She Can Turn The World On With Her Smile

I think about commercials a lot. I watch them, I discuss them, I read reviews of ads like Slate's Ad Report Card and the now-retiring Ad Jab. I don't often blog about them, but here goes...

There's a commercial for a bank that really bothers me. It starts with a young woman, probably about my age, working in a cubicle. Someone (her boss?) comes by and says her name and hands her something. She says, "Yes!" and he says, "Let me guess, first paycheck?" So, now we know, she has just been given her first paycheck.

Then we see her running down the street to the sounds of "Love is All Around." Next she's sitting in the bank, apparently opening a checking account. We know this because she very excitedly holds up her brand new check book.

She's looking at her phone, and she apparently has some sort of message from her bank. She's out with a guy at the movies (looking at her phone again, not a good sign on a date), she's out with her friends at a restaurant, and puts down her brand new debit card. And we know she's "gonna make it after all!"

Here's what bothers me: It appears that all this happens probably within the same weekend. They certainly don't show anything like pages flying off the calendar (the classic way of letting us know time has passed) or the change in seasons.

Because at my bank, my deposited check isn't available for days!

If that commercial was about me, you would see me sitting home all weekend, broke. You would see me out at a restaurant with my friends, saying "Can you guys spot me for a few days?"

I know, they want me to think that I should switch banks. But I'm not falling for it. I don't even have one of those banks near me - so how could I skip down the street with my paycheck in my hand? I would be skipping for hours!

Talk about false advertising.

17 comments:

  1. That's interesting. My bank gives me access to checks deposited almost instantly, before they clear, if they are, I believe, for an amount under $3000. But I recently paid an ebay item by check, and the seller was really pissed off, saying that it would take like three weeks for the check to clear. I guess it does depend on the bank?

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  2. What is this paycheck thing you speak of? I work for free...

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  3. I don't know if it's the bank so much as the customer. I know when I first opened an account, it took a few days for checks to clear. But as time goes on and the bank sees you're a responsible banker (or you earn more money) then the "clear" time is faster. That explains why Maria's check is desposited "instantly" but the eBay person complained because it would take 3 weeks. Maybe Maria has been banking loner/has a better credit store/ earns more than the eBay person. Now the only time my checks take a few days is if they are over $5,000 (student loans) because by federal law they have to hold back on any amount over that.

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  4. Glad to know I'm not the only one. I think they give me access to about $100 of the check I just deposited.

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  5. My checks clear within three days. The deposits take 5 business days.

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  6. Yeah, it's annoying. I get access to $100 immediately (as do my parents, so I know it's not a how-long-have-you-been-banking-how-much-money-do-you-have thing), but then it usually takes 3 days to clear. Of course, my checks get taken out of my account the day they're deposited - regardless of where they're deposited. Very annoying.

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  7. My money is usually available the next day, except that $100 is available immediately. However, if one of my checks comes in before the deposited check clears, they won't bounce it.

    Maybe she has another account at the bank---perhaps a joint account with her parents. Then she could deposit the check to open her new personal account, but float the check against her old account.

    What bothers me is the debit card. Don't those have your name embossed on them? I've never seen a bank that could issue one on the spot.

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  8. Checks aren't mailed back to the issuing bank anymore. They are photographed and the picture and funds are transferred electronically. If the bank has older equipment, it might take a couple of days to move the check to a central office and run it through the processing machine, but from that point it's close to instantaneous. Anything over three days is the bank giving itself time to use your money.

    If the bank has the latest equipment, the check is probably scanned and sent out on the network within a few minutes.

    I don't know the bank procedures in detail - but I help make that equipment. The old stuff has a six-figure cost, but can scan and sort 500 to 1800 checks per minute, depending on the model. The new scanners seem to go about 60/minute, but only cost a few thousand, and are intended to go right next to the teller, and possibly eventually even at the Walmart checkout.

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  9. Yeah... I bank at the same bank that runs that commercial, and it regularly takes 7 days for checks that aren't direct deposited to clear. Liars :).

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  10. Ok. I work at a bank and have been working in the banking industry for about 5 years. I think I can clear some of this up for you. There are a few things that will effect how quickly your checks clear. First of all, it depends if the bank puts a hold on your check or not. Some banks hold all checks that are deposited and some only hold checks that they consider to present a certain amount of risk (ie. customer with a history of bouncing checks, check for a large amount of money- say $5000 give or take a thousand or so.)

    The next thing to consider, is how long the bank holds the check for. If the check is drawn off of the bank you are depositing at, a hold can be for no longer than 2 business days. If it is drawn off of another bank, the standard hold is 5 buiness days. Then, if there are extenuating circumstances, a bank can do an exception hold: 6 days for an "on us" check and 9 days for a check from another bank.

    Banks are required to make $100 available to the customer at the time of deposit.

    Finally, and this is for markm, banks can and do send the physical check. It just depends which bank. Most of your large banks are going to send electronic copies of checks, which means they can clear much more quickly, but this is not mandatory. In fact, many smaller and even regional banks do not use this technology yet.

    So there, you probably know more about banking than you ever wanted. I guess what I'm trying to say is, Blonde Justice, it probably is just the bank you're using that makes your deposits take so long to become available.

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  11. Whoa, I have never heard of this immediate $100 thing. And idiotsage says it's a requirement??? I'm going to complain to my bank... just as soon as they open.

    AND another thing is... it is apparently a Friday afternoon. (Isn't that when everyone gets paid?) If I go to my bank after 3 on Fridays, they tell me that it doesn't count until Monday then.

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  12. When work posts just depends on that particular bank's policies. I used to work for a regional bank that would run your work the same night as long as you got it to them by closing. Larger banks usually take longer to post the work, though, for logistics reasons. The bank I work at now requires that you get your money in by 2:00 for it to post that night.

    Anyway, any more questions feel free to ask. Then when I'm in law school I'll ask all of mine. Deal?

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  13. I don't know how much I can help with law school, but if you ever get arrested, you know where to find me!

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  14. Maybe check out a credit union? They tend to be smaller, more personal, and at mine you can talk to a manager immediately who will almost always authorize the whole amount after looking at your history and seeing no bounced checks, etc.

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  15. In all seriousness, I don't get paychecks anymore. We get direct deposits and they're usually available in full at midnight.

    When I did deposit checks, $100 was immediately available to me and rest within a few days.

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  16. I had similar experiences, that's why I absolutely love direct deposit - it's usually available by 12:01 AM the next morning.

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  17. Give it up already and go to the private sector.

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