Fees and Fraud: Do you know where your money is?

Fees and Fraud: Do you know where your money is?

Lyndsie Yamrus, Assistant Opinion Editor


It’s a known and accepted fact:  college kids generally don’t have money.

So naturally it makes sense to charge college students a monthly “service fee” on their near-flat-broke bank accounts, right?

My checking account allows you to save money (in theory) by directly depositing a dollar or two (or more, depending on the purchases) every few times you use your debit card.

I personally transfer the money right back to my main account.

This package is called the Wells Fargo “Student Checking Account” (AKA “Way2Save”) but apparently that doesn’t mean anything. I need at least $2,000 in my checking account at all times, $750 worth of monthly direct deposits, or I need to use my debit card 10 times a month in order to waive the $10-$12 fee.

Some banks even charge you for paper statement use.

I’m not broke, but I certainly don’t consistently have $2,000 in my checking account, and I’m sure others my age are in the same boat or worse off.

My work-study direct deposits are also nowhere near $750. The last time I checked, the average student doesn’t make that kind of money.

So that leaves the $10 minimum debit card use which, thankfully, I excel at. The only reason I don’t pay the fees each month is because I found out early on that it’s possible to waive them just by using the card and being linked up to the package. So I swipe on the daily.

It turns out that you need the “College Checking Account” to steer clear of this fee…kind of…not really. You’re charged $3 if you don’t do it right. Hopefully someone informs you to register your school ID.

The point is that you need to be aware of what your bank is doing with your money. Had I not checked up on my account the other day, I would not have known that I was charged the monthly fee despite meeting all of the requirements. Makes you want to go check now, right?

The customer service representative sounded as confused as I did as she looked over my account, agreeing that I shouldn’t be paying the fee. She refunded the money.

Another case-in-point: the credit card. “The Children’s Place,” “Nutribullet” and other random buys appeared on my credit card statement last summer. The balance was about $105 when it should have been around $40.

I had been a victim of credit fraud, and could have easily just paid the balance had I not read over the purchases. It is very easy to forget how much you charge, especially if you use the card regularly or early on in the billing cycle.

While these examples are only two of the ways your money could disappear on you, it is very easy to lose track of your funds. No one has money to waste in this day in age, especially college students.

You should be aware of your bank account and credit activity every month.  Not everyone follows the rules. Credit, debit or ATM fraud can be easily committed, so remember what you buy.

People and computers mess up all the time; so don’t be too quick to assume your money is safe.