Back in July 2010 my credit union began charging a monthly fee. They would charge $5 and credit my account $2 so the final cost was $3. This went on for about a year and then they always charged me $5 each month.
I should have put in a call to them to ask about the monthly fee when they first began charging me but I figured it was only $3 a month (but $36/year!) so I didn’t bother. I was disappointed that my credit union was charging me a monthly fee, but I figured it was just a sign of the times.
Last week I realized that my monthly savings disbursement from my paycheck was not in my savings account. It’s not that much, only $20 but I do need to use that money every so often when I run short so I noticed the account had not risen and wondered where my money had gone. I am the one at my job that types the savings disbursement check and I looked online to our checking account and saw that the check had passed through the business account.
So where was my $20?
I called the credit union to ask them directly. The guy I talked to explained to me that he didn’t see any deposits for $20 and advised me to contact the people who had deposited the money into my account. Uh… that would be my employer, I explained to him, and I was the one who cuts the check, etc., etc. At that point he realized that he needed to put me through to the branch that accepted the check to find where it had gone.
Once there, I learned that a new teller had place the $960 disbursement check into a general account. So that means that none of the savings disbursements were applied to anyone’s accounts. They were able to figure out where the money had gone, and assured me that they would place the money into the correct accounts.
Since I had them on the phone I decided to ask them about the $5 monthly charge. I had also noticed it was only $3 in the last month. I asked why it fluctuated? Why was it usually $5, but sometimes $3. I learned that is because on the months I have a direct deposit (such as when my income tax refunds came through) they only charge $3.
And then the guy told me I could waive that fee altogether! Really?! He said if I agreed to stop my paper statements and make on Bill Payment each month, the fee would be automatically waived.
I never know what to do with the paper statements. I never use them because I use the online statements to reconcile my account, and I make two to three Bill Payments through the account each month. Agh! If I only I had called sooner to ask if there was an option. I could have saved myself $104 over the past couple of years.
The moral of this story: When an institution begins charging you when previously the account was free, call to see if there is anything you can do to negotiate the price.