Bank Error In Your Favor? No Such Thing!

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Bank Error In Your FavorDo you know what happens when the bank makes an error in you favor? Only one thing – headaches.

If you ever check your balance and notice that you received a mysterious windfall, do yourself a favor and call your bank. Tell them that a mysterious deposit just appeared on your account and that it’s not yours, they need to investigate, and resolve it quickly. The last thing you should do is spend it despite the adage “possession is nine-tenths of the law,” the money isn’t yours. If you spend it and cannot repay it, you are still liable and must pay it back.

How Bank Errors Happen

In our increasingly electronic world, many of our transactions rely on strings of numbers that can be transposed, mis-typed, fat-fingered without people realizing it. ABA bank routing numbers are nine digits, credit card numbers are sixteen digits, and bank account numbers vary in length and style. Those are a lot of numbers and a lot of chances for error. While there are fraud detection and various other prevention mechanisms in place, you can’t always prepare for or prevent human error.

What You Should Do

It’s quite simple – call your bank and tell them. There’s really no other response and you should never ever spend it even if it takes months to resolve. In the end, once the bank figures it out, you’ll have to repay the money. If in the interim you want to put it in an online savings account to earn a little extra interest, that’s acceptable (as long as you can get the funds out quickly), but never ever spend it and don’t invest it (you could lose it).

What if you try to withdraw it and run? The police will try to catch you as they did last year after a New Zealand couple discovered their bank made a $6.1 million error in their favor. Westpac Bank gave them a NZ$10,000,000 loan instead of a NZ$10,000 loan and they ran off with the money.

Have you ever been the beneficiary of a bank error in your favor?

{ 62 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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62 Responses to “Bank Error In Your Favor? No Such Thing!”

  1. Yess says:

    I went to the bank on saturday to withdraw $1000 from my checking and is still sitting in my bank? Could this b an error? I haven’t touched it but shouldn’t it have instantly been taken out same day?

  2. Danny says:

    Question. My mortgage company gave me a check for about $9,000 at the end of last year. We refinanced with them last year so we thought we just overpaid. It turns out the check was sent to us by mistake and was supposed to go to a law firm. They want the money back, and I want to pay them back, but we used some of the money and I can’t pay it all back now. So, do I have to pay them back? The check was a real check issued to me but I wanted to know if I have any legal recourse. Thanks.

  3. Lisa LaDue says:

    I deposited a check for $2,277. Then a few days later i went to withdrawl that amount and found out they had a hold on my account. So i talked to a supervisor and they approved for me to get the money out of my acount. The teller then wrote me a withdrawl slip for $2,700. Which was more than what was in the account. Now because of her mistake i have to repay the $400 and something dollar difference.

    • Lisa LaDue says:

      Is there anything i can do about this? Do i have to pay them back? It was the teller and the supervisors mistake!

  4. Nancy says:

    I had Bank of America take all the money from my account by mistake. A very large amount.
    It took me 5 years of litigation to get it back. I lost about $100,000 in legal fees alone.

    • Larry says:

      Bank of America is notorious for taking money from their customers.
      They closed my account without notice, refused to give me the substantial money on deposit or explain why they did it.
      Two lawsuits later I got all my money, but no apology for stealing my money and the distress.

  5. JDL says:

    So apparently Chase made a deposit error of $440 on my account in my favor. I make deposits several times a month but I also pay most of my bills out of this acct and most are automatically withdrawn. I’ve used part of the money and realized their error after getting an insufficient funds notice. I’m going tomorrow to the bank to speak with a supervisor to request a write off (highly unlikely) since it was not my mistake or that they give me a reasonable amount of time to pay it which I am ok with since the money is not mine. After reading some of your comments I just want to know what I can and cannot get away with. We’ll see what happens.

  6. Brianna says:

    We have been having issues with our bank Wells Fargo. We have noticed one day they have accidentally remove $360 dollars from our account leaving us in the negative and making us pay the fees. They eventually gave us the $360 back but did not refund the fees. Then again removing it again a month later giving no explanation besides they seen that they overpaid us which they did not. Now we are in the hole because of this issue they caused in the first place and expect us to pay this money back we do not have that they have removed from our account 2.

  7. Dan says:

    One time I made a deposit for $3,000 and few days later I was checking my account & it showed a $300,000 instead. I checked my account on a daily basis for a month and the money was there. Over one month later, I got a letter from the bank explaining the error & correcting it.

  8. JM says:

    Tonight, I found several thousand dollars in my sharebuilder account. Sucky thing is no customer service until Tuesday. I know it is not mine and I would never spend it. I hope it is removed from my account quickly, but my luck I will have to fight to get it to its rightful owner. I am sick to my stomach over this, because I could imagine having that money missing and how I would feel.

