Don’t be shy when asking your bank for service
(Photo: Pixabay)

This morning, I happened to be browsing my bank account, and I noticed that the balance in our main checking account was very low.  About $1,500 too low.  I felt a little panicky – did I mess up?  What happened?  Where is our money?  How will we pay our mortgage on the first?

I clicked through, and saw that a check was cashed yesterday for $4,500.  Wait, what?  I wrote a check to the IRS for $3,000 last week – did I write it for the wrong amount?  What in the heck is going on?

Fortunately, our only account access allows us to see an image of the check.  It wasn’t the check to the IRS at all, but a check to the woman who does SAT prep for my kids.  A check for $45.

My immediate reaction was relief that I hadn’t done anything wrong.  I went back and inspected the check again, and was positive that I didn’t write anything on the check wrong.

Then I started to worry.  Now I had almost no money in my checking account, and a check for $3,000 outstanding to the IRS.  What if it gets deposited today?

I called my credit union and explained the problem.  The customer service representative looked at the information and agreed that there was an error.  She did whatever information gathering and form filling, and informed me that the necessary department would look into it, and it would be resolved within two business days.

That’s not cool.

I then asked what they were going to do to credit my account the erroneous amount between now and when their investigation was complete.  I explained that I needed those funds to be available today.  I think my exact words were, “I shouldn’t have to figure out how to fix this problem.”  She was a little unsure, then asked me to hold while she inquired.

After a short wait, the customer service representative came back and said that because I asked, they would go ahead and issue the credit today without waiting for the results of the investigation.  I would see the funds in my account in just a few minutes.

While I’m thrilled that the problem was resolved, I’m concerned what could have happened if I hadn’t given the extra nudge that the credit union needed to credit my account immediately.  Without that action, the outstanding check would have bounced if presented today or tomorrow.  Seriously, who wants to bounce a check to the IRS?  I shouldn’t have had to insist that the credit union fix it – they should have offered.

Being pushy, and asking for exactly what you want, can pay off.

By Kate Horrell,

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