Author Topic: Banking suggestions?  (Read 14923 times)

norvilion

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Banking suggestions?
« on: September 11, 2013, 07:01:59 AM »
<rant intensity=minor> Alas, I've been banking with the same company since I was a teenager (or at least some incarnation of it) and am starting to get a bit fed up with it. First when we opened an account for my wife they signed us up for a credit card despite us explicitly saying that we did not want one (Sign up paper was hidden in other papers to sign, then credit card was later ignored and charged a $70 lack-of-use fee which we had to grudgingly pay before closing it). Next after a few years of having smaller personal checking accounts linked up with the main account we were each suddenly charged an account maintenance fee for low amounts in those. We had to eat that cost and had account changed so they would once more be exempt. This lasted a few years until they pulled the same account maintenance fee stunt on us AGAIN this month. Seriously, they can't do anything about the almost $20 they charged for what amounts to a change on their end without so much as sending me an email notifying of the policy change. We've had to turn our personal account into virtual accounts managed through EEBA to avoid the MONTHLY charge. This time really considering switching out banks, they wouldn't even allow me to consolidate all my money into one checking account ("But you NEED a savings account, I'm not going to close that one").</rant>

On to my actual question- does anyone have a suggestion what would be a good bank to switch over to? I understand that I would have to go through a lot of headache changing out automatic payments and direct deposit and everything, but I feel at this point that my current bank is starting to not be worth the trouble. I have looked a bit into online banking but I'm not familiar enough with the landscape to know what to look for in them. I figured this would be just eh community to ask, and any advice would be greatly appreciated ^_^

Rust

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2013, 07:05:23 AM »
I've been very happy with my capitalone360 account.

Full disclaimer though.  I work for Capital One.  But grandma always said if you cannot dote on the place you work look for a different place to work.

I'm not going to provide a referral link though as I don't think that's ethical of me but someone else is welcome to as I know others here use capitalone360.com for their banking.


Also, I've been a customer much longer than I've been an employee.  Customer since '06 employee since '12.



madage

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2013, 07:18:59 AM »
Retail banking is extremely competitive. You have tons of options. It's pretty easy to avoid monthly fees with Chase, Citi, etc, but you have to make sure you understand and complete the requirements to waive the fees. Are you positive you didn't receive any notification of a change in terms with your current bank? I'm fairly confident they're required to notify you. Also, how did you not realize your bank sent you a credit card? You could have canceled it immediately upon receiving if you didn't want it.

That said, a credit union might be a good option to avoid fees and possibly earn better interest rates. I use Alliant Credit Union for my main checking account. I've never been to a branch. Their online system is fantastic. All it takes is a $10 donation to Foster Care to Success to be eligible to join.

One last thing, depositaccounts.com is your friend.

nuclear85

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2013, 07:26:59 AM »
We used checkingfinder.com to look for accounts when Wachovia turned into Wells Fargo in our area and were unhappy with their 'service'. We were able to find a nice & small bank (Westfield Bank) that was paying 3.5% interest on checking with a couple caveats (one ACH or direct deposit per month, 12 debit transactions per month)... it was about 4 years ago, and the bank was overly optimistic about interest rates; it's since dropped gradually to 2%, but that's really pretty good overall for that period. The bank is in Ohio, and we were in Georgia, so everything has been done completely online. We still use the bank account as our main US account, even though we're living in France. Anyway, we've never paid them a dime for anything, and made plenty in interest. So, I'd recommend using checkingfinder to see what deals are out there.

norvilion

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2013, 07:35:04 AM »
Thanks for the advice, and the credit card thing was as much a matter of being young and stupid as anything. I had heard the "cut up all your credit cards" advice on the radio enough times I thought that was all you had to do to cancel them- that it would automatically close if left at a zero balance for long enough. It is possible that they sent us a notice in physical mail, but they send us enough spam it may have been lost in the noise.

Really good diverse set of suggestions btw, thread seems to be even more helpful than I thought it'd be :)

johnjm22

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2013, 08:41:16 AM »
depositaccounts.com is a very good resource when looking for a bank.

