Sovereign Bank Checking Accounts

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The Fees Game
Posted by Bureaucb on 03/13/2010
On Friday I had a total of $1,750 available in my account. On Saturday I used $1,570. That leave $180 left over. On Sunday I deposited through their ATM machine CASH (Key Word Here) for $1,100. On Sunday night I checked my account on line and it showed a $1,000 ATM Withdraw! On Monday I had $880 on online payments goint out. Monday morning I stopped by the bank to see what the $1,000 ATM withdraw was all about. The representative looked up my account and did not see this transaction. I showed him a copy of the online statement and he said that you can not withdraw $1,000 from an ATM at one time. I told him I could not use my ATM since it rejected a withdraw and said I had a negatitive balance. Again he went through all the transactions and could not find it. He stated my account was fine and that I had money available and to fill out a withdraw slip and he would get me the money, which I did. On Tuesday my account had been billed 9 Unavailable Funds Fees and 4 Overdraft fees. Again I stopped at the bank and another representative looked up my account. He could not explain why these fees were posted and stated he would talk to the division supervisor and would call me back with an answer. He later called back and said the supervisor would not remove the fees because the $1,000 was on hold (like a check). I sent an email to customer service and this is what they sent back to me....

Thank you for your recent email. Funds from cash deposits made at ATMs that we own or operate (“Sovereign Bank ATMs”) prior to the cutoff time of 3 p. m, will be available on the next business day after the day of deposit for withdrawal. However, the cash deposit is available to pay debits on the account on the business day we receive the deposit.

What they had done is withdrew the entire $1,000 and held it until Tuesday and manually redeposited it into the account.

So, I guess the statement "However, the cash deposit is available to pay debits on the account on the business day we receive the deposit." only applies when they want it to. Either that or their great banking system software is flawed and can not distinguish between cash withdraws and paying bills so they just took it all out! Hmmm, makes you wonder how many other people they have done this to. Thank "Higher Power" that I made copies of all this now you see it now you don't transactions.

Needless to say, I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and the Banking Commision. I will not let this matter rest!

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Posted by yoke on 2010-03-13:
The CASH you deposited through the ATM on Saturday would not show up until the next business day which was Monday. Why would anyone put $1,000 in cash into an ATM.
Posted by Skye on 2010-03-13:
Their statement is correct:

So, I guess the statement "However, the cash deposit is available to pay debits on the account on the business day we receive the deposit." only applies when they want it to.

Business days are Monday through Friday.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-13:
Weekends aren't business days.
Anything you do after cutover on Fridays, won't post to the account until Monday at midnight and be available Tuesday morning. That includes cash.
While cash *is* immediate... you can spend it (assuming merchants have cutover too), you can withdraw it from an ATM (assuming the ATM has cutover as well)... but, it won't cover anything posting that night... because, technically you made the deposit Monday (not Saturday, as it is not a business day).
Most banks don't service their own ATMs and most banks don't process the ATM deposits in the branch. They simply pull the envelopes and verify what's in the envelopes as to what it says was deposited; then send it off to the ATM department. And that's not done until the branch is open for business (not counting Saturdays).
Posted by bureaucb on 2010-03-13:
Granted, I understand that the monies are not posted until Monday. Since I had more than enough to coverage Saturdays ATM transactions already in the account and since the cash is deposited on the first business day which would have been Monday morning and is available for "Online payments" not cash withdraws. Then why all the fees?
Posted by CUFlipSide on 2010-03-13:
I think the issue is that the first posting is Monday night, not Monday morning, so the ATM deposit is not available until sometime during Monday night. If the CSR actually did the withdrawal, it was his bad. Go back and see him and ask him to straighten it out.
Posted by Soaring Consumer on 2010-03-13:
It appears to me based off of the review, what happened was that after the OP deposited cash, an ATM bug triggered a false indication of a withdrawal, so to set the record straight the bank processed it and then redeposited the funds, but since that action occurred after the cash cut-off time, the money had gone into limbo-land instead of straight back into the OP's account as expected. Since this resulted from a bank error the OP should not be responsible for the fees.
Posted by yoke on 2010-03-13:
No matter what the funds were not available until Monday evening/Tuesday morning. So even if the bank did not redeposit the funds until Tuesday the bank did nothing wrong. The funds were not available anyway. It is also possible that the bank held the deposit because it was a large cash deposit and needed to verify that cash was actually deposited.
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-03-13:
personally that's why i don't trust depositing at the ATM
Posted by spiderman2 on 2010-03-13:
I quit banking with Sovereign because it took them forever to clear any deposit I made. Didn't matter if it was a paryoll check or a personal check. I never paid them any fees though because I would always check my av available balance before I spent the deposit, but it was so frustrating!
Posted by bcd on 2010-03-13:

