• Report: #352513

Complaint Review: Woodforest National Bank

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  • Submitted: Thu, July 17, 2008
  • Updated: Fri, January 23, 2009

  • Reported By:Suffolk Virginia
Woodforest National Bank
P.O. Box 7889 The Woodlands, TX 77387-7889 Houston, Texas U.S.A.
  • Phone: 835-3752000
  • Web:
  • Category: Banks

Woodforest National Bank Second Chance Banking for us; Many Chances to rip off the uninformed consumer for them Houston Texas

*Consumer Comment: Clueless

*Consumer Comment: Not A Rip Off

*Consumer Suggestion: Woodforest Does Profile Customers For Vulnerability

*Consumer Suggestion: Woodforest Does Profile Customers For Vulnerability

*Consumer Suggestion: Woodforest Does Profile Customers For Vulnerability

*Consumer Suggestion: Woodforest Does Profile Customers For Vulnerability

*Consumer Comment: I gotta agree here.......

*Consumer Comment: I gotta agree here.......

*Consumer Comment: I gotta agree here.......

*Consumer Comment: I gotta agree here.......

*Consumer Suggestion: Really....

*Consumer Suggestion: Be responsible

*Consumer Suggestion: Be responsible

*Consumer Suggestion: Be responsible

*Consumer Suggestion: Be responsible

*Consumer Comment: an unrealistic request not because of one bank or another simply the way the clock works

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On Friday, July 11, 2008 at approximately 8:50pm CST, I accessed Woodforest Online Banking and saw that I had a positive current/posted balance of a little over $18.00 but due to a pending transaction, I had a negative available balance of 1.38 plus or minus. I live in the Eastern Time Zone so at this point, it was too late to visit my local branch to make a deposit, as the bank closes at 9pm. But, I breathed a sigh of relief. Surely, this pending transaction would not process before the next business day so I could go to the bank and make a deposit to avoid overdraft fees. Some may ask, why not go to the ATM and make a deposit? Well, while Woodforest does offer ATM services for its customers, the only transactions an account holder can make are balance inquiries and withdrawals. For any after hours deposits, one must deposit to a "night drop" box and the next day your deposit would be counted by a real life teller and your account is updated. I understand this business practice. I'm sure the bank has had customers who made a fake deposit by telling the ATM they were depositing an amount to the bank by submitting an empty deposit envelope and then withdrawing from the available balance. I understand an 8pm CST cut off time for deposits in order to protect the interests of the bank itself.

What I do not agree with is the fact that transactions are allowed to clear my account 4 hours after I am no longer allowed to make any changes to my account. Referring to aforementioned threatened overdraft, I went to bed that night with intentions of going to the bank as soon as it opened to make a deposit to cover this shortfall. I assumed that the pending transaction and my deposit would clear on the same day since both would technically clear my account after the 8pm cutoff time.

So imagine my surprise when at 7:30am CST the following Saturday, I checked my account to find that my account had indeed overdrafted overnight. The 'pending' transaction from the previous night after my cut off time was now a transaction showing to have cleared my account on Fri July 11, 2008.

I thought this must be a mistake, so I called customer service through Woodforest's telephone banking. I explained the situation to the representative who told me that had I made a deposit before 8pm on Fri July 11 my account would not have overdrafted. I proceeded to explain that I am not one to ask others to clean up my mistakes--I have over-drafted before but I didn't make another deposit until well after the next business day. This negative balance occurred overnight. I felt I had not been given a chance to mitigate the situation. Icily, and I dare say, condescendingly, the representative told me there was nothing she could do to assist me. I had until 8pm the previous day to correct an error I wasn't aware of until after that time. Also, she added, she is unable to reverse the fees because the 'Customer Care' center is unable to reverse fees that were not a 'bank error.' I thanked her for 'all' her help and hung up, feeling frustrated and hopeless.

Why hopeless? I am with Woodforest because I have no other choice. I will admit that I have had trouble w/other bank accounts in my less responsible days and I had been prepared to wait until 2012 to open another bank account. I discovered Woodforest in Wal Mart and was excited to see a financial institution taking a chance on customers who are shunned by the traditional banking industry. Now I am at the point where I would be willing to not have a bank account. It would be more simple to have a prepaid debit card and use Wal Mart's customer service as my banking desk. I discussed the situation with my mother who mind you has quite a troubled banking history. She is a current customer of Wachovia and she wondered why didn't I just go the ATM. I told her of Woodforest one way ATM machines. She said oh, anytime I make a balance then my available balance is immediately updated--whether that be after business hours or not. My boyfriend, a Bank of America customer, also said the same thing. My mother also mentioned that her bank's more friendly customer service representatives have reversed her fees when she, the customer, was surely in the wrong. Guess some banks care about its customers. Also, Bank of America avoids the deposit envelope scam by upgrading its ATM technologies. Its ATMs can scan cash and checks submitted for deposit in real time.

