Online Banking Doesn’t Always Add Up

I recently wrote an online check to pay one of my mother’s bills. As you may know, sometime the bank sends a paper check if the “payee” does not accept electronic payments.

I “wrote” a check from a National City Bank account that was to be “delivered” February 5. The bank printed out a letter dated February 8, which arrived in an envelope dated February 11 by their postage meter. This letter was delivered to my house a full week later. The letter stated, “The payee returned the payment due to an invalid account number or payment address.”

Well let’s see, if the payee received the check….then the address must have been OK….so that part of your letter makes no sense. If the payee did not know the account number, just half of that sentence would be believable.

I went online, double-checked the payment information, called the payee to let them know “the check is in the mail,” and messed with the check file so it would appear “changed” and a new check would be generated. I assumed that letter had gone astray in the post office equipment and was kicked back to the bank. (I’ve seen this happen to several correctly addressed letters over the years.) Also, this payee does not have account numbers…so that half of the bank’s blanket statement doesn’t apply here either.

Guess what, the whole process repeated itself…including the postage meter date being three days later than the date on the letter. So I am calling the payee again and telling them to please call their post office and see what’s going on. And I’m getting pretty bitchy with the payee thinking it’s an issue with their post office. I’m also pissed because the first time I called the payee, the bookkeeper did not make a note that I was re-sending the check and calls the next week looking for it.

I also see both checks are still in the bank’s online system, neither one has cleared. However this time, there is no email message indicating there is trouble with the second check.

The first bank employee called doesn’t even see the check in the system. At this point, I want to know what is on the envelope. The second phone call yields an employee who has the check in hand and says it has an incomplete street address and the wrong zip code.

National City Bank…… the problem is at your end. I went back online and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that address as I typed it. It shows fine online.

Not only that…why did the second letter suddenly go to an OLD address? We had changed this address months ago, and all other bank mail has been received at the proper address…at least as far as we know… suddenly you are resurrecting an old address??????

This isn’t the first story I’ve heard about checks written online going haywire. Previously I assumed once I typed something for payment, a paper check spit out on a printer somewhere and was then put into an envelope by a machine or a human hand. (If the payee was not accepting electronic payments.) Evidently, a human being does something more to generate these paper checks, or some banks obviously have some bugs in their online checking software.

All I know is it adds up to a lot of frustration for this customer.

3 Responses to “Online Banking Doesn’t Always Add Up”

  1. Theresa

    One more reason I use the mail for bills. Electronics will be the death of my yet. Tried it once, got so screwed in fees and BS it wasn’t worth the trouble. Good luck to you

  2. intuitivelyobvious

    I’m hoping this is the last chaper of this story. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. GibGrl

    OMG! I have a similar horror story with US BANK. They lost me as a customer after 30 years over this. MY online payments were suddenly late causing ‘bounced’ checks. These payments were mailed to another bank account. UHM EXCUSE me why is the US MAIL involved at all? Oh well seems the two banks cant share the same sand box (ie do EFT) so they have to mail $. This sudden inability to get checks to the right place on time(5yrs it was ok) prompted multiple test transfers… OMG they went everywhere- they just sent the $ to Citibank hmmm. The poor Citibank guy mailed me back multiple checks and said, Gosh sorry we dont know you. OMG, they had my US bank account number name address and phone number on the check. AFter an astounding run around from suck a** US Bank and suggestions that this would go to the attorney general the drone said “gosh we’re sorry as he closed my accounts”. UN-effing- believable. I have one account still open with 45$ in it, I may still report this. I hope this EFT transfer crap blows wide open – not like the Feds dont have a say in those pesky banking practices. What the hell, those checks could have gone to someone’s sister in law and been cashed and NEVER seen again. Online is usually fabulous, only do it with online payees though. whew, worn out over that tirade.

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