You needed cash on Monday, so why did you deposit cash at the ATM on Sunday? Were you attempting to cover the $880 in payments that you had previously authorized?
Posted by bureaucb on 2010-03-13:
Sunday afternoon I used the available cash to buy some things and on Monday I need money for a doctor visit. There was still an available balance from Friday's deposit. Yes, the $1,100 was to cover checks that I knew were due on Monday. According to Sovereign, the money for electronic checks are due on the day they set to be paid. If I had waited and went to the bank the first thing Monday morning and walked into the bank and made the deposit, none of this would be happening. My bad I guess for wanting to do the right thing and making sure there were funds available prior to the opening bell on Monday by putting it in on Sunday. I simply thought (oh there I go again, thinking) that they would just open the machine, get the envelope, open the envelope count the money and mark it as deposited. Silly me.
Posted by CrazyRedHead on 2010-03-15:
I will never deposit large sums of cash through the ATM. BOA takes pictures of each bill as it is put in and there is no need for a envelope anymore but if you are still using the envelope whats to say that there was any money in that envelope at all. I have heard some pretty crazy stories about ATM deposits.
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Sovereign Bank unethical inactivity fee
Posted by Sovereign Bank victim on 08/08/2011
NORTH ANDOVER, MASSACHUSETTS -- I opened a small business account at Sovereign Bank in 2009. The bank representative assured me that there will be no fees or charges on my account. I deposited $240 and waited for my debit card to deposit more. After two weeks of not receiving the card, I contacted Sovereign Bank to send me a new card. I haven't received the new card since, and couldn't deposit my checks through ATM. Recently, I received a letter from Sovereign bank that they charged $160 inactivity fee from my account. I visited the bank and explained the situation and told them they don't have a right to charge me without notice. The manager told me that I have agreed and signed to pay the inactive fees, however, I look into the issue more and found out that this new regulation of $16/month inactivity fee started in October, 2010. Therefore, I definitely haven't signed such an agreement and they definitely haven't send me any notice. They unfairly, unethically and even without a notice, charged me $160 from my account.
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Posted by At Your Service on 2011-08-08:
If I may suggest approaching this in a different way, I think I may help.

I wouldn't go in telling them that they CAN'T charge you inactivity fees. Instead approach it as a judge may. Tell them you had a different understanding, but WOULD BE WILLING TO ALLOW THE FEES TO STAND if they can show you signed documentation as to where you were notified of such fees. I'd put the request in writing and be polite, but direct. Give them a reasonable time to respond, then go in directly.

Ultimately, they will show you the SIGNED agreement or they won't.

