- RIP-OFF #1
- Everyone has done it. You stumble out of your car, make
a bee-line for the card reader on the pump, swipe your card and the pump
and start filling your tank. Why go inside and stand in line? This is far
easier and it's all the same, right? I thought so too, until one day I
found my bank balance was seriously shorter than it should be and
explored the reason why.
- Paying at the pump is NOT the same as paying inside.
When you pay at the pump here's what happens. This fact is straight from a
bank officer at my bank. Using your credit/debit card will authorize
you to pump gas and the gas station company to invisibly debit your
account for an amount that can be THREE TO FIVE TIMES what the pump displays!
That's right - $20.00 of gasoline can result in an IMMEDIATE DEBIT from
your account of up to $100.00.
- Suppose you're driving on a long trip in a small to mid-size
vehicle getting typical mileage and fill your tank twice the first day,
by the time you reach your hotel or destination your bank account can be
$200.00 less than when you got in your car that morning! And what if you
drive a gas pig SUV that costs $40.00 to fill each time? Your bank
account could plunge up to $400.00 without you being aware of it,
before you even reach your hotel. If you're traveling on a tight
budget, you could actually have your credit/debit card denied by the hotel
when you check in. This too, was confirmed by the bank officer. Often when
traveling by vehicle we think of the hotel as our single biggest daily
expense. This isn't always the case.
- The bank officer's remark about WHY this is done
was, "They do that because they don't know how much gas you'll be
buying." A lame excuse if I ever heard one. Any gas company could
re-credit your account just as quickly as they debit it
- It was time to test this fact prove it is indeed true.
First, a look on-line to check my bank balance. Then a trip to the nearest
gas station to fill the car. Immediately upon returning home I checked
the bank balance again. Sure enough - a sum of 3 TIMES of what the
pump display was gone from my account. And 3 1/2 days the missing
money "re-appeared" in the bank. However, if you walk inside
the gas station and pay there instead, my test revealed that only
the exact amount is taken from the account. It's handled like any ordinary
- Naturally, banks never tell account holders about this
dirty deed - unless they ask about it or notice it. By now you're
asking, "How long can they keep my money?" The answer I received
upon asking the bank officer was THREE TO FIVE DAYS.
- RIP-OFF #2
- Now here's another aspect to this dirty deed few people
realize. While your money has disappeared into this no-man's land - will
you receive all the interest on it they made while it was stolen from you?
- RIP-OFF #3
- There is also the absurd "5-7 day wait for deposited
checks to clear." In this era of computers and instant credits and
debits, does it REALLY take that long? Certainly not. But they use your
money for several days in investment accounts, reap the interest and then
give you nothing other than the actual deposit amount. But go try and write
a check at any major store like China-mart and see what happens. The check
reader attached to the cash register reads your account number, submits
it to your bank through the network and immediately right there on the
spot, takes the funds from your bank account. Checks are now the same as
a debit card. One day in Wal-Mart a cashier called security because a
woman had written a check which was rejected on-the-spot by the system.
She was trying to buy a color television with it, and they took her away.
- RIP-OFF #4
- This one is right up there near the top of the nasty
list of bank tricks. Like many people I pay my bills once a month. About
1AM I called the phone company to pay my phone bill. Quicker and more reliable
than mailing it, right? It was shocking to discover that the transaction
was DENIED by the phone company computer. Thinking I made an entry error,
I tried a second time but to no avail. I then went on-line to check
my bank balance and to my horror, found that all but about $20.00 was GONE
from my account. That resulted in a sleepless night. Where did the money
go? Was my account hacked? Did the bank make a serious error? What happened?
- About 5AM, I crawled out of bed and to check on-line
again. Presto- like a magic trick the missing funds re-appeared. But the
bank had already hit my account with overdraw charges for EACH of
the two attempts I made to pay my phone bill. Now I was boiling mad and
couldn't wait until 9AM came.
- If I was on the road and attempted to use that card at
a gas station that night or at a hotel, it would have been denied.
- A call to the bank resulted in numerous apologies by
them for the stunt. Many readers already know what this is - it's called
"sweeps." In the middle of the night many bank accounts are hit
by this. Since the stock market is open on the other side of the planet,
the bank's computers take the money from thousands of checking and other
accounts and invest it in short-term investments overseas. Before the banks
open, the money magically re-appears in all the accounts. Of
course, the depositor never sees a penny in interest from this dirty trick
either. You may have an "interest-bearing bank account" - but
you'll never see the killing they make from your money overseas 5 days
- SWEEPS IMPLICATIONS
- Now let's look at this system a bit closer: The entire
sweeps system depends on EVERYTHING working flawlessly. Imagine for a moment
that something goes wrong. Perhaps someone hacks the system (history shows
that no system has ever been proven completely failsafe, and it is only
as secure as those using it.)
- What happens if the money ISN'T moved back into the accounts?
Perhaps even your account? What then? A survey several years ago revealed
that the average person has less than $20.00 of currency in their pocket
in this age of plastic money. Imagine the calamity that would occur across
the country, when every bank transaction is denied! Millions of people
at stores, gas stations, restaurants, utility companies and more the next
morning - all suddenly find the only money they have left is in their
pocket. What then? Martial Law?
- Think this can't ever happen in your country? Don't count
on it. It just might be the way the economy will be destroyed overnight
- all electronically. And those that do this dirty deed will remain invisible
- hidden behind keyboards at a "secret location."
- Ted Twietmeyer