Thursday, March 20, 2014

Panic at the Bank

I use Mint to track our spending and I am trying to use it to budget better. Tuesday morning I logged on to Mint and Hubs' checking account was overdrawn by over $1,000 because of a transfer to me?! I panicked and felt so sick because I had no idea what happened but I assume it was my fault. Eventually I figured it out.

I had gotten a $4,500 check from my dad while I was home to put towards paying off my student loans.* I have savings accounts at CapitalOne360 (formerly ING Bank) which earns a high interest rate and one of those accounts is dedicated to paying my student loans via automatic withdraw. I couldn't put the money from my dad right into that account because they do not allow mobile deposit for checks over $3,000.

When I got home from my trip home, I deposited the large check in my checking account at my local bank. Then I transferred the money from what I thought was my checking account to my student loan savings account. I was wrong about which account I set up the transfer from though.

Somehow Hubs' checking account ended up as the only account linked to my online savings accounts. (He later told me his account got linked so he could add money to our house savings account. But I still can't remember why I unlinked my account.) I thought my checking account was the only linked account. I didn't notice that it was his because the website only displays the last four digits of the account numbers and Hubs and my checking accounts have the same four numbers in almost the same order, just the placement of the last two digits are different. For example: the numbers might be 4567 and 4576.

So I had my online bank transfer $4,5000 from his checking, which didn't have that much money in it, to my savings account. Keep in mind, I thought this money was going to come out of my account, which did have enough money to fund the transfer. Tuesday morning when I logged into Mint to categorize transactions for our budget I was greeted by these alerts:

MAR 18 The balance in Hub's Checking is at –$1,630.09.
MAR 17 Your $4,500.00 purchase from eHa has cleared Hub's Checking account.

As soon as I saw this I just felt so horrible! I know Hubs thinks I'm an irresponsible spendthrift sometimes since I love spending money on clothes and I was so afraid this would cement his opinion regarding my irresponsibility.

I thought I knew the login information for his online banking account. So I tried to log in as him so that I could transfer money from my checking to our joint checking and from the joint checking to him. It turns out that I didn't know his login info. So, I grabbed all three of our checkbooks and headed to the bank.

I was able to transfer money from my account to his. At least I hope I transferred it to his account since they couldn't tell me anything about his account since I'm not on it. (I totally understand why they'd do this but I was so stressed out from having realized that I messed up his account that I was still frustrated with the system.) They weren't even able to tell me what kind of fee he'd be charged for my mistake though they could tell me that usually they charge $35 for each transaction that overdraws the account.

Our closet bank branch is at the grocery store we go to so I got him some treats at the store. And, as soon as I got home I sent him an email at work so he'd know what had happened. I also wanted him to know so that he'd only use his credit card or cash to make purchases until I confirmed that the money ended up in his account.

I overdraw my account kind of often since I forget when I've schedule transactions and I keep my checking account pretty empty so that I am not tempted to spend. I've also confused my checking account with our joint account before (they don't have nearly identical account numbers though) so I've overdrawn an account because I confused the two. It's just so hard to look at the numbers and know what they mean and I'm in too much of a rush/too lazy to double check. I've also over drawn our joint account because my credit card is set to auto pay from it but I manually paid my credit card bill one month and it still withdrew my total balance for the month. Oops! Hubs, however, is so good and perfect with his money that he's never overdrawn his account and he never forgets bills. And I feel so bad that I've done this too him.

Plus, my inability to notice the difference between the two account numbers made me really question my ability to do well as an attorney. Being a lawyer is all about paying close attention to detail. How can I be a good lawyer when I can't tell the difference between those two account numbers or remember that we unlinked my account from my online savings and added his account instead? (I honestly don't remember unlinking my account.)

I was so shook up about after I got home that instead of making myself chicken curry for lunch (a greenish colored dish) I accidentally put leftover split pea soup on rice. I didn't notice it wasn't chicken curry until I started eating it.

Hubs came home and checked his checking account and his balance was much higher than he remembered it. My online bank "returned" the funds and I had transferred money into it too! I called my online bank and they said they wouldn't try to take money out his account again and I removed it as a linked account. He told me he was worried for a bit it wasn't a big deal. Today everything is almost back to normal except for the fact that Hubs got charged a $35 fee.  I plan on paying him back since I have some money from cleaning out my closet on eBay even though Hubs was all "don't worry."

Anyway. I clearly have trouble managing my finances. Hubs suggested that we just link our joint account to the online bank and have that be the only one linked. I think this is likely the best way to keep something like this from happening in the future. But I am still a little worried. Probably for no reason.

Any ideas for me? Has this ever happened to you? Please tell me I'm not alone in making stupid mistakes that end up costing $35+.

*Like I said earlier this week, I'm spoiled. My parents wanted to pay for my graduate school and they paid for my undergrad. They both went to med school and they wanted well educated children but they didn't want their children to have tons of student loans. But I have two little sisters who would both be in college while I was in law school. My parents didn't fancy paying $150,000 to various educational institutions. I don't know if they even could have done so. So I took out loans to pay for law school with the understanding that they would help me if I had trouble paying them back which I have because I haven't been able to find a permanent job requiring a J.D.

1 comment:

  1. I did something similar once. Be glad you were only charged one overdraft fee of 35.00. I got hit with like 6 of them! It was awful and I totally cried.


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