Author Topic: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread  (Read 1053872 times)

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WillyNilly

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7320 on: April 02, 2013, 05:42:48 PM »
It's interesting to see the difference between the UK and the US with regard to banking and phone charges.  I find it totally baffling that I would ever have to pay to use my bank's services (I believe charges were scrapped in the 70s or 80s in the UK once one bank offered free banking) or to receive a call/text.  I think I read somewhere once that experimental systems tend to start out in smaller countries which is internet banking has existed in some countries a lot longer than others.

Oh well its not just checks people have to pay for in the US. Many banks charge a "service fee" just to have an account there. Sometimes its based on what type of account, sometimes its based on your balance, but sometimes it just is. My bank for example charges for checking, unless you have direct deposit. Then you can get free checking. But to get a "premium" account your direct deposit must be over $1k (per deposit, not cumulative) and at least once a month (which is stupid IMO - I can have 4 $350 deposits a month and not qualify but someone with one 1 $1k deposit a month does) otherwise its a $16 per month fee. A family member pays an $8 fee per month at her bank despite direct deposits well over $10k a month and tens of thousands in various accounts with them.
Switch to a credit union.  All those fees will go away.  No service fee, no per check fee, no teller fee, no ATM fee, etc.  If you have direct deposit, some credit unions will also offer overdraft protection, so that a check drawn on your account that doesn't have quite enough money in it will go through anyway.  They'll pull funds from your savings account to cover it.  There IS a minimum that you have to keep in your savings -- $5.  Yep, five dollars.  Not five hundred or five thousand or whatever.

All the fees go away, but so do all the conveniences of using a major bank. I have never even seen a credit union, whereas my bank has branches everywhere and a nice smart phone app to find them (so no ATM fees for me for the most part). And since I do have direct deposit, I don't pay for my checking. Going to a credit union offers no advantage and whole lot of hassle as far as I can see.

Plus aren't credit unions only available for certain people (like you need some sort of affiliation to join one)?

WillyNilly

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7321 on: April 02, 2013, 05:46:35 PM »
MM, then why do people talk about buying blank checks? I am confused.

I dislike the idea of using checks that did not come from my bank. That must make it harder to check that it is an authentic check, with their safety features.

Honestly, I don't know.  I've only ever written a check thrice, and those were the three free ones I got from my bank.  I'm not entirely sure what they mean by "blank checks".  I only have experience from the retail side and "accepting" checks.

A "blank check" is just a check, it means a check not yet filled in with payee, date, amount and signature. Look in your checkbook - its full of blank checks. If you are a cashier and some takes out their check book, before they start writing is a blank check. One could easily just say "buying new checks". Its sometimes nice to clarify though, because when you speak about "buying [a] check" from a bank it could mean something like a cashiers check, which is totally different then a personal check, and is never in the customer's hand blank.

I've never heard the phrase "buying a blank check".  I'm familiar with the phrase "giving someone a blank check".  That means that you are giving them a signed check ready to cash and they get to right in how much it is for.  "Dan wanted his kitchen redone and didn't care about the expense. He gave his designer an blank check."

I've never heard of it in the singular "buying a blank check" either. I don't think banks do sell them individually.  One would buy a book (or several books) of checks, plural. One might however buy a singular cashier's check, such as if they were buying a car, but it would not be handed to them blank, the teller would fill out and then hand it to them. My bank charges a few dollars per cashiers check.

mmswm

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7322 on: April 02, 2013, 05:50:07 PM »
Can I just say that I hate cashier's checks even more than I hate regular checks? 

Sorry for the thread jack. :D
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ladyknight1

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7323 on: April 02, 2013, 06:12:42 PM »
It's interesting to see the difference between the UK and the US with regard to banking and phone charges.  I find it totally baffling that I would ever have to pay to use my bank's services (I believe charges were scrapped in the 70s or 80s in the UK once one bank offered free banking) or to receive a call/text.  I think I read somewhere once that experimental systems tend to start out in smaller countries which is internet banking has existed in some countries a lot longer than others.

Oh well its not just checks people have to pay for in the US. Many banks charge a "service fee" just to have an account there. Sometimes its based on what type of account, sometimes its based on your balance, but sometimes it just is. My bank for example charges for checking, unless you have direct deposit. Then you can get free checking. But to get a "premium" account your direct deposit must be over $1k (per deposit, not cumulative) and at least once a month (which is stupid IMO - I can have 4 $350 deposits a month and not qualify but someone with one 1 $1k deposit a month does) otherwise its a $16 per month fee. A family member pays an $8 fee per month at her bank despite direct deposits well over $10k a month and tens of thousands in various accounts with them.
Switch to a credit union.  All those fees will go away.  No service fee, no per check fee, no teller fee, no ATM fee, etc.  If you have direct deposit, some credit unions will also offer overdraft protection, so that a check drawn on your account that doesn't have quite enough money in it will go through anyway.  They'll pull funds from your savings account to cover it.  There IS a minimum that you have to keep in your savings -- $5.  Yep, five dollars.  Not five hundred or five thousand or whatever.