Armed with this information, I called Woodforest's Telephone banking line again and this time requested a supervisor because the previous representative had already shown me the extent of her customer service skills. Upon sharing my entire story and the new information from my family, the 'Customer Care Supervisor' proceeded to tell me that Woodforest has the latest deposit cut off times in the nation (which is not true--Bank of America also has an 8pm deposit cut off time). Just as the previous representative said, I was to have made a deposit before I was aware of my error. Only then could I be saved from overdrafting. I told her, I understand it is my responsibility to keep track of what goes on in my own bank account and if I overdraft ultimately it is no one's responsibility but my own. I said, we all make mistakes. She told me the dates I pre authorized the transaction (which by this point, I already remembered) and then told me that on the morning of Fri July 11 the merchant finalized my formerly pre-authorized transaction and it would clear my account that Friday. What she couldn't answer sufficiently was why hadn't that shown as a cleared transaction online after the bank's business day was over. She also says she cannot reverse banking fees and advised me to contact my branch manager and in the same icy, condescending tone thanked me for my business and disconnected the call.

Later that day, I spoke with an associate at my local bank who in the same detached, uncaring, icy, condescending tone said the bank processed all transactions for the at midnight (which I thought technically is the next day). She told me she was unable to reverse charges unless they were caused by bank error. No one at the bank has sufficiently explained to me how there are 4 hours of each day where certain transactions will clear my account but cash deposits can not. So in addition to my roughly $8 monthly service fee, the bank has managed to swindle me out of my hard earned money. I guess until 2012 I am stuck.

If there is anyone out there who understands the situation better than I do, please enlighten me. I am not a banker so I don't claim to know all of the rules, but it seems like this is an unfair business practice. I feel the bank is getting away with it because most of its consumer base is just so appreciative to have a 'bank' account with them that they don't want to dispute the charges. Whatever happened to customer service? Whatever happened to assisting your clients manage their finances? As bank serving customers with a troubled credit history, why not seek to educate rather than gouge us for all we've got. So much for 2nd chances. I think I deserve better. I'd rather have no bank at all than a bank that robs me blind.

Ashleigh b
Suffolk, Virginia
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/17/2008 04:55 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Woodforest-National-Bank/Houston-Texas-77387/Woodforest-National-Bank-Second-Chance-Banking-for-us-Many-Chances-to-rip-off-the-uninfor-352513. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Clueless

AUTHOR: Roberts - (U.S.A.)

Banks clear transactions at midnight. That's the way it's done, and has been done for decades.

Woodforest has the convenient 'pending box', and the transactions in it are in there all day, the day before they clear.

Some banks let you make an ATM deposit until 11:00 PM (usually a limit of $100 can post), but most don't have the warning box.

Find out how the banking system works before wasting your time writing wordy whines.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Not A Rip Off

AUTHOR: Jim - (U.S.A.)

Whatagain, you're spinning conspiracy theories that have absolutely no basis in fact. There is not ONE bank out there that targets customers with low balances. With the hundreds of thousands of accounts, why would they? They don't because it costs them too much money to perform such an idiotic review.

The truth is, this consumer (much like yourself) has really no idea as to the consequences of account mismanagement. Tracking a balance online, instead of a check register, using a debit card for anything, unable to understand account statements, are all a part of it. If you don't understand debit cards (and you probably don't because most people don't), stop using them. If you don't understand a bank statement, find out from the bank. Start keeping a check register. I mean these are all things needing to be done before you even begin using an account.

Most Rip Off Reports on banks listed here are really the fault of the account holder due to their own fiscal mismanagement, for many of the reasons you list as your own problems. Believe me, every bank works the same way and if you have trouble here, you will have trouble everywhere. Take the time you need to learn.

Best of luck to you.
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#3 Consumer Suggestion

Woodforest Does Profile Customers For Vulnerability

AUTHOR: Whatagain - (U.S.A.)

