Report: #294691

Complaint Review: Charter One Bank - Providence Rhode Island

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Shelby Township Michigan
  • Author Confirmed What's this?
  • Why?
  • Charter One Bank One Citizens Plaza Providence, Rhode Island U.S.A.
  • Phone: 877-242-7837
  • Web:
  • Category: Banks

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Recently, my bank, Charter One, owned by Citizen's Bank, notified it's customers via the "memo" section of their statements to the following:

We are changing the way we process Signature based transactions (using the "credit option) from authorizing the payment and deducting it from your balance and restoring it the next day, until merchant requests payment several days later, to immediately withholding the amount of the transaction from your available balance until merchant claims the funds. Should the merchant not request the funds, within a reasonable time period, the funds will become available to you again, until the merchant requests payment.

This is a change in the way my account has been handled for the last 15 or so years that I can remember.
Now - while these "PENDING" authorizations are held from your account, they cannot be used to pay any/all requests for payment that process to your account. So if you have $1000 being held for potential, future obligations, if a check tries to post for $5.00, you are charged a $35 fee to cover the transaction that overdrew your account. That $1000 in holds may end up just being that, "holds". In addition to this shady practice, my account balance never shows a negative to my account, so I was unaware of this happening. Until I received the notice, several days later by mail, two additional days of fees were tacked on, totaling $473.

Not once, did my account show a negative. How am I to know this to prevent further fees being charged if I can not view this on my online account? Also- I cannot see "pending authorization merchants/outstanding debits on my account. How can they charge me fees when my account never dips below zero?

With pending authorizations being held from my account, I am unable to use this money. Many instances where I have purchased something with my debit/credit card, and then the item gets cancelled by me or by the merchant, yet Charter One will keep a hold on that money for a "reasonable amount of time, at their discretion, and THEY are able to do with my funds as they wish. (don't they get interest on money?)

Here is an example of how the pending authorization system is flawed:If I have $100 in my account and go to the gas station. I use my debit/credit card for purchase. The gas station gets authorization for an unknown (by me) amount, which varies from gas station to gas station. Some get authorization for $1, some for $50, while some for $80.

I know this since that is the max they allow me to pump using the outside machine. (I own a Suburban which can take up to $150 in gas.)

So let's say I only get $20 in gas and use my card at the pump, but the gas station authorizes $100 (to keep it simple)

I know I have $100 in my account, but only spend $20 at the gas station. Therefore, I think I have $80 left to make additional purchases. I hit the grocery store, McDonalds, etc. and spend all the $80 I think I have in my account. Whamo!! I will incur fee after fee from the bank because they have held my money for the $100 authorization, which technically will only post or debit my account for $20. What am I to do in the meantime for cash?

On the flip side, a purchase I made at Saks.com which only gets authorization for $2.50 at order time, even though my purchase was for $413.00 - this is not an accurate authorization either. And when it posts to my account, $413.00 will be debited after the item has shipped. Are they going to go back on my account and see what the balance was on the $2.50 charge, that really was $413.00, charge me more fees?

How can the bank withhold MY MONEY from me until an item gets posted to my account? Pending authorizations are just that, PENDING, until it gets processed by the merchant for payment, and THEN gets deducted from my checking account.

My checking account is not a line of credit like a credit card. It is secured by my own money, and I am the one who has to make sure the funds are there when purchases are posted. What happens if Charter One gets an authorization in the wrong amount by the slip of a finger, potentially, and my money is withheld, unbeknownst to me, and I make purchases. Authorization should have been for $100 and it gets put through at $1000.

Many times, my pending authorizations result in nothing be debited from my account for one reason or another. And why do they get to determine what a reasonable amount of time is? It could be 2, 5, 7 days? Just enough days to rack up a few fees here and there to their benefit.

How does the consumer know which places get which amount of authorizations to avoid being overdrawn on potential authorizations that may or may not occur?

My online account shows my account to be in the positive all throughout these 3 days of incurring fees. They need to show me a negative when it occurs (thru pending authorizations or debited items) so I can deposit money and not incur fee after fee after fee!

Also, their choosing of the order to pay items at their discretion is unacceptable. Items should post as they are received for such. The bank decides who to pay and not to pay while they line their pockets with outrageous fees incurred by its customers. What a scam that is. Wouldn't it be better to pay 5 merchants, instead of 1?

Last month I had over 5600.00 in deposits and 3400.00 in withdrawals. This month it's even more. I have not balaced my checkbook, since I can remember, so those who say, "balance your account", I say, IT WON'T HAPPEN! I don't have the time, energy or desire to do this. My system has worked for me the last 15-20 years and it won't change now. But I will probably use a credit card in the same fashion to avoid more fees. When a credit card company authorizes a transaction, if you are over your limit, unless you reach your ending date and you go over your limit with POSTED transactions, you don't get hit with a late fee.

