I made a mathematical error in my checking account, and thought I had around $20. I made 3 purchases, each under $5, when my account was already in the red. I was completely unaware that my account was overdrawn when I made the aforementioned three purchases. When I got online to check my account, I saw that my account balance was -$98.14. I just started to tremble. My income barely covers my needs, and now I had just inadvertantly given $100 to my bank.
My first call was to my sister, who was kind enough to immediately deposit $100 into my PayPal account. As I have a PayPal MasterCard, I then contacted my bank to see if I could somehow transfer the money into the account via the credit card, because I couldn't get to the bank, and a PayPal transfer would have taken 3 days. They told me no, I'd have to come into the bank. When I called them the following Tuesday (discovered the error on a Friday, and then Monday was a holiday), I asked them why they would accept debit card purchases on an account that was already in error for less than a few dollars each time.
They said that it's the customer's responsibility to take care of their account. I said that I had assumed, because I've never done that before, if I had no money in my account my card would be rejected. They told me that wasn't the case. I then reminded them that I get $564 a month, and that at the end of the month, there is always less than $10 in my account, because I need every dime of my money, and asked them if they could forgive 2 of the fees - because if I had been aware of the first one I surely wouldn't have made two more miniscule purchases. They said they would have to call me back. They did. They wouldn't.
I don't really fault the bank, because the error was mine, but if they weren't getting rich on NSF fees, they would at the very least put some kind of system in place that wouldn't accept a debit card purchase if you don't have enough money in your account. I've been spending the last year repairing my credit, and when I saw these NSF fees, my heart sank. As someone else said about the same bank, there is something wrong with a bank making a loan, which is what they do when they let a purchase go through with no funds in the account, and charge you so much. One purchase was a pack of cigarettes - they charged me $28 for a $4 pack of smokes.
I was tempted to move my money out of their bank, but I've left it alone for now. What I would advise everyone to do, which is what I've done, is two key things. First, I installed Quicken on my computer. Most NSF fees are from mathematical errors, and Quicken does the math for you as long as you put in the correct amounts. Also, as you download your transactions, it matches them with the ones you've already entered. Second, is that I had my account set up for overdraft protection with a BB&T credit card. I will be inquiring this week to make sure that is set up, because I don't ever want to see another NSF fee. Ever.
I hope they're proud of themselves making a profit from other people's mistakes.