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Wells Fargo double charged everyone on their bill pays today
68 points by Leustad on Jan 18, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 60 comments
Happened everyone today. If you have a bill payment which paid yesterday, processed today and will be sent tomorrow, I'd say go check your account. Mine and my wife's account along with a lot of people got double charged today. We've called the customer service and they've said that everyone was charged double and they are fixing it.

Well, this sounds like wells fargo played with our money overnight and giving them back to us.

What are your thoughts?

They have gone through a massive investigation so doing something like this is strange.

So, until proven otherwise it's safer to assume Hanlon's razor - Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

I was just thinking of switching all my accounts from Chase to Wells Fargo because Chase isn't located in my new town.

This is a good reminder as to why I should choose a different bank. Thanks for posting.

Use a local credit union. None of the big national banks have demonstrated that they can be trusted.

A lot of credit unions have sub-par mobile and web offerings. I have accounts with 2 credit unions but I rarely use them because of this reason. So if you're going to look for a credit union take that into consideration.

In fairness, a lot of banks have subpar mobile and web offerings too.

Yeah - I wanted a bank with equal or better web / mobile offerings to Chase. I've been very happy with theirs.

Wonder if anyone has tried PNC or TD bank.

Well, unless you really really enjoy watching loading bars and reaching your data limit with ease, Chase's website and mobile app are a dumpster fire.

So you won't have a problem finding something better.

USAA is probably the best your going to get but they aren't open to everyone.

I've had accounts at probably 20 different banks due to churning bank account bonuses. I never had PNC before but I did have a TD account. Wouldn't recommend that one because when I signed up online it only made a shadow account and I had to go to a branch to "really" open the account to be able to use it. Of course, they didn't tell me this I had to call and be like wtf?

For anyone worried about leaving a "big" bank, often credit unions will offer mobile deposit and free (reimbursed) ATM withdrawls. I'm actually happier using a bank with no local branches because there's no more thinking about driving to the "right" ATM. (mine reimburses up to $15/mo which is more than enough for me; these days even the sketchy taqueria ATMs only charge $1.25 or so where it used to be $3+)

In my local area the credit unions have fees equal to or worse than the big banks. If you're in the same boat I highly recommend an internet-only bank. I've personally chosen Fidelity and it's been wonderful, but I'm sure others like Schwab, etc. are just as good. There's no minimum balance and reimbursed ATM fees just like some credit unions. There are upsides and down-sides to this approach vs a local credit union.

Upsides are traditional banks usually have insane fees for investment accounts, but with Fidelity (and probably Schwab) you can have it all under one roof. You generally get more options, too. For example, when I opened a 529 I could choose to "open it" in one of several states. My previous big chain bank only allowed me to open an account with the investment options in my state.

There are only two downsides I've seen so far. The first is that Fidelity does not offer personal Health Savings Accounts. This may not be a problem if you have one through your employer, or don't use one. The second is for rare instances when you might need large amounts of cash, larger than you could reasonably withdraw from an ATM. For example, purchasing a car from a private owner. Doing this might require some finagling. In my case, my employer has my 401k at a national chain bank, so I am confident I could cut a check there if I needed to, but it is a concern.

Yeah, I use USAA and hence have no local branches. For 4 or 5 years I kept a local credit union account, but to withdraw cash there I'd likely have to xfer it, wait 3-5 days, THEN withdraw it it wasn't a great solution either. Eventually I closed it because it was not useful to me.

When I had a BofA account, I once asked a teller if I'd need to notify them in advance if I wanted to take out a large amount of cash; when she asked how large she was thankfully able to stifle a laugh and instead say "that should be fine" when I told her "About $5k"

No credit union that I've ever seen offers such a thing without balances of $10,000+ and you should probably not be keeping that's much money in a checking account. Credit union and bank fees aren't significantly different from each other. I had a credit union that charged $.30 for using their own ATM.

