A: Your Checking account has two kinds of balances: the “Total” Balance– Total Balance may sometimes be referred to as current balance– and the “Available” Balance. Both can be checked when you
review your account online, through mobile banking or at a branch. It is important to understand how the two balances work so that you know how much money is in your account at any given time. This
section explains total and available balances and how they work.
Your Total Balance is the amount of money in your account at any given time. It reflects all deposits made to your account, even if a portion of those deposits is on hold and therefore not available
to you. (See our deposit hold policy.) It also reflects only payment transactions that have actually “posted” to your account, but not transactions that have been authorized and are pending. While the
term “total” may sound as though the number you see is an up-to-date display of what is in your account that you can spend, that is not always the case. Any purchases, holds, fees, other charges,
or deposits made on your account that have not yet posted will not appear in your Total Balance. For example, if you have a $50 Total Balance, but you just wrote a check for $40, then your total is
$50.00 but it does not reflect the pending check transaction. So at that point, you actually have $50, but you have already spent $40.
Your Available Balance is the amount of money in your account that is available to you to use without incurring an overdraft fee. The Available Balance takes into account things such as holds placed
on deposits and pending transactions (such as pending debit card purchases) that you initiated and SECU has authorized but that have not yet posted to your account. For example, assume you have a
Total Balance of $50 and an Available Balance of $50. If you were to use your debit card at a restaurant to buy lunch for $20, then that merchant could ask us to pre-authorize the payment. In that case, we will put a hold on your account for $20. Your Total Balance would still be $50 because this transaction has not yet posted, but your Available Balance would be $30 because you have committed
to pay the restaurant $20. When the restaurant submits its bill for payment (which could be a few days later), we will post the transaction to your account and your total will be reduced by $20.
Available Balance is used to determine when your account is overdrawn. The following example illustrates how this works:
Again, assume both your Total and Available Balances are $50, and you use your debit card at a restaurant for $20. A hold is placed on your account, so your Available Balance is only $30. Your Total Balance is still $50. Before the restaurant charge is sent to us for processing, a check that you wrote for $40 clears. Because you have only $30 available (you have committed to pay the restaurant $20), your account will be overdrawn by $10, even though your Total Balance is $50. In this case, we may pay the $40 check, but you will be charged an overdraft fee of $30. That fee will be deducted from your account, further reducing the balance.
It is very important to understand that you may still overdraw your account even though the Available Balance appears to show there are sufficient funds to cover a transaction that you want to make.
This is because your Available Balance may not reflect all your outstanding checks and automatic bill payments that you have authorized, or other outstanding transactions that have not been paid
from your account. In the example above, the outstanding check will not be reflected in your Available Balance until it is presented to us and paid from your account.
In addition, your Available Balance may not reflect all of your debit card transactions. For example, if a merchant obtains our prior authorization but does not submit a one-time debit card transaction
for payment within 48 business hours of authorization, we must release the authorization hold on the transaction. The Available Balance will not reflect this transaction once the hold has been
released until the transaction has been received by us and paid from your account.
The best way to understand how much money you have, and avoid overdrafts, is to keep careful track of all your deposits, any holds, and payment transactions.