Earlier this year, my bank was bought out. This is the third bank buyout I’ve been through. The last one was rather painless in that I wasn’t paying all of my bills out of the account that was at the purchased bank. This time, very painful. Of course, the new bank “transferred” everything over to its online banking system, but I am still dealing with the fallout. The transfer happened in late May/early June. For those in academia/education, you know what those months are like. I kind of did triage at the time, but did not do a careful reevaluation of what was where. The new bank had warned me–a little–that some things might need to be tweaked, but they didn’t really give me an inkling of how bad things might be. First, the transfer did not transfer over the names of the account, and instead, I was staring at a list of account numbers. I had to go through each one and edit the name. Then, many of my automated payments disappeared. In some cases, I had been receiving electronic bills from companies, and I then paid the bill automatically. I had just checked a box to say, “Pay this bill automatically”. Many of those were now gone and automated payments had to be set up manually. I had a very nice system going that had bills going out so that they got paid on time, and we still had money left over to buy groceries and go to a movie once in a while. Now that system is completely broken.
When I was fixing all of this a couple of months ago, I should have gone to each account, checked due dates, etc. and set things up accordingly. Instead, I made some educated guesses based on what I had set up before, and so, I got some phone calls. These people call if you are a day late, or $6 under the minimum (yep, I got these). And while it wasn’t that difficult to say–every time–I’ve taken care of that–it was a pain. I can’t imagine what people who have real issues have to put up with. I hung up after one call and thought, “that cost them a lot to recover my $6.” It’s also very frustrating in that none of this is really my fault. Another bank bought my bank and their online system messed everything up. I have literally spent hours trying to fix everything and still, I’m sure something is falling through the cracks. Partly, it’s that the system doesn’t have all the same options as my old one did, so I have to figure out how tweak things to work the way I want them to. The lack of e-bills for many companies drives me nuts. I either have to refer to a paper bill or log in at another site to find out how much is due and when. I find that particularly annoying. I guess it’s my own fault for relying so much on online banking but boy, do I wish there were more standardization.