Best to get a local account without any hoops to jump through to keep it fee free in case you have to go to the bank for some odd reason and open up a fidelity or Schwab account for daily use.

WTF do you use ATM withdrawals for at a frequency where you care about $3 charges?

If you are taking out $100 at a time that is 3%

I care about a $3 charge at any frequency.

I spend my money on a lot of stupid shit, don't get me wrong.

Bank fees are not one of them.

Like I said (I probably sound like Chase sales guy) they have been pretty good to me and it's nice to use a big bank to have all your stuff in one place.

Car loans / Home Loans get bought up by Chase and you can service all that sort of thing in one web interface. I'm worried that local banks will make me switch back to snail mail days - I'd have personal access but boy I just want to be able to do it all virtually.

I feel that Schwab can be trusted.

I highly recommend schwab. Accounts earn interest, free everything, great customer service, all atm fees reimbursed, free cash advances against the debit card (for large withdrawals. The only thing that's challenging is depositing cash.

+1 for Schwab for the same reasons; I have never had better customer service experiences with any business. Their chat is available pretty much always (as in, I have had 10-second replies at midnight).

Why Wells Fargo specifically?

Specifically was considering Well's because they are less than a 5 minute walk from my house in NC - which is kind of rare in NC - most places are drivable.

However their account opening practices from years ago, and this is a good reminder they are unscrupulous.

I am being somewhat selective as I have a private client account with Chase which has been really nice, and Well's is one of the banks that offers such concierge services.

I'll admit though I only really like the low fee stuff, like free ACH/Wire Transfers, Free Bank Checks, and ATM-fee reimbursement - no limit. Not to mention they waive tons of fees for having credit cards with them.

Some of the higher value fees like using their investment manager, I don't take part in. I manage most of my retirement and savings in TDAmeritrade, Betterment and Robinhood accounts. I still maintain a rather high cash balance at my bank but I make sure to keep it below the FDIC insured amounts.

Anyways, I asked Well's to call me about their services a week ago through their website - I guess they don't want my business - oh well.

I have a state credit union account from my days as a TA in school - but they don't provide many loan services for home purchase / car purchase however I tend to use products that generate 0% interest loans on cars and home use I used Better.com because those guys are killin it - they gave me a low rate and just promised to transfer to the bank of my choice (Chase).

The only reason I really want to switch off chase is that I have to do a lot in person because of new federal compliance rules. I was setting up a Last Will etc for my wife and I and we wanted a complex beneficiary rule on cash accounts and Chase was going to make me drive 3 hours to a branch to set it up. Just seems like if something happens to me and my wife (car crash or something) it would be tough to get the cash to the right place and my attorney is telling me it'll all end up in probate.

Super morbid, but that's what made me start shopping.

Believe it or not if you have a lot of money, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch is a very good option


Fidelity let's you set up all your accounts with them (including checking) as transfer on death accounts, which would avoid probate. Mine are all TOD. I have primary a secondary beneficiaries.

If you have a high cash balance you should really put it in a high interest earning account, Discover Bank, Ally, etc. Since those are all online only banks then they know how to do things without having to visit a branch. There's a zero percent chance a bank that doesn't have branches will tell you to visit a branch to do something.

It's funny - I have avoided BoA because they treated me like dirt in person when I had nothing.

It made me feel like they treat everyone that way, but I guess now that I have a few pennies to rub together I should give it a shot.

99.9% this is what happened. No bank wants silly mistakes like this on their track record. Reversing all duplicates, cleaning up after alarms & penalties caused by overdrafts due to this mistakes, these are pains that no bank wants.

Just my obligatory criticism of Hanlons razor, it's a logically fallacious statement and should be relegated to the dustbin of intellectual discussion where it belongs.

I generally assume the opposite for any significantly large, powerful, or successful bureaucracy. There is more incentive to be competent than to not be malicious.

