Thursday, May 3, 2007

"Excess Activity Fee" at WaMu Online Savings

Between transferring my paycheck from Checking to WaMu Savings, then today's transfer of $ to purchase shares of an index fund, I have now been introduced to FDIC Regulation D.

Regulation D, as explained a WaMu CSR, is a federal regulation on online savings accounts that charges customers a $15 fee for each money transfer out of the account in excess of six transfers within a single billing cycle. This fee applies to transfers made by telephone, point-of-sale, and online, but transfers at ATM's and bank branches are currently not subject to this regulation, and there's no limit on deposits into the account.

The first fee was taken from my account earlier in the week, but I didn't notice it, so today's withdrawal prompted a second "Excess Activity Fee." Had I known to count my transfers & limit myself to 6 this billing cycle, I would be $25 richer! (I'm still not sure why the second fee was $10, but I didn't want to question the $5 discount lest I attract attention to it...perhaps the FDIC thinks repeat customers should get a discount? =)

I had to call WaMu support three times tonight to get a CSR who could adequately explain the Excess Activity Fee thoroughly...Deborah of WaMu, wherever you are, thank you again for your patience! She even commiserated with me, saying that she's been charged for this before too - how nice is that! The downside is that WaMu has no alert system in place to let you know that you're about to be slapped with this fee...Deborah & I checked in the "Settings & Notifications" section already.

I'm just glad I learned about this fee before I transferred any more money in or out of WaMu! My billing cycle ends in a few days, so I just have to be more careful in the future...now that I know to be mindful. Guess I'll have to re-think using WaMu's Savings account as my main account. To think on it now, after two paychecks per month, FOUR transfers between a checking and savings account is not that excessive...what do you think!?!

Anywho, it's FDIC-regulated and therefore, irreversible. Looks like this month's CashDuck earnings are covering this lesson in banking rules & regs!

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you sure? My quick google research seems to say the limit is six withdrawls from your savings account and unlimited deposits to your savings account.

WH said...

That would be correct. I've edited the post to reflect this more apparently. Sorry for the confusion!

Anonymous said...

I think it ridiculas!

Onw way to stop WaMu from from stealing from us is to close our account and move to a different bank. I guarentee that if we all did that, within 24 hours they would reverse their policy.

jacel said...

Have you found out anymore on this aubject? I've just written the OCC about this because I transferred some between my washington mutual accounts and i had heard this was at least ok... but i was wrong. I called and even if i close my account I'll get charged another excess activity fee and then another fee because that account would then be negative from their fee. Hahahaha -- its crazy to me! Especially when i keep seeing all their commercials about how they help the little guy! Haha

Ryu said...

Fuckers! I got one of these today from WaMu. $10!?!?! There goes any interest I would have gotten. I called up and they said it is the government's way of getting people to save. Are you kidding me?!?! RAISE THE FREAKING INTEREST RATES THEN IF YOU WANT PEOPLE TO SAVE!!!!

Anonymous said...

I just got off the phone with a wamu rep and was told all banks are doing this. I got charge twice in one day and once a few days later. Just for moving money from checking to savings to pay bills Im out $30.00 and no way to get the money back and who in the hell do we complain to. Who will even listen. This is a crock.

Anonymous said...

Same story here. It is just insane. This information is also not available on their website. Interestingly they said they do not count transfer if it is done in branch. In which century are they in. Technology is going for less people management, but these guys are going in the other direction. I think they are already worried about unemployment.

Anonymous said...

I just talked to the WAMU Supervisor- Chrystal, same thing Reg D, Chrystal gets charged also, but they refund back my $10. The only thing I blew me away was WAMU Chrystal's statment- The Reg D was setup to force people to save more money. When you said the- I asked then why are we getting a tax rebate in May 2008 for the econmic boost, Chrystal's answer- I don't know

Anonymous said...

Wamu, I believe, isn't telling you the whole...truth.

The $10 they are charging is a fee THEY are imposing to get your money...they can do other things like warn you or send you letters not allowing you to transfer anymore, but instead they like taking your money...

You should check out this site: http://consumerist.com/5008451/customer-gets-slapped-with-excessive-activity-fee-for-messing-with-savings-account-too-much

Anonymous said...

This happened to me as well. my wife and I use our savings to basically cover anything that our checking can't. And then we come upon this "excess activity fee". To me its kinda of the same horseshit excuse when you get denied for credit when they say that your report has been viewed too many times. It's rediculous. I seriously hate this country. I want to go live in the woods.

Consumer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Wells Fargo recently charged me $10 for excessive withdrawals. I sent a message through their secure online messaging, and within a day got a response saying the fee was valid, but as a valued customer they would waive the fee. This is the reason I will stay with Wells Fargo (I had my last fee waived a few years ago with them).
I opened a Wamu account about a year ago because of the high interest online savings account and was charged a fee when my balance dropped below their minimum. They would not budge on reversing the fee, so out of spite I closed the account (the interest accrued from their then-high rate on savings more than made up for the fee, but I didn't want to deal with them in the future).

It's not worth it to save $15 every other year for free checks when you are going to be charged all these hidden fees. Who uses checks nowadays anyway? Only that annoying old lady in front of you in the grocery store. Wells Fargo has free unlimited online bill pay (you can have a check sent to ANYONE), so I only use 4-5 checks a year. The ATMs are everywhere as well, so I suggest making the switch.

Segers said...

