5 things your bank teller isn’t telling you

They can waive fees and love to gossip.

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From the September/October 2013 issue of the magazine.

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  1. We can drop fees. Why dig into your pockets when tellers routinely waive bank draft, certified cheque and overdraft fees? There’s no harm in asking for a break, especially in extenuating circumstances or when service is slow. “If I take forever with a transaction then I waive the fee as a courtesy,” said a teller who has worked at several major Canadian banks.
  2. We have sales quotas. Most tellers have monthly credit-card and referral quotas based on hours worked and tied to year-end bonuses, so watch out for aggressive over-the-counter sales pitches. Some banks even have special premiums that make bonuses skyrocket after a certain amount of product is sold. Even credit limit increases count toward quotas at some banks.
  3. We overlook details. Tellers often miss the date on postdated cheques and process them anyway. If and when a premature transaction is caught, you will be called by the bank to return the money until the original date transpires. It’s best to double-check when cashing a cheque since the onus is on you.
  4. We’re smarter than you think. Since bank tellers have pretty good insight into your spending habits they tend to offer money-saving suggestions. For instance, a reward card may be suggested to a customer who spends a lot on gas and groceries. “When I see an opportunity to increase a person’s savings or reduce their debt load, I want to help them,” said the teller. “I wish people were a little more receptive to that.”
  5. Some of us love to gossip. Tellers have exclusive access to your chequings, savings and investment accounts. While they’re not supposed to sift through personal transaction details unless there is a reason to, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. “We can see everything and sometimes chat among ourselves about how much money so-and-so is making and spending,” said another source at a bank.

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