Gearing up to start posting new Women Worth Knowing profiles soon. I have a backlog to work through. Not a bad problem to have! If you know a Woman Worth Knowing, though, drop me a note so we can get her spotlight started.
On a completely different topic, I will share the best banking advice I have.
The number one tip I can give is this: Use a check register to keep track of your balances.
You cannot rely on the balance you pull from the ATM, online banking, or even the teller at the bank. Why? Because none of those can see pending transactions that have not yet posted. You’d think that all Point of Sale systems would be real-time now, but they aren’t, and that can get you into trouble if you’re not careful.
When you make a purchase with your check card, the bank doesn’t automatically know it. That all depends on the merchant services the business is running, how they turn in their receipts, and how they receive payments from banks. You could make a purchase at JimBob’s Hardware on May 15, and JimBob might not turn in his receipts for payment until May 23*.
Between May 15 and May 23, you might be spending money based on what the ATM tells you is your available balance, thinking that because you spent $300 at JimBob’s on May 15, the balance you see includes what you paid for those fancy doorknobs. But, it doesn’t. Then, on May 23, JimBob turns in his receipts and BLAM! You are in overdraft, and you owe $35 for every returned item, and possibly more in negative account fees.
You would probably notice a $300 difference, but those $8, $3, $16 transactions will sneak up on you. A check register is the only way to go, even if that check register is just a piece of scrap paper in your wallet.
Something else to know is how your bank processes transactions. For example, my bank processes all deposits first, then processes debits based on date/time, and if no date/time is available, then by amount, lowest to highest. This is healthier for the customer because if you have $300 in the bank, and you have 4 transactions of $100, $50, $50, and $200, assuming these transactions don’t have date/time stamps, you’ll only get hit with one fee instead of two.
Find out how your deposits are credited, too.
- Cash deposits should net you immediate credit.
- Same bank deposits should net you credit on that business date.
- Outside bank deposits will be subject to collection availability, but should generally net you credit by the next business date.
Same bank deposits should cover any transactions you make on the same day, but won’t guarantee coverage for transactions you made the day before. That’s the difference between immediate and same day credit. Immediate credit covers everything that will hit the account that day. Same day credit covers most everything, but there can be gaps.
A business day is a working day. Monday through Friday are business days. Saturday and Sunday are not. If you bank on a Saturday, you are actually banking on Monday’s business day.
And for the love of pete, don’t yell at tellers. Maybe that’s my best advice. Tellers have a very strict set of rules and regulations to follow, and there are swift, severe consequences for failing to meet them. So, unless you are willing to hire that teller once he/she is fired for breaking the rules to accommodate you, don’t yell at them.
*Obviously this is hypothetical. It is far likelier that JimBob will cash out sooner than that.