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Checks/Checking & Savings Accounts
Banks, Credit Unions & Other Lending Institutions


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Checks/Checking & Savings Accounts

Basics On Checking Accounts, Checks & Cashing Them (General)
Information on checking accounts, special types of checks, and the check collection system. Summarizes the advantages and risks involved in writing and receiving checks and suggests ways to avoid or minimize possible problems in accepting checks for payments.

Getting Checks To Clear Faster
(Consumer-SOS)

Removing Overdraft Charges
(Consumer-SOS)

Avoiding Bank Overdraft Charges
(Consumer-SOS)

Bad Check Laws (State By State Statutes For Each Crime)


Savings Accounts With Over High Interest Rates

Apple Bank For Savings
Chartered US online Bank. FDIC insured.

Emigrant Direct
Chartered US online Bank. FDIC insured.

HSBC Direct
Chartered US online Bank. FDIC insured.

ING Direct
Chartered US online Bank. FDIC insured.

Capital One Direct Banking
Chartered US online Bank. FDIC insured.

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Best Rates On Savings Accounts & CDs (Nationwide)

Verifying Other People's Checks & Cashing Them On The Spot
(Consumer-SOS)

Your Rights When The Check Is Altered Or Forged Or You Have Insufficient Funds

Bad Check Laws
(Summary In All 50 States & DC)

Find A Bank By Its 9 Digit Wire Transfer Routing Number (US)
Have the 9 digit American Banking Assoc. number from a bank account, but don't know the bank? Enter the number here to learn the financial institution involved.

National Help Orgs For A Variety Of Consumer Problems
The Elderly, Environment, Families, Fraud, Health & Safety, Insurance The Handicapped, Medical Problems, Telemarketing and more.

Find Your Local Newspaper, Magazine, Radio & TV Stations
Give them a little bad press and you're bargaining power increases tremendously. Select your state, and then click on your county or city for the proper media to report to. (DC Not Included).

Find The AARP In Your State
The AARP offers legal advocacy for seniors and may also have state specific consumer brochures to help you with your legal problems.

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Lending Institutions
Banks
Credit Unions

Saving and Loans/Other


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Banks
Consumer Tips & Links To Banks
Laws That Regulate Banks
Complaints 

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Credit Unions
Consumer Tips &  Links To Credit Unions
Laws That Regulate Credit Unions
Complaints 

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Saving and Loans/Other

Office of Thrift Supervision
Consumer Programs
1700 G Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20552
(202) 906-6237 or 1 (800) 842-6929
(regulates federal savings and loans and federal savings banks)

FDIC Bank Find
Use FDIC Bank Find to find your bank's website, its headquarters, the bank's holding company and the bank's annual reports (from which you can verify the Bank's President and Officers, principal place of business, mergers, whether it's still open, etc). Simply search for the bank by name. If numerous banks appear, check those banks listed as "Active" (see right and side). Then after clicking on your bank, check out the link called "Last Financial Information".  Works even for National Banks that are regulated by the Comptroller of the Currency.

Find A Bank Or Holding Company-National Information Center
The National Information Center (NIC) is a central repository of data about banks and other institutions for which the Federal Reserve has a supervisory, regulatory, or research interest, including both domestic and foreign banking organizations operating in the United States. This web site provides access to NIC data, allowing the public to search for detailed information about banking organizations.

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
6th and Pennsylvania, N.W.
Washington, DC 20580
877-FTC-HELP toll free (877-382-4357)
(regulates finance companies, stores, auto dealers, mortgage companies, and credit bureaus)

Other Resources (Consumer-SOS)


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Consumer Tips & Links To Banks

Bank Products: What's Insured And What's Not
Alerts consumers to the differences between deposits and investments, emphasizing that deposits alone are insured by the Federal Government and investment products such as mutual funds are not insured. Also says what banks must tell you before they give advice on what you should invest in.

State Banking Links (All 50 States & DC)

Worldwide Directory Of Banks & Credit Unions

Find links to banks and credit unions anywhere in the world.

Bank Web Directories
(Links For All 50 states & DC)

Banks For People With So So Histories (All 50 States & DC)
For those who would rather switch than fight, we list banks and credit unions which either do not use ChexSystems at all for verifying new accounts or accommodate in some way those with a negative ChexSystems report.

