First Person: Electronic Banking Landed Us in Financial Hot Water

Yahoo Contributor Network

According to an article published on Yahoo! Shine Financially Fit on February 11, a British woman lost roughly $40,000 over the course of two years due to a simple typo. The British hairdresser was said to be trying to transfer her wages electronically from her personal account to her family's account, but was actually depositing money into a complete strangers checking account because the account number she entered was one digit off. The article went on to say that she was only able to recoup $1,000 of her losses.

My husband and I have three active checking accounts, and we often have to move money between them. Each time we make a transaction I'm on edge because I know how easy it is to make a mistake. In fact, in the time we've taken advantage of electronic banking we have encountered several errors. Here are a couple issues we've ran into with electronic banking, and what we learned from it.

Transferring too much money

Not long ago I scheduled a transfer of $1,300 from one of our checking accounts to our savings account, and once I was finished, I double-checked that the transfer was pending, and logged out of the account. Two days later I logged in to our account to find the account balance was $200 shy of what it should have been, and I began to panic. I began going over where we had used that account just in case someone had stolen our information, then I spotted it; I had actually transferred $1,500 to the other account. In this case, it didn't cost us anything except a few moments of panic, but had that money been sent to someone else, it could have been lost forever.

Making a payment late due to submission error

I pay all of our monthly expenses online, and until four months ago I've never had a single issue doing it this way. The problem started when I scheduled a payment for our auto loan, and didn't double-check our pending payments. I followed all my usual steps, which include;

  • Scheduling the payment
  • Taking a screen-shot of the confirmation screen and saving it to my computer
  • Printing the confirmation screen

However, what I didn't realize is that I didn't actually complete the submission. Simply put, I forgot to push one button, so the payment was never made. It wasn't until we received a notice of late payment that I found the problem. We ended up paying a small fee, and our payment was raised by around $20; all from one mistake.

In our case electronic banking has been a benefit for the most part; however, the speed and simplicity gives me a false sense of security, which causes errors. If you decide to take advantage of electronic banking it's important to double or even triple check the data you input before finalizing your submission.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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