Always Ask Questions at the Bank: A GTA Student Perspective

This essay is one in a series written by GTA students for American Banker magazine’s Bank Think blog.

Always Ask Questions at the Bank

by LaKeva Brown

LakevaMy banking experience started off great.

I first got a checking account last November, a few days before Thanksgiving. My dad took me, due to the fact that my mom always tells me, “People who don’t plan on making any money don’t have bank accounts.” I love making money, and having money, so I made an account.

I started with an e-banking account, where I can’t really do anything inside a bank besides cash a check or ask a common question or I would be charged. I agreed to do banking like that because I knew I would use my bank account mainly for saving, and online shopping. Also I had it set up where they would transfer $25 into my savings every month. This was fine because I was working and wanted to save up for a rainy day.

A few months down the line, I lost my job. However the bank was still transferring $25 out my checking to my savings. When I lost my job, I cleared all the money that I had in my checking. Soon I found out my account had a -$80 balance, which was not cool at all. I was so pissed off. I had stopped using my card because I had no cash, without a job, so how did my account go negative?

After calming myself down I went the bank. They explained the problem, which was that they automatically take out $25 each month. This made me feel pretty stupid, because I was under the impression that they were only going to transfer the $25 if my account had the available amount.

I still was upset about the -$80 balance, which I didn’t really understand because how could the balance be -$80 if only two months had passed? Well it turns out that they charge you $30 when you overdraw.

The banker explained the issue to me, and also let me slide on the $30 fee. She apologized on the bank’s behalf for not fully informing me of what would happen if I didn’t have $25 in my account to cover the savings transfer.

Overall, I learned to always ask a lot of questions when signing up for anything, especially when it comes to banking.


LaKeva Brown is a student in Oakland, California, and an alumna of Game Theory Academy.