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Most Popular FAQs


Interest rates have gone up, but the bank refuses to raise the rate on my time certificate of deposit (CD). Why?

When you buy a CD, you enter into a contract involving a fixed amount of money (principal) for a predetermined period of time (the term) and an agreed-upon interest rate and yield. The bank is simply honoring the terms of the contract; it is not obligated to change those terms when interest rates change.

Please refer to the Account Agreement you received when you bought the CD for the terms and conditions of the account.

I wrote a check that was returned because of insufficient funds (NSF) in my account. But the bank never notified me, so other checks bounced and I got hit with several overdraft fees. Shouldn't the bank have sent me a notice?

The bank is not required to notify you when a check bounces. You are responsible for keeping a current and accurate check/transaction register. By balancing it with your monthly statement, you will know your account balance and prevent overdrafts.

State laws generally provide that it is illegal to write a check—knowingly or negligently—without having sufficient funds to cover the check on the day you write it.

When is a bank account considered inactive or dormant?

Generally, an account is considered dormant when no activity—deposits or withdrawals—has occurred for a period of 5 to 7 years. The length of time necessary to declare an account dormant is defined by State statute.

Once an account is declared dormant, the bank may be required to transfer the funds to the State treasurer or unclaimed property office. Most States require that the bank send notice of the impending transfer of funds to the account holder. The notice is sent to the last address of record on the bank's books.

If you wish to find out if funds from your account were sent to the State treasurer, contact your applicable State treasurer/unclaimed property office. You can start your search by visiting www.unclaimed.org.

I was denied credit. What information am I entitled to?

Your lender must give you an adverse action notice, which explains the following:

The adverse action notice will explain that you can request a copy of your credit report from the credit bureau that provided it. If you believe the information reported is incorrect, you should file a dispute with the credit bureaus. If you aren't sure how to proceed, contact the lender that denied your loan application.

How often can the bank change the rate on my credit card account?

Generally, a national bank can change the rate and other terms on a credit card account at its discretion. However, it can do so only if it discloses those changed terms to you at least 15 days in advance.

The 15-day timing requirement does not apply if

In both these instances, the bank must provide some notice prior to the effective date of the change, but there is no 15-day rule. Be sure to review your Account Agreement, which is the contract governing your credit card account. It provides information on changes that may occur to an account.

My credit card has been stolen/lost. What should I do?

It is critical that you report the loss or theft of your credit cards to the card issuers as quickly as possible. Many companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal with such emergencies. Credit card issuers often place instructions for lost or stolen cards on your monthly statement. Follow these instructions.

It's a good idea to follow up each phone call with a letter. Include the following information:

Be sure to send the letter to the address provided for billing errors. Do not send it with a payment—or to the address where you send your payments—unless directed to do so.

If you report the loss before your credit cards are used, the card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized charges. If a thief uses your cards before you report them missing, the most you will owe for unauthorized charges is $50 per card.

Also, if the loss involves your credit card number, but not the card itself, you have no liability for unauthorized use.

After the loss, review your billing statements carefully. If they show any unauthorized charges, it's best to write a letter to the card issuer describing each questionable charge. Again, tell the card issuer the information noted in the three bullets above. Be sure to send the letter to the address provided for billing errors.

I cancelled a product after the free trial period, but the merchant keeps charging my credit card account each month. The bank says to resolve it with the merchant. What should I do?

First, write to the merchant, directing them to stop the charges.

Second, notify your bank in writing about any charges that you feel were in error. (Use the billing error instructions, which should appear on the back of the periodic credit card statement. This address is usually different from where you send your payment.)

The bank must receive your notice of billing error within 60 days of its having sent you the first monthly statement containing the unauthorized charges.

How can I find out why my bank denied my loan application?

Within 30 days of receiving a completed application, your bank should notify you of its action—and the reasons for that action—on your application. This is required by law under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

What do I do if my bill (credit card / personal line of credit / home equity line of credit) is wrong? How do I file a billing dispute?

For any charges that you believe are in error, notify your bank in writing. Use the billing error instructions that appear on the back of the periodic credit card statement.

Please note: Send your letter to the address specified after “Send Billing Inquiries to:” on the back of the statement. This address usually differs from where you send your payment.

The credit card company must receive your letter within 60 days of its sending you the first statement on which you noticed the billing error.

Is there a limit to the interest rate a bank can charge?

The rate of interest national banks may charge on credit cards and other types of loan accounts is not determined by Federal banking laws and regulations.

The maximum interest rate is set by State law in the State where the bank is headquartered. Moreover, national banks can export the interest rates of that State to any State in which the consumer resides. (For credit card accounts, the applicable State is named in your Account Agreement.)

How do I order a credit report?

You are entitled to one free annual credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. AnnualCreditReport.com, which was created by the three credit bureaus, is a centralized service for requesting your free annual credit reports. You can order all three credit reports at the same time, or order one now and others later.

AnnualCreditReport.com enables you to request, view, and print your credit report in a secure Internet environment. Or you can have your report mailed to you.

My credit report contains inaccuracies. How can I fix it?

You have the right to examine your credit file and to explain or correct information. The credit bureaus must investigate your claim and delete any information found to be inaccurate or no longer verifiable.

You can also file a statement explaining any information in your file. The credit bureaus must retain this statement.

You are entitled to one free annual credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. AnnualCreditReport.com, which was created by the three credit bureaus, is a centralized service for requesting your free annual credit reports. You can order all three credit reports at the same time, or order one now and others later.

AnnualCreditReport.com enables you to request, view, and print your credit report in a secure Internet environment. Or you can have your report mailed to you.

I am suing the bank. Should I serve the registered agent?

National banks do not have “registered agents.” Therefore, matters relating to registered agents should be directed to the specific bank’s president. Please contact the bank directly to obtain the name and business address of the president.

My bank paid my largest check first and then the smaller ones. Doing so created more overdraft fees on my account. Why did the bank pay in this order?

You may write your checks in numerical order, but that doesn't mean the bank will post them that way. The same is true with point-of-sale or other electronic transactions: They don't necessarily post in the order in which you made the purchases.

When several items come to the bank for clearing, it can choose to debit them from your account in several ways. Many national banks are opting to post the largest dollar items first instead of posting the checks in numerical order. Often the largest check represents payment for rent, mortgage, car payments, or insurance premiums.

If your bank adopts this policy throughout its territory, it normally will notify you via your statement.

I believe I have been a victim of identity theft. How can I clear my name?

If you think your identity has been stolen, take these steps ASAP:

The FTC also maintains the U.S. government's central Web site for information about identity theft.

Visit the OCC Fighting Identity Theft page for a list of other Federal resources to fight identity theft.







Copyright 2007 by Mark McCracken , All Rights Reserved