I used to work in payments. This happens sometimes, it's a bug it's not something nefarious, and it's really disruptive.

Many, many people will be put in a negative balance. Wells Fargo is probably one of those banks that don't order bill payments chronologically, but probably by amount, so things could get very very messy. There will be a lot of NSF charges that will need to be reversed, or Line of Credit charges for those accounts that have automatic line of credit to avoid NSF charges. But missed payments because of NSF will also be a problem as well, unless Wells Fargo foots the entire extra amount so that customers don't get massively fucked up.

I work in payments too. I don't know how this happens using an ACID DB. Everything is done within a transaction and extra checks are done to make sure that payments/debits happen ONCE and all once.

Probably two separate databases.

Distributed Transactions

I was once double charged on an auto-billed mortgage payment two weeks before Christmas causing all my other bills to bounce. This is why I no longer trust auto billing services from anyone and hate Wells Fargo.

It might happen every now and then, but I still trust auto-pay to make fewer mistakes than me. I have accidentally missed bills way more often than auto pay has messed up.

Plus, when auto pay messes up, the bank will usually make it right and you don’t have to pay any fees. If you mess up, you will have to eat the fees (usually).

Agreed. I'm to the point in my life where I'm generally liquid to 2x my monthly expenses - but I've set up an auto-reminder system over auto-pay because of failures in the past.

Maybe it's the former poor person in me, but I don't trust anyone else to take money out of my account.

Fwiw, almost a decade with Chase bill pay, and no issues ever. I even once misrouted one due to my own fault, and they resolved it in 4 business days or so. Like every other bank, they have some warts, but bill pay is solid.

This isn't just any News, it's Hacker News.

Probably some job scheduling issue; maybe a job got stuck (dependencies or what have you) and the techie just thought to re-run the job(s) without checking the progress of the "stuck one". I could as well have ran for 99.999% and got stuck on the last account (ZZTop's:) and then it run again "successfully" and the techie went home happy for saving the day. And after all the complains start coming in IT thought just what I thought and went through the support tickets and saw the "Job-Mother-Of-All-Payments" was ran twice.

Now they should be having a chat with their BAs and their Finance on how to reverse the duplicates.

Unfortunately I was part of one of these at a much smaller bank in the past. A job that "memo posted" checking accounts failed. When we restarted the job, we tagged the restart to the wrong step. We should have hit the restore step first, prior to the posting failure. Instead, we tagged the one right after, duplicating the posting for all accounts that had successfully passed on the first run. It was thousands of transactions that had to be backed out before they were hard posted. It was an awful feeling when we realized it, made more awful to know we caused people so much trouble that day. Anyway, I'm telling the story because it doesn't have to be because Wells Fargo is inherently bad. Their management has made some significant errors lately that could be considered criminal. But in this case, I'd side with it being program, job scheduling, or technical admin errors. I'm almost 100% positive the people responsible are just sick about it right now.

Hah! Yeah, probably. No ops person I've met has NOT made this mistake. The more you touch, the more likely you are to break something. It's bound to happen eventually. So, when it does, you buckle down and hope that ALL_CAPS_REG_JOB_X-22 wasn't that important.

A NOC I worked at used to send company-wide pages (in 2008..) whenever something important broke. "Inadvertently" was used maybe once a month!

Ugh, saw this and checked. Yep, my mortgage payment taken out twice, with a plethora of overdraft protection notices afterward as it keeps taking money out of my other accounts.

Inertia, and the fact I don't want to lose a credit card acct I've had open forever, has kept me with WF. But those two are rapidly becoming nothing compared to all the BS from this bank.

Ah...overdraft protection. Useful if you would otherwise have bounced a check to a third party--but very annoying when the bad check is to your own bank!

My Bank of America checking account had overdraft protection that automatically would cover the overdraft from my Bank of America credit card.

