Early last year, I applied for the Wells Fargo PMA account package so that I can gain access to their free trade program. However, I did not regularly use the checking (PMA) account and didn’t think much of it. Then in March this year, I read from this Bogleheads post that the PMA account might be closed for “inactivity”. So, I made a reminder to generate some sort activity at least once a year in the checking account.
However, recently, I received an email from Wells Fargo:
Our records indicate that your Bill Pay fee account XXX-XXXYYYY has been closed.Â A Wells Fargo fee account is required for your Bill Pay service.Â To select a new account for automatic payments, go to the Payee Details screen for each payee and select a new Default Payment Account in the Payment Details section.Â If this is the only account linked to your Bill Pay service, please contact us at 1-800-956-4442.
This is not good. I log-on to my account online and true enough, my checking account is on longer listed. If the checking account is closed, then it would mean that my access to the free trade program would be terminated.
I called up Wells Fargo. The first CSR told me that my account is not closed but is “dormant” and she can fix it for me. I then asked her for the reason and she says that it is because there is no activity. I said there is one transaction in April, and her reply was that she can only look back to June. Anyway, she then requested to place me on hold. About two minutes later, she came back and told me that I need to re-activate the account “at a local branch”. I press her to see if she can do anything and she says that there is absolutely nothing she can do for me to reactivate through the phone. I was disappointed, because I hate to visit a branch and perhaps have to listen to some sales pitch while they re-activate the account.
I decided to call Wells Fargo again, hopefully I can get a more helpful CSR. This time, a gentleman answered the phone. I explained that I have a “closed” account and requested that he re-activated it. He put me on hold for a minute or so and told me that he cannot re-activate it but I can re-activate it myself by using making a purchase with using a pin-based transaction on the check card. I asked him if using the check card at an ATM machine would work. He said yes. I thanked him for his time.
Later that same day (8/2/08), I used the check card and successfully pulled out $20 from a Wells Fargo ATM machine. I also deposited a small check through the ATM to “increase the activity”. I checked online but the account is still not listed. Perhaps it will come back on the next business day.
8/4/08 Monday (next business day) morning: my checking account is still not listed. I will wait for tomorrow and see if it comes back, and update this post.
8/5/08 Tuesday: account is still not activated. Called Wells Fargo again. This time the CSR is more helpful. She agreed to send in a request to activate the account but it will take 3 to 5 business days. I asked her what caused an account to be flagged as dormant. She told me that any account without any “physical” activity for one year would be flagged as dormant. Physical activity means that you have to perform the transaction through the teller; pin-based (e.g. through the ATM) or electronic transactions (e.g. ACH transfers) DO NOT count. Oh well, looks like a trip to the bank is unavoidable if I want to get it re-activated quickly. This also means that to avoid future hassles, I should visit the branch and perform a transaction with the teller at least once a year.
8/6/08 Wednesday: My checking account has been re-activated. To see the checking account online again, I do need to choose “Add Accounts” under theÂ “Account Services” tab to add the account again. You can only add it back if the account is no longer flagged as dormant. Anyway, I am not sure which action caused the account to be re-activated again: whether it was my transactions last Saturday or the request I made through the CSR on the phone yesterday. I do need to think of a way to prevent it from being flagged as dormant in future.