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Two bank accounts = too much confusion

by Karen on February 9, 2010

When I first switched to my ING checking account, I absolutely loved it. I still love my checking account with them. But we are finally experiencing some of the confusion I feared when we made the switch.

Because ING Direct is an electronic bank, our account must be linked to a brick and mortar bank. This allows us to cash and write paper checks. Aside from the occasional birthday check from my grandma, we rarely cash paper checks. Unfortunately, though, because of the timing of my husband’s paycheck and the way that ING’s paper check mailing process works, we still use our brick and mortar bank to write our rent check.

It’s been relatively easy for the past several months. Tony’s monthly paycheck is split up — the rent money is automatically deposited into our brick and mortar bank on the last day of the month, and the rest of his paycheck goes into our ING account. We write the rent check, give it to the landlord, and everything is fine.

This month I made a mistake, though. A few of our online bill pay accounts still have the account information from our brick and mortar bank. I must have selected that account accidentally when I paid a bill at the end of the month, because $100 of our rent money was deducted from the bank before the rent check cleared.

When I logged in to see if the rent check had cleared on the 2nd, I realized there wasn’t enough money to cover the rent. If the check cleared without enough money, we’d have to pay a $25 returned check fee.

It takes two business days to transfer money from ING to the brick and mortar bank, so there wasn’t enough time to transfer money in order to avoid a bounced check.

Luckily, I caught the mistake in time to make a cash deposit at the brick and mortar bank. Because the check hadn’t cleared yet, I was able to deposit cash into the account and avoid a returned check fee. The check cleared at midnight on Feb. 2 without a problem.

I learned a few lessons from this headache. First of all, I removed our brick and mortar account information from all of our online bill pay accounts to avoid selecting it accidentally again. From now on, I’ll also be checking our brick and mortar account to make sure I haven’t made any mistakes before I turn in the rent check.

This is the second big mistake I’ve made in as many months. Last month, I actually forgot to pay a bill (a first for me), and we ended up paying a late fee. I don’t know what’s up with me lately, but the biggest lesson I learned from this? I need to get on the ball. I don’t know if it’s stress from all the planning and changes ahead or what, but my lack of focus could end up costing us if I’m not more careful.

Photo by potteryandeverythingelse

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