Can Banks Take Your Money Without Permission?

US Bank

Banks are the safe haven for our money. This financial institution is charged with ensuring that our money is safe and readily available when required. When we deposit our money in the bank, we often don’t know what happens to it. We are only provided with figures which depict the money in our accounts. Considering this, you may have considered the possibility of a bank taking your money without your permission since they are charged with securing it. However, is this possible?

Generally, your bank cannot withdraw money from your checking account without your permission. But, there is one important exception. In some cases, the bank can withdraw money from your checking account to settle a delinquent loan with the bank.

While many people store their money in banks, some decide to store theirs elsewhere because of their distrust of banks. Yes, there are people out there who feel that their money isn’t safe with financial institutions. They harbor the belief that banks could take their money without their permission or nib it little by little. If you are scared about a bank taking your money without informing you, there are some essential things you need to know. I have highlighted these things in this article.

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Can Banks Take Your Money Without Permission?

About 9 in every 10 individuals own a bank account where they store their money for future use. Unlike your home, banks are one of the safest places to keep your money. They have the facilities designed to keep your money safe, sometimes even in the event of bad circumstances like theft. In addition, they have the means designed to make your money available whenever you need it.

However, since you entrust your money to banks, can they take it without informing you? Put differently, can your bank use your money for expenses without alerting you? Let’s find out.

A bank cannot take money from your account without informing you. But, there is an exception. If you owe your bank money, they can make money from your account to settle the debt. The bank can take this action without informing you. Also, under other conditions, the bank can allow access to your checking account to other creditors you owe.

Can Banks Legally Withdraw Money From Your Account?

The fact is, banks have the right to withdraw money from one account to cover an unpaid or debt or default from another account. This is only legal when an individual possesses two or more different accounts with a similar bank. So if you have two accounts with the bank of America, and one defaults, the bank can take money out of another one of your accounts to cover the difference.

If you own two different accounts with two separate banks, you don’t need to worry about this happening to you. Put differently; if you have one account with Wells Fargo and a separate account with Bank of America, neither bank can take money from the other to cover a defaulted loan or unpaid balance.

Right of Offset:

Banks can invoke a special privilege called the “right of offset” to withdraw money from your checking account if you are past due to an installment debt such as an automobile loan with the same bank. After you fail to make a payment on the loan, the bank simply debits your account for the amount due. The process is legal under federal law. However, all banks may not decide to make this move.


Bank allows access to checking accounts in another way, as well. They must adhere to orders from a judge allowing a creditor or debt collector to garnish a debtor’s bank account for unpaid debt.

Garnishment is possible when a creditor or debt collector wins a lawsuit for an unpaid debt. Banks don’t give customers prior notice about a pending garnishment as doing so might compel the customer to withdraw the money from their account.

Debtors suffering from garnishment often learn about it when they notice a negative balance in their account when checking the status online or when checks fail to go through.

How to Stop a Bank From Taking Your Money?

The easiest way to stop a bank from withdrawing your money without your consent is to pay delinquent loans quickly. If you owe your bank some money, and it seems you wouldn’t be able to meet up with the payment, call your bank. Doing so can work in your favor more than you think.

By calling your bank to discuss the status of your defaulted accounts, or negative balance, you can find a solution with your bank, thus giving them a reason to not tamper with your account. As long as you make an effort to show banks you are willing to pay what you owe, they are less likely to take drastic action, such as pulling money directly from your account.

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Can the Bank Steal Your Money?

One of the significant duties of a bank is to store your money. The other duties are secondary. Since banks are charged with storing and protecting your money, you may be eager to know if stealing it is possible. In other words, you may want to know if your bank can access your money and steal it.

In the United States, good banks don’t steal your money. However, corrupt employees may try to do this. They are often caught and prosecuted thanks to the measures set by banks to tackle such occurrences.

To ensure that your money doesn’t get stolen, it makes sense to keep track of your account balance. Always know how much you have in your bank account and note the transactions you make so that when the numbers don’t add up, you know what to do and who to blame. If you discover that money is missing from your account, don’t go to your bank and fight them.

First off, you need to understand the situation. Talk with a representative of the bank. Maybe you made a transaction and forgot about it. Or maybe you set up automatic payment and forgot about it. If such isn’t the case, then your bank should provide you with a reasonable explanation.

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