, I did just move all my money to another back because of another pathetic thing they did. BofA keeps different addresses for different accounts you have. If you move, make sure to change the address on all of your accounts. I had a credit account that I didn’t know about (opened as over draft protection, that I never used, and never even saw a physical card for). One day, a charge appeared on that account, not sure if it was fraud or computer error). I had moved several times since, and they couldnt find me, so they sent it to collections.

    I got it all straightened out, but I was amazed they didn’t even look for me, just sent it to collections. I had several other active accounts with them, including money market, savings, checking, and credit cards. Was using those accounts CONSTANTLY. And my deposits there were tens of thousands of dollars. The bill sent to collections was a $97 sweater or something from banana republic.

  5. mrjimbo19 says:

    I don’t really like BofA but I have never had an issue with the check machines, I try and avoid going in the branches as much as possible.

  6. bpotterr says:

    I don’t know what kind of ATM’s these people use, but the B of A ATM’s near me scan the check as you insert it into the ATM (no envelope!). The amount the check is for appears on the screen for you to approve. When you’re done, the scanned image of the check appears on your receipt. It doesn’t seem like Stacy’s story could have happened if she had this kind of ATM. I’ve deposited checks this way a couple times and it worked out fine.

  7. johnva says:

    I’ve never had this problem at BoA. And I’ve deposited checks at ATMs there regularly for years. Not saying it didn’t happen, but it’s not been my experience.

  8. rabiddachshund says:

    Wow, that’s a first. I’ve never wanted to open an account at a bank just to have this happen so I can pull the douchebag teller over the counter by their shirt collar and beat them to a bloody pulp until they correct the error and give me a written letter of apology. I feel so dirty now. :(
    Sorry, it’s finals week and I just realized that I’ve spent the past 4 years in the wrong major.

  9. DallasDMD says:

    I have not had any problems with Wells Fargo ATM deposits. I don’t see how depositing it with a teller is too much better because (correct me if my assumption is wrong) you don’t know if the check will be accepted or not until the transaction is fully posted. You could just as well end up in the same boat as far as getting the check back that way as well.

  10. trollkiller says:

    I don’t know why anyone would deposit via an ATM, too much can go wrong that can’t be immediatley fixed.

  11. luchita says:

    I had this same problem with the scanning ATM. I am the treasurer of a small non-profit with a small business account in the non-profit’s name at BOA. For years I’ve received checks from our fiscal sponsor made out to my name, signed them over to the non-profit’s name and deposited them in our account without a problem. the first time i tried to make a deposit with the new scanning atm the same thing happened: the funds were deposited and then withdrawn from our account. No one at BOA would give me any answers, they said i had to wait until the check was mailed back, which took two weeks. When i finally got it and called BOA about the problem, they said that i could only deposit checks made out to our non-profit into the account, i couldn’t sign them over. when i demanded a refund of overdraft fees that had occurred as a result, the woman on the other end insisted that this wasn’t a new policy and that I had “never” been able to sign over checks to the account… despite ample evidence that i had been doing just that for years. but the sense i got from them is that with the new scanning machines, no human beings actually look at your check, so they can and do reject you for all sorts of absurd things that a human would be able to figure out (like that jim and james are the same person).

  12. serreca says:

    @trollkiller: Maybe they can’t access the bank during banking hours? Not everyone has the flexibility to take off to the bank between the hours of 8am and 4:30pm.

  13. HaloZero says:

    I always go in to deposit checks. You might have to wait a bit longer in the lines but its worth the wait because I’ve never had trouble. That and I don’t trust ATMs… something just seems wrong about those things (just a feeling…).

  14. emilymarion333 says:

    I hate BofA with a passion but I still have an account with them. I refuse to deposit anything into the ATM. I prefer to go into the bank to do my deposits.

  15. RAREBREED says:

    Bank of America just plain sucks! I had an account with them for 7 years, and one day, they raised fees for everything. I told the teller I’d just like to close my account – she told me there’d be a $60 closing fee! Instead, I asked the minimum balance without incurring fees – $1,000 – and took out the rest. A few weeks later, I called the B of A customer service line to complain about the closing fee, and guess what I was told – THERE WAS NO CLOSING FEE! I literally stormed to the B of A, asked for a manager, ratted out the teller who lied to me, and asked for all my $$!

    Now, my B of A pains come from a credit card I have through them, but use for nothing more than automatically paying my cell phone bill. I’ve stopped getting statements in the mail, and I now have to guess when it’s due so I can go to the branch and pay it in person. WHAT A PAIN!

  16. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @scoosdad: Read closely: “all seemed well, and I noted that the deposit showed up online at my B of A account.”

    I assume after that is when he went and spent some money.

    24 hours later, the entire check had been reversed back.

    Which means all the transactions made in that 24 hour period (assuming he didn’t have much other money in the account besides the check in question) bounced.

  17. TMurphy says:

    Hooray for USAA’s deposit at home. Scan it in, and no errands needed.

    Their .1% interest on checking though…
    (I’m a college student, I don’t have enough money for a normal savings account).

  18. youbastid says:

    I’m sure this was a really frustrating experience, but my experience with B of A has been pretty acceptable. I’ve moved multiple times, and usually that requires using cashier’s checks to put down a deposit. They usually charge $6 a pop (and it takes 2 to 3 for every move-one for deposit and one for first month at least) and they’ve always waived the fee, no questions asked. I’ve deposited up to $5000 in checks at once at the ATMs and never had a problem, even when the check was made out to two people. Yes, their overdraft fees are quite retarded, but for the most part, if you’re responsible with your money that’s something you don’t have to worry about.

