Who Takes Back Pennies?

When I was in the process of getting a Zecco trading account a couple of weeks ago, it really surprised me when Zecco took back the two small trial deposits from my checking account after the account verification process was completed. The total of 40 cents was nothing, but the action itself speaks more than the money involved: they care more about pennies here and there than impressing customers with some free money. Sure, it’s not my money to keep in the first place and, though not happy, I didn’t abandon or reduce usage of the account because they refused to spare 40 cents, but I still got a bad taste in my mouth.

Then this morning, Blunt Money also said a total of 29 cents were taken back by Ameritrade after the account was opened. So Zecco isn’t alone in that department. Now, I am wondering who else will take back trial deposits after account verifications. I have opened multiple accounts in the past two years with many using trial deposits instead of voided check for ownership verification, but none of the banks retract pennies and dimes. Could it be that the banks let me keep the free money, but brokerages take it back?

If you have similar experience, maybe you can share it with us here. So far we have

  • Zecco: $0.40
  • Ameritrade: $0.29
  • Washington Mutual: $1.04 (thanks James)

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10 Responses to “Who Takes Back Pennies?”

  1. James E Watson |  Jun 30, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    AmeriTrade took back 0.61
    Washington Mutual took back 1.04
    E-Loan did NOT take back 0.98
    ING Direct did NOT take back 0.27

  2. Sun |  Jun 30, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks for the information, James. I didn’t know WaMu takes back the deposits as well. It seems brokerage firms are not the only companiesthat are “cheap.”

  3. rocketc |  Jun 30, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    Emigrant Direct .19 from one account and 1.26 from another account.

  4. Avie |  Jun 30, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    etrade did NOT take back 0.97 and 0.61

  5. Shadox |  Jun 30, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Why shouldn’t they take back the cash? It’s only pennies for you but consider that they probably have tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of transactions like this per year. This money adds up quickly. I am not exactly clear about why you would feel annoyed by this? After all it is their money, and transfers were made merely to verify your account.

  6. Super Saver |  Jul 01, 2007 at 10:11 am


    On a tangent, it is a bit concerning that Zecco was able to take out the money without any additional authorization from you. What if they had added 3 or 4 zeroes inadvertently, and took $4000 from one’s account? I’m sure one would get it back, but it still would be a headache.

  7. Sun |  Jul 01, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Shadox: True, it’s not my money, but I consider it a good gesture if they like me keep it. Speaking of costs, everybody probably get dozens of junk mails from banks, brokers, credit card companies every month. When I get those mails, I only take a quick look then shred it. Do you think banks should send out less junk mails that nobody is going to take action with them and save some money on postage and print and paper as well? There are many places they can save 40 cents.

  8. MoneyNing |  Jul 02, 2007 at 1:49 am

    It does make sense for the bank to take back the cash. Imagine that you made 100 accounts, and then you would add 99 balance transfers to each account. Let’s say you get $1 for each balance transfer setup, after 100 accounts, you would be getting like $10k free.

    (I actually thought about doing this when I first had those online saving accounts, but some of my accounts took the money back, and it destroyed my amazing money making idea).

  9. Minimum Wage |  Jul 05, 2007 at 3:53 am

    Question: My credit union rejects deposits less than $1. (I discovered this when PayPal verification deposits were not received.) What do they do if their deposits are not accepted?

  10. Sun |  Jul 07, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Minimum Wage: I am afraid I don’t have the exact answer you need, but I feel that using trial deposit is just for quick processing and convenience. You can always use traditional method such as mailing back a mail for exactly the same verification purpose. I like trial deposit because I don’t have to wait a week to use the account.