5/3 Bank's New Policy: Only Process The First $100 Of A Check

How can you overdraft when you’ve deposited more than enough money to pay for the charges? Why, when 5/3 Bank decides to only let the first $100 of the check through.

Chris had a balance of $68.08, deposited a check for $619.49 and then made several payments and purchases totaling $180.86. Thanks to 5/3’s new policy, he racked up four overdraft charges. When he contacted executive customer service, they agreed to waive one of the charges, but defended their right to charge fees because 5/3 had recently sent a little notice in the mail along with the account statement.

“My girlfriend and I have just moved and now I have a huge chunk of the security deposit our landlord was expecting missing, and I don’t know what I’m going to do,” writes Chris.

Up to this point, Chris has been able to deposit paychecks at a teller and, “since it’s from another local bank, any transactions that I do on the day of deposit are covered the following day, in entirety.”

53overdraftcomplaint.jpgChris’ story illustrates the need, even in this age of online billing, to keep an eye on account notices to keep an eye out for any new fee schemes your bank or other service provider may have invented.

Chris writes, “right now after this matter is resolved I’m planning on closing my account.”

(Photo: Getty)

UPDATE: Under the comment name, “CARDBOARDROBOT,” Chris answers some of your questions and offers clarifications:

This was a local check. It happened to be my paycheck. I’ve deposited it every two weeks at the same 5/3 branch for over a year. Every time I deposit the check, it is made available to cover everything at midnight when they process transactions. I was expecting it act the same way it had for the last year.

I guarantee you if this was my first time depositing a check in a few months, or it was an out of state check, or whatever other circumstance it could be, I would have exercised more caution. But why shouldn’t I expect the check to cover everything that was going through that midnight, if it had every time before?

I’ve learned a ton of lessons from the consumerist on managing my money, and actually use Ben’s spreadsheet that was posted a while ago to track my money. Overdrawing is a complete rarity now, and if it happens, it’s something that I’ve clearly overlooked and I assume full responsibility, and never ask to get the fee reversed.

Again, this happened because fifth/third changed a policy. The policy was to then cover ONLY the first $100 dollars of the check. I have adapted my spending around this now that I am aware of it, and have not overdrawn since.

And about their notifications..

They sent out paper notices, apparently, but I just shred my paper statements, because I track everything online. The notices were not included in the PDF along with the online statements.

They also had a bit clearer warning on the page you see when you first log in. I suppose all these years of web browsing has trained me to ignore anything that is bunched in with a column of ads.(their notice advertisement was located just above an ad for a mortgage and a credit card. I just disregarded that entire column).

I feel that they should have something in red, or something more in plain site, or even a pop up window. I’m familiar with web technologies, and know that there are definitely ways they could have improved their notification of this change online.

PS: The ask staples about the .94 cents. I went to make copies, and their machines didn’t accept cash or change any more. Only plastic.