    I did recently move the majority of my money over to a WaMu savings account, since they were offering 5% APY if you opened an account online. But for my checking, I’m happy staying with BOA. (Famous last words, right? Knock on wood)

  19. guroth says:

    It is always unfortunate when problems happen.
    I have had a BOFA account for 5 years and have not had any complaints yet.

  20. pir8sportsfan says:

    I was once a Bank of America customer. I had no problems with them until a few years ago.

    I deposited a check via ATM on a Friday after 5. The check wouldn’t post until Monday, but I was told by a representative earlier in the day that any withdrawals on the account would be posted after the check was credited.

    Tuesday morning rolls around and there are three bounced checks in my account and the check that I had deposited. I called the service center near where I lived and was told that the checks bounced because I didn’t have the required funds to cover them (oh really?). I asked about the check that I had deposited and was told that it cleared and the whole amount was put in my account.

    OK, so why didn’t I have enough funds in my account to cover those three checks?

    “The checks cleared on your account balance from Friday.”

    “Well, on my account website it shows they cleared on Monday, and if the check I deposited cleared on Monday where is the problem?”

    “Anything deposited on Friday after 5 PM goes into your account on Monday at midnight.”

    “OK, I get that. But the checks I wrote went in on Monday at midnight as well. If that is the case then why do I have overdrawn checks?”

    “Because your check posted on Monday at midnight and the checks you wrote cleared based on your Friday balance.”

    “But they cleared on Monday at midnight. How is this possible?”

    “I don’t know, sir. It looks like you didn’t have the funds on Friday to cover the checks.”

    (Cut to a picture of me banging my head on the desk.)

    After talking with the reps manager I was advised to go see my local bank. While there the in-bank rep admitted that the problem was not my fault, but he was also reluctant to refund my overdraft fees. I had to convince him to reverse them based on the fact that I’d have to pay the returned check fees from all the places I had written checks that bounced.

    The next day I took my money out of savings and went to a credit union. I also wrote to the branch president. To this day I have not received a reply.

  21. gingerCE says:

    I know someone who brought a check into the bank and got it deposited, only to have it reversed because of a teller error. It was a huge check. This was at Wamu btw. Took weeks to settle, so unfortunately, it’s not just atms.

    However, I’m surprised BofA would not reverse or credit back some of the overdraft charges.

    At Wamu they have the drop off deposits where you don’t get a receipt–I am frightened of doing that but I’ve noticed people dropping off checks into the bin all the time.

  22. homerjay says:

    “I thought I’d give your readers a heads-up on how much Bank of America sucks,”
    You’re preaching to the choir, honey.

  23. stacy75 says:

    I’m the author of the letter.

    For what its worth, I certainly understand that bank errors happen. But their lack of assistance and craptastic attitude was what gets me.

    Their lobby hours suck (9-4!!) so it is hard to make teller deposits sometimes.

    The overdraft fees occurred because by the time I’d realized what happened, it was too late. I actually deposited a chunk of cash to cover it as soon as I’d realized it, but due to their awesome way of wanting to hit you with as many fees as possible (as noted above by chuloallen) it was not enough.

    Then I was just mad and refused to put any more money in until they’d promised that they would reverse the overdrafts, which took a month.

    Boooooo on B of A!

  24. Adam Rock says:

    Wells Fargo rocks with ATMs:
    1) I have never had a deposit problem in 10 years, checks signed or unsigned (yet)
    2) You can stuff a handful of dirty unsigned checks and cash into an ATM (no envelope!) and it will scan and ask you to verify the (so far correct) scanned values
    3) You can buy stamps (weird)
    4) I can pay my (WF) credit card bill from an ATM…Or at least you used to. I do it all online now, but back in college this was a big time saver.

    Their rates aren’t the best, but I’ve had a real good experience with them.

  25. crashman2600 says:

    My ex wanted to open a B of A bank account, I told her they were aholes and not to do it. She did it anyways and she has had nothing but trouble. They held her paychecks drawn on a local bank (and a major employer) for 4-5 days, she overdrafted once and they charged daily fees. Some day she will learn about them. I like the bank I deal with, only 1 branch so far which is a bit out of the way. When I go in I am greeted by name, sit on a couch, drink fresh coffee and watch their big screen while they transact my business. They never hold checks, and credit back all my my ATM charges that other banks charge. They also pay almost 5% on my money market ($1000 min) and 1% on checking (no min), all with no fees (and believe me I am not rich) they just know how to treat people.

  26. jpmoney says:

    I’ve been with BoA for a long time and always do ATM deposits. I’ve gone into the bank if the check was pretty big for sanity’s sake, but no problem. I’ve also had good experiences with their customer service on things like foreign atm withdrawals, etc.

    However, I do have an ATM problem. Their newer and much larger ones are S-L-O-W and seem to be aimed for SUV drivers. Its only annoying, but they’ve reinvented a wheel that is perfectly fine and found a way to make said wheel move like mole-arses.

    That or its the company who makes the machines screwing it up like they do voting machines.

  27. Maulleigh says:

    I had a BOFA ATM “eat” a check of mine.

    Said it couldn’t read it and tried to spit it out but DIDN’T and then closed up shop. So my check was unacknowledged. Sigh. Good thing it was during business hours and I sorta got it sorted out.

    So it goes.

  28. clankboomsteam says:

    I banked at B of A for years, before finally getting fed up abour
    four years ago. Among many, many other things, they were really fond of
    hanging onto checks cut from major corporations, for as much as ten
    business days, “to clear”.