I normally kept that checking account near zero, and would do a transfer from savings at the ATM to cover any checks I mailed that day. One day I didn't get around to doing that transfer and the check I had written that day bounced.

That check was to pay off my credit card bill, which I paid in full every month so as to not incur any interest charges.

Let's assume that I owed $200 on the credit card.


1. Check is not sufficient. The overdraft protection kicks in, and my credit card is charged $200 to pay off the $200 that was due on my credit card...so basically a no-op except...

2. I'm hit with an overdraft fee on the checking account, and a cash advance fee on the credit card.

The cash advance fee was quite a bit more than the interest would have been if I had simply skipped trying to pay the credit card bill that month.

The bank software really should be smart enough to recognize payments between accounts at that bank, and handle errors such as overdrafts more intelligently.

Don't close the credit card, but move everything else away, and put one bill on the card (or just use it twice a year for gum)?

I don't think you even need to do that? I had a wells fargo cc open for over a decade with only 1 charge in the previous 8 years. I closed it last year because, fuck wells fargo.

If there is no fee, keeping it open can help your credit score; a major factor for your credit is what percentage of your available credit you use, so having a credit card you don’t use simply adds to your total available credit.

Yes, I know of the reasons for keeping arbitrary credit accounts open, but the system is fucking stupid and I'd rather close accounts with banks/creditors that do stupid shit than give them an excuse for existing. Be the change you want to see, etc etc.

I mean yeah, but I want to buy a house soon. Me closing an account will have a negligible effect on the system but a large effect on my ability to get a mortgage.

Honest question: Shouldn't credit be measured solely on the basis of currently available money and monthly income? (+how responsible you were with previous credit repayments)

I don't comprehend how having a cc but not actually using it leads to being trusted more

The credit scoring alhorithms don't look at historic balances for credit cards, just current balance and available credit, status and age of the account. Having an account open for a long time that isn't currently late is a proxy for 'has paid bills consistently' even if it may not be accurate. If you regularly were really late, the algorithm assumes your account would have been closed.

Not using available credit proves you aren't an addict. Addicts eventually can't keep up with their bills.

Depends on what you mean by 'should be'. Are you talking about what it morally should be, or what it should be based on historical patterns?

I am guessing that data has shown people who utilize less of their available credit are more likely to not default. Whether that is morally better or not is up to you.

As for the reason this is the case, I am guessing it has to do with resisting temptation and not living right at the edge of your means. Having credit but not using it shows that you have a buffer between where you are and destitution.

You have credit available to you and you aren't maxing it out. You're exercised self control.

What you don't do with a credit line is just as important what you do with it.

Depends on the issuer. Chase cancelled a MasterCard I had with them for lack of use. I kept it for those rare occasions where Visa and Amex weren't accepted and paid off the bill right away. To Chase my account probably wasn't worth keeping.

This happened to my girlfriend's checking account last week. She was charged an overdraft fee because auto pay decided to charge two days earlier. Then all traces of the transaction magically disappeared from her transaction history. Luckily, she took some screenshots of it. We just shrugged it off but I'm going to investigate it now.

Did the overdraft fee also disappear?

I wouldn't assume it was intentional, could very well be a bug. Anyways, as long as they fix it soon... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Not seeing any other reference to this in the news..

This morning its all fixed and the balance is correct. The double transactions were all in "pending" when I went to sleep (including overdraft transfers). I bet this isn't the first time something like this has happened due to a glitch in an overnight batch job.

I was double charged as well! Just got off the phone with customer service after a mini heart attack. They say this will be fixed by 8am...but why in the hell did it happen in the first place? I found this thread searching for any news on this "system glitch".

As of this morning, all duplicate charges was cleared. Charged amounts returned to the accounts and the over draft fees was erased.

First month off of WF, and I'm soo happy.

I think it's time for Wells Fargo to get out of retail banking. Between the several well-documented instances of account fraud and now this it's apparent their priorities are not about providing good customer service to individuals.

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