At Chase, Depositing A $4,000 Check In An ATM Is "Unusual Activity"

Carol tells Consumerist that while in a financial pinch, she took out a title loan for $4,000, depositing it in her Chase bank account using an ATM. Instead of helping the situation, the deposit made her financial mess worse. Chase froze her out of her accounts and made her order a new debit card, but no one at her local branch or in the corporate “Risk Control” department has the power to tell her what the problem is. Her account remained locked after the check cleared. Bank staff also took the opportunity to attempt to sell her student loans and overdraft protection. Not a good time, Chase.

She writes:

I had an overdrawn account of $13 that lasted about 5 days. On the 6th day, I went and got a title loan in the amount of $4000 to help me catch up on my bills and to pay for my son’s college tuition. Chase advertises that depositing checks into the ATM is safe and easy. So, I deposited the loan check in the ATM.

Imagine my surprise when I went to get money out and it said my account was frozen, check with bank professional. Figuring it was just a fluke, I tried another ATM with the same response. I went into the branch and told the girl at the front desk that I had deposited a check in the ATM the day before and now my ATM card wasn’t working and I couldn’t access my money. She looked it up and told me that since there had been unusual activity in my account the “Risk Control” people suspended my account pending the loan check clearing. She assured me that I would be able to access my account the next day.

Today, I logged on to check my balance and it showed that the check had cleared, so I went to use my ATM card and the screen again told me “Unable to access this service at this time.” So, I went in and asked the lady, [redacted] to see why my ATM card wasn’t working. She opened my account and said it was still suspended. EVEN though the check had cleared the bank. I asked her why it would be suspended when the money is there and available.

She took me over to the manager and explained what was going on. He called the Risk Security center and asked why if the check has cleared is this account suspended….he couldn’t get a really good answer from them, but they did admit it was an error that would be hopefully fixed my no later than Monday. (Today is Wednesday). I asked them about my direct deposit and they told me that I wouldn’t have access to my money until the suspend status gets removed.

Then I was told that my ATM card had been permanently disabled and I would have to order a new one. I asked them who was going to buy food for my kids, pay for my sons college books, put gas in the car while my money sits in their bank. They printed some paperwork for me to sign regarding overdraft protection…..I refused to sign anything. The manager asked me if I was interested in speaking to their loan officer about getting college loans for my son…..as if! Both managers shook their heads and said it made no sense why someone couldn’t just undo to the suspend.

Obviously, I won’t be trusting them with my paychecks in the future.

Maybe someone higher up in the corporate chain will be willing to listen to Carol’s story and figure out what actually happened. Here’s our J.P. Morgan Chase resources page, and some older Consumerist articles about readers who fought Chase and won.

Nice Letter Gets Chase To Reinstate Man’s Promotional APR
Having A Problem With Chase Bank? Here’s Where To Turn
Make Chase Value You For The Great Customer You Are
Chase Executive Customer Service Drops APR From 26% To 9%