Annoying dowside to my credit union

February 9, 2010 at 8:31 pm (bank, work) (, , )

Argh! I’ve been with Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU) for 1 month now and there’s one thing that’s driving me crazy! My payroll check, unlike at Wells Fargo, does not clear very quickly. They give me a $1,000 “benefit of the doubt” for any check deposit immediately, but the remainder is taking 3-5 business days to clear! Well, I think it is that long, I haven’t actually seen how long it takes yet.

This is frustrating in oh so many ways. I’m usually cash-strapped by the time the first paycheck of the month comes around. I’ve paid all my bills, bought all my food, splurged a bit too much on eating out, deposited my required monthly allotments into my mini-funds, and paid as much as I could towards debt principal. Then when I get paid on the 5th, I need to immediately pay rent. The difference between rent and that $1,000 auto-cleared amount is a measly $105. I have that small amount to live off of for up to a full week including the weekend, and that’s all! By the time I get it, I need to do a big food shopping trip, since I’ve been waiting to make bigger purchases (see list of items paid above). That leaves very little money to live off of.

I’m kinda missing WF – they would clear the check by the very next business day, as long as I got it in before 4 pm. This is a little frustrating also because it says “payroll” right on the check, and it’s from a small, local bank. This is a frustration that I’m going to have to get used to and work around. There are a few things that will make it bearable. The small company that I work for (50 odd people) doesn’t have the cash flow to afford full direct deposits. However, they recently started offering a $300 direct deposit. If I get that direct deposit to kick in, then the maximum $1,000 available on the remainder of the paycheck will actually give me a $1,300 total to work with. That’s much more of a useable cushion.

The other option I have is to go to 2 banks on payday. First to the local bank which is 2 banks away from work, Columbia Bank, cash it (as they are the issuing bank), then deposit the cash at BECU’s ATM machine. They have a high-end machine since they are a “cashless” bank. They don’t do tellers or a counter, they  have individual work stations that you can sit at, that are in an open-plan in a very tiny area, then there is a single ATM machine that everyone queues up in. The machine reads checks and amounts off the checks, and can count cash. That’s a little more effort, the 2 bank visits in 1 day, but I can always stop by the ATM at the supermarket on my way home (there is another location a mile from my house).

I did call a bank rep last paycheck with a general inquiry about how long it takes for my payroll check to clear. That is when I was told 3-5 biz. days. But since it was a payroll check (and it says so directly on the check), and because it was issued by a local bank, he was able to release the funds immediately (even after 5 pm). I can always try that trick again, in a pinch. However, I was told that once I am with the bank for 6 months, and in good standing, they will clear checks more quickly, possibly even immediately. I wonder if that’s why my checks cleared so quickly at WF – I had been with the bank since the mid-90s, and was definitely in good standing. Well, except for a few times when I was overdrawn and had fees, but they probably liked that, since they made more money off of me back in the old days.

Moral of the story? If you have direct deposit, be grateful. Very, very grateful.



  1. Jessica@BECU said,

    I have been following your blog towards financial freedom, and cheering you along. I am sorry to read of your experience with funds availability at BECU. I work for BECU as the Member Experience Manager and I will send you a private message with my contact information. Please contact me so I can see if there is anything we can do to help. Jessica @ BECU

  2. debtmaven said,

    Thanks Jessica, I’ll contact you via email!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: