Marketplace Scratch Pad

A rounding error?

Scott Jagow Jul 17, 2009

You can argue there’s plenty of fishy math going on at the banks, but can you imagine if you clicked on your bank account and saw this number:

-$23,148,855,308,184,500.

That’s what Josh Muszynksi of New Hampshire saw when he checked his account balance after buying a pack of cigarettes at a gas station.

He used his debit card and was charged more than 23 quadrillion dollars. For a pack of cigarettes. I mean, I know they’ve increased taxes on tobacco, but…

From AP:

Muszynski says says he spent two hours on the phone with Bank of America trying to sort out the string of numbers and the $15 overdraft fee.

Yes, of course, the $15 fee for going twenty-three quadrillion, one hundred forty-eight trillion, eight hundred fifty-five billion, three hundred eight million, one hundred eighty-four thousand, five hundred dollars in the hole.

The bank did correct the error the next day, but in typical fashion, B of A told reporters Visa would answer their questions, and Visa directed questions to Bank of America.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.