Bank Fees podcast

Over dinner last night, I heard about a scam being run by an Australian bank, where they tell business customers to pay $20 to speed up the processing of cheques they bank. An honest teller finally told this friend of mine, who had being paying the $20 once a week for years, that it was rubbish. The cheques don’t get processed any quicker than they normally do.

This made me recall the number of times I’ve had arguments with tellers when they tell me that it takes 20 days to process a cheque drawn on an international bank. I’ve even banked cheques from GOOGLE and they tell me it takes 20 business days to “clear the funds”. What bullshit. I always ask them if they’ve heard of the internet.

So, I’m researching a podcast on bank scams. Not the Nigerian kind – the Australian kind. If you’ve got a story about unfair, excessive or unlawful penalty fees charged by Australian banks and other financial institutions, or just scams like the international cheque clearing, then shoot me an email. And check out the campaign being run by Choice and the Consumer Action Law Centre on the same subject.

5 thoughts on “Bank Fees podcast

  1. Isn’t there some sort of law in Aus that says it’s fraudulent to take money for a service you’re not providing?

    Banks are always claiming that it takes x-number of days for a cheque to clear if you don’t have enough money in the account to cover the funds. It’s just another “helpful service” they have… What they’re really saying is that they can’t be bothered processing your cheque because it might require some effort to get the funds from another bank. And effort doesn’t make money…

  2. Funny, but the banks don’t even trust other banks in Sydney. I deposited a Bank Cheque from another major bank and was told it takes three days to clear the funds.

    The truth is that banks make money on your ‘vanishing’ funds. Not the Mary Celeste type but the transfer type between accounts. Banks invest your money in the over night money market which you and I can’t access. It attracts a very low interest rate but half a percent on millions of dollars is more than just money for jam.

    Years ago the Commonwealth Bank installed sattelite dishes atop each branch to report the actual amount of money that branch held at the close of business.

    Years ago, head office calculated the amount which was actually needed by the bank to cover its committments and invest excess amounts in the overnight money market. But usually it was less than the amount they actually held so the bank was losing interest on uninvested funds.

    With accurate branch reporting, all excess money in bank vaults could be invested overnight to make more money. It was withdrawn the next day and business continued.

    Then two-day cheque clearance was stretched to three with the concurrance of all banks so they all made more money from your money.

    The banks claim they need time to make sure they receive the funds to pay into your account from the person who gave you the cheque you deposited.

    Credit card merchants seem able to check and make sure your account has sufficient funds before completing the sale and then have the money transferred immediately into their account. The banks charge each other to process this tranaction for their customers.

    Everyone needs a bank account–they are all just as bad, or as my physics teacher liked to say, “Water seeks it’s own level”

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