Oh no, the bank account dips below the minimum balance!

Someone told me this story perhaps many of us have experienced.

He has been a customer with one of the big 5 banks since the 90s. It charges $9.99 monthly fee for the chequing account if the balance is below certain amount. He has been very careful and his balance was never below the balance until one day. For whatever reason, it happened. Right away, he got charged the $9.99. He was livid. It is not the amount but principle. He felt that the bank was just waiting there to catch his mistake and get him! He called the bank and escalated to the supervisor or manager. He said he has been with the bank for decades. He feels that this fee is unfair. He got the fee credited back as good will gesture. 😊

I understand how he feels. It is a tug of war between customers and businesses. It feels like the bank were just waiting there to pounce on us when we make a mistake or at our financially vulnerable moment. No matter how long and how good a customer we have been.

It is all digital these days. Can the bank system send the customer a notification and give them a day to put the money back to above the threshold? Of course, it is not technically impossible. But why? All these fellow banks or competitors share the same practice, policy or culture. No one to disrupt. But wait, there is. How about all the pure online banks that do not have a brick or mortar presence?

I mentioned Simplii Financials to him. There is no monthly fee at all. Most transactions are free. And we can get cash from any CIBC ATM. Very accessible and convenient. He said he doesn’t want to hassle to change. Totally understand. 

Even for those online banks, it is not all rosy and nice either. Simplii Financials charged $40 for insufficient fund. I made the mistakes once. I got two chequing account. A few years ago, the bank updated their App. The interface was changed. I got confused and used the wrong chequing account to pay a fee but the account didn’t have enough balance. Right away, I got charged $40 fee.

Of course, I was not happy about it and called them. I got the $40 fee credited back too. I was thinking the bank knows my credit history and score and how much balance I have on all the accounts. They can easily send me an alert if there is insufficient fund. I can easily and quickly correct my mistake. Nowadays, most banking apps do offer this functionality that we can set up all kinds of alert. Please do take advantage of it.

Anyhow, as customers, we do need to stand up for ourselves. It is a war out there. 😊

Published by Worthfy

Financial literacy and counselling

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