Let us know how it turns out.
Posted by madconsumer on 2011-08-09:
when you first opened the account, you did agree to all their terms of service.
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Literally nickle and dime you to death!
Posted by Ohthurtywon9 on 07/20/2011
I have been with Sovereign Bank for over 7 years and one thing that has not changed is the way they charge fees for everything. Finally, I had enough! They just charged me $35.00 overdraft fee for. 69 cents. Keep in mind I have $200 in another account through the same bank. I signed up for overdraft protection and this still happen! I have other accounts with different banks and I never have a problem but Sovereign Bank has always given me a headache. Use this bank if you don't like your hard earned money.
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Posted by saj80 on 2011-07-20:
You state you signed up for overdraft protection; was it approved and activated, or is your limit maxed out? Have you tried to negotiate getting this fee removed, especially since you had funds in another account there? Did you link your accounts to cover overdrafts? If you can answer these questions it will be easier to provide feedback.
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Professional Bandits
Posted by Pnkelfntsonprade on 01/15/2011
HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND -- I have banked with Sovereign for 10 years and am now at the end of my rope. Thursday I checked my balance and saw I was in the negative from my mortgage withdraw. I had no other money to take care of this. I was able to do some work for a friend and sell my hunting rifle at the pawn shop to get the $285. This would bring me out of the negative with some to spare. Deposited cash at 6:30 pm which is supposed to be in my account immediately. My receipt said +$17.55. Well I got up this morning and am $480 in the negative. Called customer service and was told that I deposited the money to late and there is nothing they will do. I will be closing my account as soon as it is out of the negative. Sovereign bank is run by professional bandits, they will charge you any chance they get. If you like your money you will take your business elsewhere.

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Posted by trmn8r on 2011-01-15:
I am not sure I understand your complaint. You checked your balance, and found it had gone negative due to you spending more money than you had in your account.

You deposited some cash, via some method, and assumed it would be posted immediately or by 12 midnight, to bring your account positive. Did the bank rep explain the procedure for crediting cash deposits, and why yours hasn't been fully credited yet?

Just because the slip reflects your deposit does not mean the funds are available.
Posted by yoke on 2011-01-15:
If you were $480 in the negative that would mean more debits/checks would have had to go threw, not just the mortgage.
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Worst Bank Ever
Posted by Orlin03 on 11/16/2010
This is officially the worst bank I have ever dealt with in my life. They will charge fees at any possible opportunity, even after details have been taken care of. Their customer service representatives appear to be hired specifically for their aptitude in rudeness, so speaking with anyone about issues will get you nowhere.

If you don't have an account with them yet, keep it that way; if you do, save yourself while you still can.
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Posted by trmn8r on 2010-11-16:
It would be helpful to know what fees you were charged and under what circumstances. All banks have fees, so it is impossible to know if the bank charged you improperly based on this complaint.
Posted by orlin03 on 2010-11-19:
There are too many for me to go over, but the latest two should suffice. A bill was posted to my account 3 days earlier than it should have been posted; the pending charge would have put my account in negative when it went through. I went in later that day and made a cash deposit to bring my account back up to an acceptable number. I also spoke with a representative concerning this matter, who assured me everything was taken care of. Two days later, when I went to deposit my check, I found they had decided to charge me two fees earlier that day- one for overdrawing my account, and another fee because the fee they just charged put me back over. This time, no one could help me. Let me reiterate: The bank waited 48hrs after CASH had been put in the account to charge me a fee, and then charged me a fee for their fee.
Yes, all banks have fees, but if you're still considering banking with Sovereign, I hope you enjoy paying someone to spend your money. I've banked with many other companies who pay their employees to courteously take care of matters like this, because at other banks, these two charges would have been seen as a mistake, not the standard.
Posted by Alain on 2010-11-19:
Everything should have been taken care of when you personally spoke to the bank's representative. It was not. I would make one more personal visit to close your account and go to another bank.
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They Are Thieves
Posted by Ninokinhas on 07/30/2010
I'm a Sovereign customer for 2 years. I had everything well in my account for 2 years. Until one day I had a fee problem. They charge me $35 dollars for each payment I did I that day. So, the total was $280. I didn't knew that I had insufficient money, and only in that day the rob me almost $300 and the payments I did were $100.

I tried to fix with my branch manager and nothing. Call the customer service, that is horrible. She just looked to my account and said that everything was legal and they couldn't help me.

Then I talked to the customer service manager who told me nothing could be done. And I told her, I was going to close my account and all my family because It wasn't anymore a money issue, it was about a "robot" bank that forgot that they have people behind that accounts. My money market had money and I had a clean record. So, if that don't mean nothing I don't want a bank like that.

Don't open a account. They are thieves and people that only see money. They don't care about their customer.

