Published on January 6th, 2019 | by William Charles82
PSA: Don’t Call The Bank
Update 1/6/2019: It’s now 2019 and calling the bank is still a bad idea. This is a friendly reminder why. Keep in mind the first Tennessee deal referenced is long gone.
A lot of what we write about on this site is about skirting financial institutions rules to maximize our profit (and time). One of the great things about financial institutions is that their back end is built on legacy systems that are extremely difficult (and expensive) to update, that makes things easier for us and harder for them.
I’m not naive enough to think that these financial institutions don’t read blogs like this (even if it’s via a simple google alert that informs them of any brand name mention) aren’t aware of these issues. That being said, I’ve seen an increase of people commenting saying that they have called to confirm that a work around they’ve been using has worked or not.
This doesn’t achieve anything at all, and all it does is notify the financial institution that you haven’t meet their requirements as specified. Let me give an example, recently First Tennessee has offered a $250 bank bonus that is nationwide and requires a direct deposit (no minimum specified).
It’s typically not easy for people to change their payroll for these bonuses, so a lot of people try to use an ACH transfer or similar to meet this requirement (when in reality First Tennessee want a payroll or government benefit). Because the bonus hasn’t been posting quickly (even though the terms state they have up to six weeks to post the bonus) people have been calling to see if their work around qualified as a direct deposit.
In reality, all you’re doing is letting them know that you haven’t meet the requirements as required. It’s likely that First Tennessee uses the same back end as a lot of these financial institutions and the bonus is automated. If you don’t call, there is a good chance the bonus will just post naturally. If you do call, they know that maybe you aren’t meeting the bonus according to their terms and that could lead to your account being flagged.
Furthermore, having staff handle these queries is expensive and if they see a lot of people calling they might decide the cost to upgrade their systems to differentiate between these transfers is worth the cost and effort. Obviously this is just one example, but my general rule is as follows:
- If I’m skirting the rules, there is no point in calling the bank as all I’m doing is alerting the financial institution to that fact.
Obviously I’ll happily call the bank if I didn’t skirt the rules and my bonus hasn’t posted (and it’s been over the time specified in the fine print for the bonus posting). Same rule applies to other sorts of bonuses/tricks as well.