    The excuse they usually gave me for this was that these checks were
    “unusually large deposits” for my account (I’m a freelancer, so I tend
    to get paid once every few months with a really big check, a situation
    for which B of A apparently has no contingency), and that in the
    interest of protecting themselves from bad checks (from one of the
    biggest companies on earth?), they needed to wait for it to clear. Any
    time I would ask why this would sometimes take more than a week, I
    never got the same story, and usually got an elaborate runaround.

    I swithched to WaMu, where I discovered that — strangely enough –
    they clear my paychecks instantly, with no wait whatsoever. I have
    never yet had to wait for ANY check to clear to my account at WaMu, no
    matter who wrote it to me.

    B of A is shameless and evil. If you bank with them and you’re
    currently happy with them, I recommend you move elsewhere anyway, and
    pronto — they WILL find a way to screw you, eventually. The minute you
    do have some sort of issue, their Customer Service department will
    almost certainly treat you rudely, contemptuously, and (most important)
    unhelpfully. Run.

  29. XTC46 says:

    I use the atm deposits all the time. I randomly get checks for various amounts from 25-1000 for freelance work and company reimbursements but am almost never near a bank during business hours. I only had a problem once and it was the deposited the amount twice on a 500 dollar check. About a week and a half later they pulled the extra 500. I was expecting it so I didn’t over draft (since its not my money) so it all worked out.

  30. tadowguy says:

    Here we go again kids:

    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION
    CREDIT UNION

  31. clankboomsteam says:

    The thing for me was that B of A would hold onto checks ranging from
    $200 to $10,000 (and everywhere in-between), even though they were all
    issued by the same entity. If the last $10,000 check from this huge
    corporation cleared with no problems, why in the world would their $200
    check bounce a month later? B of A could never give me a satisfactory
    explanation for their logic.

  32. Dr_awesome says:

    I’m 28 and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually used a teller. Every paycheck I’ve ever recieved has been deposited to my checking account via an ATM and I have never had a single problem. I use bank of america too..

  33. elislider says:

    bank of america does suck. i went to europe for two weeks after i graduated a couple summers ago and went to the bank first to make sure what kind of fees i could expect and what atms to get money from. two tellers both told me there were no fees (none at all) whether i used my debit card or my credit card (both BoA) and i could get money from ANY atm with no charge.

    so i get back from europe and look at my statements. every time i used one of my cards i was charged $5. whenever i used my other card i was charged a % fee (like 3 or 4 % of the amount) for every charge. I was pissed and went to the bank and pointed out which tellers told me this misinformation. the bank manager told me i was lying and that the tellers DID tell me there were charges and had explained all of them. yeah, right, like i’m going to knowingly use my card 30 or 40 times while getting charged every time. the bank manager said she was unable to reverse all the $5 fees, but would credit me 2 of them (total of $10) as a courtesy. WOW thanks. Also none of the % fees could be reversed or credited at all. i just realized im never using BoA for anything important, that way they cant screw me ever again.

  34. kalikidtx says:

    dont go credit union, they can be a pain in the ass as well (no 24 hour service, less branches, less atm locations, and so on), my best advise after I also left B of A a few years ago is Wells Fargo. Let me explain why, now you will need to verify that the WF branches near you have this as well (Im in No Cal), but the atm will accept checks and cash without a deposit envelope, but wait there is more! The best part, and the best part for you is that if you choose the option, the atm can print you a receipt with a scanned copy of each check you just deposited! This should save you a ton of trouble, not to mention WF seems just more together then B of A (I expierenced similiar issues to you and your fiance at the B of A branches in CA and TX). Good luck!

    kalikidtx…

  35. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    I betcha B of A outsources the viewing and crediting of the new check scanning ATM’s…

  36. Buran says:

    @tadowguy: Here we go again:

    THE CREDIT UNION CROWD IS REALLY ANNOYING AND THEY DON”T SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM AUTOMAGICALLY

    THE CREDIT UNION CROWD IS REALLY ANNOYING AND THEY DON”T SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM AUTOMAGICALLY

    THE CREDIT UNION CROWD IS REALLY ANNOYING AND THEY DON”T SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM AUTOMAGICALLY

    THE CREDIT UNION CROWD IS REALLY ANNOYING AND THEY DON”T SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM AUTOMAGICALLY

    THE CREDIT UNION CROWD IS REALLY ANNOYING AND THEY DON”T SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM AUTOMAGICALLY

    THE CREDIT UNION CROWD IS REALLY ANNOYING AND THEY DON”T SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM AUTOMAGICALLY

    THE CREDIT UNION CROWD IS REALLY ANNOYING AND THEY DON”T SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM AUTOMAGICALLY

  37. Buran says:

    I bet this is a local-branch/regional problem — lots of people haven’t had any trouble but even the best business can turn to crap if it has idiots working there.

  38. North of 49 says:

    Does BoA own CIBC? We’ve been having similar problems with them – holding cheques for 10 days or more… etc etc etc

  39. P41 says:

    The longest hold under the Expedited Funds Availability Act is for a nonlocal suspected fraudulent check, which is 11 days. I’m not sure what recourse there is against a bank that ultimately rejects a valid check rather than doing the deposit, but you might as well lodge this type of complaint.

    Of course it could be that there was some bank error (there or elsewhere) that kept the check from clearing properly, and they’re just too incompetent to properly diagnose or explain it.

    It sounds like you just deposited your original into the other bank instead of rubbing the manager’s nose in it.

