Little Rishi

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009
How to get bank fees waived?

Recently, I had initiated a bank-to-bank ACH transfer from my Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) to Presidential Bank account. The money was supposed to be withdrawn from my checking account at DCU. However, while initiating the transfer online from Presidential Bank's Web site, I mistakingly selected Savings account at DCU. Result? When Presidential Bank tried to withdraw the money, it did it from Savings account at DCU where I didn't have sufficient funds. As a result, the transaction got rejected and DCU charged me a $30 non-sufficient fee (NSF).

To make matters worse, Presidential Bank automatically tried to go through the transaction again the next day, and again, the transaction got rejected due to insufficent funds. I learnt the hard way that if a ACH-transfer transaction is rejected for the first time, the bank automatically processes that transaction again the next day. However, the result in my case was that DCU hit me with another $30 fee since I still didn't have sufficient funds in that account. So the net result of these two transactions was that I got hit with $60 fee by DCU. Fortunately, Presidential Bank didn't charge any fee for rejected transfer but it did suspend my DCU-Savings account for future transfers. I removed the suspended account from list of approved bank accounts for transfer and hopefully, will be able to add it back at a latter date.

I called a DCU rep and told her about my error. Initially, she mentioned that DCU only refunds such fees in case of error on DCU's part. I told her that it wasn't DCU's fault, and it was I who had entered the account info incorrectly. I politely asked her again if she could waive it. Fortunately, she told me to hold on while she talks to her manager. In a few minutes, she came back and told me that based on my history with the credit union, they have decided to waive both $30 charges but it's only for this time only. I thanked her for waiving the fee.

Lessons learnt were:

1. Be careful before initiating bank-to-bank ACH transfers to ensure all information is correct, and there are sufficient funds in the account.

2. In case a bank has imposed a fee, it always pays to call them and see if they can waive the fee. The thing I have learnt over the years is that you need to be polite rather than demanding when speaking with customer service reps. These reps already have had enough of disgruntled and angry customers, and they appreciate if someone talks to them politely.

Banks aren't required to waive such fees because that's part of the way they make money, and especially so since it was mistake on customer's part. However, in most cases, if you have had a good history with a bank, and hadn't had such issues regularly, banks will waive the fee. But you need to careful not to have NSF or other such transactions frequently.

3. Visit the bank's branch and talk to a service rep. In many cases, service reps at the branch will be willingly to waive the charges. If a branch is not located nearby, then it's better to call and speak to a rep; avoid emailing unless that's the only available option. With emails, it gets much easier for banks to send a standard reply, explaining why the fee can't be waived. However, it's still worth a try, if it's not possible to visit a branch or contact the bank via phone.

In my case, since DCU branches are not located in my state, I had to call them. The entire conversation with the DCU rep took less than 10 minutes but it was nice to have $60 credited back to my account.

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posted by Little Rishi @ Tuesday, May 05, 2009  
4 Comments:
  • At May 6, 2009 at 2:39 PM, Blogger cybogen said…

    The Digital Federal Credit Union is not what is used to be as a creidit union memeber owned Credit Union! It has outlandish fees that are higher and myuch more than many banks. If they make an error on your account as for instance overdrawing your account you must pay the fee of $30 even if it was there error in question. WHo can afford to do business with Digital Credit Union when then behave worse then a bank does?

     
  • At May 6, 2009 at 2:50 PM, Blogger cybogen said…

    The Digital Federal Credit Union is not what is used to be as a creidit union memeber owned Credit Union! It has outlandish fees that are higher and myuch more than many banks. If they make an error on your account as for instance overdrawing your account you must pay the fee of $30 even if it was there error in question. WHo can afford to do business with Digital Credit Union when then behave worse then a bank does?

     
  • At May 6, 2009 at 2:51 PM, Blogger cybogen said…

    The Digital Federal Credit Union is not what is used to be as a creidit union memeber owned Credit Union! It has outlandish fees that are higher and myuch more than many banks. If they make an error on your account as for instance overdrawing your account you must pay the fee of $30 even if it was there error in question. WHo can afford to do business with Digital Credit Union when then behave worse then a bank does?

     
  • At May 7, 2009 at 6:49 AM, Blogger Little Rishi said…

    I agree DCU has very high fees. You make one mistake and you get socked with $30 or more!

     
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