There are those who would criticize the original poster for having run so close to negative and for wanting a day's grace, but I think there is a special circumstance about how Woodforest is actively seeking out and taking advantage of vulnerable people. One of the other respondents wrote out a very nice explanation of how complex the "cut-off', ""pending" and "available" balances can be.

I am one who often finds myself paying overdrafts on small amounts because I have a limited income and I fell for the Woodforest marketing that is aimed at WalMart customers. I don't understand the mix of available/pending that Woodforest uses. It is not straightforward. My other bank is easy: it says "pending" on a charge-out and if I can grab it with an online transfer before midnight, I don't face the overdraft. But it counts the money as not available right away, so I know. Yet I have seen money marked "available" in my Woodforest acconht and when I knew the amount was not right, I went to the counter and questioned, and they told me the opposite of "available". I showed them the slip from the ATM and they said it meant the OPPOSITE.

No educated person would tolerate the way they spoke to me. They clearly are seeking out the less articulate, more malleable personalities.

I am college educated. I know that if I try to take money out with my other debit cards on my other banks, if there is no positive balance but there is a "pending" debit, my other banks do NOT allow the transaction. And they match the cutoff for both debit and credit so that you can catch an overdraft in time to avoid a charge. But I found that Woodforest's debit system uses the word "available" the way my other bank uses "pending" and seems to have no predictable pattern.

When I saw how confusing they were, I stopped planning to use my Woodforest account and because of their incredibly obnoxious double-speak I demanded to speak with the manager and closed it out.

They still are sending me reports as if it is open. They can see for themselves that I never even had checks printed for it and only used it a few times with the debit card. They now have the debit card. And now I am worried about them not closing it.

I do not understand the details of bank accounting, but I do understand that the same kinds of transactions at my other banks have never led to the level of confusion I experienced at Woodforest. I understand my other bank statements. I do not understand my Woodforest statement.
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#4 Consumer Suggestion

Woodforest Does Profile Customers For Vulnerability

AUTHOR: Whatagain - (U.S.A.)

There are those who would criticize the original poster for having run so close to negative and for wanting a day's grace, but I think there is a special circumstance about how Woodforest is actively seeking out and taking advantage of vulnerable people. One of the other respondents wrote out a very nice explanation of how complex the "cut-off', ""pending" and "available" balances can be.

I am one who often finds myself paying overdrafts on small amounts because I have a limited income and I fell for the Woodforest marketing that is aimed at WalMart customers. I don't understand the mix of available/pending that Woodforest uses. It is not straightforward. My other bank is easy: it says "pending" on a charge-out and if I can grab it with an online transfer before midnight, I don't face the overdraft. But it counts the money as not available right away, so I know. Yet I have seen money marked "available" in my Woodforest acconht and when I knew the amount was not right, I went to the counter and questioned, and they told me the opposite of "available". I showed them the slip from the ATM and they said it meant the OPPOSITE.

No educated person would tolerate the way they spoke to me. They clearly are seeking out the less articulate, more malleable personalities.

I am college educated. I know that if I try to take money out with my other debit cards on my other banks, if there is no positive balance but there is a "pending" debit, my other banks do NOT allow the transaction. And they match the cutoff for both debit and credit so that you can catch an overdraft in time to avoid a charge. But I found that Woodforest's debit system uses the word "available" the way my other bank uses "pending" and seems to have no predictable pattern.

When I saw how confusing they were, I stopped planning to use my Woodforest account and because of their incredibly obnoxious double-speak I demanded to speak with the manager and closed it out.

They still are sending me reports as if it is open. They can see for themselves that I never even had checks printed for it and only used it a few times with the debit card. They now have the debit card. And now I am worried about them not closing it.

I do not understand the details of bank accounting, but I do understand that the same kinds of transactions at my other banks have never led to the level of confusion I experienced at Woodforest. I understand my other bank statements. I do not understand my Woodforest statement.
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#5 Consumer Suggestion

Woodforest Does Profile Customers For Vulnerability

AUTHOR: Whatagain - (U.S.A.)

There are those who would criticize the original poster for having run so close to negative and for wanting a day's grace, but I think there is a special circumstance about how Woodforest is actively seeking out and taking advantage of vulnerable people. One of the other respondents wrote out a very nice explanation of how complex the "cut-off', ""pending" and "available" balances can be.