I use a local brick and mortar bank for my checking account, and an online American Express account for my savings account.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2013, 08:46:51 AM »
I would try a smaller local credit union or independent bank or both. I don't trust the JP Morgan Chase American Citi Bank outfits.

madage

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2013, 09:07:15 AM »
I don't trust the JP Morgan Chase American Citi Bank outfits.

Interesting opinion. Is there anything specific you're worried about? General degradation of reputation based on the recent financial crisis? They're not going to steal your money.

Having an account with a national bank can be very handy. More branches (if you're into that sort of thing) and ATM's as a general rule; and the national retail banks tend to be more on the edge of technology than smaller community banks. Mobile deposits, of course, but also envelope-free cash and check deposits at an ATM? Yes, please. Rates, however, tend to leave a lot to be desired, but you can usually find a good promo that will net you $200+ for a new checking account from a national chain. That $200 is 2% on a $10,000 balance for a year.

If you don't like your bank, change. It's not that hard. Make a list of all your auto-payments and direct deposits and move them over to the new bank. Probably less than one hour's work for most, and much less if you don't have a habit of acquiring credit cards for the sign-up bonuses.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2013, 09:27:22 AM »
I don't trust the JP Morgan Chase American Citi Bank outfits.

Interesting opinion. Is there anything specific you're worried about? General degradation of reputation based on the recent financial crisis? They're not going to steal your money.

No, I don't think they'll steal my money.

I prefer to support small and local business. There are pro's and cons to both. I get great service from my locally owned bank without the guilt of supporting some slimey wall street fat cats.

Also, the wife had a very bad situation with US Bank. Years ago she was trying to pay off their credit card. Every time she made a payment they dropped her limit so that the interest charged would automatically push her over the credit limit every month she was charged with an over the limit fee. And she was making payments on time. There are countless stories from these ruthless mega banks... call up some help in India, you get no where. Never again.

SunshineGirl

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2013, 09:37:42 AM »
I bank with a local credit union, but am about to add a Schwab bank account - no minimums, no fees, reimburse all ATM fees, can do direct deposits, free transfers to other accounts. I've always recevied good service from them.

nawhite

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2013, 10:21:50 AM »
I use Ally Bank (ally.com). Its very similar to the Capital One 360 account from what I hear. Ally is an Online Only bank so I get:

- $0 fees regardless of usage (though I do have a direct deposit)
- All ATM fees are reimbursed up to like $10/month. So if I really need to get cash out of some backwoods ATM that charges a $5 ATM fee, I don't care.
- Free checks whenever I ask
- Amazing phone support. I can call 24/7 and have never waited more than 2 minutes on hold. More importantly, every person on their support line is empowered to do everything you ask of them, so if you want to close an account or do big things you don't need to wait to get transferred to a manager. Their support is ALWAYS a better experience than walking into any bank I've ever had.
- Their phone support is also more secure than any other bank I've used. They use a secret question/answer handshake on the phone (only they know the question and only I know the answer) which ensures that on the phone I am talking to them and no one else.
- Two-factor authentication on their online accounts. I work in cyber-security and this is amazing. The "pass-key" images and phrases that other banks use to prove that they are who they say they are don't work as an authentication mechanizm. If I ever log on to my account from a computer I haven't used before (or if someone is trying to hack into my account, I will get a phone call which gives me and only me (not the hacker) a special pin number to enter. This is the only way I've ever felt safe with online banking.

So for security, phone support, ease of use, cost, and rates, I use Ally Bank.

brewer12345

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2013, 11:24:23 AM »
I've been extremely happy with Schwab bank.  I have accounts elsewere (a couple credit unions and a local bank), but for main checking account with bill pay, they are the shizzle.

KingMe

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2013, 11:26:07 AM »
I've been very happy with Ally. Because it's an Internet-only bank, I keep checking and savings accounts at mega-bank just in case I need something that Ally can't do, or can't do immediately. I bookmarked the mega-bank's schedule of fees to make sure I know the fee rules. I basically have a personal no-fee policy, and I have consistently gotten my banks to refund fees when I don't understand why a fee was assessed or when I make simple mistakes. I just ask for an explanation or for a waiver as soon as I notice a fee.

