Banking Online

I’m surprised it took me so long to sign up for banking via the internet, and more surprised at how convenient it is.

Come to think of it, it’s not surprising that it took me so long to sign up after all. I wasn’t sure I trusted the safety of such transactions, with the way passwords are occasionally compromised, and I didn’t like it that I had to ask my bank “permission.” It wasn’t really permission, but it seemed that way since I had to ask them to set it up.

When I opened my accounts here, it was mostly automatic. They told me what to do, I did it, and that was that. Now, I can’t imagine going back to the old way where a person had no idea what was happening in their accounts until they got a monthly bank statement. And even then, a person never really knew what was going on, because there was approximately a two-week lag time between when the statement was prepared and when it was received. And then there was all the adding and subtracting to reconcile the account, because there were always checks that had been written and sometimes even deposits made during that lag time.

I don’t really have a lot of banking tasks, but I do have a separate account to use for PayPal and online purchases, which I keep mostly empty. So that means I have to transfer money from one account to another to pay for online purchases and bill paying. Banking online makes all that so easy! Less than a minute, and the money is transferred. And even though I do keep a separate written tally because just like in the old paper banking days, it takes a few days before checks and transfers show up in the account, and I like knowing where I stand.

In retrospect, it would have been a good idea to have used internet banking during those years I was living in a different state than my bank, but I managed to survive it, as well as survive someone fraudulently using my debit card.

The theft of my card number was probably why, when I moved here, I was so willing to make the change to a paperless account. Back then, I had to call the hospital and give them my debit card number to pay the monthly bills for my arm surgeries, and it was one of those employees who stole my card number. It would have been so much better doing it online.

Not that any of this has anything to do with anything except that I paid bills today, transferring money from one account to another to do so, and it dawned on me how convenient it all is. It makes it convenient to spend money, too, but that’s a different issue.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

Quantum Banking

The workings of the modern world seem unnecessarily complicated at times. On March 3, I put in an order to a vitamin company. I ordered one particular size of a product, but somehow, because I had another browser window open to look at various other sizes of the item, the shopping cart blipped and I ended up with the larger size, which I could never use before the expiration date. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the change until it was too late.

I immediately called the company to ask them to change the order. They said they couldn’t make the change, but since the charge hadn’t gone through, they could cancel the order and then I could reorder. The woman I talked to mumbled something about a hold on my bank account (although these phone folks were in the Philippines rather than India, there was still a bit of an accent problem). So I asked for an explanation. Apparently, as soon as I placed the order, they put a hold on the funds in my bank account, and although they could cancel the order, they could not cancel the hold. So the money was in my account, but not.

Since I couldn’t use the money, I couldn’t redo the order because the money was already on hold. Nice, huh?

Also, they refused to send me an email saying they cancelled the order. So not only couldn’t I use the money, I had no guarantee that they wouldn’t at some point decide to take out the funds.

So, come Monday the fifth, I called my bank to see what my balance was. And sure enough, the money was missing. When I told the teller the problem, she looked further and said the money was there, but it wouldn’t show on my balance until the hold “fell off.” She also said the hold was placed just that day.

So, the company had cancelled the order but two days later still put through the hold. I called the company, and they said they couldn’t do anything about it, that the bank would have to. The bank said they couldn’t do anything about it, the company would have to. And both said there was nothing I could do about it.

Every day for a week I called the bank for my balance, and every day they assured me the funds were still there but on hold. And every day they said that the hold would probably fall off that night. It didn’t.


So I had money but I didn’t have money. Sort of like quantum physics where a thing is both alive and dead at the same time until it is observed, and no one was observing my money.

On Friday, the ninth, a bank employee looked further and discovered that the hold would expire on the tenth, but that because it was a weekend, it wouldn’t fall off until the twelfth. You guessed it. Come the twelfth, the money was still on hold.


The bank wouldn’t tell me what would happen if the hold never fell off. They wouldn’t tell me if they would ever release the funds. They wouldn’t tell me how long they would keep the funds in limbo.

Luckily, before the banks closed tonight, the funds reverted to my account. How does the money revert to the account when it was always there? I don’t know. But such is the nature of quantum banking.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.