Harry Gross: Keep a record of your account balance

Posted: November 09, 2012

DEAR HARRY: In a recent visit to my bank, I was told by a teller that I was eligible for a credit card specially designed for college students. I asked the bank officer in charge to mail me the info. I got nothing. However, the bank's website showed that I had $3,000 available. I thought this was in my regular checking account, but I sure was wrong. I used about $200 of this "available balance," and then it hit me. They had opened a charge card with a $3,000 credit limit, without authorization. They later informed me that they were going to use it as "overdraft protection." I later got a credit card, also without authorization. I went into the bank irate and insisted that they reverse everything. They did, and I paid the overdraft charges. If I had not raised hell, I might have used the whole $3,000 available and still be in hock. How can we stop banks from entering unauthorized items in our accounts and records?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Do you keep a record of your bank balance, aside from what you see on the website? Why not? If you did, you would know that you did not have that $3,000 as part of your account. The bank was actually doing you a favor. If you had kept the card and paid the balance when due, you would have had no overdraft charges. If you wish to complain about the unauthorized entries, contact the Department of Banking at 800-PA-BANKS.


Write Harry Gross at the Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107

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