UNDERSTANDING ACCOUNT BALANCES AND FEES
Understanding Your Account Balance. Your checking account has two kinds of balances: the actual balance and the available balance. Your actual balance reflects the full amount of all deposits to your account as well as payment transactions that have been posted to your account. It does not reflect checks you have written and are still outstanding or transactions that have been authorized but are still pending. Your available balance is the amount of money in your account that is available for you to use. Your available balance is your actual balance less: (1) holds placed on deposits; (2) holds on debit card or other transactions that have been authorized but are not yet posted; and (3) any other holds, such as holds related to pledges of account funds and minimum balance requirements or to comply with court orders. We use your available balance to determine whether there are sufficient funds in your account to pay items, including checks and drafts, as well as ACH, debit card and other electronic transactions. Pending transactions and holds placed on your account may reduce your available balance and may cause your account to become overdrawn regardless of your actual balance. You should assume that any item which would overdraw your account based on your available balance may create an overdraft. You may check your available balance online at mhpfcu.org, at an ATM, by visiting a credit union branch or by calling us at 419-251-4706.
How Transactions are Posted to Your Account. Basically, there are two types of transactions that affect your account: credits (deposits of money into your account) and debits (payments out of your account). It is important to understand how each is applied to your account so that you know how much money you have and how much is available to you at any given time. This section explains generally how and when we post transactions to your account.
Credits. Deposits are generally added to your account when we receive them. However, in some cases when you deposit a check, the full amount of the deposit may not be available to you at the time of deposit. Please refer to the Funds Availability Policy Disclosure provided at the time you opened your account for details regarding the timing and availability of funds from deposits.
Debits. There are several types of debit transactions. Common debit transactions are generally described below. Keep in mind that there are many ways transactions are presented for payment by merchants, and we are not necessarily in control of when transactions are received.
- Checks. When you write a check, it is processed through the Federal Reserve system. We receive data files of cashed checks from the Federal Reserve each day. The checks drawn on your account are compiled from these data files and paid each day. We process the payments from low to high dollar value.
- ACH Payments. We receive data files every day from the Federal Reserve with Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions. These include, for example, automatic bill payments you have authorized. ACH transactions for your account are posted throughout the day from low to high dollar value.
- PIN-Based Debit Card Purchase Transactions. These are purchase transactions using your debit card for which a merchant may require you to enter your personal identification number (PIN) at the time of sale. They are processed through a PIN debit network. These transactions are similar to ATM withdrawal transactions because the money is usually deducted from your account immediately at the time of the transaction. However, depending on the merchant, a PIN-based transaction may not be immediately presented for payment.
- Signature-Based Debit Card Purchase Transactions. These are purchase transactions using your debit card that are processed through a signature-based network. Rather than entering a PIN, you typically sign for the purchase; however, merchants may not require your signature for certain transactions. Merchants may seek authorization for these types of transactions. The authorization request places a hold on funds in your account when the authorization is completed. The “authorization hold” will reduce your available balance by the amount authorized but will not affect your actual balance. The transaction is subsequently processed by the merchant and submitted to us for payment. This can happen hours or sometimes days after the transaction, depending on the merchant and its payment processor. These payment requests are received in real time throughout the day and are posted to your account when they are received.
The amount of an authorization hold may differ from the actual payment because the final transaction amount may not yet be known to the merchant when you present your card for payment. For example, if you use your debit card at a restaurant, a hold will be placed in an amount equal to the bill presented to you; but when the transaction posts, it will include any tip that you may have added to the bill. This may also be the case where you present your debit card for payment at gas stations, hotels and certain other retail establishments. We cannot control how much a merchant asks us to authorize, or when a merchant submits a transaction for payment.