If you haven’t noticed, banks (especially brick and mortar ones) are always looking for ways to squeeze a few more dollars out of their customers. They are consistently losing market share to online banks and are struggling to keep up.
My old bank (I now use ING and a credit union) used to put a balance of $1100 on my receipts when I had only $100 in my account. I asked the teller about it and she informed me that it was a new “service” they offered called a “courtesy overdraft loan.” So, if I wrote a $150 check and only actually had $100 in my account, they would clear the check rather than bouncing it. Which is nice, I guess. But what they did not mention is that they would charge me $30 each time I tapped into that credit.
I was disappointed with the bank because they advertised this money as your “available balance,” I inquired about it to find out the truth, but I am sure many people didn’t and fell victim to this sneaky policy.
Do yourself a favor and check to see if your bank is running a similar program. If they are, you can sign up for overdraft protection which will pull funds from your savings account rather than triggering a huge overdraft fee.
Not all banking institutions have this policy, most credit unions are not that money hungry and ING Direct has a much better overdraft policy as well.