They got me too. I transferred a little bit more the same day because I miscalculated and I was charge $20 in the same day for the two transfers. If I had any idea there was a charge I would have gone in the bank to withdraw the funds! Thanks for putting this together I sad/glad to see it didn't just happen to me.

Anonymous said...

I just had three $10.00 fees in one day and then a $35 OD fee on top of it. I had no idea about reg D. This happened at Wells Fargo--they would not budge on the excessive transaction fee--but they did take off $32.50 on the OD fee.

On my husband's business checking account at Wells Fargo--I also noticed that he is now being charged a deposit fee.

I wish we could live life without banks--does anyone care about the client anymore?

Anonymous said...

It's complete BS! I read over the regulation and it simply defines what a saving account is. It does not mandate banks to charge you a fee anytime the go over the 6 withdraw limit. If anything, banks are required to take steps to stop you from making that 7th withdraw rather than letting you do it and then charge you for it.

If anything, all WAMU had to do was to alert you that you've already reached your limit online or even put "6" on their fees disclosure sheet under their "excess activity fee" entry!

But the worst part is how they portray themselves as a "difference" kind of bank when they are just as if not more scummy.

Anonymous said...

"Excess activity" is indeed defined to be a six-transaction limit by the FDIC. The FDIC does not define or set a fee requirement for any institution/bank to charge a customer - hence the difference in fee sizes and the presence of waived fees. If it were mandated by the FDIC, the fee would most likely be equal across the board and no refunds would be issued by the institution, only the government.

Regulation D mainly requires banks to keep a certain reserve against transaction accounts. They are merely "passing down" the fee to the customer. The fees they "pass down" greatly outnumber any fees incurred by the institution per the FDIC for this matter, and are usually charged to the customer when no danger of an FDIC charge against the institution is present, and long before the institution enters into default on their agreement with the FDIC. The actual "excess activity" FEE is set to prevent the institution from defaulting on the agreement to keep their reserves maintained against their customers' transaction accounts. The customers are a barricade or buffer between the bank and the FDIC, at the customers' expense as defined by the bank. The bank can set the fee, or not even charge a fee, it is their option. I would check the fine print to see if these FEES are defined by your bank. The institution cannot support the fee solely based on the FDIC's definition of "excess activity" because the FDIC does not also define the fees or mandate that the bank must charge the fees. It has to be contractual and agreed upon between the institution and the customer. If you are disgusted with these mega-banks' customer service, try www.checkingfinder.com - these locally owned banks generally value their customers higher, because they have less of them, and generally offer higher interest rates on accounts. Their employees are generally more courteous as well.

This information as stated is not intended to replace that of a legal opinion. All cases are fact dependent. If you are having trouble with your institution in the matters aforementioned in this letter, please seek proper professional and legal advice.

Anonymous said...

Gee...I'm glad I'm not the only frustrated consumer who feels like I just got robbed by my own bank. Same story goes for me. Got charged $10 twice in one day and when I just called the WAMU customer service, have been told the same old excuse. Can't reverse the fee because it's federally regulated feel. WHAT!!! The fee may be legitimate but they can certainly do what they can do to serve their customers better. WAMU just chooses not to. I plan on closing my WAMU Savings account. I use ING Direct, which pays higher interest rate.

xjennersonx said...

I just got two of these fees from BECU, and had no idea this fee even existed! If I had I wouldn't have transferred anything! The fees at BECU are $20 per transaction, so I'm now out $40. I hate banks...

gio said...

Talk about ridiculous....I just had my savings account closed (without notification) because of my "excess activity"!!! This is seriously ridiculous! I used to work for Wamu and never did anyone take any action as such until now. My loyal stance with Wamu has gone out the window and can now understand why they have gone belly up. Its seems as if Chase is shadowing Wamu's beliefs. I am at a disbelief thinking how we as Americans (NOT ONLY) bail out these parasites, yet are charged a 10.00 fee for making "excess withdrawls" from your own savings into your checking (which they service) and yet they still have the NERVE to Close my account due to such....oh this is the best part....your allowed 6; well I was only at 8. 2 more than allowed "per billing cycle". Oh, it gets better; Wamu/Chase decides to mail me my funds (and send it to the wrong address)!!!! Can anyone say MORONS! I have thousands of my hard earn money floating around town and no one that can execute a rightful response or solution other than...lets wait and see. Im seriously taking this to the media and with Gods help I will shed some light into this matter so no one banks with Chase/Wamu. They are the antichrists of banking!!!!!!

WH said...

Fyi, I've always found Consumerist.com uber helpful!

Anonymous said...

I chose the phrase "devil spawn of banking" when referring to chase when swapping over to well's fargo. They deposited my paycheck into my business fund, which then caused me to become overdrawn and refused to fix it. After I swapped over to Well's Fargo, I got the same stupid "excess activity fee". It's our money and if we feel like using it, then we should be able to. It belongs to us, not them. I had the same issue with only being able to withdraw $200 dollars per day. I pay my rent with money orders and now I have to make sure I can find a bank. I will actually be closing my savings account and simply relying on cash here on out and only place money in the bank when I need to pay a bill. I refuse to let someone tell me that I can't get to my own money.

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Anonymous said...

I was charged a $10 excessive activity fee at Wells Fargo. Check out this website:

http://www.bankersonline.com/regs/204/204-2.html

They do not have to charge. They are stealing money from people.