  9. Frank Vaccarelli says:

    I`m the personal rep. for my deceased wife And I
    found a deposit slip for 816,000 dollars that was
    deposited in january 2010.I went to the bank which is in AZ. and was told it was a type o.
    I asked for a copy of the deposit slip and guess
    what they can`t find it. My wife was very secretive and who knows.P.S. she comes from money

  10. Julia Starr says:

    Over a month ago, an $1,100 CASH DEPOSIT appeared in my checking account. I called the bank immediately, and they put me in touch with their RESEARCH Department. A week later, I called my Bank again to check the status of the research claim, and was told I should hear from them shortly about the final determination. Yesterday, one month and one week after the deposit date, I found that the money was still in my account. Today I called the research department again, and was told that the claim had been closed, and the money was mine to keep. I fully documented the exact time, date and to whom I had spoken. So, I tried. They told me the claim was closed and the money was mine. What else should I have done or do?

    • luck says:


  11. Ashley Muuuum says:

    I found a bank error in my favor the first week of March for $500 dollars. Went up there and got i “taking care of.” Two weeks later it was still in my account, I reported it and the lady said and I quote, “The resite was not able to go through because there was not an error and we cannot move the money from your account so its yours.” I’m like cool! …

    A month later 500 dollars is missing out of my account and they said their doing research. I’m no liking the the way this is going. I’m think I may sue.

  12. jay says:

    Just had $8700 deposited into my account from my credit card company by a wire transfer? In any case I have no ideas of spending it, I’ll just stick it into my savings and hold onto it till they figure it out. It’s not my job to fix their mistakes. I don’t have the time to spend on the phone. So once they figure it out they can just tell me where to send it.

  13. C says:

    I did a dispute at my bank Dec 2011. I was given provisional credit. I checked my account a few days later and the merchant gave me the same dollar amount in credit. You would think the accounting dept at the bank(only 5 branches) would figure out if they were off on their GL’S. Six months later, the money is still setting in my account drawing interest.

  14. too good to be true says:

    My bank doubled my pay check so now I have over a 1500 in my account, its the weekend so I’m not able to talk to customer service.. ill just put it in my savings till they figure things out;)

  15. d007 says:

    hey i had 50,000 put into my accout i dont know how. i with drawed the hole lot and used it to pay bills but i thought it was my money what casn the bank do.

  16. stressed says:

    Got several pod accounts after a relative death, 5 months later the bank is telling me that i was not entitled to the money and i have to pay it all back, i dont have any left, can i file bankruptcy when they sue me?

  17. Hmm Am I Right? says:

    On the 1st of Oct £300 was placed into my bank by (not me) i didnt realize this until the 4th when i requested a balance in another town, I noticed the money and instantly thought it was the money i was waiting on from being backdated… I have a newborn due on January so i went on a shopping spree, Only to check my balance the next day and my account was blocked. Went to the bank and they said that a one digit error was made and money was placed in my account and not the true owners, and i MUST pay back… yea headache indeed. So, on monday i am going to seek legal advice as i have read a few things about this and most say i gotta pay back but the other few say its there falt! so fingers X’d huh :p

  18. uh oh says:

    So i got a paycheck of $269.84 so i decided to start a bank account, and deposited $25 into the account and cashed the rest for $234.84 they gave me the $234.84 in cash.. I then decided to check my account balance a day later and realized they had said I deposited $234.84 and that is my current account balance 2 days later.. what happens now?

  19. bill says:

    Ok so today i went to the bank and deposited $1000.00 to cover a check i had wrote yesterday for tuition when i see my ballance its over $3000.00 i bank with chase i have only had the account for a week… i checked online and someone deposited $2100.00 into my account on the 1st of this month but the deposit slip has my account number on it. it looks to be an apartment complex. Im not going to spend the money just yet, but how long should i wait before i do?

  20. alex says:

    cash the check at bank of america they give me 1000 more than the check amount .can they call the police on you get arrest it.

  21. Elle says:

    I set up a payment plan for my defaulted student loan, and every month the agency has deducted $150 directly from my checking account. This month, I had a medical emergency come up, and I ended up having to use my student loan payment to cover the costs. Two days after my payment was due, I received an email thanking me for my payment. (?) I called the payment agency this morning to check my balance and possibly arrange to get that payment in, and they said they received my last payment. (??) I checked my empty checking account online, and I don’t see the charge anywhere– no overdraft or anything. (???)

    Was this a Christmas miracle, or did someone, somewhere, mess up in my favor?

  22. Emily says:

    Adrian, you say you “need so much this money.” The thing is, everyone needs money, not just you. The economy sucks. Everyone has bills to pay, everyone has things they want and need. That doesn’t make it ok for you to spend money that you know isn’t yours. However it is the banks mistake. And I believe since customers only have a certain amount of time to correct it when they believe the bank has made a mistake, the bank should also only have a certain amount of time too. If it is still in your account after 6 months, and you have mentioned it once to the bank, and recorded the one time you mentioned it, then I would spend it. But make sure you recorded when you mentioned it to the bank, exactly what you said, who you talked to, what they said, and at what location.

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