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Posted by spiderman2 on 2010-07-30:
I don't see how this is their fault, you spent money you didn't have. You admittedly had no idea how much money was in your account. When you spend more than you have, there are fees to incur. I have closed all my Sovereign accounts also, but I never paid an overdraft because I know how much money I have at al times.
Posted by yoke on 2010-07-30:
How could you not have known you did not have money in your account? Before you went to spend more money what did your check register say?
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-07-30:
Every bank out there will do the same thing. The banks aremmaking a nice profit on those who take out more money then they have in their account. You need to keep an accurate record of all your transaction and not take out more money then you have in your account.
Posted by Weedwhacked on 2010-07-30:
You overdrafted your account and that comes with fees. This was entirely your fault not the banks. Trying to "fix it" with the manager (getting the fees waived) never happens anymore.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-07-30:
If I were you, I would contact soverign bank and tell them you want to opt out of the OD protection. Obama passed a law where the banks have to give you the option to discontinue the OD protection and fees.
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Shocking event some years back I can't get over
Posted by Brooklynyankee on 07/24/2010
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- This happened some years back. OMG. It was horrible. First the clerk yelps at me about not having a credit card. Then I get helped by a DIFFERENT bank clerk, who opens a checking account for me. I tell her I want to deposit money, the clerk tells me to deposit it at the ATM machine. Of course no one helped me with the deposit, I even asked customers behind me to help me and this is New England man they don't even look at me ( a bunch of foreigners ). OK, so obviously I wasn't used to depositing money through the ATM. There were no envelopes at the machine and I deposited all my money in to the machine. I went in to the clerk and explained what I did, because I wasn't really sure if I had done it right. And RIGHT ! I did it wrong ! They leaped to the machine and picked up my money. Thank God ! Then I noticed that I lost $ 200 on that machine and of course when I aksed for it, they claimed it wasn't their problem. A month or so after I go back to the bank for something and give the clerk my information. They had the wrong social security number !!! How the hell is that possible, y'know ? When they tried my social security number, it showed I was on Checksystems. Which Checksystems denied and I had proof. The female clerk started screaming and yelping and she was acting as if I was physically attacking her when in fact I was waiting for input about my checking account. She literally screamed throughout the bank for SECURITY !!!! AAAAHHHH!!!! And I was promptly escorted out of the bank. Facts are facts, thats it. I lost $ 200 and I was completely treated in a racist manner by people who should not be speaking English if you aks me. This was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America. If I had known about Better Business Bureau and the like, I would have yelped racism from here to Tokyo. There you have it. I hate Philadelphia, I was out big time.
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Posted by Anonymous on 2010-07-24:
If you just opened the account, how did you already have an ATM card?
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-07-24:
Exactly what I thought when I read that.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-07-24:
Foreigners? Racism? I don't get it.
Posted by leet60 on 2010-07-24:
Doesn't seem the entire story is being told. If you end up on Checksystems it is for a reason.

As for the ATM card, my bank issued my ATM card in the branch and I picked my own PIN, so it is possible.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-07-24:
Thanks, leet60. Every bank I opened up an account with, I had to wait to get an ATM card in the mail.
Posted by leet60 on 2010-07-24:
Guess it just depends on the Bank Dryad. Mine is a smaller bank catering mostly to the military.
Posted by Weedwhacked on 2010-07-24:
Where's the racism come in?
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-07-25:
Hope you feel better.
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-07-25:
Bank employees normally don't just scream for security when dealing with calm peaceful customers.

Remember, they have video camera surveillance that can back them up - or prove them in the wrong. So for them to start screaming at calm people would... well it would be odd for someone to start doing that when it will be picked up on at least one camera.

As for racism, how do you know it's specifically about your race and not some other factor such as behavior etc?
Posted by madconsumer on 2010-07-25:
how many years past was this?
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Sovereign Sucks
Posted by JsmithPA103 on 06/16/2010
This company is out to make as much money of you as they can. I had a direct deposit pending and a check that I wrote. They appeared the same day in my account. Well I check the next day and I was charged a $35 overdraft fee because the check cleared before the direct deposit even though they appeared online at the same day. I call to talk to them about this issue and the woman had the nerve to ask me "Didn't you check your account before you wrote the check, and know that you didn't have enough?" I at that point was sick of their crap. I am switching banks. Sovereign is CRAP!