Find A Bank By Its 9 Digit Wire Transfer Routing Number (US)
Have the 9 digit American Banking Assoc. number from a bank account, but don't know the bank? Enter the number here to learn the financial institution involved.

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Laws That Regulate Banks

Laws That Govern Financial Institutions
(Summaries & Links)
The major laws that govern financial institutions and protect individuals in their financial dealings.

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Complaints 

How To File A Consumer Complaint About A Bank (Not State Specific)

State Banking Regulators (All 50 States & DC)
Learn where to get help when you have trouble with a state bank.

FDIC Bank Find
Use FDIC Bank Find to find your bank's website, its headquarters, the bank's holding company and the bank's annual reports (from which you can verify the Bank's President and Officers, principal place of business, mergers, whether it's still open, etc). Simply search for the bank by name. If numerous banks appear, check those banks listed as "Active" (see right and side). Then after clicking on your bank, check out the link called "Last Financial Information".  Works even for National Banks that are regulated by the Comptroller of the Currency.

Find A Bank Or Holding Company-National Information Center
The National Information Center (NIC) is a central repository of data about banks and other institutions for which the Federal Reserve has a supervisory, regulatory, or research interest, including both domestic and foreign banking organizations operating in the United States. This web site provides access to NIC data, allowing the public to search for detailed information about banking organizations.

Comptroller Of The Currency
Regulates banks with national in the name or N.A. after the name.

Find A Bank By Its 9 Digit Wire Transfer Routing Number (US)
Have the 9 digit American Banking Assoc. number from a bank account, but don't know the bank? Enter the number here to learn the financial institution involved.

Find The AARP In Your State
The AARP offers legal advocacy for seniors and may also have state specific consumer brochures to help you with your legal problems.

Find Your Local Newspaper, Magazine, Radio & TV Stations
Give them a little bad press and you're bargaining power increases tremendously. Select your state, and then click on your county or city for the proper media to report to. (DC Not Included).

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Compliance and Consumer Affairs
550 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20429
(202) 942-3100 or 1 (800) 934-3342
(regulates state chartered banks that are not members of the Federal Reserve System)
 

State Banking Regulators

State Banking Authorities (Links, Phone #s & Addresses-All 50 States & DC)

FDIC Bank Find
Use FDIC Bank Find to find your bank's website, its headquarters, the bank's holding company and the bank's annual reports (from which you can verify the Bank's President and Officers, principal place of business, mergers, whether it's still open, etc). Simply search for the bank by name. If numerous banks appear, check those banks listed as "Active" (see right and side). Then after clicking on your bank, check out the link called "Last Financial Information".  Works even for National Banks that are regulated by the Comptroller of the Currency.

Find A Bank Or Holding Company-National Information Center
The National Information Center (NIC) is a central repository of data about banks and other institutions for which the Federal Reserve has a supervisory, regulatory, or research interest, including both domestic and foreign banking organizations operating in the United States. This web site provides access to NIC data, allowing the public to search for detailed information about banking organizations.

National Help Orgs For A Variety Of Consumer Problems
The Elderly, Environment, Families, Fraud, Health & Safety, Insurance The Handicapped, Medical Problems, Telemarketing and more.

Other Resources (Consumer-SOS)


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Consumer Tips & Links To Credit Unions

What Is A Credit Union?

National Credit Union Administration (703) 518-6330
Has a list of credit unions throughout the country
 
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Laws That Regulate Credit Unions

Laws That Govern Financial Institutions (Summaries & Links)
Scroll Down for the major laws that govern financial institutions and protect individuals in their financial dealings.

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Complaints 

National Credit Union Administration (703) 518-6330
The National Credit Union Administration is an independent federal agency that supervises and insures 6,566 federal credit unions and insures 4,062 state-chartered credit unions. 

National Help Orgs For A Variety Of Consumer Problems
The Elderly, Environment, Families, Fraud, Health & Safety, Insurance The Handicapped, Medical Problems, Telemarketing and more.

Find The AARP In Your State
The AARP offers legal advocacy for seniors and may also have state specific consumer brochures to help you with your legal problems.

