Wendi Fracasso
From the Auburn Branch

Balancing Act

Wendi Fracasso on September 24th, 2008 2 Comments

When did balancing a checking account become a circus side show?

Look up and you will see an amazing feat. Yes, that person is walking a tightrope with a debit card in one hand and a laptop in the other. She is maintaining her balance in her head, while occasionally looking at her online totals. How long can that last?

Is your account status up in the air? One Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fee can throw you into a downward spiral.

Have you ever wondered why you received an NSF charge when you checked your Available Balance before making a purchase? Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth!

Step right up, don’t be shy … Track your balances. You can avoid the roller coaster rides when you know what to expect.

You know to steer clear of the fortune telling machines; yet you put your faith in the online and ATM totals … You’re not alone. Since reliable fortune tellers aren’t able to be synched up with computers, no financial institution has the ability to provide you with accurate 24/7 balances. Why not? Until each merchant actually transmits your transaction or someone deposits your check, your credit union or bank has no way of knowing a purchase was made. Sometimes services merchants use delay processing transactions by days or even weeks! That’s a fact.

In other words, if your financial institution doesn’t receive the debit/credit transmission or the deposited check, there is no way it can provide you with an accurate “Available Balance.”

What’s a person to do? As tedious as it can be, the best thing is to keep track of all transactions (purchases and deposits). You can use the tried & true manual Check Register; or utilize one of the various online ways of maintaining your balance. As a Verity Credit Union member, you have access to free balancing assistance by a company called Balance. Through Verity’s partnership with Balance, members will receive free, unbiased information and assistance. To use the new services, simply call, toll-free, 1-888-456-2227 or visit their website through our link on veritycu.com.

I know budgets are tight. Don’t trust Marlin the Magnificent to balance your accounts.

Wendi Fracasso

No biography available for this author.

2 Responses

  1. QueenBee says:

    Or avoid the mess that we call debit cards all together and use the trusty credit card, just don’t get carried away and always pay your bill in full. If the risk of NSF isn’t enough to scare you away a stroll down the Consumerist debit card articles ought to: http://consumerist.com/tag/debit-cards/

  2. David says:

    Good ideas.

    This only happened a couple of times to me, and I hate it.

    If you have savings, you could set up an NSF plan that will make an automatic transfer from your savings to your checking account, when you make a purchase that takes you into overdraft.

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