How does the banking service we typically use called online banking service provide information to you by your bank which can cause you to see some misleading account balances? I love the very convenience of online banking, especially the bill pay service. However, you have to be careful about your account balance when you use online bill payment services from your banking institution. Otherwise you may accidentally open yourself up to a bank overdraft and a big hefty fee.
Online Bill Pay Available For Unbanked Consumers
Even if you have been denied the opportunity of having a regular checking account by a bank because of a report of a bad credit score or you have a history of having had too many bounced checks in a past checking account, there are free online bill pay services which are still available through some companies providing these critical banking services. This potentially saves you considerable money on stamps, envelopes and money orders when you take advantage of online bil pay services.
Bank of America Misleading Terminology
With Bank of America online bill pay, the funds are not actually withdrawn from your account until the payee actually cashes the check. In this situation, the Bank of America bill pay system still shows the payment status as “processed”. Now, when I see “processed” I think that that bill is paid and the money has been zapped out from my account. This is not always the actual case. The fact is that just because a bill is showing as “processed” does not mean that the money has truly been withdrawn from your account.
If you have bills showing as “processed” but the payee has not yet cashed the check, then your account balance which is showing is not truly 100% available to you to spend on other needs and make purchases.
Suggestion For Bank of America
It would be better if Bank of America left an uncashed bill payment check in “pending” status until the payee cashes it and funds are truly withdrawn. The terminology that Bank of America uses to describe the status of an online bill payment is the same regardless of whether the check was cashed or not. So, be careful and heed this word of warning. To those of you who like me, value the convenience of online bill pay services, make sure that you are not mislead by the word “processed” when you see it in reference to a check which may or may not have been cashed.