I Pit BoA's New E-payment Policy!

So - I just moved in to a new rental, and as per my usual, set up an automatic payment to the landlord.

Because of the sometimes unpredictable nature of the mail delivery vs. the 1st of the month, I typically set up the e-pmt to arrive a few days before the actual due date, so there wouldn’t be any delays. But the landlords always knew to hold it until the 1st of each month. There’s even a memo on the check stating that it’s not to be cashed until the 1st.

So imagine my surprise when I check my online balance on Monday and see that my rent check is now pending deposit (4 days before the rent is due!) and my account was significantly overdrawn as a result. Thanks to an awesome bf and a hasty round trip to the bank - I was able to transfer/deposit enough funds to put my account back in the black.

Not wanting to set myself up as a problem tenant, I send a very friendly email to my landlord reminding her that I will need her to hold the check until the actual due date to make sure it clears.

The next morning, I check my account again - and now the rent check is showing as cleared.

This morning, I get an email back from my now very confused landlord. She never deposited my rent check - it’s still sitting on the table in front of her!

A call to the lovely people over at Bank of America reveals that they have decided that all e-payments will now be sent out as corporate checks - and therefore will be deducted from your account on the due date whether or not the check has been presented by the recipient!

First, thanks for telling me.

Second, i can understand and appreciate you deducting the amount from my account and leaving it in pending status - and then showing it as cleared once it’s actually been presented. That, in fact makes sense to me - so that I make sure to calculate that amount in to my ending balance and not assume I’ve suddenly had a $700 windfall . . .

**But, how can you show a check as cleared that has not even been presented yet?? It can clear! It’s not clearable! **

What happens if she never deposits it? Do you refund it back? How do I know that she hasn’t gotten it? And what happens if she needs it re-sent and then finds the first?

What were to happen if Og forbid, the tables were reversed and I was the landlord and I never got a check from a tenant? He could potentially present an inaccurate bank statement that lists that rent check as CLEARED even though I have never had it or deposited it!!

Thirdly, so okay - I went back and changed my auto-payment so that it now is scheduled to arrive on the due date. So what happens if it fails to arrive? Even if you help me cover the late fees for rent - that’s not going to help the good will feeling from the landlord of having a tenant that always makes sure they get paid on time!

So now, thanks to you, BoA, I have to re-adjust my whole payment schedule, without prior notice, to accomodate your new e-payment policy. A policy which was clearly brought about in attempts to re-acquire some of the revenue you are about to lose in August due to lack of overdraft fees . . . . .

You, my friend, suck. Don’t be surprised when I switch to the local credit union in the next few weeks.

Thanks for the heads up on this!
I am a fellow client (or perhaps I should say victim) of BoA and use their ePayment system for almost all of my bills.
I will be reviewing precisely how my bills get paid tomorrow and if anything looks wonky I will be at my branch on Monday to argue with them.

How do you expect BOA to make money off of printing and mailing your checks for free?

The keep the float on the uncleared checks instead of letting you have it. The extra one or two days interest they earn on those funds while your landlord holds the check more than makes up for the cost of the stamp and the paper and ink they printed the check with.

Bank of America sucks. This is not a new policy, btw. They’ve been handling e-payments like this for as long as I can remember.

There’s no love lost between myself and Bank of America and I fully expected to get on board with any Snuggly Kittening of them, just on principle, but I don’t really see how they’re in the wrong doing it that way. I’d expect a scheduled payment (whether it resulted in a mailed check or not) to be debited from my account the day it was scheduled.

That said, you should dump them and join a credit union. (They’ll probably do it the same way, but I think everyone should dump BofA/Chase/Wells Fartgo/etc. and join a credit union.)

I have been through all of this, not with BoA but with 3 of its peers. Your bank will treat it the same as a hand-written check. You can stop payment on the check if it hasn’t cleared and have it re-issued. Or you can stop payment and have it refunded to the account. Most will also offer you a copy of the check if it has cleared.

I don’t use the check writing facility anymore, as I prefer electronic payments. I do understand that not everyone will accept electronic payments (such as landlords). I did like that the amount of the check was taken out of my account when it was written rather than cashed, as I was less likely to forget and overdraw the account. However, when I was paycheck-to-paycheck, I would also play the float, so I understand your predicament.

Why wouldn’t you just give your landlord a physical check? It just seems easier than having a third party work through a system for you.

