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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 22, 2007 / 5 Sivan, 5767

Warning: Don't trust the ATM

By Vicki Lee Parker


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Richard Seay has a warning he would like to share: Checking your account balance at an ATM before a withdrawal is no guarantee you won't be hit with an insufficient fund fee.


Seay found that out the hard way.


On one recent weekend, he racked up $210 in insufficient fund fees for six transactions - all after a trip to the ATM assured him he had money in his account.


The Garner, N.C., post office worker paid a visit to his branch office to find out what happened.


That's when Seay learned a lesson about how banks do business.


Seay was told about Wachovia's high-to-low check posting process: When several transactions come in at the same time, the highest amount gets paid first.


Christine Shaw, a spokeswoman for Wachovia, said this is an industry-wide practice. "The real crucial things get paid first, such as car payment or mortgage," she said.


And that's what happened to Seay. He had about $350 in his account on Friday. So that day, he paid a $140 bill with his debit card and made a $40 withdrawal from the ATM. On Saturday, he made another ATM withdrawal for $40 and paid $18.19 on groceries with his debit card at Food Lion. On Sunday, he made a third ATM withdrawal for $20. Total, he spent $258.19.


But on Monday, a $352.45 check - his car payment - came into the bank, a day before an automatic deposit was due, and a day before he thought it would. The car payment was processed before his weekend withdrawals.


And that leads to the other thing Seay learned from his local banker: All transactions from ATMs, online payments, checks and debit payments are processed on weekdays only, Shaw said.


Because this was Seay's first overdraft, the bank reimbursed him half of the fees. But the fees still caused him to fall behind on his car insurance.


Shaw said that customers should find out how their bank processes transactions.


One way to protect against overdraft fees is to set up an overdraft account, she said. That's when you link your checking account to a savings account, money market account or bank credit card. If your account dips below zero, the funds will be taken from the linked account. But depending on the type of account you have, there can be a fee for this service, too.


The high-to-low processing became popular in the mid-1990s when banks started offering overdraft protection programs. The service was designed to help cover payments that would otherwise bounce. But instead of helping, it seems to have dug deeper into customers' pockets.


Banks "are saying that people don't want important payments to bounce," said Laura Bruce, a senior reporter at Bankrate.com. "But then they've got five or six smaller checks they wrote at the grocery store piling up a bunch of insufficient fees. By the same token, banks are making a lot of money in fees."


In 2006, banks received $36.4 billion in revenue from service charges on deposits accounts - which includes insufficient funds and overdraft charges, said Ross Waldrop, a senior banking analyst with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in Washington.


That amount is more than double than that of 10 years ago.


Bruce said that customers should call their bank to get a complete list of its fees. "You would be stunned by how many there are," she said.


Also, Bruce said that too many people still think they have four to five days for a check to clear, and they get caught short of money.


"They need to learn how to manage their account, then they don't have to worry about fees and float time," she said.


Seay said that he knew there was a possibility the car payment check would clear a day early, so he expected to pay one NSF fee. But not six.


From now on, he plans to pay his bills with a money order, as he did before he opened the checking account six months ago.


"I didn't have any insufficient fees doing that," he said. "I just paid 46 cents for the money order, and that was that."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Vicki Lee Parker is a columnist for The News & Observer. Comment by clicking here.

Previously:

Reasons to beware of ‘We Buy Homes’
Too wise to fall for a scam
Untethering cell phone from carrier
Re-check your credit card rewards
Treasure might be buried in medical bills
Tax-time saving tip: Free filing is available
College money is waiting; don't procrastinate
Extended warranties rarely worthwhile
Too busy for tax planning? It'll cost you


© 2007, The News & Observer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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