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I Got Hit With a $4 Bank Fee From Wachovia

This article was written by in Banking. 22 comments.


Last month, my landlord revoked credit card rent payments without enough notice to set up direct debit for April’s rent. I had to scramble to move around some money to write a check for April’s rent. Well, it would have taken too long to get the money from my ING Direct, so I had to transfer a few hundred dollars from my Wachovia savings to Wachovia checking until the ING Direct transfer would take place.

The two-day dip in my savings account made my average daily balance for the month go below the minimum to avoid fees, so I got stuck with a $4 fee.

Wachovia LogoWhile my landlord should have given me more warning before changing their accepted methods of payment, I’ll accept this fee as my fault. I don’t like keeping that much of a balance in this account — usually just the minimum — because the amount of interest earned is pathetic (0.15% APY). I should keep a little more in their for cases like this, when ING Direct can’t get the money to my primary checking account fast enough.

Update: I just called Wachovia to clarify whether it was a minimum balance (on any particular day) or a minimum average daily balance (over the statement cycle period) that earned me the fee. The customer service representative described the details which have changed since the last time I asked, a $200 minimum balance (if the account goes below this on any day, they’ll slap you with a fee) and a $300 minimum average daily balance (if at the end of the statement cycle, your average balance is less, they’ll slap you with a fee).

The CSR “as a courtesy” offered to reverse the $4 fee. I didn’t ask for a credit or imply that I was unhappy. I like friendly, happy customer service associates.

Now, I just have to make sure I don’t accidentally download my transactions with Quicken, or I’ll be slapped with another fee.

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published April 17, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar ro

Would have be simpler to create an Orange Checking account on ING and pay from there…

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,480 (Platinum)

ro: The ownership company didn’t give me enough warning to either set up direct debit from ING Direct by April 1st (which I already mentioned) or to transfer money into my ING Direct checking account *and* have a check sent from ING Direct to the rental office by April 1st. The only option was to pay by Wachovia check.

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avatar Hazzard

Commercial banks SUCK! :)

I’m sticking with my credit union. Having to track all the fine print to avoid fees is getting to be just plain crazy!

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avatar ro

The Orange setup takes 5 minutes if you have a saving account. Also the money transfered from savings are available instantly. For future…

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,480 (Platinum)

Hazzard: I should check out my credit union options… I’m a creature of habit. I have Wachovia as it’s basically the same account I had since I was a teenager, after a series of takeovers.

Ro: You’re still misunderstanding. I have ING Direct’s Electric Orange Checking. A week before rent was due, the landlord company dropped credit cards. (I said this in a previous post.)

The process to set up direct debit would take a month, not because of ING Direct, but because of the landlord. There was not enough time. (I said this above.) Again, the only option was to pay via checks accessible to me.

Next month, my direct debit will take effect and will not have to write a Wachovia check.

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avatar Kurt

“I have ING Direct’s Electric Orange Checking.”
So this is a checking account that you can’t write checks on? Interesting.
This is why I keep more than the bare minimum in my checking account. An extra $1,000 costs me maybe $2.50 a month in lost aftertax interest, and it’s not worth the hassle of running around trying to figure out where I put that money in an attempt to maximize interest income.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,480 (Platinum)

It’s a checking account that prefers ACH transfers. They don’t provide you with blank checks, but you can fill out a form on the website and a check will be sent through the mail for free (with overnight options available for a fee, I believe).

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avatar Joe

I use Presidential’s checking account to write checks from. The account has a $1k minimum but the interest rate is 4.5% APY (up to $25k). I have that linked to my higher interest savings account (currently using EmigrantDirect). I find this provides the highest combined interest rate with a high level of convenience. At most I am “losing” ~0.5% APY on the $1k min balance in Presidential compared to using a commercial bank checking account (~0% APY) with no minimum balance and keeping the $1k in a ~5% savings account. That difference is only $5 per year.

To prevent the type of problem Flexo encountered, I do tend to keep a higher minimum balance in the checking account. However, just one $4 Wachovia fee is about the equivalent of a minimum balance of $1800 at Presidential.

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avatar Lazy Man and Money

I’m with Kurt. I’m okay with an extra $1,000 or so a month to save the hassle of fees. Plus fees really aggrevate me.

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avatar Joe

One additional related comment as I see you have updated the interest rate page. Be careful with accounts that offer “free” ACH transfers. Some institutions (UFB and OneUnited) do not give you interest for 2-3 days during the ACH transfer. If you are transfering large amoutns of money or doing many transfers, this can be a significant loss.

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avatar mapgirl

I’m finding the login to Wachovia download process ok, it’s just annoying since it’s extra steps. I’m not really sure there is any extra selling opportunity for the bank by making me log in. Are they doing this to cover a cost of transaction by doing business with Quicken?

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