I am one who often finds myself paying overdrafts on small amounts because I have a limited income and I fell for the Woodforest marketing that is aimed at WalMart customers. I don't understand the mix of available/pending that Woodforest uses. It is not straightforward. My other bank is easy: it says "pending" on a charge-out and if I can grab it with an online transfer before midnight, I don't face the overdraft. But it counts the money as not available right away, so I know. Yet I have seen money marked "available" in my Woodforest acconht and when I knew the amount was not right, I went to the counter and questioned, and they told me the opposite of "available". I showed them the slip from the ATM and they said it meant the OPPOSITE.

No educated person would tolerate the way they spoke to me. They clearly are seeking out the less articulate, more malleable personalities.

I am college educated. I know that if I try to take money out with my other debit cards on my other banks, if there is no positive balance but there is a "pending" debit, my other banks do NOT allow the transaction. And they match the cutoff for both debit and credit so that you can catch an overdraft in time to avoid a charge. But I found that Woodforest's debit system uses the word "available" the way my other bank uses "pending" and seems to have no predictable pattern.

When I saw how confusing they were, I stopped planning to use my Woodforest account and because of their incredibly obnoxious double-speak I demanded to speak with the manager and closed it out.

They still are sending me reports as if it is open. They can see for themselves that I never even had checks printed for it and only used it a few times with the debit card. They now have the debit card. And now I am worried about them not closing it.

I do not understand the details of bank accounting, but I do understand that the same kinds of transactions at my other banks have never led to the level of confusion I experienced at Woodforest. I understand my other bank statements. I do not understand my Woodforest statement.
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#6 Consumer Suggestion

Woodforest Does Profile Customers For Vulnerability

AUTHOR: Whatagain - (U.S.A.)

There are those who would criticize the original poster for having run so close to negative and for wanting a day's grace, but I think there is a special circumstance about how Woodforest is actively seeking out and taking advantage of vulnerable people. One of the other respondents wrote out a very nice explanation of how complex the "cut-off', ""pending" and "available" balances can be.

I am one who often finds myself paying overdrafts on small amounts because I have a limited income and I fell for the Woodforest marketing that is aimed at WalMart customers. I don't understand the mix of available/pending that Woodforest uses. It is not straightforward. My other bank is easy: it says "pending" on a charge-out and if I can grab it with an online transfer before midnight, I don't face the overdraft. But it counts the money as not available right away, so I know. Yet I have seen money marked "available" in my Woodforest acconht and when I knew the amount was not right, I went to the counter and questioned, and they told me the opposite of "available". I showed them the slip from the ATM and they said it meant the OPPOSITE.

No educated person would tolerate the way they spoke to me. They clearly are seeking out the less articulate, more malleable personalities.

I am college educated. I know that if I try to take money out with my other debit cards on my other banks, if there is no positive balance but there is a "pending" debit, my other banks do NOT allow the transaction. And they match the cutoff for both debit and credit so that you can catch an overdraft in time to avoid a charge. But I found that Woodforest's debit system uses the word "available" the way my other bank uses "pending" and seems to have no predictable pattern.

When I saw how confusing they were, I stopped planning to use my Woodforest account and because of their incredibly obnoxious double-speak I demanded to speak with the manager and closed it out.

They still are sending me reports as if it is open. They can see for themselves that I never even had checks printed for it and only used it a few times with the debit card. They now have the debit card. And now I am worried about them not closing it.

I do not understand the details of bank accounting, but I do understand that the same kinds of transactions at my other banks have never led to the level of confusion I experienced at Woodforest. I understand my other bank statements. I do not understand my Woodforest statement.
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#7 Consumer Comment

I gotta agree here.......

AUTHOR: Resty - (U.S.A.)

With this post>>>>>>

"Responsible Consumer
Chester, Virginia
U.S.A.
Really....

Being in the banking industry for several years, I've heard and seen this just too many times... The bottom line is WRITE YOUR STUFF DOWN! Face the music, you spent money you didn't have.. Pay the consenquences... You play with fire and you might get burned... Then like the typical overdrafter.. you want fees refuned! Didn't you learn in your past... The reason you are paying a 8.00 service fee is because you have a 'second chance account'.. Meaning you have burned another bank in the past and yes, did the exact same thing... I mean, hello..... don't you learn.. No bank would even open up another account for you so be greatful that you got a bank that would... I bet the customer service folks just laughed at you when you asked for a refund.. I would.. My response would have been, 'hummm, you have done this in the past and you still didn't learn... be lucky we don't just close your acount....'
Typical ohhhh sooo typical...
Overdrafts happen.. Just keep up with YOUR stuff...."


