A student from Nigeria, who had been a Chase customer for 10 years, began receiving wires in 2018 from his parents back home to help him cover rent while waiting for federal employment verification to accept a full-time role at Morgan Stanley. That summer, Chase sent him a letter saying his accounts would be shuttered, likely because they suspected a potential scam.

A man who was renovating a house he bought in New York in late 2016, withdrew cash multiple times from one of his Citi accounts to pay his contractor. His bank then called to ask why he was making repeated cash withdrawals and, on each call, he explained the situation. The customer said he was aware that banks are wary of large transactions in round numbers, but figured he was taking out his own money and using it for a contractor doing visible work.

In each of these cases, a fatal mistake is thinking your bank balances are your money, there for you to use whenever and however you choose.

In reality, your account balance is not how much you own, but how much the bank owes you. If this is news to you, look up ‘fractional reserve banking’ to learn about and better understand how our banking system works.

Turns out you are a creditor to your bank, but somehow they get to define the parameters of the relationship and the fees you will be charged for loaning your money to the bank. Just doesn’t seem fair.

READ MORE: Your bank is not your friend