A Teller Deposited Too Much Money- Can I Keep it?

Posted by Mrs Money on February 22nd, 2010

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Last week I received a call from my uncle, who said he had some banking questions to ask me. He said that he had transferred money from his savings account to his checking about three weeks ago and he noticed that it wasn’t on his statement. He wondered why it would take that long to show up and what he should do. I told him that chances are the teller or the branch is out of balance and they would certainly appreciate a call since they may not know where the error is. He called the next day, talked to the manager, and she said that no one was out of balance and it must be his mistake.

He asked me what exactly happens when an error is made like this.  I told him that bank employees definitely do make mistakes, and that honesty is always the best policy and that sooner or later I’ll bet the bank realizes the mistake and debits his account.  The bank can do that, you know.

When we lived in Colorado, I had a friend who made a deposit to her savings account one day of $1,000 and then went home and checked online and realized that the teller had deposited $10,000 instead!  She was thinking that they wouldn’t catch it and she would be a little richer.  Of course, that night at posting the proof department caught the error and corrected the mistake.

I also know of instances where things didn’t work out so well.  One day when a teller went to balance she realized she was $900 short.  She thought she had incorrectly put a $100 deposit in as $1,000 cash and gave the customer too much money.  She called the customer, the customer insisted that he gave her $1,000 and she was stuck with the outage.

Basically it all boils down to this- if a teller makes a mistake, chances are the proof department will find it.  If you notice the error, bankers definitely do appreciate the heads up.  They can and will debit your account to put the teller and bank in balance.

Have you ever been credited too much money?  Did you say something?

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12 Responses to “A Teller Deposited Too Much Money- Can I Keep it?”


  1. I have not been credited with too much money but just recently my bank didn’t put in a cash withdrawal for $200. I called to tell them about it and then they not only withdrew $200 but an additional $400 as it seems the clearing people had caught the problem the same day. Then they had to reverse the second $200. Luckily I had enough money in the bank to cover the second $200 withdrawal! Kind of bugged me that they did that!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Mrs. A- WOW! That sucks. I would be mad they did that too. I’ve seen people’s accounts get messed up by proof a few times. :)

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  2. Ouch. I’m glad you pointed this out. It reinforces the fact that checking your statements is a good way to make sure that your account reflects all your deposits and withdrawals because human error occurs on a regular basis. Calling the bank when the error is in the bank’s favor ensures that you have all the money you’re entitled to. Calling when the error is in your favor helps the teller – who has a tough job and relatively low pay – keep his or her job. Good to check credit card statements and other financial paperwork for the same reason.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    ami- Oh gosh, yes! Definitely check your statements. :) Fantastic tip. I know that when errors are made at the bank they are usually found. Sometimes they aren’t though!

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  3. T.J. Mahaffey says:

    I’ve seen similar discussions on other blogs and they always leave me thinking, “If you have to ask, it’s wrong.”

    I personally couldn’t stomach taking advantage of an error in my favor like this. First, because its obvious to me that the bank will eventually find and fix it – and come looking for their money!
    And, second, because its just another form of theft if you take money that you know isn’t yours.

    That being said, I once had a teller make a $20 mistake in my favor when I cashed a check. It was many years ago, when I was a teenager. I watched him count too much, but I didn’t say a thing. Then, I left and spent that extra money like I’d won the lottery. Stupid.

    That has always bothered me, but I like to think I’m a better person now.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    TJ- Oh gosh, I couldn’t keep the money either. I would feel horrible. Chances are, they’ll catch it eventually, and if the money’s not in the account, they will still debit it and make the account go overdrawn!

    Thanks for sharing your story- I am sure you would do the right thing now and that’s what’s important. We all make mistakes! :)

    [Reply]

  4. PrincessG says:

    I’m sitting at home now looking at a 7,000 increase in my checking balance due to an obvious error. I just called to have them release a 3.2K hold from a 8K deposit last week. It looks like they added the credit memo twice. I’m sure they will catch it tonight.

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  5. kristina says:

    I want to know if this is right or not, i went to cash my check in from work the bank tell wrote in on the computer that my check was for 489, when in fact it says on the check that it is just for 289. Well she did what she does and then she just counted out the money and gave it to me, well now the bank wants me to pay them back for their mistake , out of my own time and hard earned money that can not be right is it?

    [Reply]

    Sigan Reply:

    Im in the same situation except mine was for a greater amount. They withdrew my account and made me get an insufficient funds fee. What ever happened to you? They are asking me to pay it back, and I really don’t have the money to do so. They say they have me on camera, I just don’t know how to return it without looking stupid.

    [Reply]

  6. jd66wk says:

    I actually had a bank double a $15,000 deposit and did not catch it. I finally called the bank after a month to tell them their mistake and they said they never would have caught it if I wouldn’t have called them. Pretty scary that they don’t have enough controls in place to catch that type of error.

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