Consider yourself lucky they even took a chance with you. Though I dont agree with crappy customer service......I also dont agree with people who cant seem to learn
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#8 Consumer Comment

I gotta agree here.......

AUTHOR: Resty - (U.S.A.)

With this post>>>>>>

"Responsible Consumer
Chester, Virginia
U.S.A.
Really....

Being in the banking industry for several years, I've heard and seen this just too many times... The bottom line is WRITE YOUR STUFF DOWN! Face the music, you spent money you didn't have.. Pay the consenquences... You play with fire and you might get burned... Then like the typical overdrafter.. you want fees refuned! Didn't you learn in your past... The reason you are paying a 8.00 service fee is because you have a 'second chance account'.. Meaning you have burned another bank in the past and yes, did the exact same thing... I mean, hello..... don't you learn.. No bank would even open up another account for you so be greatful that you got a bank that would... I bet the customer service folks just laughed at you when you asked for a refund.. I would.. My response would have been, 'hummm, you have done this in the past and you still didn't learn... be lucky we don't just close your acount....'
Typical ohhhh sooo typical...
Overdrafts happen.. Just keep up with YOUR stuff...."


Consider yourself lucky they even took a chance with you. Though I dont agree with crappy customer service......I also dont agree with people who cant seem to learn
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#9 Consumer Comment

I gotta agree here.......

AUTHOR: Resty - (U.S.A.)

With this post>>>>>>

"Responsible Consumer
Chester, Virginia
U.S.A.
Really....

Being in the banking industry for several years, I've heard and seen this just too many times... The bottom line is WRITE YOUR STUFF DOWN! Face the music, you spent money you didn't have.. Pay the consenquences... You play with fire and you might get burned... Then like the typical overdrafter.. you want fees refuned! Didn't you learn in your past... The reason you are paying a 8.00 service fee is because you have a 'second chance account'.. Meaning you have burned another bank in the past and yes, did the exact same thing... I mean, hello..... don't you learn.. No bank would even open up another account for you so be greatful that you got a bank that would... I bet the customer service folks just laughed at you when you asked for a refund.. I would.. My response would have been, 'hummm, you have done this in the past and you still didn't learn... be lucky we don't just close your acount....'
Typical ohhhh sooo typical...
Overdrafts happen.. Just keep up with YOUR stuff...."


Consider yourself lucky they even took a chance with you. Though I dont agree with crappy customer service......I also dont agree with people who cant seem to learn
Respond to this report!
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#10 Consumer Comment

I gotta agree here.......

AUTHOR: Resty - (U.S.A.)

With this post>>>>>>

"Responsible Consumer
Chester, Virginia
U.S.A.
Really....

Being in the banking industry for several years, I've heard and seen this just too many times... The bottom line is WRITE YOUR STUFF DOWN! Face the music, you spent money you didn't have.. Pay the consenquences... You play with fire and you might get burned... Then like the typical overdrafter.. you want fees refuned! Didn't you learn in your past... The reason you are paying a 8.00 service fee is because you have a 'second chance account'.. Meaning you have burned another bank in the past and yes, did the exact same thing... I mean, hello..... don't you learn.. No bank would even open up another account for you so be greatful that you got a bank that would... I bet the customer service folks just laughed at you when you asked for a refund.. I would.. My response would have been, 'hummm, you have done this in the past and you still didn't learn... be lucky we don't just close your acount....'
Typical ohhhh sooo typical...
Overdrafts happen.. Just keep up with YOUR stuff...."


Consider yourself lucky they even took a chance with you. Though I dont agree with crappy customer service......I also dont agree with people who cant seem to learn
Respond to this report!
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#11 Consumer Suggestion

Really....

AUTHOR: Responsible Consumer - (U.S.A.)

Being in the banking industry for several years, I've heard and seen this just too many times... The bottom line is WRITE YOUR STUFF DOWN! Face the music, you spent money you didn't have.. Pay the consenquences... You play with fire and you might get burned... Then like the typical overdrafter.. you want fees refuned! Didn't you learn in your past... The reason you are paying a 8.00 service fee is because you have a "second chance account".. Meaning you have burned another bank in the past and yes, did the exact same thing... I mean, hello..... don't you learn.. No bank would even open up another account for you so be greatful that you got a bank that would... I bet the customer service folks just laughed at you when you asked for a refund.. I would.. My response would have been, "hummm, you have done this in the past and you still didn't learn... be lucky we don't just close your acount...."
Typical ohhhh sooo typical...
Overdrafts happen.. Just keep up with YOUR stuff....
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#12 Consumer Suggestion

Be responsible

AUTHOR: Educated Person - (U.S.A.)

