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I Hate Bank Waiting Periods

Originally uploaded by sogrady.

How much I hate – I mean loathe – bank’s “holding” periods for transferred funds? Well, I guess it’s been about a year, because the last time I was this frustrated was the last time I had to write a whopping check – right around this time last year, when I bought my house.

Here’s what I said then:

Let me get this straight: it’s 2005, we have ecommerce, we can file income taxes online, we can buy virtually anything online – even cars, but an ACH bank to bank transfer requires a three day hold on newly deposited funds? I completely understand the holding period for deposits as it pertains to paper checks and deposits, which for obvious reasons are eminently prone to fraud and other criminal mischief, but a bank to bank transfer? Seriously? The money’s gone from one account and shows in the other, but I can’t actually touch it for three goddamn days? So the miracle of online banking, guaranteed messaging and ACH transfers has shaved a mere 2 days off the previous 5 day hold for checks? Maybe it’s just me, but that seems absolutely ridiculous.

Well, I guess I should have been pleased with 3 days, b/c as the graphic illustrates, some funds I have – but need to transfer to pay my tax bill – will now be held for a full 5 days (6 if you count last Friday when I a.) learned of my bill, and b.) initiated the transfer). The account in question, BTW, is held w/ ING Direct.

For those of you asking why I didn’t transfer the money earlier, I suppose that’s a good question. The only thing I can say in my defense is that I’ve never in my entire career had to actually pay taxes; I’ve always gotten money back.

I also understand that financial institutions have to make money, and that float is one way that they do that. But anything over a day or two seems grossly exorbitant in an era when transactions can be completed literally in seconds.

Would that Eliot Spitzer or some other enterprise DA would look into the practice a little more closely; I think pretty much everyone with a bank account would applaud such a decision.


  1. you should try international checks.
    It takes ~4-6 weeks to process a check drawn on a US bank in Australia. this is on top of the insane currency rate they charge and the processing fee.

  2. 4 to 6 weeks? that is just absurd. i simply don’t get it. either the money is there, or it isn’t. something is most definitely rotten in denmark here.

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