I sorta like opening checking accounts (and setting up direct deposits and e-bill paying, maybe opening a savings account so as to avoid any monthly fee) just to get bonus of $150 or more. One of the banks I’ve done this with offered me a credit card charging 0% interest for the first 12 months and paying me a $350 bonus if I charged $500 per month for the first 3 months. I took the offer and earned the bonus. All was going well until a few days ago.
I was online, making a payment, and I accidentally clicked the wrong button! Instead of selecting to make a payment from the credit union where I keep most of my money, I accidentally selected the checking account at the same bank that issued the credit card. I was paying off nearly the entire card balance (I guess it’s okay to carry a balance when the interest rate is 0%), which was a little over $1,000. But I didn’t have that much in the checking account at that bank. No matter! Without any warning, the payment was made and the checking account had a negative balance. I looked in vain for a way to un-do the transaction. I was so flustered that I immediately made another mistake when I tried to transfer some money from the savings account at the same bank into the checking account, so as to partially offset the negative balance. I accidentally did the transaction backwards, resulting in an even larger negative balance! Finally, I transferred money from the credit union to the checking account at the bank (the money which I intended to use for the credit card payment in the first place) and I waited.
Just as I feared, the next day there were two $35 service charges for insufficient funds. Despite the fact that these accounts exist solely for the purpose of obtaining the bonuses for opening them, I felt pretty strongly about being charged $70 for just clicking the wrong button. Especially when the bank’s online system didn’t give me any error message (“hey, you’re trying to make a payment of $1,000 from an account that only has a balance of $500”) or any way to un-do the transaction.
I did an online chat with one of the bank’s customer service people and, with sufficient amounts of politeness and contrition, along with the fact that I actually did transfer the $1,000 from my credit union account to the checking account at the bank, was able to get both fees reversed.
Moral of the story: Be careful not to click the wrong button. And, as is often the case with customer service, it often pays to ask.