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Biggest Banking Pet Peeves

Aug. 23, 2013
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Everyone has a few pet peeves in their life, from people talking too loudly on their cell phones to family members or housemates leaving the toilet seat up after using the bathroom. These are mostly minor annoyances that don’t tend to have a major impact on a person’s life. However, in the banking world, pet peeves can have a more drastic effect. Incorrect charges, strange account requirements and customer service issues, among other problems, can make managing your finances more difficult and have a comparatively much larger impact on your daily life.

We were curious what types of problems the everyday consumer runs into, so we asked them what their biggest banking pet peeves were. Here are a few of the issues they told us about:

  • Mishandled loan applications
  • Incorrect charges
  • Credit card charge requirements
  • Check cashing policies
  • Automated phone services

The problems reported to us weren’t always minor inconveniences—in some cases, there were serious financial issues involved that caused panic or monetary loss. Many of our respondents expressed hope that financial institutions will find their criticisms constructive and use them to create a better banking experience for consumers. Here are their biggest banking pet peeves.

Lauren Gard, Marketing Manager, 99designs – San Francisco, California

“My biggest banking pet peeve is spending five minutes wading through various automated menus and questions before having the opportunity to connect to a live customer support rep. Nothing is more frustrating than knowing exactly what I need help with, while also knowing it’s not something an automated response is going to be able to solve. There should absolutely be a way to reach support quickly.”

Barbara Morris, Image FX Publications — Escondido, California

“Pet peeve? How about incompetent, poorly trained employees? I tried to get a signature guarantee at Bank of America. It took three appointments, three trips to the bank and no one could figure out how to do it. Incredible.”

Carol Roullard, Author/Artist, Vista Focus – Southern California

“We like our bank. They have been very reasonable and have helped us out when there have been some problems. The strangest hoop we have to jump through each month is making sure we accumulate at least $1,000 on our business credit card or else we will be assessed a $15 fee. We are still a small business and there are some months when we have less than $1,000 worth of business charges. It just seems wrong to charge money on the credit card to avoid the extra fee.”

Ericka Smith, Marketing Director, Inlanta Mortgage – Brookfield, Wisconsin

“Two weeks ago I thought I was going to go through the roof! I went into a convenience store to make a $10 purchase. My bank debit card was declined. Assuming an error, I asked the cashier to run it again. The card declined a second time and I pulled out a credit card to complete the purchase.

“I immediately called my bank. I was told that my card was expired. The bank came up with a new logo for their cards and automatically sent us new ones. Once the new cards were mailed our existing cards no longer functioned. My husband was away for a funeral on the other side of the country. We had just moved into a new house and we were having issues forwarding mail…neither of us had the new debit cards or access to our funds. After 1/2 hour on the phone, the bank agreed to manually adjust the expiration date in the ‘system’ to make sure we could use our existing cards.

“I didn’t ask for a new freaking logo! I don’t care about logos! I just want to access my bank account when and where I want. Is that too much to ask?”

Bob Zeitlinger, Public Relations Professional – Dumont, New Jersey

“As a consumer, my biggest banking pet peeve – and this isn’t new – is the banks’ policy of debiting the largest check first when they have a number of checks presented against your checking account. This becomes a problem when the account is unexpectedly low. Because they cash or debit the biggest check first, it increases the likelihood that the remaining checks will bounce.

“So, let’s say I have $200 in my checking account, and I forget to deposit a check to cover checks I’ve written. The bank gets five checks to be debited against my account in the amounts of $300, $10, $25, $50 and $75. Instead of clearing the four smallest checks first, the bank debits the $300 check, causing all five checks to bounce, incurring $30 or so for each bounced check. If you can clear four transactions cleanly and only have to fix one, would not that be better for the bank as well?

“So, yeah, that’s a pet peeve of mine.”

Lindsey – San Diego, California

“Chase emptied my account!

“It was a few years ago. I was just getting back on my feet after a stint of unemployment, and was working part time. I had managed to save about $346.00. I was feeling like this month I might be able to make it. Then it happened. One random day all the money was emptied out. It was just gone! There was no explanation, no note who it was to; it was just drained completely! After some investigation, I found out it was taken out by Chase themselves for an old debt I had even disputed on my credit report. But it was too late for that now. They owned it.”

Steve Dustmann, Vice President, McCourtney-Breckenridge & Co. –  St. Louis, Missouri

“I took out some debt to buy rental properties in 2012 and to say it was an ordeal is an understatement. We started in April of 2012 with our loan application and complete documentation. By late May, we had a new loan processor. In June, they wanted all new copies of our tax returns. In late July, they demanded we tell them what the loan was going to be used for even though it had been completely disclosed in the application. It was in mid-August that they finally approved us, but when the closing documents arrived the interest rate was wrong, the fees were doubled and the address of our house (which was the collateral for the loan) was wrong. Thankfully we weren’t waiting to close to buy the home of our dreams.

“PNC Bank charges me $3.00 every month to receive a statement of activity even though I’ve asked repeatedly to receive it electronically.

“The really oddball item that ticks me off: First National Bank of St. Louis doesn’t make deposit slips available in the lobby and for some reason they wont give me a few for later visits.”

Susan Micallef, Freelance Designer, SM Art & Design – San Diego, California

“This last year I opened an account with an online bank. I love their system, app, and just about everything…except their clearing time for deposits.

“Every bank has fine print about how long it may take for your deposits to clear. I understand that some checks may take longer than others, and that they don’t count weekends or holidays. But, every single deposit I’ve made to this account has taken a minimum of two weeks to clear. This has become such an inconvenience, that I’ve been depositing most checks into my brick-and-mortar bank to have the funds available immediately.”

Have a pet peeve of your own about banking? Share it with us in the comments.


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