Behind the Curtain: Answers to 5 Common Questions
- Money Management
- Jen Frey
Banking is something that many of us may put on autopilot in our daily lives. We put our money in the bank, and we access it when we need it. But every now and then, something comes up that requires us to examine things a little bit further, such as a fee, our card getting denied, or any other scenario that disrupts our daily habits and require us to call the bank. Working as a Universal Client Contact Specialist at C&N’s Client Care Center, I may answer 50 calls per day, which has given me a good insight into what the common banking customer may not fully understand. Here are some of the top questions I get asked and how I answer them:
1. What is the difference between my current balance and my available balance?
You may have noticed this on your Online Banking, or on an ATM receipt. This difference between your current and available balance lies primarily in what are called “holds”. Holds are amounts of money that is put aside to make sure the funds are processed properly. These can be placed on checks and cards.
- When you cash a check or deposit a check into your account not drawn off a C&N account, the full amount of that check is placed on hold against your account for at least one day while that check clears. This ensures that the funds are protected if the check would bounce. Checks may be held longer depending on when and how a check is deposited and depending on the amount of the check.
- Card holds happen when you swipe a card and the payment is in limbo, meaning the funds haven’t completed the process of being deposited with the merchant. When holds are in place, this will affect your available balance. While your current balance will show the entire amount that you have in your account, your available balance will reflect what is available for you to use at that time when considering those holds.
2. What is an ‘Uncollected Funds’ Fee?
If you have holds on your account that are affecting your available balance, a transaction being drawn on your account that is more than your available balance can result in an Uncollected Funds fee. This is a $35 service charge for using money that is not available for you to use, so it is very important that you know and understand the holds that are affecting your account. Uncollected funds are different than an Overdraft fee because Overdrafts occur when you don’t have the money in your current balance.
It's also helpful to know when holds come off your account and when fees are processed. Holds usually come with a set time limit, which can be a day or a few days, depending on the merchant. Holds on checks usually come off in one business day. Overdrafts and Uncollected Funds fees are fees that are automatically generated by our system in the evening, so if you have a large hold on your account, you want to make sure you hold off on making purchases that will go over your available limit until the next day. In the banking world, Saturdays and Sundays equate to Mondays, so you just want to keep an eye on your account’s available balance during the weekends, which you can check in your Online Banking.
To see what holds may be affecting your available balance, go to ‘Transactions’ on the left-hand side, and then go to ‘Account Holds.’ If you have any holds, they will display on this screen, also detailing where they are from and when they are expected to drop off from your account. This is a very handy feature that could help you avoid an uncollected funds fee.
It’s very important that customers keep track of their balances and what holds may be out there. Good account management is the best way to avoid uncollected funds fees and overdrafts. We offer Mobile Banking, Online Banking, and Telephone Banking services to help customers keep track of their balances. We also offer Overdraft Protection and Overdraft Privilege. There are costs and fees associated with using these programs. We’d be happy to discuss these programs in more detail with you or you can learn more on our website at www.cnbankpa.com.
3. My new debit card should be coming in the mail. Where is it?
This can be a very tough question for me to answer, because there may be any number of reasons why your card hasn’t gotten to you yet. It could be as simple as a misunderstanding on when the card should be arriving. For instance, if your old card expires in September, your new card should be arriving in the middle of September, so it could be that your card hasn’t been sent yet but will be on its way shortly. Other factors, such as being lost in the mail, could also be in play. However, in my experiences, the number one reason for cards not arriving is that your address isn’t updated in our system. Any time you move, you will want to make sure that your address on file at is updated to avoid this and any other issues that may arise from outdated addresses. You can do this by coming to a branch, calling our Client Care Center, or in your Online Banking by going to ‘Settings’ on the left-hand side, and then ‘Address Change.’
4. My debit card was denied, but I know there is money in my account. Can you tell me why?
For your protection, your Visa® Check Card comes with a daily limit. The reason there is a daily limit is because if your card is ever stolen or falls into the wrong hands, that daily limit will keep them from racking up an excessive amount of charges against your account. Your card will get denied if you make charges that add up to your more than your daily limit. If you plan to make a large purchase or several purchases that add up to a large amount in a single day, you will want to call our Client Care Center and we can temporarily raise that for you.
5. I can’t find my debit card. What do I do?
If your card is lost or stolen, you will want to call us immediately. We can temporarily block your card while you look for it. If you don’t find it, we will issue you a new one. If you call after normal business hours, you can call 1-800-528-2273 for assistance. We know how important your debit card is to your daily routine and how inconvenient it can be to wait 7-10 business days for a debit card in the mail. The good news is, we have a solution. Whether your card is lost, stolen, or damaged and cannot be used, many of our branches are capable of issuing debit cards instantly. You can visit the nearest Instant Issue branch and get a brand-new debit card, activate it and use it in stores within minutes.
While these are some of the most frequent calls that we see in our Client Care Center, they are by no means the only questions. We are always here to help serve our customers, so if you need answers to any other questions or further clarification on any of these, feel free to call us at 1-877-838-2517, email us at [email protected], or you can live chat on our website at cnbankpa.com.
Video courtesy of The Wellsboro Home Page