I messed up about two weeks ago. I work for a bank. They direct deposit funds into my staff account. I then write myself out a cheque for the majority of that pay amount and deposit said cheque into BMO. I leave a small amount over in my staff account as an emergency fund, but do most of my day-to-day banking out of BMO. (I've had the account longer than I've had the job, my MasterCard is with BMO, and the bank I work for doesn't have branches or ATMs. So it's more convenient to handle the day-to-day with BMO. Plus I find it hard to keep all my PINs straight and don't want to write them down, so I work mostly with one bank.)
About two weeks ago, I wrote a cheque from my staff account without verifying the amount of my paycheque and totally forgetting about having to dip into that emergency fund not long ago. Basically, I wrote a 1200.00 cheque with 1100 or so in the account, and it bounced. I found out about it when I got a letter from the bank I work for on Wednesday.
I checked my BMO account online and found it overdrawn to the tune of 1100 or so. I immediately called BMO, apologized for the oversight and told them that today (Nov 30) being payday, I'd be putting the account in the black first thing Friday morning. Now, as I said, I work for a bank. And it occurred to me that in light of the fact that I'd just bounced a cheque, BMO might want to freeze my account until they knew for sure that this new cheque would clear. And looking at it from their end, I don't blame them. So I asked the phone rep how soon I would have access to the funds after I took care of the negative balance. And he told me it would be immediate. This surprised me. "So, you won't hold the cheque for a few days? I'll be able to use those funds right away?"
The rep confirmed it. Okay. I've been with BMO for 13 years and this is my first bounced cheque. Maybe they were willing to give me a little leeway. I came away from the phone feeling a little relieved.
Shortly after midnight last night (or this morning, depending on how you look at it) I called the bank I work for and confirmed my pay had come in and my balance was at 2500 (That's about 970 or so that came back when the cheque bounced plus my new pay.) I wrote my cheque for 2400.00, put it into BMO. I then tried to withdraw a couple of hundred to do grocery shopping. No dice. Insufficient funds. Yep. There's a hold.
I ended up shopping with a credit card, which I dislike (and no, not the one I have with BMO.) If the rep had told me about the freeze, I would have made other arrangements. I'm honestly not upset about BMO's hold policy. I just wish that the rep could've checked it out if he wasn't sure.
Hopefully, there won't be a next time, but if there is, I'll ask for a supervisor to confirm whatever I'm told.