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Posted by yoke on 2010-06-16:
Since you wrote the check before the direct deposit went in what do you expect. You played the float game and lost.
Posted by CrazyRedHead on 2010-06-17:
When you do open another account at another bank and do the same thing, they are gonna suck to, cause this is gonna happen at any bank. Just because they show up at the same time online doesn't mean that they came in at the same time at the bank.
Posted by skelly39 on 2010-06-17:
When I banked at a bank, the direct deposit would show up the morning of the day it was to post. The checks that cleared from the night before would also show up and show as posted for the day before. So technically, the checks went in first, then the direct deposit.
Sometimes you can get away with writing a check the day before the deposit goes in, but as a rule, I wouldn't suggest doing it. You never know where the payee banks...
Posted by Weedwhacked on 2010-06-17:
Legally that's a fair question as all banks disclose that they can process transactions in any order they choose. You are at fault in this situation.
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“They charged $70 to use the Branch ATM and a for a slice of pizza”
Posted by Duglind on 03/16/2010
We have been with Sovereign since 2005, and it has been uneventful either positively or negatively. I have never personally or professionally written a bad check (still haven't), but my wife went to the branch ATM just before payday and withdrew $80. We did not have the money in the account, and Sovereign gave it to her, and made sure we had even less by tacking a $35 charge on. The same day, my wife spent $8.03 at Nick's Pizza and got the same $35 charge; $43 pizza must have been delicious.

I completely acknowledge that I am responsible for keeping a running balance on my account, but I am looking for a banking partner, not someone to frag me in the back when I do not pay attention. I do not know if I can stay a customer at Sovereign. I hope their customer conversion costs are less than the $70 they made from this fiasco because I think it is time for a new bank.

Next time, if it ever comes to that, my wife can go hungry for the afternoon. It is not the amount, but the principle. Does anyone now actually wonder how there was a banking crisis? Banks need to learn to say NO, even if it will short them hefty fees.

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Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-16:
"but my wife went to the branch ATM just before payday and withdrew $80. We did not have the money in the account."

If you didn't have the money in the account... how were you able to withdraw it from your account? And through the ATM, no less...

"but I am looking for a banking partner, not someone to frag me in the back when I do not pay attention"

And that's when it bites ya in the booty. When you don't pay attention. If you're expecting a bank to be on your side and not slam you with the overdraft fees when you make a mistake... banks are not your friends.

Looks like, at the time, when the purchases were made and the withdrawal was done... there *was* money in the account. Because, if there wasn't, your wife wouldn't have been able to make a withdrawal directly from the ATM. But, the way things get posted; from highest to smallest... whatever posted to the account first drained it and therefore the withdrawal and the pizza bounced. It sucks when they do it like that.
You can't not pay attention. Banks aren't your friends.

" Banks need to learn to say NO"

That's the unfortunate. They don't say no. That's why they created overdraft fees.

Find yourself a nice credit union.

Posted by BEJ on 2010-03-16:
You admitted that your wife withdrew money that you did not have in your account. The bank did exactly as it had the right to do. No matter what bank or credit union you end up at--they will charge you fees for withdrawing money that you did not have.
Posted by clutzycook on 2010-03-16:
Seriously?? Seriously?? Why did your wife withdraw the money if the money wasn't there? Does she not have anything to do with the checkbook? I think your frustration should be directed at your wife for spending money you didn't have. I'm sure the bank fees (however outrageous) were spelled out for you when you signed up. Overdrafts are not a new thing.
Posted by Skye on 2010-03-16:
Sorry OP, but what do you think happens when you over draw on an account?? Your wife took out $80.00, which you say you didn't have. The bank did it's job, you don't really have a complaint. I don't understand why its so hard for some people, to understand the concepts of maintaining their bank accounts.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-16:
Many banks allow ATM withdrawals even if the money isn't in the account the same as they authorize debit card transactions when the money isn't there. Why do they do this? In order to make exorbitant amounts of money on small short term loans.