I am on a mission to expose these shady practices and will continue to do so until I receive all of my fees back.

Shelby Township, Michigan

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/26/2007 08:23 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/charter-one-bank/providence-rhode-island-02903/charter-one-bank-owned-by-rbs-citizens-assessing-fees-on-positive-account-balance-holding-294691. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#7 Consumer Comment

Overdraft Fees

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

POSTED: Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I have had the same bank for the past five years. If I go to a gas station and use my debit card as a credit at the pump it holds $1.00 on the card for the purchase price of the gasoline until the company requests the money from the bank. If I go to any other store, for example Walmart, and spend $20 on my credit card the money comes out of my bank account immediately. This way the money is there when the company requests the money.

As far as using a credit card, be careful which card you use. I have a credit card that if at any point during the month the balance goes over the limit it will charge the over the credit limit fee even if you have it under the limit at the time the bill comes out. I was charged a $29 over the credit limit fee for going .05 over.

I would speak with your bank about why they are charging different amounts when you get gas because if you use a credit card to purchase gas they are only supposed to hold $1 on your account until the company requests the actual amount of the gas purchased. I hope you get everything straightened out.

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#6 Consumer Suggestion

wrong agian

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

POSTED: Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ah, I love how people ASSume that I only keep 100 dollars in my account. And ASSume I live paycheck to paycheck. Ah well, nothing we can do about these people. Before you read further, I will warn you this is LONG, if you don't read the whole thing and reply with some idiocricy like Bart did, then anyone else who reads this behind you will see what a judgmental, non reading person you are. I wish people would READ I don't know how many times I say this with rebuts but it is SO true.

I did not say that me having 100 dollars in my account is actually what happened, how you got this idea I don't know, because I don't recall saying YEAH because what happened to me was I only have 100 dollars in my account this is what happened. I simply posed a scenario that was dumbed down for the previous poster to get it. I thought since they could not grasp the concept of 9000 in deposits going in and less than that coming out does not equal zero account balance than maybe I shouldn't play with numbers over 100.

First, I have OVER A 700 credit score, 4 credit cards and a car loan, none with a late pay and none if this equaling over 10k in debt. You cannot get that with living paycheck to paycheck. Bad things happen all the time to people who live like that and there are almost ALWAYS late pays on cars and credit cards because they have to eat and keep a roof over their head with money they don't really know if they are going to have.

I will go into actual account information for you from my bank account. Due to a trust fund that my husband got from his grandfather we are not living paycheck to paycheck. We have a substantial high interest account that is over 20k right now for his college education ( hence, no large student loans to burden us) . I only keep what I need to play around with, run on and pay my bills in my checking account since it does not accrue as much interest as the other account. No sense in keeping 10K in an account that isn't making me money by being there when all I have to do is keep a good eye on mistakes that Charter One makes.

Right now I'm looking at my CHECKING account, I only have a 90 dollar available balance. Whereas my ACTUAL balance shows over 850 dollars.

So here is why I only have a 90 dollar actual balance.

I deposited a check on Friday morning for 550 dollars. I know that hasn't cleared yet.
That leaves me with a 300 dollar balance.
I spent 47 at the grocery store Thursday using my PIN it still hasn't posted to my balance, yet they have already taken it out of my available balance, I'm okay with this since I know the numbers match and grocery stores don't take more than what you signed off on.
That leaves me with 253 dollars
I went to the bar Thursday night and spent 35 dollars via signature purchase, I know this wont hit my account balance for a wile because this bar has a habit of not turning in credits in a timely manner, however this I have ALSO deducted from my roster ( and know they wont ping my account to see if I have the balance) so I know only the amount I spent is gone.
That leaves me with 218
I went to the gas station Friday as well and spent 25 dollars in gas, now here is where it gets sticky. I know I spent 25 what I do not know is that the station has checked my account to see if I have at least 75 dollars in the account. Charter one takes it upon themselves to use this check or ping as I like to call it, as a deduction from my actual account balance. ( I know this now because after crunching the numbers, I'm exactly 50 dollars off and a sign on the pump said no more than 75 dollars is allowed to be purchased at one time from this pump)
So I think I have 193 left in the account. But really I only have 143 AVAILABLE BALANCE
Alright, so I preordered something online as a birthday gift Friday before the bar, ( 53 dollars) this item does not come out until the 13th of this month. I have been assured by the store I ordered this item from that I will not be charged until I pick up the item ( the 13th). However, they needed my Debit information to verify funds for the item. Wouldn't you know it, my AVAILABLE BALANCE is also showing that money gone as well.

Hence now I only have a 90 dollar AVAILABLE balance in my checking account when I am showing in my ROSTER that I have 193.

