It’s absolutely critical that you check all your financial accounts on a regular basis. I look over my main checking accounts online day. It might sound like overkill and unnecessary. But failure to do so could cost you big time, as I found out painfully this week.
A few days ago I checked both of my checking accounts. One is my main checking account used for every day financial activities. The second, at a different bank, was opened as part of a series of actions that gave us a small interest rate break on our mortgage. The only thing we use this checking account for is direct deposit of one of my wife’s part-time job and very infrequent purchases. Given the very small amount of activity with that account, I was shocked to find it overdrawn by over $500 dollars.
Looking closer, I found that a personal loan payment had been automatically withdrawn from that account. This confused me for several reasons:
- I had stopped into a local bank branch and made a payment in person a few days earlier. I do this every month because I’m not a huge fan of automatic payments, and I’m unable to initiate a payment online from my main checking account.
- I had never setup or authorized automated payments from that checking account
I called the bank to find out exactly what happened, and to correct the situation. The bank representative explained the sequence of events:
- I’ve always had automatic payments active for the loan (I don’t remember EVER authorizing this)
- The automatic payment is scheduled for the 17th of the month.
- When I make the payment in person, it cancels the automatic payment for that month.
- I made a payment in person on Saturday 1/14, which is technically NOT a business day.
- The payment would normally post the following business day (Monday), but 1/16 was MLK day and banks were closed. The payment posted instead on 1/17.
- As the day turned to 1/17, the system drafted the automatic payment before processing the pending payment I made in person on 1/14.
Because I asserted I never agreed to automatic payments, the bank agreed to reverse the payment and refund any purchases that incurred non-sufficient funds fees.
Had I not reviewed my checking accounts, I may have attempted to make additional purchases from that account resulting in either the payment being declined, or further NSF fees. This is a great reminder that managing your finances is a process that requires you to be present, and active. If you fail to do this, something like this could happen to you.
How about you, Clever Friends, how often do you check your accounts?
More from Cleverdude:
- Personal Lending Group Shares 5 Key Things to Be Sure You Get Right on Your Loan Application
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