I had an interesting experience today when I swung by the bank to deposit a check. As I walked into the bank, there was a big sign stating:
“As the teller how to avoid your debit card from being declined!”
Slightly concerned, I figured this must have something to do with my bank being bought out by another bank and changing hands. Apparently I was wrong.
I asked the teller about it, and got a response fitting for Texas:
“Oh, that’s the government setting new rules and regulations for the bank. The banker over there can talk to you about these new rules”.
Big government and heavy handed regulation of banks – oh my! (heavy sarcasm)
I walked over to the “banker” (apparently tellers aren’t bankers?). She pulled out an overdraft protection from and started her spiel:
“Well, you have a checking account, and the new government rules and regulations no longer allow the bank to automatically pay for any overdraft to your account if you overdraft your debit card. In the old system, there was a fee levied on your account for doing so. You really want opt in to this new overdraft protection program to avoid that embarrassing moment in a restaurant where your debit card is declined.”
I rolled my eyes. She continued:
“So now, you can opt in to the overdraft protection; and the slight change being instead of the bank covering the negative balance, we would just auto-draft it out of your savings account – for a fee.”
Wait… so my choices are:
1.) Leave the status quo. If I go over my account balance, my debit card is declined.
2.) Opt in to this “great new program” in which if I overdraft with my debit card, the transaction will still go through, and the bank will, graciously, auto draft it from my savings, I only need pay a fee to the bank for doing so!
Hrmmmm… hard choice. The opt in paperwork that the banker gave me only made it far enough out of the bank to be thrown in the trash. Option 1 sure seems like that’s how debit cards should have always worked.