Other Resources (Consumer-SOS)


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Credit & Debt
Money & Financial Matters

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Getting Checks To Clear Faster
People who live from check to check must often wait helplessly for their paycheck to clear.  During this time they are pressed to write more checks to pay their mounting bills- hoping against hope that their paycheck will clear in time.  Indeed, an overdrawn account can cost you $35 per check.

To avoid this nightmare, deposit the check via ATM to get instant credit. (Works best for small checks). For large checks, ask your bank to convert your paycheck to cash and then deposit the amount directly into your checking account.  Believe it or not some banks will do it.  The benefit to this is that the check "clears" instantly and gives you enough funds so that you can pay bills and other obligations immediately after making your deposit.   

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Removing Overdraft Charges
Overdraft charges occur whenever your account is drawn over its limits.  Often these penalty fees can be as high as $35 per bounced check or transaction. But did you know that sometimes, these charges can be removed at the bank's discretion?

If you've been billed for an overdraft, bypass the teller and go directly to your customer service representative.  Your customer service representative often has more authority than the bank teller and may remove the charges upon the asking.  Be polite and if you have financial hardships tell them so. Long-time customers should also disclose the # of years they've been a bank customer and that until now they've been very good with their account, i.e. haven't overdrawn much, made lots of deposits, etc.  

If this is your first overdraft in a while, ask them to give you a break. Can't get satisfaction? Try again, this time with another rep, perhaps over the phone.  This is exactly what happened to me. I spoke to the first guy in person and he told me I was stuck.  But when I left the bank, I called their 800# and got the charges removed.

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Avoiding Bank Overdraft Charges

To avoid overdraft charges:

1. Record each and every transaction in your checkbook.  And if you think you've got extra money, don't spend it until you've checked with your bank.  Be absolutely sure that each  check/withdrawal or debit has been cleared.  These transactions can take up to several days to register.

    Likewise, find out at what point in the month you're assessed a fee for keeping your account open.  This fee is taken directly from your account and can cause it be overdrawn.  Remember, one minor slip up and you're at least $35 in the hole.

2. Have a safety net or backup plan.  If you have the money, set up two accounts and ask your bank to make one draw upon the other when there are insufficient funds.  This arrangement will save you hefty bank fees and you can always reimburse the other account later. 

3.  Set up a small line of credit specifically for overdrafts  (a mere $100 is more than sufficient).  A line of credit is   nothing more than the option to borrow money.  Often people will use such to pay for purchases, vacations or educational expenses.  In this case, its sole purpose is to act as a back up fund in case your checking account has been overdrawn.  Promptly pay off outstanding balances on your line of credit to avoid interest.  Note: You still may be charged a $5 fee for overdrafts but that's far better than paying a fee of $30!

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Verify Checks Instantly And Cash Them On The Spot
When someone pays you by check there's always the risk that the check will bounce.  If this happens you'll be left with a worthless piece of paper and be charged a bounced check fee to boot.  Small businesses should be especially cautious when  cashing checks from new customers. 

 To protect yourself, don't part with goods or services until the check has been verified.  Check verification is easy and can be done while the customer waits in your office.  Simply call the customer's bank (which should be on the face of the check) and give them the customer's checking account number and the check amount.  The bank will then tell you if there are enough funds in the account to cover the check.

 If there isn't enough in the account, ask the customer to pay with certified funds such as through a cashier's check, bank check or credit card.  Honest customers will understand that you are trying to protect yourself and will not take offense.

 Even if the account has sufficient funds, there's no guarantee that the money will be there by the time the check clears.  If in the interim, the customer cancels the check or clears the account, your check will be worthless.  To avoid this situation, immediately cash the check at the bank listed on the face of the check.  Cashing the check at the customer's bank instead of your own allows it to clear instantly.  This puts the cash in your pocket where it belongs.

For a list of state banks and their check Verification Departments consult your Business White Pages.

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Other Resources

Toll-Free Directory 1-800-555-1212
This free directory service can tell you if your help agency can be reached through a toll-free number.  

Find The AARP In Your State
The AARP offers legal advocacy for seniors and may also have state specific consumer brochures to help you with your legal problems.

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Banks and Credit Unions