Ally Bank Finds My Lifelong Nickname Totally Unacceptable For Depositing Checks

Some of us were born with one name, and whether through deliberate choice or the tendencies of friends and families, end up being known by a nickname. Our reader Nicholas found out recently that apparently some nicknames are just unacceptable — according to Ally Bank, “Cole,” the name he’s gone by his entire life, won’t fly.

Nicholas writes in with his tale of nickname woe, which all started when he deposited his first “e-check” with Ally, via a scan and email. It was written out to “Cole [Last Name],” (with, of course, his actual last name in there).

I called them up and they let me know that they do not deposit checks “written out to third parties.” I was confused but recognized that the check had been written to “Cole [Last Name]” as opposed to my legal name “Nicholas [Last Name].” They informed me that they would never accept a check written to Cole, ever, not even if I put it in writing that NOBODY calls me Nicholas and would therefore never correctly write checks to me.

This conversation escalated to Daniel (Dan) and we had a heated discussion. According to Dan, Ally can accept checks written to Dan in place of Daniel because that is an acceptable nickname. When pressed for the definition of acceptable nicknames, he restated that Cole was not acceptable (despite it being the second syllable in Nicholas). I asked about Elizabeth that goes by Lisa or Lizabeth. Those work. C’mon Dan!! Seriously?! I closed my account today and made sure they sent my check to the appropriate address to Cole [Last Name].

It’s not like he was trying to go by Fuzzy Wuzzy Was A Bear — as he points out, the nickname is an actual sound in his full name. We’d like to see your probably arbitrary list of “acceptable” nicknames, if it exists, Ally.

Woe betide the person who ever addresses me as Mary, by the way. I will accept checks made out to her, however.