Online Neobanks vs. brick-mortar: How a Ga. man spent months fighting for his money

Thieves stole his debit card number and spent $7K on Crypto Currency. Now he’s been waiting on hold with his virtual bank.
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 11:49 PM EST
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SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (CBS46) - A metro Atlanta business owner tried to recover thousands of dollars stolen from his online banking account. He picked a virtual bank because it saved money on fees, but what it did not save is time.

It’s been three years since Cody Parks switched from fitness trainer to business owner. In 2019 he bought Formwell Personal Training in Sandy Springs. Formwell’s niche is small group training with the 40 and over crowd. He trains online and he banks online, keeping track of finances through the virtual online only bank, Lending Club.

“And online banking seemed to be the way to go as far as lower fees and not getting hit with all these fees that you get at a brick-and-mortar bank,” he said.

Online only banking apps are everywhere – some, like Lending Club and Varo are real virtual banks but others like Chime and Walmart’s Gobank, are technology companies that partner with banks. Not having a physical location means customers could be stuck waiting in a virtual line if there’s a problem with their account.

Parks still isn’t sure how someone got his business debit card number. He says thieves used it to buy thousands of dollars in crypto currency. In all there were six purchases, online thieves managed to steal $7,126 from his business account. Parks says he called Lending Club after the third transaction, but the remaining charges processed the next day.

“Long story short I’m calling almost every day and it takes 15 to 20 minutes to prove your identity and then you rerun your story because it’s always something different.” Parks said.

Lending club said it has over 600 customer service representatives, but Parks has still been disputing the charges since November. It wasn’t until CBS46′s Better Call Harry got involved that the funds were returned, while the bank’s fraud department takes up to 90 days to investigate.

Better Call Harry Suggestions

Whether you use a brick and mortar or a virtual bank there are two things that will save you. Go online and set up two factor authentication. And if they offer it, set up text alerts for transactions and withdrawals.

If there’s something you would like CBS46′s Consumer Investigator Better Call Harry to look into, fill out this submission form.