In this case the bank made $70 dollars for a very short term loan of $88.03. The fact that so many people just accept this legal loan sharking without a second thought boggles the mind. Let me repeat what happened again. The bank loaned the OP $88.03 for a very short period of time and made $70 off that loan. That's just simply abusive by any reasonable standards.

duglind, Join the grass roots movement who are saying 'No' to the big banks by taking their business to community banks. You'll get far better terms, far better service and your business will be appreciated. Make the switch today. You'll be glad you did.

Posted by bargod on 2010-03-16:
I've never had to worry about overdrawing. If I try to take out more than I have whether through a store or ATM it will simply say "insufficient funds" I would try another bank and see if they have that option.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-16:
See, that's where I'm confused. OP didn't have $80 bucks in the account and yet the wife was able to withdraw $80 bucks from the account... that wasn't in there in first place.
If I didn't have $80 bucks in my account and if I tried to take it out, my bank's ATM wouldn't let me because I don't have $80 bucks in my account.
Something's screwy. If Sovereign bank allows people to take money out of their account, that they don't have, and then dings them with an overdraft fee... that bank isn't any good.
Get out now while you still can.
Posted by Inat on 2010-03-16:
are you all insane? You bash a bank for someone overdrawing their account!? Banks do us a service -they provide a safe place and allow convenient withdrawal of cash form their ATMs, using THEIR network. The OD protection is what you are paying for when you pay the $35. Most banks are stopping this practice now and you must 'opt in' to have this 'service'. Imagine how much money the banks would lose...and how far in the negative peopel would be... if they jsut allowed people to withdrawal funds that are not there. And with no fee.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-16:
Any bank is going to do that to you if you overdraw.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2010-03-16:
+10 Inat, however in a lot of cases, it's the method of posting that gets the consumer and that is the banks fault.
Posted by Inat on 2010-03-16:
As i've said before... the banks dont change post order to suit their whims. it is done the same way each and every time depending on specific bank 'rules'. Banks should not have to paternally protect us from spending money we dont have. . .
Posted by Skye on 2010-03-16:
First of all, we post our opinions, and this doesn't mean we are insane. I never bashed the bank, and do not see where anyone else has.

Turning on other posters isn't going to solve the fact the op's wife left the account overdrawn.
Posted by goduke on 2010-03-16:
You might want to ask sovereign if there is a way they can have the account not allow charges or withdrawals when the money isn't available. They might be able to take you out of the overdraft program.
Posted by Skye on 2010-03-16:
Goduke, excellent suggestion.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-16:
"They might be able to take you out of the overdraft program."

Assuming the bank has that policy.

But, that's the thing with taking money out of your account via the ATM. The only way you can take funds out of your account, via the ATM, is if you actually have the funds. So, if the OP didn't have the funds, how did the money get taken out. Unless the OP had the money, at the time, but when everything posted that night (since most banks structure things highest to smallest); there was something higher that came out first thus overdrafting the ATM withdrawal.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-16:
BKK, Many banks such as Sovereign allow you to overdraft your account via ATM withdrawal. That is if you have a zero balance you can still withdraw cash up to your overdraft limit from ATM machine. All most all national banks have the same policy although with the recent public pressure and the Fed Reserve regulations coming in July the policies are being refined.

I got this from the Sovereign bank website.

