For a few years now, I've been using Bank of America's online bill pay to pay most of my monthly bills. Before last month, when I paid a bill, the money was taken out of my account right then, and a payment was sent to the payee. That payment, whether it was an electronic transfer or a check issued by the bank, was guaranteed funds. No worries.
Now, instead of taking the money out of the account right then, BofA leaves it in the account until the payee cashes the check. Essentially, they now write the payee a personal check from my account, and the funds stay there for 4-7 days (it takes 4 days for BofA to deliver the payment, and usually a few more days for the payee to process the payment--it took a week for my last utility bill payment to leave my account from the day I made the payment online).
Why on earth would I want that money to stay in my account for an extra week? I'm not earning interest from my checking balance, and the money is already committed to the bill I've paid. All this change does is drastically increase the chances that my account will be overdrawn.
BofA has destroyed any incentive to use their online bill pay system, and with it, online banking. I might as well pay my bills with personal checks, since that's all BofA is doing now. At least if I write the checks myself, I'll have my hand-written register to tell me what funds are available to me. I can't count on my online balance any more, since Bill Pay doesn't remind me what bill payments are still pending. (Even after I commit to making an online bill payment, the debit isn't listed on my main account page along with other "pending transactions." Think about that--if you were banking normally and writing personal checks, would you wait until the checks cleared to record that transaction in your checkbook register? That's what BofA is doing now.)
What galls me the most about all of this is BofA is touting these ruinous changes as big improvements--"Bill Pay just got better" they say, over and over again. "Even better, funds can stay in your account longer-since your money remains in your account until the payee receives the payment."
How is this "better?" I suppose if you pay bills from your interest-bearing savings account, the extra week those funds sit there can earn you .0013¢. But really, this is better for Bank of America, since they're far more likely to reap more overdraft charges, now that your online balance is meaningless if you use online Bill Pay.
I'm switching to BB&T as soon as I can. Good riddance to Bank of America.