I would talk to the bank manager at the bank you've been using. Tell the manager that you've been a customer for a long time and that you're dissatisfied with the fee situation. In my experience, no bank fee can't be waived. If the bank wants your business, maybe the manager would refund you some past fees (although the longer you waited, the less likely they will waive).

MrsPete

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2013, 01:42:52 PM »
I'll second the idea of using a credit union.  They do have lower interest rates on loans and higher interest rates on savings accounts.  The negative is that they have fewer branches; thus, if you travel, you're likely to be unable to access your own bank, and you may find yourself stuck with an ATM fee. 

As for the credit card concept, I'll tell you this:  I'm not a bit surprised about your $70 story.  Those people push hard in every way to try to get your business.  Something that happened not too long ago:  I had to call my credit card for some reason (can't remember what exactly, but I initiated the call) and the customer-service-creep offered me an extra, upgraded protection service of some sort -- for a fee, of course. I immediately said NO.   The customer-service-creep explained why I really "needed" this.  I again said NO.  She then said something to the effect of, "Well, we'll just start you off with this as a trial, and you can always cancel if you don't like it."  I interrupted and said, "NO, we will NOT do a trial run.  I DO NOT WANT AND WILL NOT PAY FOR THIS SERVICE."  She sighed and said, "Sorry, sorry, sorry, but I have to make the customer say no three times before I can quit asking.  I really can see how they'd fool someone who was distracted, or who didn't quite understand what they were offering, or who was simply intimidated by the aggressive customer service person.  The moral:  Say NO often and forcefully. 

How are you getting hit with all these fees?  I never pay anything for my banking.  Literally nothing.  Are you keeping a very low balance?  I keep my emergency fund in the same bank as my checking so that I never have a "low balance", and that prevents  me from paying fees. 

Does your credit score mean anything to you?  I personally couldn't care less about that anymore, but it does matter to young people.  You've had a relationship with this bank for a long time, and that does help your credit.  If you go elsewhere, could you leave a small amount in a savings account so that you could maintain that long-relationship? 

bo_knows

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2013, 01:47:44 PM »
I banked with Bank Of America for quite awhile after college.  I sort of looked past some of their shady business practices for awhile... until they tried to dump all those BS ATM fees on their customers 2 years ago.  They backed down after a lot of media scrutiny, but my wife and I already bailed.

I highly recommend finding a credit union near you.  At a Credit Union, as a member, you actually own part of the bank (as a co-op).  They answer to you, not stockholders, not stupid executives trying to snake every dollar they can from people using distressed mortgages.  My experience has been that CU's customer service is amazing. 

Most people worry that they won't be able to find a branch near them, and that ATM's would be hard to come by.  Not entirely true.  Credit Unions have a Co-op network for ATM's.  If you're a member of Credit Union X, and you travel to NYC for a trip and need to take out money... you just go to the closest Credit Union (doesn't have to be the same one).

Stache In Training

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2013, 01:59:52 PM »
For local banking, I second the finding a credit union suggestion.  However just shop around, because as credit unions have become so popular, and anyone can join now (they used to have more stringent requirements), banks have had to compete.  I'd basically look for something that has free services for the services you use.

For the majority of your banking, I'm loving my capital one 360 account. I can automate every payment, even to people who don't allow you to pay online because capital one will mail a check for you.  And every service is free! And no fees!  Here's my refer-a-friend link if you want (https://r.capitalone360.com/fvMaBF6sbX), as I believe we both will get $20.  Though if I were you, I'd look up mr money mustache's link on his blog, as you should be able to get a bigger bonus for singing up through him.

nawhite

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2013, 03:50:28 PM »
People keep saying "use a credit union for your local banking needs." What in the world are "local banking needs?" Now that I can deposit a check with a smartphone or scanner, I can only think of 2 other local only actions, cashier's checks and cash deposits. If I need a cashier's check, I call and they mail me one within 10 business days (if thats not good enough use a wire transfer). If I need to deposit cash I just put it in my personal at home safe and don't go to the ATM for a while.