  40. taber says:

    I’ve never had any problems depositing checks at BofA ATMs. The branch in my neighborhood actually just installed a new type of machine that makes me feel better about doing it than just stuffing the checks in an envelope though, where you stick the checks in, it scans them immediately and asks you if the amount is right, and then spits out a receipt for you that includes a facsimile of the check you just deposited, so if there is an issue you can go back and show them the thing. So that’s pretty rad.

  41. dinobuddy says:

    B o A sucks. I had an MBNA Visa card for about 10 years before it was acquired by B o A. I never had any problems dealing with MBNA on the phone, and then B o A takes over, declare unilaterally that they will be raising my interest rate (and not based on any violations of my service agreement, mind you), and if I wanted to protest, I had to do so in writing. F*** that. I had to deal with them on the phone for other stuff, and it was such a nightmare, I threatened to take my very busy account elsewhere. They couldn’t care less. I took my account elsewhere.

    About B o A’s behavior regarding your check, it sounds VERY fishy from a legal perspective. Most, if not all banks (and almost certainly a bank as large as BoA) scan ALL checks that come in per the Check 21 Act, which permits banks to scan and transmit images rather than the physical check to the payor’s bank, saving a bunch of money.

    If you have a lawyer or banker friend, have them look through the following to see if B o A isn’t violating Federal law:

    Regulation J (12 CFR Part 210 et seq.)

    Expedited Funds Availability Act (12 USCS 4001-4010)

    The Check 21 Act (12 USCS 5001-5018)

    Regulation CC (12 CFR Part 229)

    At the VERY least, this bank manager has ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for lying to you about checks not being scanned. It’s common knowledge in US banks, and you’d learn that within your first hour of bank teller orientation. If he honestly thought they weren’t scanned, then, well, that’s what B o A’s come to, and I’m not surprised in the least.

  42. AT203 says:

    I have never had Bank of America NOT screw up a major account operation, that is opening/closing accounts or anything else remotely complicated. And they have this corporate attitude that they just don’t care. I say this because I have had the problems in several locations in different states! I dread having to use Bank of America, and basically just kept ATM monies in there, because they do have a lot of locations. You can recognize them my giant garish, overdone, red banners.

  43. chrisgeleven says:

    Never had a problem with Bank of America in the 7 years I have been with them (about half of that with Fleet before they merged).

    Never had a fee, never had problems with deposits, and every time I talked with their customer service they have been fast and helpful.

    Best thing is just about anywhere in the country I can find a BofA ATM, with no fees to withdraw money. Heck, I can deposit money on the opposite coast and not think twice about it.

    They aren’t perfect (crappy interest rates are a good example), but for a national bank they have done a great job.

  44. synergy says:

    I haven’t dealt with checks in 3 years, but when I used to, I never had problems with depositing anything with Bank of America. I was also aware that it was going to take a couple of days to officially clear, so this guy should’ve known that he shouldn’t start spending that wad of money for 3 business days after he deposited it.

  45. meballard says:

    If you belong to a Co-op member credit union, the less ATMs thing is completely false. ALL 7-Eleven’s in the US are co-op ATMs, many of them supporting deposits, and that’s before you take into account the ATMs that belong to other credit unions that are part of Co-op.

    I rarely use my own credit union’s ATM, I almost always use other Co-op ATMs, and never have any fees (as long as it is Co-op, there is basically always no fee for using it), never had any deposit issues (they almost always release the full funds on my account immediately).

    Credit unions aren’t perfect, and if you purely want to deal with tellers, access can be limited (although the shared credit union services are available through much of the country as well, giving you teller access at other credit unions), but they beat a lot of the experiences I’ve heard with big banks (especially on the fee area, and access to money).

  46. youwantedahero says:

    Bank of America made me cry… it’s really quite pathetic that the biggest bank chain in the country has such a horrible “fuck you, we can do whatever we want” attitude. Customer Service was indeed unhelpful and extremely rude.

    Here’s what happened to me (among other things): I recently moved from WA state to OK (opened my account in WA). I went to an OK branch to change my information because they couldn’t access my account for any reason other than to deposit money (?). I was told repeatedly that I would have to call their customer service in WA to get my account transferred over as they were on a different “system”. So I called CS and the first thing the guy told me was, “Well, you’ll have to go to a branch there to change your account,” at which point I told him what I had been told and he just sat there for a second. Finally he said, “let me check” extremely rudely and left me on hold for a couple of minutes. Then he comes back on and says, “well, I can’t do anything for you, what you’ll have to do is go and open an OK account, call us and close your account in WA, and then we’ll mail you a check for your remaining funds.” I said, “You are out of your freaking mind if you actually think I would EVER open an account with you again after the way I have been treated.”

    Am I the only one that thinks this is totally unacceptable? Among the other horrible things BofA has done to me, which include holding on to a CASH deposit until things overdrafted.

  47. Michael Belisle says:

    TMURPHY: 0.1% on USAA’s checking? That’s as about as good as the savings rates at Wells Fargo (0.15%) and Bank of America (0.2%) and infinitely more than their checking rates. Quit bitching about getting interest on your checking account and save up $25 for the minimum deposit to open a savings account.

    In related news, Why would anyone put money in a savings account where you need at least $25,000 to beat inflation? Surely one can think of better ways to stockpile at least $15000 of that shooting to breaking the 1% barrier.

  48. lainykai says:

    I have been with BOA for the past four years and have had very minimal problems. When there has been the occasional hiccup it has been corrected very quickly and without many questions. When I was moving cross country they cut off my debit card (due to fueling up in 4 different states in one day). I didn’t discover this until I tried to check in to my hotel at midnight. Called and got the stolen/emergency division, as it was the only one open, and they immediately reinstated the card.

