Debit card overdraft fees

June 11, 2012

My older son knew a debit card was not for him, but my younger son has one, and he has found that there are even more hidden fees than consumer watchdogs and newspaper editors talk about.

He used his debit card on line and the transaction did not go through.  At least not immediately.  A few days later he spent some more, thinking the older transaction was over.  But the older transaction was actually processed days later, and at the vendor end, they processed it as a “credit” transaction, so the transaction went through, even though by then the account did not contain enough money to cover the transaction.  And despite my son’s having made the appropriate arrangements with his account so that attempts to spend more with his debit card than was in his account would be denied rather than allowed and penalized with a fee, in this situation his account was debited for the amount and assessed a fee.

Now my son did make phone calls and eventually went down to the local bank branch and they did reimburse him for the fee — but only because “it was the first time,” “he was a good customer” kind of thing.  There was no admission that the systems and their interplay don’t work as advertized.  I file this under “we have made things too complicated,” as well as under other headings.

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