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Wednesday Wisdom – Mad Money Decisions

April 29, 2020

Wednesday Wisdom, Inspiration, Business Advice for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

Just prior to New York State’s “Coronavirus Pause,” I was avoiding crowds due to a malfunctioning immune system, so I was hesitant to visit my local bank branch to find out why my debit card was turned down numerous times. Anxiety led me to believe someone stole my card number and drained my bank account so I checked my entire online bank statements and account first to see that wasn’t the case. I didn’t notice any irregular notifications so I assumed the stripe on the back of the card had been demagnetized.

As I approached the counter, lined with familiar bank tellers I said to one, “Can you order me a new debit card please because this one isn’t working?” I watched her expression change once she opened my account. “Your card is marked hot!” she said. The full hour following that statement required me to leave the branch, drive back to my house to call the debit card headquarters only to be told to return to the bank since they were the only ones who could lift the “hot hold” on the account. Upon re-entering the bank and waiting longer for the same bank teller as the first time, I said “Forget my debit card for now, I’ll just withdrawal money from my business checking account,” to which she said, “No you can’t, your account is on lockdown. You have to wait in line to see the bank manager.”

My bald head, turning red with anger, was appearing out of my pink baseball hat when I told her I couldn’t wait longer due to my health. “Oh, it won’t take long,” she said as I noticed the only bank manager on premise having a conversation with a client about a personal matter. In the imaginary cartoon bubble over my head, anyone could have seen several swear words. 20 minutes later the bank manager took my case. After another 20 minutes she figured out what was wrong. Simply put the bank needed to prove the account was mine and froze it totally until verification. Rest assured I never received notices. Eventually the bank lifted the no-access ban.

Freezing an entrepreneur’s access to her money is a serious offense in my mind. If verification is of vital importance, a customer service representative should have picked up the phone or simply flagged my bank account so when I walked into my bank branch to do normal business, a teller could notify me. Technology is not the best solution in all business matters especially when it involves stopping an entrepreneur’s access to capital.

Today’s blog post is to motivate you to double check your online bank accounts, statements or financial institution’s letters to make sure everything is square in your accounts. When it comes to YOUR money, make sure you understand how to access it at all times and have direct, and even pointed, conversations with bank representatives about what you expect. Don’t back down when it comes to accessing your hard-earned money.

Before I left the bank, the manager told me she was filing a complaint on my behalf even though I didn’t ask her to. I’m sure she wanted to satisfy me before leaving. If only they thought of that in the beginning of the entire process, the ordeal would have been avoided. Lesson learned…I hope.

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