Bank Of America Puts Me On Ice – Here’s The Lame Reason Why

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Bank of America Lock

During a morning jog a few days ago, I ignored a phone call.  After a breather, I noticed the same number left a voice mail and text.  There was no spam alert on any of these attempts at contact, so I figured it may be a legit matter.  Indeed, it was, and I wanted to deal with it immediately.  It turned out I was dealing with a Bank of America lock of my credit limit.  Here’s what happened and how it’s turning out.

Bank of America Doesn’t Like My (New) Business

The text I received from Bank of America stated:

“Bank of America was unable to reach you on the phone today regarding your account info.  Please call us at 800.581.3074.”

What a vague text encouraging a customer to call.  It worked.  I called back and received their automated system.  After a five minute wait, a rep came on and asked about my recent transactions on the account.  I confirmed that I had recently used my Amtrak and Air France cards often during the current statement cycle.  She referenced that I hadn’t used the cards heavily in the past few months.  I agreed, stating that I had only made a few small purchases on each card during that previous timeframe, but I was interested in using those cards more now.  The agent queried if anyone else had asked me to use the cards on their behalf.  I said no; I had made all charges without anyone else’s pressure.

She asked about the bank account I had subsequently used to pay off the Amtrak card.  I answered all of her questions, advising that I use that and other accounts to normally pay off credit cards.

The Hammer (Temporarily)

The rep then advised that Bank of America found the activity unusual and would lock my credit limit for 15 days to ensure the previous payment clears.  One immediate solution she offered was to call the bank with me on the line to confirm the payment, and my Amtrak credit limit could be released immediately.  I replied that I was in the middle of a workout and found that solution inconvenient.  I then said I can use other credit cards until later in June when my Bank of America credit limits are released.

Bank of America Lock

Okay, Bank of America, I Get It

The next morning, I got another call from the same number.  I immediately answered this time and waited on hold for the next available rep.  (This is a new move from banks I haven’t experienced much, but I can’t stand.  They call me and automatically put me on hold.)  A rep from Bank of America Underwriting answers, greets me, and tells me to wait while he reviews the account information.  I told him I dealt with this the day before.  He puts me off, saying there’s more to verify.

After he read everything in the notes, he apologizes, saying there’s nothing left to verify.  He said Bank of America would release my credit limits later in June.  I ask why it takes Bank of America so long to confirm payment.  He deflected, saying that payments can take anywhere from a few days to a few months (?) to verify.

Geez, Dude

Even after saying he had nothing else to verify, he asked me which bank I paid from.  I told him to please wait while I logged on to the Bank of America site and checked.  A few minutes later, I answered him.  He said he found it odd that it took me so long to answer this question.  He commented that most people know immediately which account they pay from.  I said I paid the account about ten days earlier, I couldn’t remember which bank account I paid from, and I wanted to give him the right info.  No response.

I asked if we were done.  Again, he offered to call the bank to confirm the payment.  He said that he had no special number to call and that he’d have to call like any normal customer with me on the line.  Who knows how long this would take?  Not wanting to get involved in this nonsense, I turned down this offer again.  As the day before, I said I’d just use other banks’ credit cards in the meantime.

Conclusion

I guess I’m not surprised that Bank of America found my recent credit card behavior suspicious.  It’s been several months since I used the cards for more than a few small purchases, and my recent activity had been much busier.  I came close to maxing out each credit line without going over.  But other banks haven’t gone so far to freeze out my credit limits.  This Bank of America lock is inconvenient but not a huge deal.  I have plenty of other rewards card options in the meantime.  This experience is a small reminder to have plenty of contingencies when a primary option disappears, even if just temporarily.  Have you experienced a similar Bank of America lock?  How did it work out for you?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA expense-free (or close to it). He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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19 COMMENTS

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19 COMMENTS

  1. US banking is 20 years behind rest of world…. with Autopay supposed to sound like some advanced and complex new tech 😀

  2. B of A is a major cluster.
    Made a large deposit into my savings account.
    Received a letter saying that there was a “hold” on my deposit for 12 days despite the fact that the money had already left the originating bank account by the next day after the deposit.
    Not sure they are worth the hassle

    • docntx (and most everyone else),
      Thanks for sharing all of your Bank of America horror stories! In my view, all of these negative experiences speak volumes and should be a warning to all considering regular business with Bank of America.

