Thursday, January 24, 2008


Listen. You make DEPOSITS into checking accounts and savings accounts. PAYMENTS, to credit cards and loans. You DO NOT SAY any of the following:

"I wanna put some money on my debit card."

"I'm making a payment to my debit card."

Because your pretty, photo-enhanced, Visa-branded bank card is actually, what, a re-loadable Starbucks gift card or something? I don't think so. You make a deposit (again!) into your CHECKING ACCOUNT and use your debit card, or checks, to take that money back out. The debit card is just a tool, a way of connecting you to your checking account. And it's not a credit card that you make payments to; you cannot spend the money ahead of time and then make a deposit-- at least not without racking up heinous overdraft fees or even bouncing your checks.
"Can I make a deposit into my credit card?"

No, because that is WRONG. That balance on your credit card is money that the bank has lent you (at great profit to ourselves, I might add, you fool) so that you can have the dubious pleasure of frittering money away on concert tickets and beer before you actually have those funds to spend. What you are trying to do now is PAY THE BANK BACK for your purchases, ergo, making a payment.

The fact that I hear these things so often connects, I think, to the rampant over drafting of checking accounts that goes on around here. People seem to think that their debit cards are like either credit cards (that they can spend the money before it's deposited) or like gift cards (that the card just empties out and when there's none left, they don't work.)

"Is my checking account number what's on the front of my check card?"

No, it's not. Your checking account number is a 12-digit number that remains the same from the time you open the account until the time you close it. Your check card is a 16-digit Visa or MasterCard number that changes for many reasons-- when the card expires and is reissued, when you lose a card and have to have it replaced, you compromised the card number somehow. It's not necessary to memorize your account numbers, but having a basic knowledge that those numbers exist is helpful.

"I wrote somebody a check two months ago and they didn't cash it until yesterday! Now I have overdrafts. This is clearly a bank error, so I demand that those fees be refunded."

Listen, you. Checks are good for a long time. Six months, generally, for personal checks. The bank is not in error for processing the check a mere sixty days later. The only person in the whole wide world that knows that you wrote that check is you. If you don't mentally subtract that amount from your balance (or, heaven forbid, keep a check register with a running tally of everything you've spent) and keep it subtracted until the check clears, that's nobodies fault but your own.

Thank you, I feel better now.

(Kids these days, sheesh.)


Bex said...

That last bit about "my friend didn't cash that check I wrote him 6 months ago until yesterday and it's your fault" oddly enough happened to me a couple days ago and I don't even work in a bank.

*ring - phone*
me: "hello, thanks for calling, blah blah blah"
customer: "hi I am just going over my bank statement and it is showing a charge on 1/21 for *insert company name her & store number*. Is that your store?"
me: "Yup, that's us."
customer: "that's a little strange because I haven't been in since Thanksgiving. We you having computer problems"
me: "Yes but they started a couple weeks after Thanksgiving. Let me see if I can find the sale, that should help out."
*we exchange sale amount, I find it right away*
me: "The date on the sale is 12/18, that was actually the first day of our register problems which lasted a couple weeks so it looks like things are just getting through now."
customer: "ok well at least I know what it was now, you kinda screwed me though."

The customer wasn't rude or anything, considering how pissed she could have been she was pretty pleasant but as soon as I hung up the phone I thought "shouldn't you keep track of those big purchases over the holidays?" it was $77 dollars, she probably just hoped that with our reg problems she got out of paying. And 12/18 isn't Thanksgiving, it's almost exactly a month later.

End Rant.

Mara said...

See? That's exactly what I mean. Your store didn't "screw" her by holding onto the check; if she was accounting properly, it wouldn't have messed anything up at all. It's only if you FORGET THAT YOU WROTE THE CHECK in the first place that it's an issue... which is you screwing yourself, not the store/roommate/landlord who's finally cashing it.

It's not like I don't do these things myself; I get overdraft fees, get in trouble when the landlord cashes the rent check on the 21st of the month... but I know who to blame for that. Moi.