"What are the standard overdraft practices that come with my account?
Sovereign may currently authorize and pay overdrafts for the following types of transactions:
● ATM withdrawals and transfers ● One-time debit card transactions
● Automatic bill payments ● Online Banking payments and transfers
● Recurring debit card transactions ● Checks and other transactions made using your checking
account number
We pay overdrafts at our discretion, which means we do not guarantee that we will always authorize and
pay any type of transaction. If we do not authorize and pay an overdraft, your transaction will be declined.
What will the standard overdraft practices be in the future?
As of July 1, 2010 for accounts opened on or after that date (August 15, 2010 for all accounts opened before
July 1), Sovereign will no longer authorize and pay overdrafts on the following types of transactions,
UNLESS you authorize us to do so by visiting a branch or calling us at 1-877-SOV-BANK:
● ATM withdrawals and transfers
● One-time debit card transactions"
Posted by Starlord on 2010-03-16:
You claim the bank charged $70 to use the ATM and for one slice of pizza. WRONG!!! They charged you for overdrawing your account, which they have every right to do. This should be a complaint about your wife, not the bank. The bank did absolutely nothing wrong. Didn't they just pass a new law that you must opt in if you want overdraft protection? If you opt out, you will be declined, then you'll really throw a hissy fit.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-16:
"Didn't they just pass a new law that you must opt in if you want overdraft protection?"

Yes... but, it's one of those laws that it's going to take time for all banks to adopt this new policy... it's not instantaneous. But, the OP could ask his bank if they do this now or when they will. They should know when it's going to go into effect.
Posted by CUFlipSide on 2010-03-17:
When you withdraw at your own bank's ATM, they display a message to the effect "If you continue with this transaction you may incur a fee, do you want to continue?" Mrs OP pressed YES. The rest is history.

She is in good company, better than 80% agree to the fee and proceed when asked.
Posted by maxinebb on 2010-07-30:
Your wife withdrew $80.00 you both knew you didn't have and than she paid for a pizza (I am assuming with a debit card)from the now knowingly overdrawn account. And you want a bank that will let you slide when you are KNOWINGLY doing this????? If you find that bank, let us know!
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Terrible, Very Very Bad Experience With Checking Account And Customer Service
Posted by Rachel3785 on 01/17/2010
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND -- Sovereign Bank has very bad customer service and their "unavailable funds" fees are almost fraud except for a loop-hole.

They charged me almost $300 recently (for transactions that took place more than 2 weeks ago but didn't charge fines for until 3 days ago) through a loophole in the Check 21 law.

Essentially: I deposited 2 out of state checks a couple weeks ago. The $$$ showed up as an available balance on ATM receipts so I used my debit card and didn't think twice about it. 2 weeks later, my checking account is down by almost $300 -- why? They are allowed to arbitrarily hold an out-of-state check for up to 14 days without notice to an account holder (this is how an accountant friend explained it to me). So even though the $ from the out of state checks said available on my ATM receipts, really it "arbitrarily" wasn't -- and I got charged $300 in unavailable funds fees. When I complained --because for 2 weeks, every time I went to the ATM, it said FUNDS AVAILABLE -- Sovereign refused to refund any part of the fees. Their tellers and agents at the local branch in Providence I go to were rude and so were the agents on their 1-800 customer service line.

I have been told that Citizens Bank, their local competitor, rarely holds out-of-state checks, notifies customers when they do so, and will refund fees for a first time offense.


My accountant friend who explained the legal aspects of this to me said that after he reviewed Sovereign's over-draft and fees policies, they're one of the worst he's ever seen for personal banking.
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Posted by tnchuck100 on 2010-01-17:
That is a common bank practice to generate fee income. Any check you deposit can be held for a period of time but they will always show it as available the next day. The sad part is the scam works! They catch people all the time with it.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-17:
The branch agents and 1-800 agents were probably not rude. They just couldn't override the fees and didn't refund you any money. I agree with tnchuck, its a legal scam.
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-01-17:
i never use atm receipts as a means to check my balance
Posted by NickL11354 on 2010-01-17:
They have a right to hold a check for 11 business days. In the funds availability disclosure, it says in 'certain cases we may hold funds for longer than timeframes stated generally no more than 11 business days'. It doesn't say what 'certain cases' means
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2010-01-17:
"certain cases" refers to a new account, an account with a bad history, or a payor with a poor history. However, that is not the issue here. The issue is the bank led the customer to believe the funds were available when, in fact, they were not.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-17:
Chuck, you're really beginning to sound like a conspiracy theorist. It gets whackier each post. Banks, by law, have to have a Funds Availability Policy. It is published in every branch, you get a copy when you open the account,a nd you must be given a copy if you ask for one.
It details exactly how each check will be collected, and the circumstances in which they may extend the hold. And by the way, it is never 14 days. Assuming it is not a new account, there have to be some pretty extenuating circumstances for extending the hold at all. It is rarely done, because more commonly, if the reasons exist, they'd rather close the account.
Not only is it not a secret scheme, most banks have expedited availability as a marketing edge.
I can't speak directly to Sovereign, but unless you are doing a balance inquiry, ATM receipts commonly show the ledger balance, which may or may not be the available balance.
Anyone can google REG CC and see what the specific federal regulations are for funds availability. It isn't some big masonic secret.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2010-01-17:
Ken, I know the funds availability policies are provided at account opening. The issue here is the bank led the customer to believe the funds were available. What is so hard for you to understand about that in this complaint?