In response to your posting, Woodforest National Bank is a good bank. They have programs set up for their customers to help them every step of the way. They are a customer service based company and they do more for their customers than other banks would. For one, for customers who have been in trouble with other banks, they offer Second Chance Checking. Typically customers who are in trouble with other banks already don't know how to manage an account and the employees are there to assist those customers who need it. They pay a small set-up fee to start the account and a monthly service charge which once they pay off whatever bank they owe, they can move into a free checking account. For those customers who claim that Woodforest rips them off, here's the real deal. If you don't have the money in the bank and a check or a charge attempts to go through, we return it or pay it. If we return it, you are charged a NSF fee and if out of the goodness of their hearts they pay it, you are charged an overdraft fee. Rule #1, don't spend it if you know that you don't have it! You are provided the tools to get you started and all you need to do is utilize them. You cannot depend on the online banking balance, atm balance, or what the teller says that you have available. Only you, the customer who knows when you swiped your card or wrote that check, know how much is in your account because you are supposed to be keeping that information in a register! For more information how to keep track of your account, go to www.woodforest.com and click on Banking GPS. It will teach you more than you could ever imagine.
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#13 Consumer Suggestion

Be responsible

AUTHOR: Educated Person - (U.S.A.)

In response to your posting, Woodforest National Bank is a good bank. They have programs set up for their customers to help them every step of the way. They are a customer service based company and they do more for their customers than other banks would. For one, for customers who have been in trouble with other banks, they offer Second Chance Checking. Typically customers who are in trouble with other banks already don't know how to manage an account and the employees are there to assist those customers who need it. They pay a small set-up fee to start the account and a monthly service charge which once they pay off whatever bank they owe, they can move into a free checking account. For those customers who claim that Woodforest rips them off, here's the real deal. If you don't have the money in the bank and a check or a charge attempts to go through, we return it or pay it. If we return it, you are charged a NSF fee and if out of the goodness of their hearts they pay it, you are charged an overdraft fee. Rule #1, don't spend it if you know that you don't have it! You are provided the tools to get you started and all you need to do is utilize them. You cannot depend on the online banking balance, atm balance, or what the teller says that you have available. Only you, the customer who knows when you swiped your card or wrote that check, know how much is in your account because you are supposed to be keeping that information in a register! For more information how to keep track of your account, go to www.woodforest.com and click on Banking GPS. It will teach you more than you could ever imagine.
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#14 Consumer Suggestion

Be responsible

AUTHOR: Educated Person - (U.S.A.)

In response to your posting, Woodforest National Bank is a good bank. They have programs set up for their customers to help them every step of the way. They are a customer service based company and they do more for their customers than other banks would. For one, for customers who have been in trouble with other banks, they offer Second Chance Checking. Typically customers who are in trouble with other banks already don't know how to manage an account and the employees are there to assist those customers who need it. They pay a small set-up fee to start the account and a monthly service charge which once they pay off whatever bank they owe, they can move into a free checking account. For those customers who claim that Woodforest rips them off, here's the real deal. If you don't have the money in the bank and a check or a charge attempts to go through, we return it or pay it. If we return it, you are charged a NSF fee and if out of the goodness of their hearts they pay it, you are charged an overdraft fee. Rule #1, don't spend it if you know that you don't have it! You are provided the tools to get you started and all you need to do is utilize them. You cannot depend on the online banking balance, atm balance, or what the teller says that you have available. Only you, the customer who knows when you swiped your card or wrote that check, know how much is in your account because you are supposed to be keeping that information in a register! For more information how to keep track of your account, go to www.woodforest.com and click on Banking GPS. It will teach you more than you could ever imagine.
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#15 Consumer Suggestion

Be responsible

AUTHOR: Educated Person - (U.S.A.)

