When helping customers understand the details of their account, a handy webpage that I direct people to is our online disclosures. It’s a great page to bookmark in case you have any questions. They say knowledge is power, so use it to your advantage. Since I field a lot of questions each day on a variety of topics, I thought I could be helpful by explaining some important parts of Webster’s Consumer Account disclosures that are most frequently inquired about to help you understand the rules that guide your bank account.
1. Signing Your Agreement
When you sign the signature card at account opening (whether with an ink pen at a branch, online with a click of your mouse or by saying “yes” during a telephone session) you are agreeing to Webster Bank’s deposit account disclosures. Click here to see our deposit account disclosures for consumers. Try pressing Ctrl+F to search the disclosures for keywords. (Business accounts have their own disclosures.)
2. Your Ability to Withdraw Funds & Banking Day Cutoffs
When you make a deposit, part or all of your funds may not be available immediately. The time frame can depend on the type of deposit or when it is made. If the funds from a deposit are on hold, they will not be available to cover incoming checks or payments.
3. Postdated Checks, Stale Checks and Restrictive Legends
Postdating a check simply means that you have written a date in the future on the check. A future date will not prevent a check from being honored. If you have made a verbal agreement with your payee that they will not present your check until the date you have written on it, then it is up to the payee to keep to that agreement. If they present the check before that date, the bank may immediately honor it. Your personal check does not expire. If you have a check outstanding that someone never cashed, it can still be presented and paid out of your account…even years later. If a check is negotiated six months after the issue date, it is considered “stale”, this simply means that it is up to the bank’s discretion whether or not it will be paid or returned. Under the section of our disclosures titled “Checking Accounts” (about a third of the way down) you can find information about stop payments, overdrafts/insufficient funds, order of posting transactions and more.
4. Right of Setoff & Joint Ownership
When you open an account with another person or add someone as a signer to your account, you both now have complete access and rights to any money in the account regardless of who made the deposit. This also means that if you or your joint account holder owes money to someone, the account may be attached by creditors of either (or both) owners.
5. Payment of Overdrafts
Unless you request and are approved for overdraft protection the bank may either pay or return items presented to your account at its own discretion. Check out my previous post for information on your overdraft options. It’s best to be sure that you have funds available before you authorize any payments to avoid overdraft fees.
6. Transfers and Electronic Payments from Savings or Money Market
Federal regulations limit the number of electronic transfers that you can make from savings or money market accounts, to a third party, to six per month. However, if you make a transfer in person or at the ATM, it will not be counted toward this limit. Electronic transactions include telephone transfers, online transfers, overdraft protection funding transfers and ACH payments to a third party among others. Read more on how this regulation works and what you can do.
Have any questions? Ask us in the comments below.