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Thousands of new Truist bank customers lose access to cards, money during merger

As SunTrust and BB&T merged under the new Truist umbrella, customers across the southeast experienced major issues with their accounts.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Imagine going to a pharmacy to pick up and pay for regular medications, only to find out your debit card is declined.

It's a situation that happens to many people.

But then imagine using that same debit card to pay for items at a different store, only to again see it declined.

That's what happened to Kim Pruett, a Tennessee mom who was simply running errands on a Monday morning.

"So everything we had to do today, we've had to put on our credit card, which isn't incredibly inconvenient...," Pruett said. "But for people who don't have access to credit cards, that's problematic."

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Hundreds of miles away in Florida, Dave Grad was experiencing similar issues. He spent hours on Monday, trying to hook up his new debit card to pay bills, but nothing went through.

"They're getting error messages," Grad said. "I can't through. I can't get through."

Both Pruett and Grad are former SunTrust Bank customers. SunTrust and BB&T both merged into Truist Financial to become the tenth-largest bank in the United States.

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Truist is headquartered in Charlotte and has branches in 15 states.

On Feb. 19, the merger was set to go through. In a letter to new customers, people like Pruett and Grad were told to activate their new debit and credit cards on Feb. 21. 

But Feb. 21 was a federal holiday, so banks were not open for people to withdraw cash if their new cards weren't working.

Dozens of people complained to Truist on social media, saying they couldn't access their money and were on hold with support staff for hours.

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In a statement to WCNC, a Truist spokesperson said:

"As part of our transition to Truist, some clients—after activating their new Truist debit card—are experiencing a delay of up to a few hours before they are able to use it. Our teams are working diligently to restore these services, and we encourage our clients to visit Truist.com where we’re posting updates. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused for these clients and appreciate their patience as we transition SunTrust products to Truist."

Both Grad and Pruett call the situation unacceptable.

"This is a disaster, this is literally a disaster," Grad said. "Even for a few hours, those hours are a lot of time for people who needed that money at that point. So I was lucky I didn't need it right then and there. But for other people, who knows."

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing money@wcnc.com.

Pruett said she wanted a response from Truist about the issues she experienced.

"Between me and my husband, we have five accounts with Truist," Pruett said. "And it's very disheartening to see that they don't even want to respond or even put something out on social media."

Truist did respond on Twitter to some complaints from customers. 

On its webpage, the company posted an advisory about the issues.

Credit: Truist

The latest message on Truist's website to customers encouraged them to activate their debit cards through online banking or the mobile app, at a Truist or non-Truist ATM, or during a purchase with the card's PIN.

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