I found an error today while checking my bank account online. Capital One processed a check for $215.00 but mistakenly recorded it as $215.20. Now I know the error was only twenty cents, but I always find it unnerving when my bank makes a mistake. And of course, sometimes banks make big mistakes. If your bank records a deposit, check or withdraw incorrectly, how do you correct the error on your bank statement?
There are several approaches you can take. Because the error I found today was just twenty cents, I sent Capital One an online message. When you log into your bank account online, you can send your bank a secure message. The navigation for this is typically pretty obvious, and it is an easy and convenient way to communicate with your bank. I pulled up an image of the check (another feature most online banks offers) and confirmed that the amount was in fact $215.00. And then I went to Capital One's online message center and typed up a quick note.
What you say to your bank will depend on the type and amount of the error. Here's the message I sent to Capital One:
“Check #112 shows a withdrawal from my account in the amount of $215.20, but the check was for $215.00. It’s only 20 cents, but it should be corrected. Thanks.”
There’s really no magic here, but there are a few things to consider. First, you need to check your accounts at least weekly and report any errors you find immediately. Second, if the error had been larger, I would have called Capital One immediately. Because this error was only 20 cents, an online message was fine. Third, I logged into my account and sent the message from the secure online message center that Capital One and virtually all major banks provide. I didn’t just find an e-mail address on the Capital One website and send the message from my e-mail account. A bank’s online message center is secure, and the messages are routed to the right bank representative.
If the mistake is significant, it's also a good idea to document your notice to the bank in writing. If you send a secure message, you can print a copy of it. But for significant mistakes, writing a letter to confirm your telephone call to the bank and otherwise to put the bank on notice is extremely important. And of course, for really serious issues, you may want to consider contacting an attorney.
As a final note, if the error involves a transaction with a third party (as in a check), you may want to contact them as well. If the check had been processed as if it were $1,250, for example, I would have contacted not only Capital One, but also the person to whom I had written the check. Getting their cooperation in the matter if possible can speed up the resolution of the error.
Have you ever found an error on your bank statement? If so, how did you go about getting the error corrected?