Frequently Asked Questions
Our clients call to ask us a variety of questions. Here are the answers to those we get asked about the most.
Why was I charged a fee when I had enough money in my account? Show
You should review your available balance, as it is the most up-to-date. You can use it to determine which transactions you have made that may not have posted yet, and therefore are not part of your current balance. Typically, Debit Card purchases take 24 hours to clear but may take up to 5 days depending on when the merchant sends the final transaction amount to SunTrust. In the meantime, you might have other items that process to your account (maybe your landlord cashes your rent check, for example), which might not leave sufficient funds to pay for the item once it was processed.
Read more about when money goes in and out of your account here.
What is the difference between current and available balance? Show
Your available balance is the money in your checking or savings account that's currently available to you. This balance is updated throughout the day with any pending transactions you might make – getting cash from the ATM, paying for a burrito with your Debit Card, transferring funds over the phone or online, cashing a check, sending your sister in California money via a wire transfer, etc. The available balance reflects any pending or cleared/processed transactions, and any holds.
Your current balance (also called ledger balance) is the actual amount in your account and does not change throughout the day. It does not include holds or pending transactions. For example, if you used your Debit Card to buy gas late last night, you might not actually be charged until the next day when the gas station processes this transaction.
What is a pending transaction? Show
A pending transaction is a transaction that has not been posted to your account, but is reflected in your available balance. The check portion of a pending deposit has been received but is not yet available for use and is not included in your available or current balances.
For example, a Direct Deposit may be a pending transaction until it posts. A Debit Card purchase may be pending until the merchant sends in the final transaction for payment. Remember, that in situations where there is a tip amount (such as restaurants and barber shops) or estimated authorization amount (such as gas stations and hotels) the final transaction amount submitted by the merchant may differ from the original pending transaction amount. SunTrust has no way of knowing what your final transaction amount is until the merchant sends it to us.
Why do my Debit Card purchases show as pending, then not show up in my account and then post a few days later? Show
This is because the merchant may authorize your card for a purchase, which would cause the transaction to show up as pending in your available balance. Debit Card purchases usually take 24 hours to post, but can occasionally take up to 5 days to clear. In rare situations in which your purchase is no longer pending and has not posted, it means the merchant has not yet submitted the item for final posting and the transaction will disappear from your transaction activity. However, since this was an authorized transaction, we are committed to paying the item, and it will re-appear once the merchant submits the final transaction.
Why do some Debit Card purchases display as pending for one amount and then post for a different amount? Show
For Debit Card purchases, merchants may ask us to approve an initial amount and send the actual transaction amount later. A common example of this occurs when you visit a restaurant. The merchant might authorize the amount of the bill without adding in the tip. Later, when the merchant submits the final transaction amount, your tip will be included.
What is a merchant authorization? Show
A merchant authorization is when the store where you make a Debit Card purchase submits the transaction for approval to ensure you have enough money in your account to cover the purchase. After the authorization is sent, the merchant will send a settlement transaction to reflect the actual amount of your purchase. Usually the transaction will post within 72 hours, but may take up to 5 days.
If my Direct Deposit is posted in the morning, are the funds available to cover checks from the night before? Show
Your employer will let us know the date on which to make the electronic deposit, and we will then deposit the funds into your account effective on that date. Say your effective date of deposit is the 15th, the funds wouldn’t be available for items posting on the 14th. Read more about when money goes in and out of your account here.
If I deposit a check at the branch with a teller, when will it be available? Show
Deposits made prior to the branch’s daily cut off will post that night (times vary, please check with your local bank). If no holds are placed, the deposit is available to cover checks or other items posting that night, and available for debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals the following day. Deposits made after the daily cut off will post the next business day. If a hold is placed, you will be able to see it in Online and Mobile Banking.
If I deposit through the ATM, when will it be available? Show
Deposits made before 12 noon local time, Monday through Friday, will post that night. (If you use one of our new Deposit Image technology ATMs, you have until 9pm ET for your deposit to post that night.) Those made later than noon, and on weekends and holidays, will post the next business day.
Why is there a hold on my account? Show
In most cases, SunTrust makes funds from deposited checks available to you before the funds are collected. However, in some cases, we may place a hold on your account for a portion or full amount of a deposited check. For example, if we have reason to believe a check you deposit will not be paid or if the deposited checks total more than $5,000 in one day, a hold may be placed. Holds are placed to help protect both you and the Bank from losses that could occur when a deposited item is returned unpaid. If we do place a hold on your deposit, you will be notified via mail of the dates the funds will be available for payment or withdrawal. You will also be able to see any holds placed on your account in Online and Mobile Banking.
Read more about funds availability here.
My deposit was made last night. Why did I get an extended overdraft fee? Show
An extended overdraft fee is a $36 fee that is incurred when your current (ledger) balance has been negative for five consecutive business days (does not include Saturdays, Sundays, or bank holidays). To avoid this fee, you must make a deposit to bring your current balance positive by the daily cut-off time on the fifth business day (learn more about the daily deposit cut-off times here).
The fee is based on your current balance at the end of processing on the fifth business day and will be charged that night if your balance remains negative.
If your deposit is made after the daily cut-off time, it will not post to your current balance until the next business day and an extended overdraft fee will be charged.
To help you avoid an extended overdraft fee, we will mail you a written notification when you overdraw your account or an item is returned. When you are at risk of incurring an extended overdraft fee, an alert will be displayed in Online and Mobile Banking providing the date you must make a deposit or transfer by to bring your balance positive and avoid the fee. Additionally, Online Banking clients will receive an email notification to their email address on file. There is no need to opt-in to receive this alert, it is automatic; however, please make sure your email address in Online Banking is up-to-date so you can receive important notifications about your account.
View a chart that will help you learn how to avoid this fee here.
Read more about when money goes in and out of your account here.
What’s the difference between external transfers and Bill Pay? Show
The Bill Pay functionality allows you to pay bills like your utilities, for example, using Online Banking. External transfers let you transfer money between your SunTrust account and your accounts at other banks or financial institutions. Additionally, the Send Money feature allows you to send money to someone else’s account if you know the routing and account number.