I mean, I don’t know- maybe I’m just having a weird perspective on this- but I could see using auto pay for things like the electric bill or insurance (big companies), but something so small and personal? Seems easier to just hand write a check. Particularly something that absolutely can’t be late.

Diosa - I don’t have a physical checkbook for various reasons - but I have always been able to pay all my bills that I couldn’t pay online with an e-check.

I wouldn’t be “playing the float” if BoA hadn’t previously caused me problems for failing to deliver the check when requested - it would often arrive late.

Trying to overcome this issue, I adjusted to their unpredictability by having the check arrive early.

And no, ladyfoxfyre, at least for my account (YMMV) they have never auto-deducted from my account until the check was actually presented.

Reality is - I can re-budget so that I’m prepared for the amount to clear as soon as deducted. I just don’t appreciate the lack of notice on BoA’s behalf so that I *could *prepare.

I’m sure there are several fellow patrons that will be facing an overdraft fee as a result of their change in policy without upfront notice.

Not just BofA - any billpaying feature at any bank removes the money from your account as soon as they send the payment. Even our credit union does this.

BofA is actually being relatively civilized by only showing it as “pending” (and of course what does that mean? Does it mean that anything that spends down some of that money will cause a bounce even if the check hasn’t presented yet?).

Not that I’m defending BofA - they’re quite possibly Satan’s Personal Bankers - but this practice simply isn’t unusual.

As we have found, if a check doesn’t get cashed, ultimately (90 days) the credit union stale-dates it and redeposits the money in our account. I presume if the recipient were to try to cash it then, it would bounce as a canceled check.

Why all of the universally accepted BofA hate? I haven’t had much in the way of problems with them. Wells Fargo? Fuck yeah. Wamu? Awful. BofA has pretty straight forward policies in general as far as I’ve seen.

Maybe not for you, it’s just what they have done to me since I can remember. The check is supposed to arrive on the 1st of the month? Expect the money to be deducted anytime within the preceeding 5 days. It has burned me before.

And Diosa, apparently there is an entire message board dedicated to the common knowledge that BofA sucks. http://www.bankofamericasucks.com/
I’d recount my personal stories, but it’s much too long. Suffice it to say it involves random and huge shuffling of money between accounts, repeated assurances that it would never happen ever again, and it continuing to happen. Currently they are attempting to overdraft my checking account about once a week for a random amount of money, charging me the overdraft fee, regardless of the fact that there are no pending transactions and over a thousand dollars in the checking account and therefore no reason to overdraft $11.54 or some other oddball amount from my savings account. “Oh, we have no idea why this is happening. Just keep an eye on it and let us know if it happens again.”:dubious:

Also, I have been locked out of my online banking three times in the past week, which I have to speak to someone in customer service to resolve. Again, “just some glitch, it should be fixed now.” :dubious::dubious:
They suck for a lot of reasons, and the only reason I stay is because their ATMs are freaking everywhere around here, and I rarely go inside a physical bank to do what I need to do. It’s convenient, and that’s the only reason I stay, but they do suck a lot.

I’m rather curious, what are the “various reasons”? That sounds kind of bizarre. It’s easy enough to request a checkbook so I have to assume these are some kind of philosophical reasons. Please share.

Yeah, I’m curious, too. I virtually never write checks either, but I keep a check book around for emergencies/ paying the handyman/etc. I probably write three checks a year, but it’s necessary to have around.

I write twelve (per year). They go to the apartment complex.

The situation described in the OP sounds like how electronic payments work from me (although this is Citibank in my case). I enter an electronic bill payment on or about the fifteenth of the month for my rent, which is due on the first of the following month. The money is gone from my account immediately, although according to the statements, the landlord doesn’t cash the check until after the first. So yes, I lose a couple of weeks interest on the rent, but it’s a small amount of money, so I don’t care. On the other hand, the electronic payments I make to big companies like my credit card company are sent electronically and clear within a couple of days.

Ditto. Well, a few more, as I also pay for my newspaper subscription and my Girl Scout Cookies with a check. I’m still scratching out “Denver, Colorado” three years later.

If my landlord (or my newspaper) (or, for that matter, the Girl Scouts) set up a method for me to electronically push the payment from my bank account to them on demand every time a payment is due, I’d happily do that, just as I do with all my other creditors. I will not, however, allow either my credit union or my creditor to have the opportunity to screw around unexpectedly with my balance.