5 On Your Side

Convenience Check Causes Problem for Durham Woman

Posted September 6, 2007

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— Those so-called convenience checks that come with your credit card statement supposedly offer an easy way to get money, but that was not the case for a Durham woman.

There are a lot of reasons not to use convenience checks. The checks are considered a cash advance, so interest starts immediately. There can be high fees if you use them to transfer balances. Then there are the dangers of identity theft if the checks are lost or stolen.

Despite the drawbacks, the checks are convenient in that all you have to do is fill them out. In July, Linda McCully did just that when she paid her homeowners insurance with a convenience check from her credit card company, National City Bank. Her credit card was charged the $900 insurance premium. A month later, Nationwide canceled her policy, claiming the check was not good.

"I said 'yes, it was. It was taken out of my account and to my knowledge everything went through'," said McCully.

McCully immediately wrote a check from her bank account to get her insurance back in force.

"So I went back to National City and I said this check was not accepted. 'Yes it was'. No it wasn't. 'Well it was taken out of my account. It was cashed'. No it wasn't cashed," McCully said as she recalled an argument with a customer service representative at National City Bank.

McCully got a copy of the check from Nationwide's bank, BB&T. It was covered with insufficient fund stamps from National City Bank.

"Up here it says return. Here it says insufficient funds presented twice, no account," said McCully.

McCully made repeated calls, sent e-mails and faxes to National City Bank.

"Finally, when I decide to get hold of you guys [5 on Your Side], I'd been on the phone with probably the fourth person and the fifth e-mail and I wasn't getting anywhere," said McCully.

When 5 on Your Side called National City Bank, the bank credited McCully $900, plus nearly $180 in interest.

BB&T told 5 on Your Side the check did go through. They suspected fraud and are investigating. Nationwide did not offer an explanation.

9 Comments

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  • shine Sep 8, 2007

    TEAR THEM UP THE MINUTE YOU SEE THEM ! This is just one more marketing ploy from the C.C. companies to 'pin - hook' you into debt.... No different than the "sub prime" lenders. Its the same game done a different way............

  • elcid89 Sep 8, 2007

    People ... convenience checks are cash advances! They're no different than going to an ATM and sticking in your credit card.

    Which is all said and good, except for the differential rate on cash advances. Check your statements and find out what they different, and much higher, APR is for cash advances on your accounts.

  • lizard Sep 8, 2007

    I've used these before with no problem. But I thought "charging" insurance payments was not allowed. Or is that just life insurance and health insurance policies?

  • dsdaughtry Sep 7, 2007

    I just heard from a coworker today about this same problem with a Bank of America convenience check. He wrote it and it came back the same way mentioned in the story. He had to spend 2 hours at Bank of America to straighten it out. I say the program is flawed and gives the impression that it is a check when it really is not.

  • Here kitty kitty Sep 7, 2007

    I don't usually use these but I've had something very similar happen just recently. I am definitely going to the bank and do some investigating.

  • thecatsmeow67 Sep 7, 2007

    I don't even bother with the checks. I just shred them. I would rather write a check or pay my bill online so I have a paper trail.

  • wolfmandan Sep 7, 2007

    Personally I shred everyone I get..I don't trust anything like that, that comes in the mail..IF it sounds too good to be true...It probly is..

  • us citizen Sep 7, 2007

    Some banks do not accept the convenience checks. I paid my dentist with one on Bank of America and it was returned also. The problem is that the bank does not know that it is a credit card account and they look for a bank account which does not exist, therefore it is returned. After the bank was made aware that it was from a credit card account it went through. The credit card companies send the checks with the low interest rate deals, which makes them more appealing, but they are not always easy to use. Sometimes there is a high transfer fee which could counter the low interest rate, making it not such a good deal. READ ALL THE FINE PRINT.

  • shine Sep 6, 2007

    There are only 1000 characters...... this sucks - but I could get hip deep in it quick. The lawmakers of this state and country should do something about this - big business has gotten way too big.