Gerri Detweiler has been helping consumers find answers to their credit questions for more than twenty years. She serves as Credit Advisor for Credit.com, and her newest book is Stop Debt Collectors: How to Protect Your Rights and Resolve Your Debts.
Carmen gave some great adviceif you are concerned about the safety of your bank accounts. Here are a few more tips:
1. Get it in writing. If you are in the habit of using online banking and don’t keep copies of your credit card or banking statements, now is the time to start. If you don’t want to kill a few trees, save a copy of your latest statements to your computer’s hard drive, or take a screen shot and save it. Also, make sure you have a copy of your mortgage file. If you don’t, call the lender and request a copy of your note. It may take a little while to get it, but can be essential if you run into mortgage problems later. A written paper trail can be a godsend in the case of any disputes over payments, balances, etc.
2. Track your auto-pays. Do you have bills deducted from your checking account or billed to your debit card? If so, make sure you keep a copy of the statement with the most recent deduction to document when it was paid. Don’t forget about bills that are deducted infrequently (such as quarterly or annual insurance premiums, for example). While the FDIC says there should be no problem with these payments, in the case of a bank failure, you may decide you want to take your business elsewhere – and you’ll need to make sure you can do that.
3. Diversify. If you have hefty credit card or loan balances with the same bank that holds your checking and savings account funds, think about separating them. While there is usually no problem with this arrangement, there may be if you fall behind with a lender that also holds your money. The lender may be able to get payment from your bank account more easily if they also hold your deposit accounts. And even if the bank can’t “offset” your loan with money from your checking or savings account, they may be able to pressure you harder to use those funds to pay the bills even when you can’t afford to do so.