In response to your posting, Woodforest National Bank is a good bank. They have programs set up for their customers to help them every step of the way. They are a customer service based company and they do more for their customers than other banks would. For one, for customers who have been in trouble with other banks, they offer Second Chance Checking. Typically customers who are in trouble with other banks already don't know how to manage an account and the employees are there to assist those customers who need it. They pay a small set-up fee to start the account and a monthly service charge which once they pay off whatever bank they owe, they can move into a free checking account. For those customers who claim that Woodforest rips them off, here's the real deal. If you don't have the money in the bank and a check or a charge attempts to go through, we return it or pay it. If we return it, you are charged a NSF fee and if out of the goodness of their hearts they pay it, you are charged an overdraft fee. Rule #1, don't spend it if you know that you don't have it! You are provided the tools to get you started and all you need to do is utilize them. You cannot depend on the online banking balance, atm balance, or what the teller says that you have available. Only you, the customer who knows when you swiped your card or wrote that check, know how much is in your account because you are supposed to be keeping that information in a register! For more information how to keep track of your account, go to www.woodforest.com and click on Banking GPS. It will teach you more than you could ever imagine.
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#16 Consumer Comment

an unrealistic request not because of one bank or another simply the way the clock works

AUTHOR: James Litman - (U.S.A.)

While now retired I love to surf the internet and read. I came upon the rip-off report and was astonished at some of the things I read and also at the lack of consideration by many people; however, in reading your post I was alarmed and concerned to see your situation and began to do a lot of research. I to do not understand how a transaction that showed as "pending" could process after a financial institutions cutoff time. So I began to research and here is what I found.

Financial institutions across the country all have what they call cutoff times, or a set time during the day that no more transactions can be taken for processing on that particular date. For example if a banks cutoff time is 3:00 and the bank is open until 5:00 regardless of the date on the calendar if a transaction is not presented to be processed before 3:00 it will not be posted to the statement or ledger balance for an account on that day it would post/clear the following business day.

This sent me on yet another hunt. How could this work? That means if I take cash to the bank at 4:00 I can't use it until after 3:00 the following day? Fortunately that is not the case the banks have allowed us as consumers to have an available balance and a ledger balance. The ledger balance is the balance that is on our statement or the actual physical balance in an account, and the available is calculated by the ledger + or - any pending transactions that we may have done using our debit cards and such. I equate this to if I had 100.00 in my pocket and I know that I owe $50.00 for my electric bill. I have $50.00 available. The $100.00 is still in my pocket/account (Ledger balance) but $50.00 is spoken for/pending (Debit card transaction) leaving me with $50.00 to do as I please with (Available balance). So understanding this if I was to go to the bank at 4:00 and make a deposit after the 3:00 cutoff, the bank will increase my available balance. Only when the actual paper deposit slip is received by the banks processing department and submitted to the Federal Reserve for processing will my ledger balance be increased.

This made me ask what is it that determines one banks cutoff vs. another. Well the answer was far simpler than I ever imagined. The bank has to have time to process all the work that was received that day in order to have updated balances in the morning and also to satisfy the Federal Reserve cutoff time to process work. The more work received for processing the longer it takes. Some banks even have the work picked up by courier and delivered to a processing center.

While all this was very interesting it still did not answer the question of why did your banks online system not show the transaction as cleared rather than pending after their cutoff. The answer to that question was also surprisingly simple. Banks have no way of knowing before processing is completed what debit card transactions will or will not post/clear that night.

There are many different variables which control the speed of which a debit card transaction is processed. Signature based transactions (card ran as credit) take a bit longer to clear/post, while debit transactions (pin number used) actually clear or post quicker. Both types show as pending almost immediately. I would suggest using your card as credit to lengthen the amount of days that you may be able to notice a bookkeeping error in your records. Also the bank nor the consumer has any way of knowing when a merchant will close the batch on their credit card machine and send the transaction to processing at their (the merchants) bank, or for that matter what the cutoff time for the bank the merchant uses is.

Long story short it seems that your bank begins it processing at 8pm CST and during that processing time which could be several hours there is no way for them to update your balance online until processing is complete.

