How to Bank During a Snowstorm


The snow blizzard that wreaked havoc up and down the East Coast on Dec. 26 did more than dump two feet of snow on major cities.

It also threw bank customers off their game, with early closings, late openings, and in many cases, a delay in processing pay checks and deposits during and after the storm. It was a good lesson for bank customers – know how banks usually operate in heavy snow conditions, and act accordingly.

But while some solutions to “bad weather” banking are universal, some aren’t. Let’s look at some steps consumers can take to get their banking done with no hassle – leaving them to focus on family, safety and maybe even a hot cup of cocoa by the fireplace.

1. Call your bank in advance. Banks have varying “bad weather” policies, and can close early in a snowstorm and open late in the storm’s aftermath. That poses more than the obvious problem – depositing checks and cash. If banks close early, and you can’t get your funds into your account, you may fall victim to an overdraw, and suffer the fees and penalties that come part and parcel with that. If you need to get to your bank, get there in advance of the storm, or call before the storm for their branch closing policy, and make plans accordingly.

2. Get direct deposit. The number one problem facing bank consumers during a snowstorm is getting access to cash - to pay for a snowplow driver, or to get the essentials (like food and firewood) to survive a day or two indoors when you’re snowbound. The next big issue is not having access to the bank, and thus not getting funds in to cover outbound checks and debit transactions. Direct deposit covers both of these problems. By having your funds on hand, in your checking account, you can either get funds at a closer location (like a convenience store ATM), and you have cash in your account to cover check and debit withdrawals before the storm hits. One huge frustration in a snowstorm is having your paycheck in hand, but not being able to get to the bank to deposit it. Direct deposit is a big help in such circumstances.

3. Open an online account. Another great way to do your banking in a snowstorm – with an online banking account. You can move money around your various accounts, as needed, and you can check the bank’s website for updates on branch openings and closings so you can plan your next financial move. A bonus: Banks can cut you fee and interest rate breaks when you bank online. When you open your online account, makes sure you ask your bank what deals you get for banking via computer or mobile phone.

Snowstorms are a fact of life for most Americans. But you can minimize the fallout if you know your bank’s hours; know your paycheck is already in your account, and know that you have options online to keep your money working for you in a severe winter blizzard.

Don’t take the issue lightly. Money, like rust, never sleeps. And if you can’t access your money in a snowstorm, you might lose plenty of sleep yourself.

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