April 25, 2003

Bank lameness

So I have this checking account, right? And around April 15th there was a lot of activity on the account (not taxes this year, but Roth IRA contribution). In particular, I deposited a paycheck on the morning of the 14th, then mailed off a check to Merrill Lynch later that day---I figure, the time it takes the paycheck to clear should be less than the time it takes my check to go through the mail, be opened, and then clear, right?

Apparently not. The ML check cleared on the 16th, and apparently my paycheck hadn't yet. The guys at the bank couldn't explain why, nor could they call up any information whatsoever on when exactly my paycheck *did* clear; the only listing we could get out of the system had me only with a positive balance. But this, you see is the ledger balance, which is actually entirely irrelevant for any computation whatsoever. The available balance history is not available anywhere. The current available balance is available online or from the 1-800 number, though not at ATMs, apparently.

Aren't these people supposed to keep records? Here's an abridged version of the transaction history around then---I'm not posting numbers, of course, but I assure you the balance column was positive at all times:

4/15 Discover payment
Merrill Lynch funds transfer
4/16 Merrill Lynch check
Citi payment
4/17 Overdraft fee
Overdraft fee
I do understand that checks sometimes take awhile to clear. But I'd really like to know how ML got my check to clear so fast. I mailed it on Monday, so it couldn't have arrived before Tuesday at the earliest; and then it clears in one day, but my paycheck took more than two? It was from an in-state bank, too... had I known it would be a problem, I would have cashed the damn thing at Citizen's and walked it over to Sovereign myself.

For that matter, why IN GOD'S NAME does it take three days for any of this stuff to happen? So much for the info age.

"I regard the construction of a theory of truth as the basic goal of serious syntax and semantics; and the developments emanating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offer little promise towards that end." --Richard Montague Posted by blahedo at 4:33pm on 25 Apr 2003

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