  3. Aha: “I immediately answered this time and waited on hold for the next available rep.”

    Too many years ago to count I was a lawyer for a NY state agency in NY City. The phone rang, a woman said “please hold on for Mr. X (the attorney for a very major law firm representing the other side in a matter assigned to me). I hung up. In about 30 seconds the exact same thing happened ending with me hanging up again. In another 30 seconds the phone rang and the woman (by now I recognized her voice) said “there’s something wrong with your phone you keep getting disconnected.” I told her that I was not at Mr. X’s beck and call and that when he wanted to call me he had better be on the phone.

    Never happened again.

  4. Setting up an autopay for full amount is an exercise in pulling teeth
    Amex is best – open card, activate it online and then setup bank accounts to pay from and set up full statement amount; Citi and Chase and not far behind – but with BofA, it is an exercise in futility until you get to know all the options – it is really a post in itself on ow to do it
    Also another quirk with BofA with payments
    Once Autopay is set up for full balance – with Chase, Amex and Citi – if you pay it off, then the autopay amount gets canceled or reduced by the paid amount
    With BofA – once you set up an amount for autopay, there is no stopping it – eg, you have a bill for 5k, you pay it off, they will still take a 5 k payment on the due date again if you set up full statement balance!

  5. BofA routinely takes 5 days to process a payment, whether pushed from the checking account or pulled from the BofA credit card.
    Usually the next day the amount clears e.g., 5k payment opens up a 5k credit available, but the day after – a pending charge applies again – pending payment – and that removes the credit line that was open the day before for next 5 days
    Have had it for years !
    Even now after tons of credit history, they still do it.

  6. I have an Alaska VISA with Bank America. They have the worst website of any bank and have an awkward way they deal with business accounts.

    Worst of all, their own people don’t know how their accounting works (at least on the business side)

    If it wasn’t for me wanting an Alaska credit card, you couldn’t pay me to bank with them.

  7. BofA has used hyper sensitive fraud triggers for years. Nothing new here. You were right to decline the “verification” call. No need to waste your time with this nonsense. In the end it is BofA loss as they will miss out on the interchange fees.

  8. I’ve experience the ‘call the paying bank to verify the payment’ before with them, but nothing as extensive as your experience. After doing a conference call with both banks everything was fine.

  9. I think once they get use to your spending patterns then the nonsense will go away. I routinely run $25-30k through my personal Alaska Airlines card and they don’t even flinch which some of the transactions being in $6-7k at a time.

    • 2808 Heavy,
      Yes, they alluded to this during the call. I couldn’t help but laugh, seeing how I need access to my CL to establish a pattern.

  10. Just so you know, if you change the bank account with which you are paying your credit card statement, the validation process you mentioned restarts. Typically, 10 days to clear funds. This will go on for 2 or 3 months. A number of banks do this. Strangely, even if it is a checking account at the card issuer. You’re not alone.

  11. Had the same experience except my cards were frozen with no notifications. Got transferred around a bit before someone could help. The stated concern was that I had been buying gift cards and they worried someone was pressuring me to do it. Also asked about the bank account used to pay and whether the funds were coming from someone else. I was able to resolve everything on the call so I didn’t have the same extended lock as you. But it does seem like BOA doesn’t like our activities.

  12. Signed up for the Flying Blue card…downloaded the temp card numbers and credentials to use immediately. Everything I put in got rejected. Called BOA …”I’d have to wait 5 business days to use temporary credentials. They’ve been getting “a lot of fraud” with the temp credentials “
    Waited 5 days…still couldn’t use ‘em.
    Card Finally came in the mail. Activated it…got three or four texts, push, and email asking if it’s me.
    Mind you I had a couple of big deadlines to use the card.
    Boa seems to really hung up on fraud almost as much as Citi with @detroitmark.
    I also got a letter telling me they’ve rearranged my credit line..so that means I think I’m at the end of my rope with BOA.
    Sorry…Rant over…it struck a nerve.

    • Geo,
      Ouch – sorry this happened to you. I’ve experienced BOA shuffling CL without my input, too, but I’ve also been able to move CL around freely by calling in. I’ve noticed they’re jumpy with fraud alerts, too. BOA has actually been worse than Citi, in my experience.

    • I went to the executive office with complaints about the temporary card being declined, after 10d they admitted it only works with KLM/AF and a few authorized merchants they don’t tell you about. So it’s gonna be hit my 2K spend and then never use the card again, BoA is awful.

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