  49. ceejeemcbeegee is not here says:

    @chuloallen: Word. In addition, they post debits before of deposits, and only credit the first $100 of cash deposits immediately and leave the rest for the next day at noon. Plenty of time for them to bounce items and rack up fees.

    @clankboomsteam: I have this SAME problem with BofA. My question is, why come a merchant can clear an electronic check immediately but a bank needs 10 days?

    @tadowguy: Heck to the no on the Credit Union. You write a check to someone and your credit union charges them $5-$10 to cash it. Lemme get this straight: I walk a check written against an account at your bank/branch and you charge me a fee for giving me money your customer owes me? I call Shenanigans.

  50. yeabirfday says:

    I have a BofA account that was a Fleet account that was a BankBoston account that was a BayBank account. I’ve had small issues with fees here and there, but I call them up and have gotten them all corrected, as far as I remember. I’m afraid of things like the original post happening, so I watch my account online zealously. Thankfully nothing horrible yet, though I have had to switch account type on occasion due to changing circumstances (school, job, back to school, etc, ie changes in Direct Deposit status) to keep fees to a minimum. Also to keep fees low, I’ve never ever gone into a branch to talk to a teller (except for opening a linked credit card), so all my check deposits have been through ATMs.

    Another thing is that I like being able to *conveniently* withdraw –without fees!– from ATMs in MA, NY, and CA, the states I most often find myself in (SUM network ATMs are a b***h to find; I know this from having a NetBank account, and they’re gone now, anyway).

  51. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @Buran:
    Pleeeeeease release the caps lock. Gawker Media does not reimburse me for the Excedrin that I need after reading your comment. ;-)

  52. Michael Belisle says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee: $5-10 to cash a check? That sounds more like a scam, not a credit union. Now if you went to that credit union to cash a check written on it, that’s a slightly different story than how that reads.

    Also the merchant cashing a check (and the initial credit to your account) is based on faith. If you spend the money and the check bounces (a la the “whoops, I wrote that check for too much please wire me the difference” scam), you’re screwed.

  53. Michael Belisle says:

    Furthermore, posting debits before deposits is false unless they’re failing to abide by their policies that are printed on every statement. Applying debits before credits would be a crime.

    But applying large debits before small ones, that’s merely unethical. (A Wells Fargo representative said that was so that the “most important” items get paid first.)

  54. czarandy says:

    I’ve never had any problems depositing checks and cash into BoA ATMs. The largest check was $20,000 or so and the most cash was around $500. It’s all showed up by the next business day.

    Really, you shouldn’t spend money that will only be covered by the check you just deposited. That’s what credit cards are for.

    I think they are a great bank. Sure they don’t pay any interest, but I only use them for checking and most of my money is in online accounts anyway. It’s nice to be able to find an ATM anywhere. Their website/BillPay is also nice.

  55. Buran says:

    @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS: It was deliberate poking fun at the comment I was responding to, which was also all caps, which is also now missing. I am quite tired of the people who jump into every bank thread screaming credit union as if that’s a magic wand to fix everything. It doesn’t fix human failings since humans work at credit unions too.

  56. louisb3 says:

    @Buran: THE CAKE IS A LIE
    x5

  57. Copper says:

    I hate Bank of America. The only reason I still have my account there is because my car payment is automatically drafted out and I don’t trust that credit union to switch the payments to my new account without messing things up (they’ve already charged me twice two different times and I’ve only had this loan for 4 months).

    Bank of America sucks.

  58. Schmoopie917 says:

    Credit Unions are better because their fees are lower an tend to not have so many problems “to fix in the first place.” I refuse to let any big bank like BOA handle my money.

  59. Landru says:

    I’m sorry, I seem to have missed any mention of good things about Bank of America. What would possess anybody to deal with them in the first place?

  60. RvLeshrac says:

    @crashman2600:

    As much as I hate them, I will say that they stopped holding my checks after the designated time period (I believe it was 60 days after the date of the opening deposit), and they do state that they will do this for the designated period of time in the account T&C.

    So, yeah, I was upset about it when I first saw it and complained, a rep explained the policy. It may be boneheaded, but I accept that it was my fault that I didn’t fully read the terms when I opened the account.

  61. RvLeshrac says:

    @ceejeemcbeegee:

    Blame the legislators. Congress allowed the banks to hold your deposits for up to 10 business days, while allowing the processing of ACH debits (scanned checks) immediately.

    Keep in mind that the banks operate within federally mandated guidelines. If you don’t like it, write your representative(s). If you don’t like the response, work toward having them voted out. A call to the local news station’s ‘investigation’ team can do wonders, they love a good ‘business screws the consumer’ story.

  62. xVAGUE says:

    While I know this deviates from the original post, I just wanted to warn everyone -

    DON’T EVER DEPOSIT CASH INTO ATM’S!!

    Without going too much into it, you really don’t have any protection when your cash goes missing.

  63. lukobe says:

    I’ve only had trouble once or twice depositing checks into BOA ATMs, and I’ve been with them for 13 years. Both times all they did was deposit into my checking instead of my savings account, so that wasn’t so bad.

  64. johnva says:

    @xVAGUE: You beat me to it. I cringed when I saw someone talking about doing that. It’s just not a good idea. Checks are fine though.

  65. RvLeshrac says:

    @xVAGUE:

    Yes, you do. You have a receipt with the value of your deposit printed on it, as well as the availability date.

  66. iamme99 says:

    I never understand why the average person banks at monster companies like BOFA & Wells. They all seem to have huge minimum balance requirements and load up on the fees every way they can.

