For years, we’ve been telling tales of terror abut bank customers whose supposedly dead bank accounts suddenly sprang back to life after some unwitting third party attempted to make a direct deposit or debit on the account. But realizing that this whole zombie thing is so overdone these days, Bank of America says it has put an end to the practice.
“We have been looking at [the change] since late last year and it just went into effect this week,” a BofA rep confirms to Huffington Post.
Among the many problems associated with resurrecting dead accounts (aside from the fact that’s in an offense against nature) is that the owner of the believed-dead account rarely finds out about the rebirth in a timely fashion. This can lead to the account being overdrafted, which means fees piled upon fees. It can also have a negative impact on one’s credit report.
In a recent report by our cohorts at Consumers Union, zombie accounts were listed as one of the impediments to making a clean switch from one bank to another.
“While this is a welcomed change in policy, consumers at Bank of America and other banks continue to face a myriad of obstacles that can make switching to a new financial institution a time-consuming mess,” says Suzanne Martindale, staff attorney for Consumers Union, about the Bank of America announcement. “That’s why we need Congress and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to enact reforms that make it easier for consumers to move their money.”
Consumers Union has called on Congress and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to consider a number of policy changes to enhance consumer choice and bank competition, including:
• Banks should be required to bear the responsibility for transferring a customer’s automatic payments and deposits from the old account to the new account within 14 days
• Banks should provide same-day electronic fund transfers at no cost to consumers
• Check hold times should be reduced so consumers can quickly access deposits in new accounts
• Banks should be prohibited from assessing unfair fees for closing accounts
• Banks should be prohibited from reopening accounts after consumers close them
• Banks should be required to provide consumers with clear and accessible account closing procedures
• Bank regulators should examine the feasibility of portable bank account numbers to facilitate easier bank switching.