This is where Charter one gets you. They are withholding items that are not Legally debited to your account. I should not have to pay if my card has been checked for funds. I should only have to pay when those funds are asked for from the merchant. I don't know why you cannot get that. This is where all these fees are racking up. I do not know how people who do not check their online banking are avoiding overdraft charges from Charter One. The gas station did not ASK for 100 dollars, they checked the account to see if I had it. Remember a wile ago, gas stations used to check to see if you had a dollar in your account and only then would they allow you to get gas? No one noticed this because who only buys 50 cents worth of gas?

Here is the kicker though, lets say since I think I have 193 dollars in my account by my roster and I DON'T check my online banking and I go spent 100 dollars. Since my AVAILABLE balance drops below 0, I get charged an overdraft Fee, yet when everything finally clears it shows I have 93 dollars left. They will refuse to refund you that fee. I have asked a Charter One employee this myself, not because I over drafted but because when I noticed these discrepancies I wanted to see what they would do. I think this is STEALING because the bank is the one authorizing what is pending and what is not, they are not even pending in the general banking terms either. It's more like, well they checked your card so we are going to ASSume you spent that money already. Even though , especially with online and gas station purchases, this is not really the truth.

My last bank would NEVER charge my an O.D fee based on my Available balance. They always based it on my ACTUAL account balance. If after all my pending purchases were tallied up and I over drafted, THEN and only THEN would I get charged an O.D fee. Then again, my available balance was never affected by items such as pings on my account to make sure I have funds for future purchases.

Another thing I have noticed with this bank is they process Debits faster than Deposits. I have seen consistently that if I deposit my check on Thursday morning and use a PIN debit card purchase Friday night, they will charge the pin purchase before my check. I have to wonder, how the pin purchases go though faster than my check that has been sitting in the bank at least 20 hours longer. I have never had a bank do this to me. However, I will admit, that just keeping an eye on your account online will alleviate any overdraft fees you may get. But it still is unethical.

When it comes to check deposits, charter one does something that no other bank I have been with does. They do not give you any money on any of your deposits. Even reputable things like paychecks. Any other bank I have been with will forward you 100 dollars of your deposit until it clears, not charter one. And usually it takes them 3 or more business days to even process that deposit. Now I just transfer the amount of my deposits from my savings to my checking and then when it FINNALY clears I transfer it back to my savings.

The last thing I hate about charter one is their computer system. It seriously has to be screwed up. I have caught on numerous occasions where something with the SAME transaction numbers gets deducted from my account twice. I usually have to call to have this fixed or I wait a few days and it fixes itself. But we come back to the same thing, If I only had 100 in my account and they screw up and charge me twice for an amount like 45 dollars. I'm thinking by my roster I should have 55 so I go spent 50 but since they hit it twice I will actually OVERDRAFT. And judging by Charters one customer service, whom are very rude by the way, I bet they wouldn't refund this money. That isn't the only quirky thing about their system. This isn't exactly wrong, but its isn't pleasing, when I use my debit card for a purchase, it will first show up on my account as debit card purchase - amount spent, it doesn't show where that purchase was, it takes them anywhere from 1 to 3 business days for this information to show up.

In closing, you shouldn't have to keep a balance in your checking account that covers more than your actual bills just to cover unethical practices of your bank. It's not right they can lock up my money in a checking account and collect interest off of it since its not technically spent ( they get their interest off BALANCE amounts not AVAILABLE amounts) and make me take money out of MY interest bearing account to cover their mistakes. I understand most banks are for profit and need to keep up with overhead, but there are enough deadbeats out there writing bad checks to keep them floating in fee money. You know, I just had an idea, maybe they are doing this because they CANT get the fees out of people who don't care about their credit and have to use people who DO to float their businesses. Either way, its not right.

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#5 Consumer Comment

Charter is Correct

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

POSTED: Sunday, November 02, 2008

A, your action is not against the bank but against the merchant who essentially told the bank to hold $100 when you only spent $20. When you then spent $50, you were overdrawn - thanks to that merchant. What happened to you was not the bank's fault - and it would have happened at any bank out there. BTW - most errors regarding overdrafts are not the fault of the bank.

2 pieces of advice for you:

1. Stop using a debit card to pay for anything. If you only keep $100 in your account, you may as well just reduce your transactions to cash. Debit cards are for people who have enough money to not live paycheck to paycheck.

2. Don't go to that merchant again. The merchant cost you money and it isn't worth your time to benefit this person.

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#4 Consumer Comment

Stop rebutting you are wrong

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

POSTED: Saturday, November 01, 2008

You obviously CANNOT READ.

I have had this very same problem and I actually balance my checkbook.

Charter one sucks badly. I am lucky enough to balance my checkbook and look at my online banking so I can cover their mistakes with my savings account if they screw up.

Before rebutting again please read the post. If you don't feel like doing that, I will break it down for you.

