Earlier this month I mentioned in passing that ACH pulls to my Suntrust checking account invariably took 3 business days to process, unlike the next day transfers I was able to request with my Bank of America checking account.
I assumed that was a deliberate choice Suntrust made, perhaps because next-day ACH transfers are more expensive, or perhaps simply because the Automated Clearing House makes the funds available to them immediately and they prefer to hold them for a few days before releasing them to clients.
Lo and behold, I logged into my Suntrust account today to transfer some money in from my local, money-order-friendly credit union and found that a new option had appeared: free next-day transfers!
Why me? Why now?
I asked on Twitter whether anyone else noticed the new external transfer option appear recently, and heard from one reader who had been using it for some time and one who still didn't have it.
My best guess at this point for what triggered its appearance on my account is simply the passage of time. I initiated the process of opening my account in early April, and had my first account activity on May 5 (it took me a long time to receive all my credentials). That gives a timeframe of 2.5 to 3.5 months months before next day transfers became available for me, depending on when the clock started.
The other alternative is that Suntrust has a risk model that combines age of account with other factors: number of transactions, average daily balances, or others.
Are there limits?
I'm not embarrassed in the slightest to say that I have so far pushed far less money monthly through my Suntrust account than other players; the only absolutely essential thing in this game is to know the limits of your own comfort, and I'm very, very comfortable with mine.
However, an additional limit to the amount of spend I could put on the Suntrust card each month was that 3-business-day waiting period between initiating a transfer and the funds becoming available. Next day transfers mean there are fewer tradeoffs between Suntrust spend and transactions made through other sources (since less money is ever held out of play in ACH Limbo).
On the other hand, while Bank of America clearly publishes the limits for 3-day and next-day external transfers, Suntrust does not appear to (although I'd be happy to be corrected in the comments). That doesn't mean such limits don't exist but rather that, if they do, additional experimentation is required to discover them.
Of course, this post is only relevant to those readers who listened to my exhortations to apply for a Suntrust Delta Skymiles Check Card before they stopped accepting applications. For those of you who did, congratulations, and as your account ages watch for the appearance of online, next-day transfers.
Additional datapoints are, as always, welcome in the comments. See you there!