It is, by definition, a conspiracy. Perpetrated by the banks. And it works! One of the banks I deal with will accept an out of state check for $6,000 + and will show it as available on-line within hours. But I do know it is not really available at that point. But the bank will profit from my use of what they indicated was available.

Ken, we must agree I am a fatalist when it comes to banking practices and you are submissive to their greed driven tactics.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-18:
Sounds to me like the bank fronted the money to the customer instead of holding the funds, and something went bad with the checks. Meaning they probably bounced. So therefore the bank took the money back and charged the fees.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2010-01-18:
LadyScot, what led you to believe the checks bounced? The OP gives no indication the check(s) were bad. Why do you consistently insert facts that do not exist so you can put the reviewer at fault?
Posted by Alain on 2010-01-18:
A compliment and complaint both on the same day. Wonder if yo mamma's compliment is also speaking about the RI branch of Sovereign.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-18:
Chuck, because the OP said the available balance included the amount of the checks. When I make deposits of my candle business checks, the bank does not 'hold' the checks, they allow me to use that money as a courtesy. If a check is returned, then I lost the money plus the fee. The OP stated they had the balance, then they were down $300 in fees. That tells me one or both of the checks came back and the OP is being charged the checks, the normal check fees, plus the fees for her own items not clearing.

I did not insert facts. Only read and responded with what seemed perfectly reasonable by what the OP stated. I did not say this instance was the Op's fault. She simply played the odds on the checks and lost. Why are you being a snot? If you don't like my answer, ignore it.
Posted by goduke on 2010-01-18:
My banks (there are two) gives me a ledger balance and an available balance. I can actually see that a deposited check is on hold and how long it's on hold for.

Posted by yoke on 2010-01-18:
Something tells me that we are not getting the entire story.
I agree with those who say that maybe the checks that were deposited bounced and therefore the bank had a right to reverse the deposit.
Posted by yoke on 2010-01-18:
chuck, how do you know that the OP does not have a long history of bad checks and maybe that is why the checks were held. It does not state otherwise, you have added that part in due to your hate for banks.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-18:
Of course we don't have the whole story Yoke, in these cases we really do, but it never stops Chuck from tilting at windmills. If it's bank related, it MUST be the bank's fault. The fact that we are not told if deposits were returned, or what the receipt actually says, or the OPs account relationship plays no part. The big, bad, evil bank HAS to be at fault.
Banks are not real consumer friendly these days, but the fact of the matter is that they are highly regulated and audited, and have strict guidelines. Moreover, they are not charities, or public utilities, they are publically held for-profit businesses, and are responsible to their stockholders.
If OPs checks were held, there is a reason. By law, there has to be a reason. That gets conveniently left out of the story, but it makes for good bank bashing.
Finally, of all businesses, there is none with more options. If you don't like what your bank does, go to the one across the street, or the one in your supermarket, or one on the internet, or a credit union, but to complain and play victim, and bash the banks instead is, frankly, lame.
Posted by yoke on 2010-01-18:
Ken, I know we will never get the full story and for some the bank is always wrong and the poster is the victim.
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-01-18:
kinda like my old saying that... people won't be happy until the bank gives out money for free, eh?
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