Is Your Bank Stealing Your Money?

by Jamie Simmerman · 13 comments

Are you paying for bogus fees and overage charges every month? Would you even realize if an additional fee slipped into your monthly budget? Recent news of popular bank J.P. Morgan & Chase’s (known as Chase Bank) court-ordered refund of a staggering $309 million to consumers should have us all running to check our monthly statements for hidden charges.

The banking company was ordered to pay $389 million in refunds and fees for bilking credit card customers with illegal and unapproved identity theft protection fees and unauthorized add-on services that customers didn’t ask for and didn’t approve.

This is a prime example of how lax financial practices can lead to you lining the pockets of corporations — while you scrimp to make ends meet or fund your dreams. Why should your hard-earned money wind up in the hands of someone who didn’t earn it or deserve it?

You lock the doors of your home to keep thieves from taking your possessions, but what are you doing to protect your money? Here are a few tips to help you keep your cash where it belongs — in your possession.

5 Tips for Protecting Your Money

1. ALWAYS read the fine print

I know it’s a pain to read what seem to be redundant monthly statements, but companies can sneak in an extra charge without you noticing. Read your statements carefully, and look for policy changes that could signal the need for action on your part — before a new fee’s instated.

2. Record everything

Keep a log or spreadsheet of reoccurring payments to quickly check for discrepancies. A spreadsheet allows you to sort data and easily focus on individual accounts.

3. Schedule time to review your accounts

If you make it a priority to check up on your accounts each month, you’ll catch problems and hidden fees before they suck up too much of your cash.

4. Be vigilant

The simple fact is your banking and credit card companies don’t care about your financial status or the dreams you have. They care about you making on-time payments and regular deposits, so they can make more money.

It’s a lot like a symbiotic relationship in nature. As long as both parties are participating, the relationship is profitable for both. But stop playing the watchdog, and your financial companies can quickly turn into parasites.

5. Speak up

If you don’t agree with a fee, tell your financial company about your displeasure and ask them to make it right. Be assertive and polite, but tell your bank you don’t agree with a charge and want it refunded. Don’t make keeping your money a negotiation process or a case of begging for favor. If you need help learning to be assertive with companies, Ramit Sethi provides detailed instructions on this practice in “I Will Teach to be Rich.”

What tips do you have for protecting your money from innocuous financial thieves? Have you had experiences with companies sneaking in extra charges and fees?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Shelley Janssen says:

    I deposited a check for $100k into my CHASE BANK account, on said day, it did say online and via my Chase App, that funds were available. They even subtracted the $13.10 that I was overdrawn at the time of my deposit. The following day, CHASE BANK closed my account, and have refused to give me my money! How can this be happening? The credit union it was drawn from released the funds to CHASE. CHASE claims they are keeping my money for 2 years and then will turn it over to the state. I really need an attorney and have made several calls in search of. I have also filed complaint with Consumer Financal Protection Bureau, called 7 on your side, etc. Nothing is working.

  • Justin says:

    Wellllll……this convo ended on this note? For 8 years now…. This proves that the banks robbed us before birth, then slapped a SSN on our baby butt so we continue thier horrific, inhumane world of theft and then steals from our accounts on top of this! Wow, all that can be said at this point of soul murder they’ve accomplished is “with all the money and crimes the banks are pulling, they better use a couple bucks for some oxycodone and dignity when they buckle up for gods judgment day waiting just for you bankers and crooked law enforcement!”

  • Michael Shepard says:

    I lost in today’s dollars about three and a half million dollars in my banks. Whenever I deposit a large check it is stolen by the banks. This happened all my life. It is organized crime and the banks are not regulated and FDIC is worthless insurance. I complain to the authorities and never received my money stolen by the banks.

  • Richard Warokomski says:

    Chase bank steals money from me every week. I have to fight with chase corporate to get the money back.
    This is what chase does. I am very diligent when it comes to maintaining my account. Through the chase app I am signed up for push alerts text alerts and e mail. I monitor and photograph my account many times during the day and night. The little trick that chase does is at the end of the physical day 12am midnight I will have a positive balance. At 3am or later (the next day) a electronic debt might hit my account. When chase reconciles at 6am they take one or a few of the new charges and switch them to the day before and charge me $34 each.
    Now never received any alert or notification that this charge existed either yesterday or current day. So how am I supposed to cover a charge that I was never shown or notified about. Then they tell me my items were returned unpaid.
    The normal process is that electronic debits come in in the early morning and they pend all day. Chase gives me until 11 pm to cover it and I won’t be charged a fee. I try to leave a $1,000 buffer in my account but at the beginning of the month it falls below because of my mortgage payment. When ever my buffer is low they pull what I call the time machine trick. I really want some legal recourse for this because I’m sure it is happening to millions of people that don’t review there accounts multiple times a day. I have tons of photographic evidence to prove this little scam of chase bank and would like to make it public. Any help would be greatly appreciated

  • Letha C Brown says:

    Banks are running transactions twice from the moment of the first transaction sale on a purchased item to again on bank statements.

    • Letha Brown says:

      The only way to keep up with your everyday spending money is to use a prepaid card a card that keeps up every transaction of your money like Walmart money card PayPal card put your money from your Traditional Bank that you use into your savings stop using traditional banking’s credit debit card I went from having $25 at the end of every pay to actually having access to 1200.00 and my saving account is still growing. Out of an $1,800 a week paycheck at the end of every pay period Using traditional banking I always had only $45 or less at the end of the week no kidding, but not anymore I took control of my money and took it out of their control my spending habits and practices amount up to maybe $600 a week I put that each week on my everyday spending prepaid card I put the rest into my traditional Banks savings account my saving account grows every week

      • Letha Brown says:

        The only bad thing about a prepaid card is if you lose it it could take 3 to 7 days to get a new one but that’s okay because you have money now in your savings you’ve began to save and hold on to your money so you simply go to your traditional banking card transfer the amount that you need in your checking from your savings while you sort out waiting for your prepaid card

  • MoneyNing says:

    The key is to actually check the monthly statement at least whenever the statement is created. You can likely stop the charges the first time they show up on your statement, but it’ll be much more difficult to go back and get the charges corrected months (if not years) after the fact.

    • Ruth Cooke says:

      I have an online statement for my bank accounts and one of my two credit card accounts, and I check the bank accounts DAILY and the credit card at least weekly.

      When I do this regularly, I find I don’t have any problems at all. The only problems I’ve ever had is when I can’t or forget to do these checks.

      • MoneyNing says:

        Checking credit card and bank statements helps you find out about all kinds of charges that can creep in. It’s amazing how many things you can catch if you are thorough!

  • My Wealth Desire says:

    Yes, I have a previous experience. You will surprise that certain amount is deducting from your account without your consent. However, if you will fight your right, they will return back the same amount. I think banks can legally steal our money but we cannot steal the bank’s money legally.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules says:

    I used to work in the financial services industry and these tips are spot on! The sad thing is that so much is hidden in the fine print and customers don’t read it. I always had a hard time dealing with clients in these situations because I hated that we charged the hidden fees.

    • MoneyNing says:

      Were you instructed to tell the customers that those charges were explained in the fine print? Doesn’t that actually upset the customers even more?

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