A Fee For Early Withdrawal.

I hate banks.

I hate them a lot.

Let me repeat that.

I hate them a lot.

When I first moved to NYC I opened a checking account with Chase.  Who knows why.  Perhaps they were the first one I saw.

When I moved to San Diego I opened my account with WAMU.  I actually opened one with Bank of America but discovered they’d charge me a monthly fee if I didn’t have direct deposit.  I changed banks because Chase wasn’t in San Diego.  I wanted a bank that had locations in both places since I was traveling between NYC and San Diego.

When I came back to NYC I kept my WAMU account.  I liked it.  It worked fine.

Then Chase bought WAMU.  And one day I went in to the bank to make a deposit to cover an automatic withdrawal that was scheduled to occur.  I was informed that because I opened my account in California that to make a deposit they would take my cash, issue a check, mail it to California, and then it would be processed.  It would take about 5 business days for this to occur.  I asked if someone was going to cover the cost of the overdraft if the charge went through without the money being there.  I was told no.  I then told them I’d like to close the account so that it wouldn’t overdraw my account.  I was told that I couldn’t do that.  To close my account I’d have to go the branch where I opened it and close it there.  That branch was in California.  In August I traveled to California and closed the account.  When I was asked why I was closing it I explained.  I was told to wait, it would all be fixed by the end of October.  I laughed and ask her if she really expected me to bank like that.  She closed my account.

Then I opened a Citibank account.  Adam banked at Citibank and as far as large banks go, he liked it.  Then two months ago they announced that they were going to start charging customers who had less than 1500 dollars in their account.

I went looking for another bank.

A couple of Adam’s friends bank with Bank of America.  So I went there.  They’ll happily open an account for me and it will be free as long as I have at least one direct deposit a month.  Which would be fine if I got regular paychecks.  But I can go weeks/months/years without actually receiving a paycheck.

I went looking again.

A couple of people said they really liked Chase.

I went to Chase.  They answered all of my questions.  It seemed like the right thing to do and so I opened an account with them.

Of course they failed to mention a couple of small details.

The first.

If I deposit cash into an ATM I have to wait till the following business day to have access to the money.  The problem with this?  The machine takes the cash, counts it, breaks it down into denominations for you and prints all of this out for your on your receipt.  They know exactly how much cash you deposit when you deposit it.  You’d think I’d have access to it right away.  At Citibank I put the money in an envelope, sealed it, put it in the machine and when I got home I’d have 75% of it at my disposal.  And they had nothing but my word that the money was there.

Then there’s this next business day thing.

I got off work tonight at 1:15 a.m.  If I deposited money in the ATM.  It would not show up on my account till sometime Thursday morning.  It’s fucking Tuesday night.  I’m supposed to believe that no one can process my deposit for 24 hours?  And get this.  Last Friday night I made a deposit at 12:15.  That’s actually 15 minutes into Saturday.  The money finally appeared in my account sometime this morning.  72 hours to have access to my money.  As you can see this is stupid.

So I went into the bank yesterday to ask about this.  I thought perhaps it was like Citibank where once you established yourself as a customer they’d wave the waiting period.  The woman responded to me as though I was speaking Japanese.  It took three tries to even get her to answer the first question.  Then she wanted to look at my account.  I swipe my card and she looks at my account.  She then exclaims that the reason I don’t have money in the bank is because I spent it all after I deposited it.  I ask her to explain.  She says that I made a deposit on Wednesday and that I had several charges pending.  I explain that I made a deposit on Friday night and that it was posted yet.  She says, “not according to my screen.”  I explain that it won’t show up until it clears.  She says that that’s not so and then asks me if I know the ATM number of the machine I used on Friday night so she can file a claim.  I looked at her as though she was speaking Japanese and asked her if she knew the fucking ATM number of the last machine she used.  I left out the fucking part.  When I left I was no closer to an answer than when I started.

So I go back into the bank today and start the conversation over again.  This time I’m told that I didn’t make the deposit until Monday and that it showed up the next day so they didn’t see what the problem was.  I explained that I’d made the deposit late Friday night and I was told that if that were the case it would say so on the screen.

I had finally had enough and told the lady I’d like to just cut my losses and close my account.

Which comes to the second little detail they might have left out.  If I close my account within the first 60 days then I have to pay a 50 dollar early termination fee.

I lost my shit.  I wanted to know why I hadn’t been told this.  I was told it was in the “little pamphlet” they gave me.  I said, you’d think something so significant that would cost me money MIGHT have been mentioned perhaps in passing.  I was told I should have read my little pamphlet.  At this point I was done.  I might have raised my voice and said.

You guys run a nice little scam here.  I deposit money on Friday.  Cash.  You don’t give me access to it until Tuesday.  You have 72 hours to play with my money while I wait.  So let’s get this straight I deposit 200 bucks in the bank and you get to play with it till Tuesday.  Let’s say 2,000 people deposit 200 dollars on Friday that means that you have 400,000 dollars to make money on before you release it back to your customers.  I would bet a lot more than 2,000 people deposited cash on Friday.  And to top it off you are telling me that if I’m not happy with your business practice to close my account I have to pay 50 dollars.  You guys take the cake.

I was finally told to calm down and that I should come back when all my pending charges had cleared and talk to someone then.

So what the fuck do I do?

Citibank will charge me for not having 1500 dollars.

Bank of America will charge me for not having direct deposit.

Chase will keep my money for two days, or they will charge me for closing my account.

I feel like I’m stuck.

Just in case you are curious.

Here’s what I need.

I need a checking account.

I need online bill pay.

I need a branch near my restaurant where I can make nightly deposit so that I don’t carry huge amounts of cash home with me.

I need access to my money as soon as I deposit it.

Is any of this too much to ask.

I told Adam I was ready to start keeping my money under our mattress.  At least then I know what it’s doing and it’s there when I need it.


5 thoughts on “A Fee For Early Withdrawal.

  1. the cajun March 17, 2010 / 07:05

    Stop dealing with big banks and find a small local one, or a local credit union.

    Most all banks & CUs prefer direct deposit because it tells them you’re going to stay with them and establish a working relationship.

    I have direct deposit for a small part time job and it’s works to help with a few extra perks.

    Just my two-cents, plain.

  2. Sarah March 17, 2010 / 12:03

    I’m thinking of moving to a credit union.

  3. Lemuel March 17, 2010 / 14:16

    I will echo the Cajun. I do not know if small “local” banks exist in the City, but if they do find one and investigate. It should be better. Credit Unions are also a better bet than the Big Banks.
    We’re in the process of closing accounts at a bank that was gobbled by a big bank. We’re waiting for final evidence that all or direct deposits have been moved over to the new small bank and that everything has cleared and then it is endsville.
    When we run out of small banks it will be the mattress for us. There is little percentage in banking really. The entire financial world needs reined in.

  4. kdefrank March 17, 2010 / 20:32

    We used to use COmmerce. Now it is called TD Bank. Lots of people here use Wacovia. I don’t know their details. I like commerce, and except for a small problem when they switched over to TD I haven’t had any problems. I really like paying the bills on line. I like that I can see “pending transactions”, even a paycheck that gets direct-ly deposited is in Pending before it’s actually payday.

  5. Java March 18, 2010 / 00:06

    That’s ridiculous! I never have liked banks much, and as time goes by, my dislike increases. We do most of our banking with a credit union. I also have a separate account at a small local bank. There are disadvantages to the local bank, for instance there are no bank branches or ATMs outside of this county.

    As more of these smaller banks get eaten by the big fish, service goes out the window. You’re fucked. And not in any kind of good way. Hell, they don’t even give you a toaster anymore!

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