    I’ve been in a credit union since 1993. I think I’ve been to the actual bank maybe 5 times in that time period. I do all my banking online and/or via mail. If I get a physical check, I mail it in and it is processed in a couple of days. I’ve never had a check lost.

    I only need to keep $5 in my checking account and while there isn’t any interest in this checking account, I don’t have to tie up a minimum amount to avoid fees.

    As to ATM machines, I never use them. I just use my bank debit card for regular purchases at any grocery or drug store. Hell, even the US Post Office will give you cash back at no charge. Go buy 1 stamp :)

  67. RvLeshrac says:

    @iamme99:

    “ATM Machines” :’(

    If you’re getting cash back from a retailer, you’re just stealing money from them.

  68. nutrigm says:

    I had similary problem waiting for a returned check to be mailed to me. The original never made it. I had to request for a scanned one. It was quite a big check as well. Thank God my customer is a good guy and quickly wrote me another check without me having to wait for the original.

  69. bluesunburn says:

    @ConsumptionJunkie:
    Agreed. I use ATMs to deposit smaller checks only.
    After my wife and I got married, we went to a teller for all of the gift deposits, just to make sure that everything ended up where it was supposed to.

  70. vastrightwing says:

    Stay AWAY from BOA! Put your money in a mattress!
    I HATE BOA. HATE THEM PASSIONATELY. Not only do their ATMS not accept checks properly, once, I had to cover a $20,000 credit card payment, so I went in person to a teller to make a deposit and they put the money into the wrong account! In spite of the fact, my receipt showed the correct account. How did this happen? I think it was strategy to make money on penalty interest rates, hoping I would be too frustrated to make them fix their mistake. Oh no! It took me nearly a year to make them fix their mistake.

  71. RandomHookup says:

    I deposit hundreds of checks at BoA ATMs a year without a problem. They actually send me a big thick letter if I make a math error when adding up the checks, including check scans. Seems like a waste of money to me and does add to my embarrassment on occasion.

  72. MrFreshy says:

    @belisle:

    I have been told that this is how they do work…

    I had been keeping track of my purchases carefully, knowing that I was on the edge of going under on my account. Monday comes around, and there are 5 overdraft charges. From my records, I would have accepted one of them from the way that the transactions went in reality.

    I was told that BOFA does indeed take out the debits from largest to smallest, NOT in chronological order. If they charged chronologically, I would have had one overdraft charge, but since they debit largest to smallest, I raked up FIVE. They would not budge on any of them, and the rep I spoke with on the phone told me that he didnt think that they should refund my overdrafts.

    So, I had to pay out $175 in fees for about $25 in purchases (coffees, smokes, etc).

    As soon as my direct deposit switches to my wife’s bank, I will be cancelling my 7-year old account with BOFA!

  73. satoru says:

    The only problem I’ve had at a BoA ATM was when I tried to cash a foreign US dollar currency check via the ATM. They have some bizzare policy that although the teller can cash the check, the ATM clearing house cannot. I needed the money pretty bad. Luckily I had a BoA credit card that had a 0% balance transfer APR on it for a few months. I called up the BoA Executive Hotline on Consumerist and they were very understanding. They let me transfer the balance (it was on a Capital One card) and refunded me the balance transfer fee.

    Personally I’ve never understood why in America checks are so damn popular. Direct deposit is the only way to go! Also, how come I can’t just pop a bill into an ATM and have the bank pay it? That was a nice feature at any bank in Canada.

  74. chuloallen says:

    @belisle: I can tell you that i had racked up 3 or 4 overdrafts instead of just one because of how they make payments. And there are plenty of other people that have had the same issue -

  75. aka Cat says:

    Twenty-five years ago, when I was in college and ATMs were a spiffy new technology, I deposited a paycheck via the ATM. The deposit didn’t appear on my next statement.

    I went into the bank and asked where my money was, both the teller and the manager told me they had no record of a check and I had to prove that I’d actually deposited something more than an empty envelope.

    Other than direct deposit, I’ve gone inside to deposit everything since then.

  76. grizzman says:

    I’ve been a B of A customer for 15 years and always deposit my checks (no matter how large) and cash in the ATM. Never had a problem. In fact, I’ve been depositing my checks and cash in ATMs for 20 years without a problem.

    My local B of A has a nifty check scanner, so no more envelopes, and my check scan is on my receipt.

    Am I the only person in America that’s never had any problems whatsoever with B of A?

  77. type_slowly says:

    @RAREBREED: Someone might have already responded to this…but when I went to close a BofA account in person the teller, who was very good, told me to do it over the phone, because they charge the fee if you do it in person, but it’s free to close over the phone.

  78. johnva says:

    @RvLeshrac: But, as some people have discovered, the receipt is essentially meaningless because it only reflects what you typed in as the amount of cash you deposited. You could type in anything you wanted and it would show up on that receipt.

    They also need to check that the amount of cash matches up. And if they “lose” some, due to internal theft or whatever, there is no way you can really prove it. With a check, you can check that it cleared the other bank, and/or see the cleared check itself if they credit your deposit incorrectly. I know someone who is a teller and they told me to never deposit cash at an ATM.

  79. fireshaper says:

    Bank of America declined my deposit from Paypal (putting money INTO the BoA account) because my middle initial is in my Paypal account and not present in my bank account. And my name is not common at all!

  80. JustAGuy2 says:

    @tadowguy:

    NOT ALWAYS THE ANSWER.