All the fees go away, but so do all the conveniences of using a major bank. I have never even seen a credit union, whereas my bank has branches everywhere and a nice smart phone app to find them (so no ATM fees for me for the most part). And since I do have direct deposit, I don't pay for my checking. Going to a credit union offers no advantage and whole lot of hassle as far as I can see.

Plus aren't credit unions only available for certain people (like you need some sort of affiliation to join one)?

Only requirement for the credit unions near me is to live in the area. Much better service and benefits, with very few fees associated.

stitchygreyanonymouse

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7324 on: April 02, 2013, 06:26:00 PM »
It's interesting to see the difference between the UK and the US with regard to banking and phone charges.  I find it totally baffling that I would ever have to pay to use my bank's services (I believe charges were scrapped in the 70s or 80s in the UK once one bank offered free banking) or to receive a call/text.  I think I read somewhere once that experimental systems tend to start out in smaller countries which is internet banking has existed in some countries a lot longer than others.

Oh well its not just checks people have to pay for in the US. Many banks charge a "service fee" just to have an account there. Sometimes its based on what type of account, sometimes its based on your balance, but sometimes it just is. My bank for example charges for checking, unless you have direct deposit. Then you can get free checking. But to get a "premium" account your direct deposit must be over $1k (per deposit, not cumulative) and at least once a month (which is stupid IMO - I can have 4 $350 deposits a month and not qualify but someone with one 1 $1k deposit a month does) otherwise its a $16 per month fee. A family member pays an $8 fee per month at her bank despite direct deposits well over $10k a month and tens of thousands in various accounts with them.
Switch to a credit union.  All those fees will go away.  No service fee, no per check fee, no teller fee, no ATM fee, etc.  If you have direct deposit, some credit unions will also offer overdraft protection, so that a check drawn on your account that doesn't have quite enough money in it will go through anyway.  They'll pull funds from your savings account to cover it.  There IS a minimum that you have to keep in your savings -- $5.  Yep, five dollars.  Not five hundred or five thousand or whatever.

All the fees go away, but so do all the conveniences of using a major bank. I have never even seen a credit union, whereas my bank has branches everywhere and a nice smart phone app to find them (so no ATM fees for me for the most part). And since I do have direct deposit, I don't pay for my checking. Going to a credit union offers no advantage and whole lot of hassle as far as I can see.

Plus aren't credit unions only available for certain people (like you need some sort of affiliation to join one)?

Only requirement for the credit unions near me is to live in the area. Much better service and benefits, with very few fees associated.

As much as I want to cheerlead credit unions as well, those fees definitely won’t all go away just because you chose an FCU.

Mine just instituted a $25 monthly fee for accounts that don’t have monthly transactions!

But overall, they do seem to have fewer fees. Online banks can also be nice… some big banks have online versions of their accounts that limit what you can do in person (basically nothing—all phone or online), but they usually have very few fees.

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7325 on: April 02, 2013, 06:47:47 PM »
I moved almost 9 years ago and I'm still using the cheques with the old address.  I have taken an address label and stuck it over the address on the cheque.

I buy the cheapest cheques I can.  It's about $10 for 4 books of 25 cheques.  I think I can order fewer, if I want, but 100 is the 'normal' order.

One of my accounts has no additional fees as long as I keep a minimum balance of $1500 in it.  My other account has a $14 a month fee that covers the cost of any transactions I make.
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Luci

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7326 on: April 02, 2013, 06:48:10 PM »
It's interesting to see the difference between the UK and the US with regard to banking and phone charges.  I find it totally baffling that I would ever have to pay to use my bank's services (I believe charges were scrapped in the 70s or 80s in the UK once one bank offered free banking) or to receive a call/text.  I think I read somewhere once that experimental systems tend to start out in smaller countries which is internet banking has existed in some countries a lot longer than others.

Oh well its not just checks people have to pay for in the US. Many banks charge a "service fee" just to have an account there. Sometimes its based on what type of account, sometimes its based on your balance, but sometimes it just is. My bank for example charges for checking, unless you have direct deposit. then you can get free checking. but to get a "premium" account your direct deposit must be over $1k (per deposit, not cumulative) and at least once a month (which is stupid IMO - i can have 4 $350 deposits a month and not qualify but someone with one 1 $1k deposit a month does) otherwise its a $16 per month fee. A family member pays an $8 fee per month at her bank despite direct deposits well over $10k a month and tens of thousands in various accounts with them.

