A little more than a year ago I was looking for a convenient way to get rid of spare change. A TD Bank branch near where I live had a machine in the lobby that a person could just dump change into and deposit into an account. Not expecting to use this account for much more than a place to put spare change, I signed up for a Convenience Checking account. It was a perfect account for what I wanted to use it for. There was no initial deposit fee, no minimum balance ever, and the bank had very convenient hours. The account wouldn’t begin to accrue any interest unless I reached some limit that was too high to ever reach by depositing change. What did I care? It was just a place to put money and let it sit. And let it sit I did.
Recently, I checked my account balance. I didn’t expect it to be much, but was shocked when I saw that it was -$5. Apparently for a few months, I had been charged a minimum balance service fee of $15 a month (since my account had been under the minimum balance of $100). I called up to get an explanation.
The terms of the Convenience Checking account had been changed a few months back to where it now included a minimum balance. And unlike the new terms on the TD Bank web page which state that the Convenience Checking account has no minimum balance for the first year, the changed terms on existing accounts applied immediately after the change in the account terms was made (with the bank graciously waiving the first month’s fee for any confusion).
TD Bank took me for $45. They cleaned out my account and then some! How is this not theft? How is this legal? The lesson I’ve learned is to keep my spare change where it is safe: in a jar in my own home. Also, any terms or agreements made with a bank aren’t worth squat. And always read whatever junk mail the bank sends you, because in that pile credit card offers and better account offers might be the only notification that the bank is giving before they start robbing you.
Related: TD Bank hit with overdraft suit