• Organizational Failures Come in Threes

    This post originally appeared on The Finance Buff.

    Three organizations failed me today.

    Number 1: The United States Postal Service (USPS). I received an e-mail today stating that the USPS could not deliver my package from Amazon.com. I had ordered three normal size books so this was not an unusually large package. I have received packages much larger many times. I have an easily accessible covered porch. There is no excuse for the USPS not to leave a package.

    When I called the post office I was told I could come pick up the package. My exact reply was, “No. That’s not my job. The entire reason I made this purchase by mail and paid the shipping is so that it would be delivered to my house. That’s your job. I cannot think of a reason why it would not have been delivered to my house except that someone is not doing their job.”

    The postal worker took the tracking number and said she’d look into it. I received a call about a half hour later saying she found my package and was sending it out. When I got home I found it on my porch. Was that really so hard?

    Number 2: The State Department of Revenue (DoR). The USPS had no trouble delivering a letter to me from the DoR stating that they did not receive my 2008 tax payment with my tax return. According to them I owe the tax (~$500) plus interest and a penalty (another $20). They seem to have received my tax return and my payment was in the same envelope. I think they lost the payment so I intend to fight the interest and penalty payment.

    Fortunately, Bank of America permits a payment stop on a check for free if you say the check is lost, otherwise it would be a $30 fee. I think I will always say the check is lost. In this case that is not a lie. So I stopped payment on the original check and will make a new payment electronically. Sheesh!

    Number 3: Bank of America (BoA). Tonight I looked into BoA’s Online Bill Pay service. I’m not impressed. I would like to pay a friend electronically, transferring funds from my checking account to his. Since I will be doing this regularly (probably monthly) to pay for a service he is providing it would be nice not to have to write a check and to save him a trip to the ATM to deposit it. But, it seems that Bill Pay is set up just to send out bill payments. It does not seem set up to make electronic transfers to checking accounts. Or, if you can do that, I don’t see how with the options provided online. There is no place to enter a routing number, for example. Where it asks for an account number it seems to be thinking of a billing account, not a checking account. (If anyone knows how to make electronic payments between checking accounts via BoA, let me know.)

    • TIE – If your friend also uses BoA, you can pay him electronically. If your friend doesn’t use BoA, you can’t do it because of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements. See BoA demo (click on Transfer Inside in the left panel) and Transfer FAQ.

    • Could other payment methods work, such as paypal?

    • Yes, PayPal will work if both TIE and his friend sign up with PayPal for a personal account and add a bank account to their respective PayPal account. As long as TIE uses the bank account (not a credit card) to send money to his friend, there is no fee to either party. Because of KYC and AML requirements, TIE and his friend must be customers of a common entity, either the same bank or PayPal.

    • You can send an “electric check” with ING Direct’s Electric Orange account. You key in the routing and account numbers of the person you want to pay. Money is transferred by ACH.

    • ING Electric Check demo. Pretty cool. The recipient has to come to ING and confirm. I think the ACH isn’t sent until the recipient confirms. I don’t see an automatic or scheduling option in the demo.

    • > You can send an “electric check” with ING Direct’s
      > Electric Orange account. You key in the routing and
      > account numbers of the person you want to pay. Money
      > is transferred by ACH.

      Can you setup automatic transfers?

    • The ING electric check looks nice but I do not have this account. You need to keep at least $50k in this account to earn a decent amount of interest.

      My main checking account is now with Alliant CU, with Fido’s mySmartCash as secondary for billpay. I think these two accounts will complement each other: when the Feds start to raise the short term rates, Fido’s MMF will most likely yield more than Alliant’s checking account.

    • Nice blog! Keep up the good work.