Thursday, March 5, 2009

The price of micro-managing

Back in 2007, I opened online savings accounts with ING Direct, HSBC Direct, Canadian Tire Financial Services and ICICI. I wrote a series of posts detailing the process of opening and using an account with each of the four institutions, including the transfer and hold times involved with moving funds to or from the savings account.

At the time, Canadian Tire was the only institution to credit the savings account immediately after initiating a transfer in. The other three banks credited the account on the following business day. This is the assumption I've since been using in planning my fund transfers between institutions.

This past Monday, I was working through my beginning-of-month financial shuffle, and I mistakenly requested a transfer of $600 from my chequing account into my ING Freedom Account. I quickly recognized my error, and tried to cancel the transaction. With the one-business-day turnaround time, I should have been able to do this, as the transaction would still have been pending. However, ING had immediately credited my account, so there was nothing for me to do but ensure that the $600 in question was in my chequing account to keep the account from NSF when the transaction went through.

Now I find myself in the slightly annoying position of having $600 that should not have been in my ING account in the first place, which is now on hold for five business days before I can move it back to where it belongs.

I've made my share of money mistakes in the past, and although this one hasn't really cost me anything, it's an annoying "open loop" that I have to keep in mind until it's resolved, and it illustrates the value of automating your finances to prevent errors that come from this kind of financial micro-managing.

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