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Consumer Information



From Seashells to Bytes


Electronic Payments: The Wave of the Future, Here Today

Check Use Slowing but Still Important

Cash Is Still Popular

Consumers' Corner
 
Consumers' Corner

picture of two women portraying customer service repsTips for managing your checking account
  bullet image Items on your checking account statement may be presented differently, including by check number, or listed by the name of the company you paid. Others may show small images of your checks. Always review all of the charges on your account statement to make sure they match your records.  
  bullet image Some consumers receive canceled paper checks from their bank. Some banks charge a fee to return canceled paper checks.  
  bullet image Some banks do not return checks at all. If you need a canceled check to prove that you made a payment, you can ask for a copy of that check. Some financial institutions may charge a fee for this service.

...for managing your debit card
  bullet image Check your account statement often. The sooner you notify your bank about a questionable transaction, the less your liability to cover the loss. Generally, you are protected from loss for 60 days from the statement date.
  bullet image Debit cards typically involve greater liability risk than credit cards. It is generally easier to reverse a questionable transaction if you've used a credit card because the funds are not deducted from your checking account, as they are with a debit card.
  bullet image Some financial institutions charge transaction fees when you use a debit card.
  bullet image Watch for a hold on your checking account by merchants that you pay with a debit card. They may freeze a certain dollar amount in your checking account to be sure you can make good on your debit card purchase.

...for managing your credit card

  bullet image Your ultimate liability for fraudulent use of a credit card is generally $50. Thus, if someone steals your card or card number and you receive a charge on your statement for something you did not buy, you will owe $50 if any liability is imposed, once you report the discrepancy.
  If you lose your card and report the loss before the card is used, the Fair Credit Billing Act says the card issuer cannot hold you responsible for any unauthorized charges.
  bullet image If you pay the minimum payment each month, you will incur more in finance charges than you do by paying more every month, and it will take far longer to pay off your account balance.
  bullet image If you expect to always pay your monthly bill in full—and other features such as frequent flyer miles don't interest you—your best choice for a credit card may be a card that has no annual fee.
  bullet image If you sometimes carry over a balance from month to month, you may be more interested in a card that carries a lower interest rate, which is stated as an annual percentage rate, or APR.
   
  For further credit card advice, go to http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/shop/default.htm.

Registering complaints about a bank or depository institution

The Federal Reserve investigates complaints about certain types of banks or will direct you to the appropriate agency. If you think your financial institution has been unfair, deceptive, or has violated a law or regulation, you may file a complaint. Before submitting your complaint online or by writing or calling, try to settle the problem with your bank first. If you are unable to resolve the problem, send an online complaint about the bank that the Federal Reserve supervises.

Include the following information :

  bullet image Your name, address, and daytime telephone number, including area code.
  bullet image The name and address of the bank involved in your complaint or inquiry.
  bullet image Relevant account number(s). (Do not send personal or confidential information over the Internet such as your Social Security, credit card, or bank account numbers.)
  bullet image A description of the complaint. State what happened, giving the dates involved and the names of those you dealt with at the bank.
  bullet image Copies of any documents that may help us investigate your complaint. (Please do not send original documents.)
  bullet image Sign and date your letter.

For more information