Opening a checking account with a bank is a rite of passage of sorts for many consumers, but the plethora of small-print disclosures, fees and other services are enough to confuse even the most seasoned account holder. While banks attempted to simplify their practices over the years, a new Pew Charitable Trusts report shows that some banks – and regulators – have a long way to go before they’re truly doing everything they can to protect consumers. [More]
Many people who seek online payday loans are already in a very vulnerable position when they take on the added risk of the excessive interest rates and often exorbitant fees associated with these short-term loans. But there’s another danger possibly lurking in the payday shadows: Having all their personal and financial data end up in the hands of cyber criminals. [More]
Report: Overdrafting Just A Little Or A Lot Has The Same Negative Consequences For Consumers’ Accounts
For most consumers, overdrawing their checking account results in a hefty fee. While it’s safe to argue that consumer who have more overdrafts will pay more in fees, a new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts finds that both high-frequency and low-frequency overdrafters often face the same devastating financial ramifications from banks’ overdraft penalties. [More]
Have you been keeping a close eye on your joint piggy bank? Or perhaps you’ve got your very own credit card you keep separate from your significant other, the one you use to buy the things you don’t want to admit to (season 5 of that awful reality TV show, a giant wheel of cheese, etc.). You aren’t the only financial cheater — a new survey says there are a whole bunch of us taking financial matters to motels that charge by the hour, so to speak. [More]
A Colorado woman got more than she bargained for when ordering a fire starter for Home Depot: A box full of other people’s shredded checks and bank statements. [More]
Reader David wants to close his Bank of America account and move on. He was in no hurry: he began the process last spring, and slowly moved regular payments over to an account at a local bank and stopped making deposits in his Bank of America account. He wanted to bring his relationship with the bank to a graceful, amicable close. BoA isn’t interested in an amicable breakup, though. This account simply refuses to close. [More]
Aaron is ditching Wells Fargo. Not out of any animosity toward megabanks or dissatisfaction with their policies, though. He’s just moving to an area where they don’t have any branches. He did what you do when breaking up with a bank: withdrew his money and closed out the account. Well, he tried to. He wanted to. Perhaps he did. But the employee who helped him couldn’t guarantee that a stray old check or a recurring charge he failed to change over wouldn’t bring the closed account back to life, resulting in overdraft charges and a zombie account lumbering around. [More]
Chris was one of the many in October who closed their bank accounts with Bank of America, and other similar big retail banks, in protest over planned fees for using their debit card. But last week she found it had been reopened for no apparent reason, with a 1 penny balance out of nowhere. [More]
Don’t lend your debit card to friends or family to pay their DirecTV bill if you don’t want to be on the hook if they fail to pay their bill. As we learned during the debacle where the satellite provider drained the bank account of a dead customer’s friend, any debit or credit card that has ever been used for a given account stays on file…pretty much forever. Reader Laura learned this the hard way when the company drained her bank account to pay her sister’s bill. [More]
Amanda has been having a hard time getting Macy’s to reverse an incorrect charge on her credit card–a charge that was canceled less than five minutes after it was made last week. Her story includes almost all of the things that can go wrong with customer support, including random transfers, rude employees, and broken promises. If she’d just been made to hold for 45 minutes before one of the disconnections, she’d have collected the set! [More]
If you’re a Citibank customer who has one of the bank’s two smaller checking account plans—the ones where the monthly fee is waived as long as you use direct deposit or their online bill payment—then maybe it’s time to consider taking your business elsewhere. Starting in February, anyone with an average balance of less than $1500 will be assessed a monthly $7.50 service fee, reports the New York Post.
Erica, who writes Philadelphia Weekly’s Style blog, went to Target this past Saturday to purchase some new tank tops. She and her boyfriend filled their cart with a lot of other stuff too—”Ready to stimulate the economy?” she joked to him on their way to the register—and they agreed to split the cost equally. Now when I worked retail, that was an infrequent but not impossible task. When you ask a Target cashier to do that, get ready to have your debit card debited twice for the full amount of the bill, and then told two days later that the voided transactions will take 72 hours to clear.
I just found out that after I canceled my account with Washington Sports Clubs last year, they created a new account and continued to deduct hundreds of dollars from my account. More than $700, actually. I should have noticed this, but the charges varied each month and didn’t say “Washington Sports Club” anywhere — so I missed it. After more than a week of phone haggling and bringing in documents, the club is refunding my money. I would also like them to grovel and send me on a trip to Paris.
Each year banks give states $4.7 billion belonging to people who failed to “initiate a transaction or communicate with the financial institution” in the past three years. The money isn’t lost forever, but getting it back can be a bureaucratic hassle full of forms and headaches.
Bank of America twiddled their thumbs as an identity thief withdrew over $40,000 from Chris Hooley’s account over five transactions in a single day. Chris canceled his Bank of America debit card immediately after he lost his wallet, which should have put a big red flag in Bank of America’s system to stop them from handing over tens of thousands of dollars to a stranger. Apparently it didn’t!
If you’re the type of person who never uses your ATM card—and we really mean never in this case, you might want to call your bank to find out if there’s a minimum activity threshold to hit to keep it from being deactivated. A reader tried to use her Bank of America ATM card recently and kept getting an “invalid transaction” error at every ATM. She called the number on the back of the card to ask what was going on: “I was told that since I hadn’t used my card in a couple of years it was closed, even though the expiration date is several years in the future, and I hadn’t received any note that suggested I should cut the card up into tiny pieces.”