Like many folks out there, I was looking into savings accounts with 1% or higher interest rates. My local Credit Union paid only a 0.8% so I thought I’d maximize my savings by going with a higher rate. There were lists of different accounts offering 1.3%, 1.35%, etc. I settled on Zion’s Bank. I had done business with them three decades before and thought them reputable. Maybe they are. My experience turned into a nightmare before I was done.
I initially deposited $250, which was no small amount for me, living on disability pay of under $700 per month. I added and subtracted the money as they had promised I could. A month passed, then two, then three. I noticed there was no interest being added on so I wrote them to ask them about that. I was informed that my balance had to be $1000 before receiving any interest…not just a higher rate, but any at all. Okay, so I decided to close the account and stick with my credit union until I had $1000 to put into the higher rate account. That was when disaster struck.
As mentioned before, I am on permanent disability and cannot afford to lose any money. When I closed my account, unfortunately, my short term memory being as faulty as it is, I forgot that I had a $20 transfer processing to my PayPal account. This would not have been a problem…I was willing to pay the $25 insufficient funds fee in order to close the account and make it all go away. I logged on to put in the transfer from my credit union to Zions and found that they had added an additional $24! I called to inquire as to why the extra fees and was informed that they charged an additional $8 per day until I settled the matter. I did a double take and a “WHAAAA???”
It had taken their notification three days to reach me and that was where the $24 had come from. I was further informed that even if I arranged a transfer of the total $49 that very day, I would still be charged another $8 for the next day as the transfer would not post for 24 hours. Okay, so I put in a transfer of $57.
In the meantime, PayPal resubmitted the original $20 request to Zions. I looked on PayPal’s website about how to cancel transfers. Guess what. YOU CANNOT CANCEL A TRANSFER TO PAYPAL. Also, PayPal submits all transfers twice before giving up. Great. I go back to Zions website. I now have $85 total owed listed on my account! Mind you, the original they still had not posted my $57 transfer. Now, the amount that I took out of the account when I requested they close the account was only $98.
I am not saying that I didn’t have any hand in my dilemma. Obviously I don’t read legalese or I would probably have spotted the fee policies when perusing their terms. Still, it seemed to me that until I had received the notification, they should not be able to tack on extra fees. Even with the second presentment of the withdrawal, my total should only have been $50 but because of their daily $8 fees, it jumped to a ridiculous amount in a fairly short time.
Bottom line: Before signing on with any of these banks for their so-called “high interest bearing” accounts, have a lawyer read the terms and interpret them for you. Frankly, I don’t think any bank should be able to write terms that the common lay person cannot understand. Nor do I think they should be able to tack on fees before notifying you of the problem…and I mean YOU KNOW ABOUT IT, not that they have just mailed you a notification. Had they emailed me, I could have put in the transfer right away. Because they snail mailed me, there was several days’ delay and they just kept charging me, even over the weekend…not just business days…their daily fees. Am I the only person who feels that this practice is just wrong? I mean, why can they charge for a non-business day? It’s not like we can post any transactions or resolve any issues on those days.
I have since decided rather than go with my original plan, which was to reopen my account when I had $1000 to deposit, I would not be doing business with Zions bank again, at all. Their business practices are anything but fair. Oh, and the kicker on this fiasco? I could open my account online without a visit to a physical branch but now they tell me that in order to close it, I have to come into my “local branch” and sign a piece of paper before I can close it. The nearest physical branch is two states away.