I have 100 dollars in my account, I go to the gas station and pump 20. I subtract 20 from that 100 in my roster. I have 80 left. I go somewhere else and spend 50 bucks. I subtract that I should have 30 left correct?

I go home and check my bank account, it says I have over drawn. Why? Because The gas station preauthorized 100 dollars from my account ( aka put a hold on that much money) and they have not turned in my actual amount. So now, even though I should have 30 dollars it actually shows me 50 in deficit because the bank allowed a pre-auth of 100 dollars to ping and hold onto money in my account as opposed to an actual transaction of 20 dollars.

Will charter one refund this money to you? NO! They will tell you to go after the company that pre-authed the amount. Well the company that pre-authed the amount is in no way wrong, they should be able to know if you have 100 in your account to get gas, because with gas prices today about 50% of people will purchase that much. However, charter one should not be allowed to hold onto that 100 dollars until the actual debit transaction goes though.

I hate Charter One. They do not keep up at all with actual purchases yet these pre-auths will hit my account the moment I go somewhere that does this.

For example- I use my debit card at a wal mart for 70 dollars. Sure it shows that the 70 is gone from my available balance but it does not show as an actual debit. It usually takes them about three days to show on my account that 70 dollars has came out, but even then it just shows it as a debit card use, not where it came from. After about two business days it will FINNALY show that a debit from Walmart has been made for 70 dollars.

Its not bad because I balance a checkbook, but it is still scary to go online and see that im off 200 dollars from my actual balance amount because some companies put holds on money that you haven't even spent in their establishment. So it does not matter how well you balance your checkbook because these companies that put hold on your money will not let you know.

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#3 Consumer Comment

And there's your problem.

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

POSTED: Thursday, December 27, 2007

"While I can appreciate your simple answer to 'my' problem, did I mention that I had $9000 going out and coming into my checking account in one month? And this month it will be more. So unless I want to sit down for 3-4 hours and balance it to the penny, I will continue to track my purchases as I have in the past. If I look online and it says I have a positive balance, then I should be able to make purchases. It's that simple."

I could care less about what numbers you want to try and impress us with. The simple fact is you ADMIT to not keeping a register and overspent YOUR OWN money. Banks, or any institution, are not around to babysit. You purchased something-the merchant IS going to collect the money. No excuse about it.

Looks like the alleged 3-4 hours would have saved you some money now doesn't it? So you NEVER kept a register even before online banking? That is what is "the past". Where were your complaints about these guidelines before you burned yourself?

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#2 Author of original report

Not so simple answer, and YES, there are many purchases I make that don't get processed.

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

POSTED: Thursday, December 27, 2007

While I can appreciate your simple answer to "my" problem, did I mention that I had $9000 going out and coming into my checking account in one month? And this month it will be more. So unless I want to sit down for 3-4 hours and balance it to the penny, I will continue to track my purchases as I have in the past. If I look online and it says I have a positive balance, then I should be able to make purchases. It's that simple.

And yes......there are many times my purchases have resulted in authorizations and the item not getting debited to my account.

Ordering tickets online thru Ticketmaster when there is a ticket limit. You order tickets, get authorization, and then your order gets cancelled. The money won't be debited from your account.

Ordering merchandise from Saks.com Saks get an approval for $2.50 initially (of a 413.00 order). The item I ordered was a high demand handbag, and they have lousy inventory control. I receive an email notification that it is out of stock and my order has been cancelled. The 413.00 will never get posted to my account (or the $2.50 for that matter). But should it matter the amount? No - it's my money and I know when the money needs to be there for clearing debits. That's been the case for 15 years!

My scenario regarding the gas station is another type of example. Initial authorization results in much lower amount being debited from your account.

If you are not an AVID online shopper as I am, I could see how you might think that the merchant almost always does come calling for their money eventually. But I have two good examples above, which happened to me, so what I am saying is true.

I have also read on other people's complaints that Charter One overdrafted their account because they had automatic bill pay that would happen in the future by 4 days so they overdrafted this person's account. A future bill pay overdrawing an account? Come on, theres something wrong with this picture here!

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#1 Consumer Comment

Very simple solution

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

POSTED: Thursday, December 27, 2007

"How am I to know this to prevent further fees being charged if I can not view this on my online account? Also- I cannot see 'pending authorization merchants/outstanding debits on my account. How can they charge me fees when my account never dips below zero?"

By keeping a register of your transactions. It's always worked in the past. why does it suddenly not work now that it made you stop doing it? Spent money-especially since you would know more so than the bank-is spent money. Regardless of when it posts.

"Should the merchant not request the funds, within a reasonable time period, the funds will become available to you again, until the merchant requests payment."

You should read the whole sentence and not look at the first 2/3 as some kind of glimmer of hope. Do you really think a merchant is never going to try and claim their money from your purchase? If they didn't, it would be very, very rare.

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