5 On Your Side

Convenience Check Causes Problem for Durham Woman

Posted September 6, 2007 5:43 p.m. EDT
Updated September 6, 2007 9:06 p.m. EDT

— 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.