I would suggest to anyone with the above accounts to shop around! I have had checking accounts since 1963 and never ran into anything like that. My checking has always been free except for buying blank checks years ago. That is just ridiculous. (Illinois) Check with your credit union, too.

Mental Magpie

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7327 on: April 02, 2013, 07:01:46 PM »
MM, then why do people talk about buying blank checks? I am confused.

I dislike the idea of using checks that did not come from my bank. That must make it harder to check that it is an authentic check, with their safety features.

Honestly, I don't know.  I've only ever written a check thrice, and those were the three free ones I got from my bank.  I'm not entirely sure what they mean by "blank checks".  I only have experience from the retail side and "accepting" checks.

A "blank check" is just a check, it means a check not yet filled in with payee, date, amount and signature. Look in your checkbook - its full of blank checks. If you are a cashier and some takes out their check book, before they start writing is a blank check. One could easily just say "buying new checks". Its sometimes nice to clarify though, because when you speak about "buying [a] check" from a bank it could mean something like a cashiers check, which is totally different then a personal check, and is never in the customer's hand blank.

I've never heard the phrase "buying a blank check".  I'm familiar with the phrase "giving someone a blank check".  That means that you are giving them a signed check ready to cash and they get to right in how much it is for.  "Dan wanted his kitchen redone and didn't care about the expense. He gave his designer an blank check."

Ditto, that's why it confused me.
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artk2002

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7328 on: April 02, 2013, 07:53:11 PM »
It's actually a common stunt for someone to write a check on a shirt and mail that to the IRS.  (Google is my friend).  Some guy actually whitewashed a check onto the side of a cow once, to pay his taxes. 
Funny stories. 

The cow story is apocryphal. A.P. Herbert is funny, but makes up his stories.
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twiggy

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7329 on: April 02, 2013, 11:30:24 PM »
The check discussion has been fascinating, and I hate to end it, but I have a new stupid question.

When I got home from the grocery store tonight, I saw a pigeon sitting next to my front door. I tried to shoo it away, and noticed that it seems to be injured.

So, what do I do with it? I know that if I do nothing, the problem will have *ahem* resolved itself by morning. (we have several outdoor cats in the neighborhood) but the thought is making me a bit upset. I know that animals die, and other animals eat them, but it doesn't usually happen on my doorstep  :( OTOH, I'm not willing to spend the money to take it to an emergency vet. If it were hale and whole, I'd be shooing it and cursing its existence.

Is there anything I can do with this poor thing?
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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7330 on: April 03, 2013, 12:09:52 AM »
Honestly, if there's going to be a neighborhood cat come along and chase it, I doubt that the problem will be 'resolved' on your doorstep - it's amazing how far and fast an injured animal can move if threatened.

I don't think there's anything you can do - we have two cats and they often bring home injured birds that they've captured (they have *three* bells each on their collars. I have no idea how they manage to catch ANYTHING) and usually Husband will put the poor bird out of its' misery (usually breaking its' neck; how we used to humanely kill our chickens before beheading them and de-feathering) and dispose of it in the bin so that the Pair can no longer torment it. Usually for us the problem is getting the half-dead bird away from the cats in the first place.
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Slartibartfast

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7331 on: April 03, 2013, 12:12:35 AM »
Some birds (I don't know if pigeons are among them) will feign a broken wing or other injury to lure predators away from their nests.  I'd put this down to "nature" and not worry.

ladyknight1

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7332 on: April 03, 2013, 09:12:01 AM »
Check to see if there is a wildlife rehabilitation center in your area. These are usually non-profit organizations. We have taken many a orphaned baby rabbit or squirrel there.

Mental Magpie

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7333 on: April 03, 2013, 04:44:49 PM »
How do I get my dehydrator trays clean? I have soaked them in hot soapy water and scrubbed at them with a brush, but I cannot totally get them clean. Granted, if I went at every single little square with a toothpick or some such, I could probably do it, but that would metaphorically take forever. Is there a simpler way?

(I have the grated, circular kind.)
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WillyNilly

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Re: The "This Might Be A Stupid Question, But...." Thread
« Reply #7334 on: April 03, 2013, 05:36:08 PM »
How do I get my dehydrator trays clean? I have soaked them in hot soapy water and scrubbed at them with a brush, but I cannot totally get them clean. Granted, if I went at every single little square with a toothpick or some such, I could probably do it, but that would metaphorically take forever. Is there a simpler way?

(I have the grated, circular kind.)

Eh, maybe I'm gross, but I'm of the mindset, if it won't come off with soap and water, it won't come off on my food, and so I don't worry about things like that too much. All the germs are probably dried out of the bits anyway.