savings

FDIC insures bank deposits to $250,000

FDIC hot line, online consumer forms and Edie

The FDIC offers multiple ways for depositors to find out how to set up their accounts to maximize their protection:
  • A toll-free consumer hot line, (877)ASK-FDIC or (877)275-3342, allows depositors to talk to a live person at no cost.
  • An online customer assistance form allows depositors to ask questions or submit complaints by e-mail.
  • An automated interactive online service, the Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator, also known as "Edie," helps depositors analyze whether accounts are properly set up.
  • Depositors can ask questions or submit complaints by mail to: FDIC, Attn: Deposit Insurance Outreach, 550 17th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20429-9990.

No recourse for bad advice

Depositors who have more than $250,000 in one banking institution are strongly encouraged to take advantage of those informational resources because mistakes can prove quite costly, Barr says.

"I've seen more and more people who have made basic assumptions on how deposit insurance works, and they were wrong and they lost money," he says. "Those are the hardest cases, because all it would have taken was to call our toll-free telephone number or to go online and ask Edie some questions. And just that few minutes would have saved people, sometimes, a considerable amount of money."

Moreover, depositors are responsible for their own bank accounts and there's no insurance for losses due to bad advice, Barr says.

"If your accountant or financial adviser or planner, or even a banker or your parents, tells you how to structure your accounts," Barr says, "and they aren't telling you the information correctly and something happens to your bank and you end up with uninsured money, there is no recourse for that deposit."

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