36 Confessions Of A WaMu Banker

Reader B works at WaMu and wanted to share some tips that would be helpful to the everyday consumer. Most importantly, B gives some instructions for getting those annoying overdraft fees taken off of your account.

– About the WaMu Free Checking, yes it is a different “free” checking account. We just came out with the “WaMu” part about a couple of years ago, so if you have any “free” checking account older than that I suggest you change it to the newer one.

– The newer WaMu Free Checking is EXACTLY the same as the old “free” checking, but you get extras like free checks, free money orders and official checks, one Overdraft charge reversed every year, and a $0.05 reward every time you use your debit card (that’s better than nothing).

– If you still have the older “free” checking you can go into the branch or call a branch and just change it over to the new one. Your account number, debit card number, and everything stays the same. You just get a better deal with the same product.

– On ordering checks on your WaMu Free Checking, you only get the normal ones (no fruity pictures, no duplicates) for free. The rest cost extra. If you want to order more than one box, make sure to tell the teller to order ONE at a time. If you order more than a box the system will charge you (newbie tellers don’t know this).


– For ATM’s NEVER deposit anything EVER unless it’s absolutely necessary. (Ex: you are going away for awhile and you cannot deposit during that period)

– ATM’s put your deposit on hold about 80% of the time. Usually for about 2-7 business days.

– If you want your money as fast as possible go into the branch. We can see the check and most likely we will not put the check on hold. If there is a hold, talk to a supervisor and see if you can work out a deal to either decrease the length of the hold or have the supervisor call on the check; they would be more than happy to.

– If you did deposit into a ATM and your money is held we most likely cannot do anything about the hold because we cannot see the item deposited, so tough luck and learn from your mistake

– Our ATM’s are free to use for any customer from any bank. HOWEVER, if you are from another bank and you use OUR ATM’s then your bank will charge you.

– If you are a WaMu customer and you use your card at another bank’s ATM, we will not charge you but the other bank will. These charges might also come in one lump sum during some time (randomly) in the month (I don’t know why), so don’t think you’re free just because you don’t see a charge the next day you use another bank’s ATM.

– If you ever get your debit card sucked back into the machine don’t freak out! We empty out the ATM’s about twice daily,once before we open and once between 2 and 3 pm. We keep the cards for ONE business day so you can just pick it up the day after. If you can’t, call into the branch you use the ATM from and ask them to keep the card until a date you can pick it up.

– On drive-through ATM’s, usually we do not service those. A separate company services them every other day (Mon, Wed, and Fri), usually in the afternoon. If you lost your card in there we can’t do anything until those days.


– Yes I know you have a “free” checking account but that doesn’t mean we won’t charge you every time you go negative or bounce a check.

– For Overdraft charges it is $30 for EVERY transaction that TAKES you negative or WHILE negative. The amount does not matter. (Ex: you have $1 in your account and you buy a $4 cup of coffee, that means you just bought a $34 cup of coffee)

– You can try to get us to reverse some or even all these charges so don’t feel like you have to live with that $34 cup of coffee.

– If you ever do try to get the fees reversed, call the 1800 number first and see if they can take some or all off. I know company 1800 numbers aren’t the best in the world but that 20 min. hold could get you your $30 back.

– After you call the 1800 number and they can only reverse some but not all the fees you racked up, come into the branch. We can reverse them. Usually you have to talk to a supervisor but if you have a legit story, he or she most likely take some or all the charges off.

– Here’s another tip: DON’T ASSUME WE WILL REVERSE YOUR MISTAKE! We can take charges off but if you have a record of fees don’t count on it. We can see how many fees you racked up in the past and how many we reversed. If you are having trouble with keeping your account positive, carry around a transaction register to jot down all the things you bought or set up this free service called Overdraft Transfer.

– With Overdraft Transfer, whenever you go negative in your checking account we transfer the money to cover that item and some additional cash (your choice how much) from your savings account (you have a savings right?). This service only charges $10 A DAY for the transfer. For example, if you get 3 debits go through your account on the same day; we will only charge you $10 for the transfer from savings to checking. That is a much better deal than $30 per transaction with no Overdraft Transfer

Check Holds

– Check holds can be placed on ANY check even a money order or cashiers checks because any check can be stopped payment.

– If you have a new account (less than 30 days) any check over $100 you deposit will be held for 7 business days.

– The way to see if how long your check is placed on hold is 1) where (location) the check is drawn off 2) the amount of the check and 3) your account history

– If your check is drawn off a out of state bank, most likely it will be placed on hold

– If your check is more than $5,000 most likely it will be held

– If your account isn’t in too good shape (negative, bounced checks, new account) then it will most likely be held.
– Credit card or Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) checks are held 99% of the time. We cannot verify if the check is good so if the computer doesn’t put the check on hold the teller will.

– There are exceptions to these rules.

– If the check i sa paycheck, bring in your stub with the check and we will take it off.

– If your check is drawn off a well known company (Ex: Target, McDonalds) we will take it off.

– If you have a decent history with us, talk to a supervisor, and we will most likely take it off.

– Check holds are always negotiable, if you really need the money available talk to a supervisor/manager and see what he or she can do about it. Usually you can work out a deal to decrease the length of the hold or have the supervisor/manager call on the check.

Branch Tips

– If you are ever in a hurry and need to deposit or make a payment use the box we have in the lobby. Just fill out a deposit or payment ticket, put your check (no money) in the envelop, and we will process it before the end of the day

– We open on Saturdays, but we treat the day as Monday. Saturday is not a business day and everything we post that day will carry onto Monday.

– Use the Express Line. The Express Line is for SINGLE transaction ONLY! If you have more than one transaction, go into the main line,simple enough?

Remember Above All Tips

– Our goal for the year is “Customer Service”. We will do literally anything to make you guys happy.

– Use that fact to your advantage. If you have some problem (fees, service, ect.) complain to a manager or supervisor and he or she will do almost anything to make you happy.