Maybe I'd feel differently if I were constantly selling used cars or had a local business where people paid in cash. But the most cash I've worked with in the past year with Ally was $500. I can go through $500 in cash in 2 months max. Less if I choose to use cash instead of card for things like groceries.

Why else would I have "local banking needs?"

Stache In Training

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2013, 04:34:40 PM »
People keep saying "use a credit union for your local banking needs." What in the world are "local banking needs?" Now that I can deposit a check with a smartphone or scanner, I can only think of 2 other local only actions, cashier's checks and cash deposits. If I need a cashier's check, I call and they mail me one within 10 business days (if thats not good enough use a wire transfer). If I need to deposit cash I just put it in my personal at home safe and don't go to the ATM for a while.

Maybe I'd feel differently if I were constantly selling used cars or had a local business where people paid in cash. But the most cash I've worked with in the past year with Ally was $500. I can go through $500 in cash in 2 months max. Less if I choose to use cash instead of card for things like groceries.

Why else would I have "local banking needs?"

Mine has a lot of other free service like a coin counter, and notorary (for instance I had to recently has some 401k rollover paperwork notarized, which my credit union did for free), cashing a check (say you don't have a smartphone since you are being mustachian, but can't get the cheap plans in your area).  All of that, in addition to what you mention, cashiers check and cash deposits.  All of these will cost unless you have a local bank that will do it for you for free.  (Don't forget the free lollipops!)  Also, I haven't seen an online bank that doesn't require you to have a local bank.  So to set up an online bank, you need to have a local bank at least once.  But I understand what you mean/are getting at, which is why I always recommend online banking as your primary bank.

chasesfish

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2013, 05:17:45 PM »
I'd go the credit union route.

galliver

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2013, 05:42:23 PM »
Anything to watch out for when closing a bank account? Like the OP I'm unhappy with my current bank(s) for various reasons and am looking for a change. Online seems to have matured and is more convenient now with online/mobile check deposit which is the main thing I use a local branch for. It's just a little scary to take the plunge. Especially since internet reviews are selection-biased toward people with complaints!

Ally seems really attractive to me, so I'd love to hear more reviews on that. My university's credit union has Chase-like interest rates (~0%) so it's not terribly attractive.

wrightstuff

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2013, 06:57:03 PM »
DW and I were fed up with Wells Fargo and switched to Schwab online and have been pleased with the customer service and  online presence.  We plan to get a local credit union account for those random needs that arise from time to time.

It feels good to not be at the mercy of the big banks' theory of customer service.

MrsPete

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2013, 07:09:05 PM »
Most people worry that they won't be able to find a branch near them, and that ATM's would be hard to come by.  Not entirely true.  Credit Unions have a Co-op network for ATM's.  If you're a member of Credit Union X, and you travel to NYC for a trip and need to take out money... you just go to the closest Credit Union (doesn't have to be the same one).
Maybe so, but you're still going to walk past three Bank of America ATMs while you're searching for that obscure credit union machine. 

MrsPete

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2013, 07:16:58 PM »
People keep saying "use a credit union for your local banking needs." What in the world are "local banking needs?" Now that I can deposit a check with a smartphone or scanner, I can only think of 2 other local only actions, cashier's checks and cash deposits. If I need a cashier's check, I call and they mail me one within 10 business days (if thats not good enough use a wire transfer). If I need to deposit cash I just put it in my personal at home safe and don't go to the ATM for a while.

Maybe I'd feel differently if I were constantly selling used cars or had a local business where people paid in cash. But the most cash I've worked with in the past year with Ally was $500. I can go through $500 in cash in 2 months max. Less if I choose to use cash instead of card for things like groceries.

Why else would I have "local banking needs?"
Other things I've done at my local credit union in the last year:

- Took in saved-up coins and dropped them into the (free) coin counter instead of rolling them myself.
- Bought a no-fee VISA gift card for my niece's graduation.
- Bought discount theme park tickets.
- My husband attended a seminar for parents filling out a college FAFSA for the first time (turned out to be a bust, but still . . . ) 
- Perhaps most importantly, when the bank made a mistake with my account, I was able to walk into the branch office and speak to a person.  I much prefer this to dealing with someone over the phone.