    NOT ALWAYS THE ANSWER.
    NOT ALWAYS THE ANSWER.
    NOT ALWAYS THE ANSWER.
    NOT ALWAYS THE ANSWER.
    NOT ALWAYS THE ANSWER.
    NOT ALWAYS THE ANSWER.

  81. doireallyneedausername says:

    @kalikidtx:

    CUs are great if they’re a part of the Credit Union Service Network. Any CU in that network can perform the same functions as your home CU.

  82. luchita says:

    @youwantedahero: yeah, that’s the other insanely shitty thing about BOA. Mysteriously, accounts opened in CA, WA and at least one other state can’t communicate with the rest of the system. you can only do simple deposits and withdrawals from other states unless you close your account and re-open it in another state. it seems incredible that one of the biggest banks in the country has this problem and from what i’ve heard has no plans to fix it.

    re: why anyone would open a BOA account in the first place, well i didn’t. like most people here i opened a fleet account and boa ate my bank. i stay with them because they offer free, simple remittances to almost any city in Mexico, and i’ve never seen another bank that will do that. it’s an awesome system, and it almost makes up for the rest of the bullshit

  83. dantsea says:

    @Buran: I think you’re on to something here.

    When I lived in Seattle, my relationship with BofA was like a long-running cold; I really had to micromanage the account to correct their mistakes.

    Since moving to California and transferring my accounts here, not a single issue (other than a technical problem with online banking that was quickly sorted). It’s like a completely different bank.

  84. trollkiller says:

    Taking the largest debit first is called “double dipping” and has been around the banking industry for years. Almost all banks run debits first then deposits and double dip, scummy yes but not just a BoA phenomenon.

    I closed an account once because the bank nailed me with an overdraft fee over 80 cents. The bank pulled their checking account fee a week earlier than normal causing a small check to bounce, THEN they ran the $900 deposit I made. Nothing like losing $40 right off the top. I went without a checking account for close to 8 years after that.

    In those 8 years I found that every bank charges non account holder to cash a check drawn on their bank. One thing that makes me very suspicious of this slush fee is the fact they can not print a receipt for the transaction, they have to hand write it.

  85. FightOnTrojans says:

    Ok, I’m not saying that Wells Charge-o is God’s Gift to Bank Consumers, but they’ve been ok to me over the years. Most notably, I’ve noticed that they do the reverse, where they put the deposits for the day in 1st, then do all the debits for the day. For example, I’ve noticed (on more than one occasion) that we are overdrawn due to a debit that is “pending” (wife buying something that day). I immediately transfer money over from the savings account to cover it and give us a little extra “cushion” for the anticipated overdrawn fees and whatnot. The next business day, I notice that the deposit credited before the charge, and there are no fees whatsoever. This has happened at least 5 times that I can think of, and I appreciate that they do this. Now, if only I could get them to stop charging me for Bill Pay, I would be even more appreciative.

  86. failurate says:

    I love my Credit Union. Been with them for 7 years, paid zero checking account fees. First I don’t spend money I don’t have. And second, on the rare chance that I do, the checking account is tied to a small savings account from which they transfer the amount needed to cover… for free!
    Combine this with super low interest rates on loans and high rates on CDs, and I will always pick a credit union over a standard bank, especially one of the gianourmas super merger banks.

  87. rolla says:

    WaMu baby…WaMu!

  88. lanshark says:

    After losing $120 to overdraft fees, I realised it’s better to avoid having a “bank account.” Just use a line of credit, and keep a (close-to)positive balance most of the time. Any overdraft will only cost you interest, which will be a few percent higher than prime rate, and there will be no banking or overdraft fees. No charge for cheques. Deposit your paycheque directly into your line of credit, so that it will pay down the balance. Make all your bill & mortgage payments from the line of credit.

    Alternatively, if your line of credit is secured as part of your first mortgage, then you’ll pay no more than prime.

  89. Observer2121 says:

    This story really sucks but if you think it couldn’t happen at another bank you are mistaken. Asshol*s can work at any bank.

  90. tk427 says:

    @TYPE_SLOWLY:
    There are a lot of teller fees (and idiocy) that can be avoided if you call a banks main office.

    Earlier this year, I had to convince my Dr’s office that I had paid them $500+ more than 2 1/2 years earlier. I knew that I had watched my account online for a little while until I saw that the check had cleared. No problem, I dug out the old check register, I had the check # and exact amount with me, so I just needed printed proof that the clinic had cashed it. The tellers and managers at the local branch of my bank, after a good 20 min. debate (involving everyone in the goddam building) came up with the only solution that their little minds and jobs could handle.

    CHARGE HER $60 of course !!!
    ($2 per statement X 30 months)
    and tell her the reprinted bank statements will be mailed from corporate in 2 to 3 weeks ???

    I called the main office and complained to them. Before I was done explaining the rep had looked the check up, printed it and was asking me to confirm the address on the envelope that she was taking off her printer.

  91. RvLeshrac says:

    @johnva:

    I rarely ever have to punch in an amount. The scanned copy of the check shows the amount, anyway.

  92. RvLeshrac says:

    @satoru:

    Dunno if you’ve noticed, but the US is about ten years behind the technology in other first-world countries.

    We’re right near the top of the third-world countries, though! Not at the top, but working on it!

  93. merkidemis says:

    Never use the ATM or quick drop box for any deposit. I know its nice and easy, but it surely isn’t if you have to put up with this kind of stuff. Why you’d stick a big fat check in there in the first place is beyond my comprehension.

