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Fee Refunds and Hold Times at Bank of America


There was an interesting post at the Consumerist last week titled 5 Confessions of a Bank of America Personal Banker. It was supposedly from someone who had worked at BofA for about 1.5 years. I have some experience as a customer with two of the confessions: "I'm only allowed to refund fees if the system allows." and "Holds happen on deposits and there isn't much we can do about it."

About refunding fees at BofA, I recently didn't have luck getting a fee refunded using their online secure mail service. I've had better luck in the past at the branch or on the phone.

For hold times, I haven't made many check deposits at BofA, but I did recently have one at Capital One. It was a check from my broker, and I was hoping to deposit it into my Capital One checking account and then use the money to open a PenFed CD. Since the CDs often don't last long, I was hoping for a short hold. The check happened to be out-of-state, so Capital One was going to place a 7-business-day hold on it. Even after talking with the bank manager, I didn't have any luck shortening this.

On another topic of Bank of America, I've been seeing them advertise their Risk Free CD on TV. The feature allowing you to withdraw funds early without a penalty sounds nice. However, they don't mention the rate. It's very low, at least for Texas, with a yield of 2.70% APY for a 9-month CD. You would be better off keeping the money in an online savings account at another bank.

For other news and deals from Bank of America, please refer to my Bank of America posts.
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  |     |   Comment #1
B of A email customer service seems not to have any power to reverse any fee. I've emailed them regarding the most glaringly obviously mistaken fees, and email support told me to go pound sand. Just so you don't think I'm the one who's nuts, the telephone CSR took all of 3 seconds to recognize the error and fix it.

Regarding check holds, B of A's computer system determines what the hold time should be, but as of a year ago (policy could have changed, I guess), a branch manager CAN override a hold. I wouldn't go in with the expectation that the manager WILL do it, but he or she MIGHT do it.

Regarding Capital One's check hold times, as of the last time I checked, COF places the maximum holds times allowed by the federal regulations. They told me that they were trying to be more competitive in this area, but I don't know how much progress they've made. As always, it's better to call ahead and ask what the hold time will be than to just mail in the check and hope for the best. :)
  |     |   Comment #2
I can speak to the hold overide. I had a cashier's check from Wachovia after cashing out a CD from them and walked over to the BofA branch assuming that the cashier's check would guarantee no hold, but they put one on and I was surprised and dissapointed, but the manager-type quickly overrided it for me. I have had my account a real long time and was dressed in a nice botton-downed shirt so not sure if this came into play at all.
Frugal Frugalson
  |     |   Comment #3
I went in to a small local BOA branch a few weeks ago to inquire about a $2.90 fee for new checks when they were supposed to be free. The branch manager didn't have the authority to reverse the charge, and after spending about 10 minutes on the phone she was eventually authorized to do it.
  |     |   Comment #4
Capital One (TX/LA) holds are usually placed where you make the deposit, but only the branch of account has the power to remove them once placed. Usually, unless the funds are collected, the hold will not be released. Hold times are about 5 days for local checks, 8 for non-local. (7 or more if new acct)
For fee refunds, that also can only be done where you opened your account. Fee refunds more or less have to be bank error, or they won't refund them.
  |     |   Comment #5
my wife opened an account at boa,,,supposed to get free checks debited account 3$$ ,account was supposed to be free if balance over 750$ the account had over 8000$ in it ,,,was charged $5.95 monthly,,,when they asked why are you closing this account??told about monthly charge told..''oh we will remit charge'' told no thks dont need you found reputable bank elsewhere..
  |     |   Comment #6
A couple of weeks ago I was able to get a courtesy refund of a B of A $12 fee I was charged when my account dropped below the minimum balance required. I requested the fee refund through the secure email system and had the fee refunded the next day.
  |     |   Comment #7
I would rather bury my money in a mason jar in the ground than bank with BoA.
  |     |   Comment #8
B of A treats me great... there have been instances where they could not reverse a fee... but it was typically my fault because I noticed them too many months out. They have made it up to me in other ways like giving me the bonus on accounts even though I already was customer and giving me 2 safe deposit boxes at no charge... My checks regardless from where they are from clear at midnight if it's a business day the next day... get to know your branch manager and everything works smoothly after that.......
  |     |   Comment #9
BankofAmerica is notorious, just like most of the large banks in regards to fees. Overdraft item and NSF: Returned Item Fee, for the first day you account has occurrence (prior 12 months), fee for each overdraft item and for each returned item is $25 each item. For the 2nd and subsequent days your account has occurrence, fee for each overdraft item and for each returned item is $35 each. Fee applies to each overdraft item and each returned item with a maximum of 7 items each day for 7 days. (most banks set max at 5). Use a non-Bank ATM in a foreign country (not part of Global ATM Alliance program), it's $5 each; In addition, not disclosed in Schedule is the International Money Transaction Fee of 1%, or the 3% fee if you use your card for purchases. Non-BoA ATM in US is $2 or $3, depending location. Wire tranfers (to/from US) are not even disclosed in Schedule either. (though i read somewhere it's $12 incoming US, $25 outgoing US; but source unknown). Stop payment fee is $30 each request or renewal. Cashier's check, not listed in schedule of fees, is $6 or $7. They're horrible!

Regarding to holds for deposit; most banks, like Bank of america, follow the federal and state regulations on availability of funds. If you deposit check >$5000 in one day, the first 100 is available on day of deposit, then the rest is usually available 4-6 business days after day of deposit. The longest I've seen in bank's Disclosures is 11 business days after deposit!
  |     |   Comment #10
B of A is really behind on the check clearing system in the US. The still have the holds set as they did by FDIC regulation in 1987. This is before Check 21 and our modern check clearing system.

I really like the back in general. Good people and a great internet banking site. But the check hold policy based on snail mail is totally wrong.
  |     |   Comment #11
My bank has an online banking feature which I use to pay several monthly bills.  One of the bills goes through another bank and into the account of the appropriate payee.  Fine.  But recently when I checked into the account I found that the payment didn't show up when it should have been there. Concerned, I put a 'stop payment' on it through my bank.  Then a fee was put on my account for my 'stop payment' by my bank. Then a second fee from the receiving bank for 'stop payment' was sent to me, so I was double charged.  Since the bill wasn't really due yet at the time of the stop payment, and nobody there was out any money I contend that the second bank didn't have the right to charge me.  They are not my bank and I am not under their fee rules.  Am I? 

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