As to the research that I did you may be best off by sticking with this bank. First thing I noticed was the hours that you listed. You state that your local branch closes at 9pm. Wow! My bank closes at 5pm. As far as the ATM goes, I to make deposits at ATMs and it seems that they all have their own cutoff time and I have not seen any of them past 6pm. (not to say that they do not exist), but even if you were able to go to a Woodforest ATM and make a deposit, at the time of night that you noticed the error it would have been to late as ATM deposits only effect your available balance. Banks can only charge an overdraft fee if your ledger balance goes negative. The cutoff time is not designed to protect banks it is simply to make sure that work is not sent late to the Federal Reserve Bank (the banks bank) for processing. It seems that Woodforest starts it processing at 8pm CST and that it takes some fair amount of time which from what I can tell is much faster than my bank because they apparently have to start at 5pm to get done by morning. During that time the debit card transaction that you saw was processed, and online banking was forced to show it as pending as Woodforest has no way of knowing when that pending transaction will clear for the reasons stated in the paragraph before.

As for their customer service, not being a customer of Woodforest I cannot say or rate them; however, I found it very interesting how much people were willing to pay for "customer service". I will say though I did research the banks that you mentioned, and in Virginia the cutoff time at Bank of America is 5pm Monday-Thursday and 6pm on Friday. (Could not get anyone at Bank of America to explain why they couldn't offer the later cutoff all week but that is neither here nor there) and at 10 minutes till 10 Wachovia's ATMs would only been able to affect your available balance because their cutoff time at the latest are 7pm. As discussed in earlier paragraphs overdrafts are charged on the ledger balance rather than the available balance.

As for an alternative if you are not happy with Woodforest you could go to the prepaid card but you would be paying dearly for it. You stated that you pay roughly $8 a month to bank with Woodforest. In comparison that is actually a very good deal. Looking at prepaid service offered at Wal-Mart (Green Dot Cards / Visa pre-paid) you would be paying much more. Assuming that you are paid biweekly and that the card is purchased and loaded at Wal-Mart you would pay $3.00 to cash your check that's $78.00 a year, then pay up to $4.95 to put the balance on the card, an additional $128.70, totaling $206.70 or $17.23 a month. If you are paying $8 dollars a month, then you are saving over $110.00 dollars a year just by staying at the bank. Now we can also assume that you have direct deposit and would avoid all the check cashing and loading fees; however, straight from the green dot website fee schedule available at

http://www.accountnowvisa.com/services/pop_comparepricing.aspx

These are the amount you would pay for their two programs Premium and Classic

Card Account Activity
Premium Classic
U.S. Purchases FREE Signature: FREE
PIN: $1

International Purchases FREE $1
Monthly Maintenance $9.95 $4.95

Card Activation $0 with Direct Deposit
($9.95 otherwise)
U.S. ATM Transactions $2
ATM Balance Inquiry $1

Other:
ATM Transactions: ATM owners may charge additional fees. International ATM transactions: $4.95. Online Monthly Statement: Free. Paper Monthly Statement: $2.95. Live Agent Call: $2 (1 free/month). Non-Monetary Transaction via IVR: up to $0.50. Bank Teller Cash Advance: $4.95. Express delivery charge: $40. Emergency wire fee: $20. Bill Pay Stop Payment $20. Card Fulfillment: $10. Non-Online Bill Pay Check Processing including but not limited to debit transactions using direct deposit number such as paper checks, ACH debits, check by-phone or pre-authorized payments: $5. Special research and documentation fee (may include authorization hold removal, card account verification, card account balancing, false claims, etc): Up to $50. Currency conversion: 2.95% of transaction amount after conversion. If you decide to close your card account and request a check to bring your balance to zero, a $15.95 check fee will be applied.

Taking a closer look the best that you could possibly come out with using a prepaid card is a fee that is roughly 24 more dollars a year than what you are paying with Woodforest, and make sure that you do not call or go to an atm to check your balance or you will be docked.

Looking at your situation I think the best advice I would offer is just to make absolutely sure you are keeping up with the balance in your account. Debit and Credit transactions done with a bank card typically take a couple of days to hit your ledger balance, check your online banking more often and keep an up to date running total in your checkbook ledger. The bank cannot keep up with your balance for you, the information that the bank can provide is only as valid as the information that merchants tell them. Pending transactions often post for a different amount than what they show as pending, and that is the fault of the merchant for preauthorizing a different amount than what the purchase is made for, which sometimes cannot be avoided. It sounds to me that the bank employees that you spoke with as well as us as consumers could do with a bit of education as to the finer details of banking. It was no easy way for me to spend the past two days researching, but all I found for you was that the clock ticks every day and there has to be some point in which a bank has to start processing. Be glad that you seem to be at the bank with the latest cutoff times, and see if you could possibly get a savings account and have it cover you in the event of an overdraft, that is what my wife does.
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