When online banking and payment systems first came out, I remember they used to have a lot of issues with giving indicators (visual/email payment confirmation) that a payment was 'locked in', but then due to delays/misreading etc. would end up forcing an insufficient funds fee (NSF) on the client, which we would then have to correct.

There was idle speculation that some of this may have been due to intentional software design, and I'm wondering if anyone has researched or knows anything about whether that is still a thing (NSF by design)?

  • 2
    If there was enough money in your account, and you kept track of it, then you wouldn't have anything to worry about.
    – RonJohn
    Mar 12, 2019 at 20:18
  • Having said that, payments get registered very quickly to my Chase checking account, from DC, bill payment services, etc.
    – RonJohn
    Mar 12, 2019 at 20:20
  • Just a side note...is this site so unfriendly to new people? Like I always see new contributors getting downvote on a normal legitimate question.
    – user67084
    Mar 12, 2019 at 21:29
  • @gamma: It's not a normal legitimate question. It's a rant. You can tell, because it doesn't ask a question and the information it seeks is not constructive/actionable. It could be made into a useful question, however, by asking "What can I do to avoid NSF fees? (even ones that are carefully crafted to trap users)"
    – Ben Voigt
    Mar 13, 2019 at 1:42
  • I'm sure it's happened once or twice. That doesn't mean it's common. It certainly doesn't mean it isn't avoidable, if you just stay aware of your balance and/or maintain some buffer funds in the account. I think you're worrying about something out of your control while ignoring the part that is completely under your control.
    – keshlam
    Sep 7, 2023 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


In 2014, the Washington Post reported that some US banks reordered transactions to maximize overdraft fees. This was perfectly legal, though underhanded. I do not know what the current state of affairs is. This is the type of issue the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created to address.

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