Hidden costs – is your bank taking your money?

Author : teriann

Picture this scene, you haven’t used an account for around a year because you moved some funds around.  However you have decided that you would like to reactivate the bank account. It should be a simple issue right?

After all if you don’t have a loan or any other outstanding amounts due you should be able to simply put some money in the account to indicate that you would like to restart using the account again.

It isn’t so simple as that though there are other factors to consider.  For example, it depends on how long you stopped using the account and how much money you had in the account.

What are the rules?

Different banks have variations in policy, however at the bank that I had the dormant account the teller informed me that after no activity for a year they close the account. She stated that I could easily reactivate the account by placing funds in it but before I did so there was another problem.

The small amount of money that I had in my account was gone and now I owed the bank $900 for allowing the account to contain such little funds.

The Bank vs The Consumer

It is hard to realize that the very place that they encourage you to save is also a place determined to charge you at every opportunity.  It is a paradox of course that in order to access my own money I would have to spend money.

There are other costs of course that you might be aware of such as changing cheques.  Some banks charge an approximate cost of $300 to change your cheque even if you are an account holder and the cheque is from their branch.  Consumers are encouraged to lodge the cheque to their account instead and wait the required three days before attempting a withdrawal.

It does not seem right that I could leave $500.00 in my account and be told that I owe $900, so why do I know owe more money than was ever in the account in the first place?

I asked to see a manager who explained that they closed the account for lack of activity and it the cost was as a result of the type of account I had with the bank.

Should’t banks be encouraging customers to save with them instead of having these fees that basically discourage inactive bank account holders to reactivate their account?

Well I think that consumers have the right to expect that a financial institution will meet their needs without adding penalties if an account is not used for a time.

What’s your take on the issue? Let me hear from you!

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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