    I too learned this lesson the hard way. I had used a drop box to deposit a check from my parents when I was in college, to cover my housing bill. To keep the story short, it took two weeks, countless calls, overdraft fees, late fees from the university, and my father, who is a banking industry lawyer, threatening to drive down (500 miles) to deal with it in person. All because they had misread one digit in my account number and didn’t verify it against the name on the slip. Thankfully, they cleaned it up and covered all my fees, but now I deposit everything, even a $5 birthday check from grandma, in person with a teller. Good thing too, I’ve caught them twice more in the last 5 years putting it into the wrong account.

  94. wfujim says:

    When I lived with roommates, my roommate accidentally mixed up some utilities checks from another roommate and attempted to deposit one for me into his account. The name on the check was ‘Jim Brown’ and the name on his account was ‘William Smith’, so clearly you’d think BoA’s sophisticated check fraud prevention systems would have caught it, right? Wrong. The BoA ATM processed my check into his account without issue. Makes me laugh every time I see those commercials now about how safe their ATMs are for check processing.

  95. milty908 says:

    I just googled “Bank of America ATM ate money” and this came up, so I decided to sign up and tell my story.

    This just happened late last night. I deposited $900 (9 x $100) bills into the newer style BoA ATM where they automatically count the money for you. I’ve done this a few times before and didn’t really have any problems except that it would always not accept a few of my bills. I guess the bill didn’t register with their reader or something. So anyway this time I put in $900, and sure enough the “some of your bills cannot be accepted” message came up. The cash deposit box/slot thing opened up and there was only $100 (1 x $100). I took out the $100 and put in another $100 (5 x $20) that I was planning to deposit. This time all 5 bills registered and it took my deposit. However, when I looked at my receipt, it only gave me credit for $100, and not for the $800 that the ATM took.

    This was around 11pm, and I just found out then that apparently BoA doesn’t even have 24 hour customer service any more. After dialing the only number that is available, which was for lost cards or something, and explaining to them what happened and that I was not comfortable just leaving this matter to the morning since there was absolutely no record shown to me that I put in my $800, their lost cards department was very curt with me and simply told me there’s nothing they or I can do until the morning. So basically, I had to file a claim with them in the morning, and they said it will take 10 days to resolve the claim or whatever.

    Has anyone ever had one of these new automatic cash counting ATMs eat their money before? I seriously hope there are cameras or whatever that showed that I put in a stack of $100s, or that they don’t just keep the extra $800 when they’re counting the ATM as a early bonus or something.

  96. random55555 says:

    Well, you guys are in luck. I work very closely to these atm’s, very very closely. Just an fyi, the problems you guys are having is with the new Aptra software that BofA has developed. And Milty, don’t worry, your money will be returned to you.
    Unfortunately for everyone is there’s a TON of scams on these atm’s that BofA is trying to watch out for, one in particular is happening with the Bulk Note Acceptor (cash depositor) that I just got off the phone with. So because of these dirt bags it’s making honest people’s life harder.
    Also to the OP, the branch does NOT scan your check, the IDM does and forwards it to the network for processing. Something must have happened over there because if your receipt is clear enough then that’s the picture that the network receives. But honestly, the best rule of thumb is if the check or cash is THAT important to where you’ll overdraft or miss payments on bills then just go inside. It’s always better. The new depositors are MUCH safer for the consumer than the old depositors. And this is from someone who is around them almost 24 hours a day.
    With new equipment in everything there’s always going to be bugs and people who are scared to use them. Don’t be scared to use them, they’re very very reliable and, unless you reach a bad claims person, they should help you 110%. but branches really don’t touch the machine much so don’t trust them with anything. Take it up with the claims department and you’ll be fine.

  97. Anonymous says:

    They are indeed horrible, and it doesn’t seem to be limited to the mental limitations of an isolated teller. My experience is with the branch at 395 Quarry Road in Palo Alto.

    My wife and I have separate accounts, and we like it that way. When a tax refund check comes, we both endorse it and we deposit it into one or the other account. Until this year, when I put it into the ATM. I verified online that the money was in, and sent payments for my mortgage and other bills. Then I got a call from the mortgage company telling me that my check had bounced, and that I had to pay a penalty. I was shocked to see that BofA had reversed the deposit, and then charged me for overdraft! At the bank they told me that they could do nothing until the check would come back in the mail, and that the problem must have arisen because it was wrtten to two people not on the same account and there was nothing they could do until I brought them the check. When the check arrived a week later and I brought it to the bank, I went to a different teller. The previous a****e teller saw me and whispered to the new teller that he should have the branch manager review it. The manager reviewed it and the exactly same check was deposited without problem.

    Today, 6 weeks later, another teller invited me to open a savings account because she could see that I had an overdraft flag. She said that the bank only reversed those $35 overdraft charges when it was the bank’s fault. Talk about digging the knife into a wound!

    I went to the branch manager who was cheerfully greeting customers at the door and I asked him what I had done wrong the time I had the deposit reversed. He told me that actually there was nothing wrong, it must have been a mistake because it is against the law to accept deposits for two parties if both parties do not have a joint account. That was, to me, a red flag, because my attorney had checked with the IRS and they had no restriction on cashing checks as long as it was endorsed by both parties. I told him that it must be an internal law of BofA, because I knew it is not illegal for the IRS. Then he said, well it may be an internal law but it is our regulation noetheless and we have to follow it. Then I asked him, if it is an internal regulation, what do I need to do to keep it working the same way, because I know that he had approved it previously. He squirmed around saying that he did not remember it, that he obviously handles hundreds of transactions, etc. and that in the end, it was no use, they will not deposit those checks.

    I think I have to make him right. After 30 years with BofA I am looking for another bank. Any suggestions would be welcome!