Every week I buy gas, groceries & impulse items at the store. I chat it up with a bank rep. to make sure my account is secure and yet every week my balance is always different from their computer’s. I have had enough! Lets torch our cards right after our bras!
I’ve been jacked! For my money, my duckets, my cheese, my cake. Any way you put it, it’s gone. I constantly have this issue with keeping a tight eye on my checking account balance. Just when I know I’m on track, the bank flips the script on me and I’m no longer heavy in the pockets like I thought I was. Many times we spend and don’t think about each transaction we make. I don’t use checks, and I used to, seldom use cash. I slowly started to realize that I needed to cease all heavy transactions used with my debit card.
No, I was not being a spendthrift and yes, I was keeping track of my account. I learned that some businesses do not automatically take the money from your account when you make purchases. Sometimes the bank will show a pending transaction to at least let you know you have money that will soon be leaving the nest. Other business’s computer’s will take the money (electronically) but at times will never touch it. So in other words, today the money is gone, tomorrow the money is back. It took two times to understand that, just because it’s back doesn’t mean it’s there for the long haul. If you don’t come to that realization, you will end up over spending and succumbing to the OVERDRAFT. Ouch! Not a pretty sight.
Once I got a clue I started with a clean slate and embarked on a good standing checking account. In the past and in the present I have taken the time to speak with a friendly online representative, (I can’t stand the automated system) about unknown charges and mistakes on my account (I wish). I’ve tried my best to trust these people and rely on them to help me out, give me a break, give me some insight, tell me a banking secret, or reveal that the bank is just stealing me blind. They never do though. You know, they record every phone call you make so I know they have an audio diary dedicated to me. Why is it each agent tells me something different each time I call? Why is it I can’t get straight answers for why the bank takes their time accepting my deposits but won’t hesitate to take, take, take, “what’s theirs?”
I decided to fix the problem and keep a mental and physical note on what I spend and calculate the balance every day. Yet, still I have issues. They tell me what’s pending, they tell me what hasn’t shown, and they tell me what’s been taken. I follow this info time and time again and still I get bamboozled. I am so ready to cancel my account, pull out and find another home. One that’s free for one thing. I opened a savings account because they kept bugging me about it. (I already have one with a credit union). I opened the account, so I thought, and went about my days thinking I’m saving automatically (they said it would happen). Then I get a balance in the mail saying I owe them $3! (It’s not much but still over draft of course) I was told I had a zero balance, knowing full well that I never touched that account. Blasphemy!
It turns out that my account was never completely opened (the type of account was a specialty savings), which I thought happened already. Every time that woman at my local bank saw me she wanted me to open a savings account. So one day I stopped and thought, hey another one can’t hurt. It can only help me. Annnhhh, wrong. This same woman claimed she’d been looking out for me so I can sign some papers to complete the transaction of the account. After all this run around I still owed them money and never saved anything. Finally it was opened how it was supposed to be and I started to accrue some dividends. Oh yea, I was charged for having the account too. Now I know this true for most banks, but they still failed to inform me of that piece of info. I was being charged for both accounts, unless of course I got a direct deposit on my checking account for my paychecks, then it would be free. What’s the difference? I was also promised money for opening the account and referring someone. But of course the money comes several months later, which is useful for future savings, but it still sounds like a sham to me. A ploy. A good one, if they GIVE YOU ALL THE INFO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ACCOUNT UP FRONT.
This is so important because someone with less knowledge of banking will get completely confused. I did. People don’t like to be fooled into getting something and you should never mess with a person’s money. Having a bank account is important and it’s a good thing. We all should have a couple of them, especially savings accounts. But, the more the bank keeps information away from us instead of telling us upfront, the less faith people have in a bank. Not being loyal to customers will only lead them back to their mason jars and feather filled mattresses, and we don’t want this. We need the service, especially in less informed and dis-advantaged neighborhoods. Just be fair.
Needless to say, something g else happened and I closed my second savings account and pressed on. I’m actually re-thinking that action.
Here I am, at the computer, overdraft again (with a $35 overdraft fee!) and contemplating on what to do to change this re-occurring issue. I mostly use my bank card when I get gas. I started withdrawing cash once a week (minimally of course. I don’t want to be charged for too many transactions.) to use on a daily basis so I won’t have to use the machine or use the card. I will limit my card transactions by using them for when I need what I don’t have at the moment and for online transactions. I will ask for a bank balance every week, keep checking via the phone and keep written records.
I’m not playing games with these folks. I want my money and I want the right information told to me when I ask. I’m on a mission to better my banking skills. I know all I need to know for now and will act smartly in the future.
Remember: GET A SAVINGS ACCOUNT! It’s worth your while.