Yes, I could have done those things elsewhere, but the local credit union made these things quick and easy.  I wouldn't want to do everything long-distance. 

brewer12345

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2013, 07:43:37 PM »
Most people worry that they won't be able to find a branch near them, and that ATM's would be hard to come by.  Not entirely true.  Credit Unions have a Co-op network for ATM's.  If you're a member of Credit Union X, and you travel to NYC for a trip and need to take out money... you just go to the closest Credit Union (doesn't have to be the same one).
Maybe so, but you're still going to walk past three Bank of America ATMs while you're searching for that obscure credit union machine.

Which is why I use Schwab.  They reimburse all ATM fees.

Rural

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2013, 08:17:26 PM »
People keep saying "use a credit union for your local banking needs." What in the world are "local banking needs?" Now that I can deposit a check with a smartphone or scanner, I can only think of 2 other local only actions, cashier's checks and cash deposits. If I need a cashier's check, I call and they mail me one within 10 business days (if thats not good enough use a wire transfer). If I need to deposit cash I just put it in my personal at home safe and don't go to the ATM for a while.

Maybe I'd feel differently if I were constantly selling used cars or had a local business where people paid in cash. But the most cash I've worked with in the past year with Ally was $500. I can go through $500 in cash in 2 months max. Less if I choose to use cash instead of card for things like groceries.

Why else would I have "local banking needs?"
Other things I've done at my local credit union in the last year:

- Took in saved-up coins and dropped them into the (free) coin counter instead of rolling them myself.
- Bought a no-fee VISA gift card for my niece's graduation.
- Bought discount theme park tickets.
- My husband attended a seminar for parents filling out a college FAFSA for the first time (turned out to be a bust, but still . . . ) 
- Perhaps most importantly, when the bank made a mistake with my account, I was able to walk into the branch office and speak to a person.  I much prefer this to dealing with someone over the phone.

Yes, I could have done those things elsewhere, but the local credit union made these things quick and easy.  I wouldn't want to do everything long-distance.

Walk in and be greeted by name.
Get handed a credit letter (for a shitload of money) for the farm auction because you ask the bank president for it, without having to make an appointment, based on a handshake and your good name.
 Bank keeps important papers (like powers of attorney) on file, and makes a copy for you to save a trip back home when you ask.
Pick up the local free paper there every week, plus the high school paper.
 Add in free online banking and no checking fees at all, and it's the best of both worlds.

bo_knows

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2013, 07:12:25 AM »
Most people worry that they won't be able to find a branch near them, and that ATM's would be hard to come by.  Not entirely true.  Credit Unions have a Co-op network for ATM's.  If you're a member of Credit Union X, and you travel to NYC for a trip and need to take out money... you just go to the closest Credit Union (doesn't have to be the same one).
Maybe so, but you're still going to walk past three Bank of America ATMs while you're searching for that obscure credit union machine.

A lot of CU's offer free ATM transactions from other network.  Mine allows 3 free transactions on other networks, so I could use those Bank of America ATM's for free.

nawhite

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2013, 10:10:39 AM »
People keep saying "use a credit union for your local banking needs." What in the world are "local banking needs?" Now that I can deposit a check with a smartphone or scanner, I can only think of 2 other local only actions, cashier's checks and cash deposits. If I need a cashier's check, I call and they mail me one within 10 business days (if thats not good enough use a wire transfer). If I need to deposit cash I just put it in my personal at home safe and don't go to the ATM for a while.

Maybe I'd feel differently if I were constantly selling used cars or had a local business where people paid in cash. But the most cash I've worked with in the past year with Ally was $500. I can go through $500 in cash in 2 months max. Less if I choose to use cash instead of card for things like groceries.

Why else would I have "local banking needs?"
Other things I've done at my local credit union in the last year:

- Took in saved-up coins and dropped them into the (free) coin counter instead of rolling them myself.
- Bought a no-fee VISA gift card for my niece's graduation.
- Bought discount theme park tickets.
- My husband attended a seminar for parents filling out a college FAFSA for the first time (turned out to be a bust, but still . . . ) 
- Perhaps most importantly, when the bank made a mistake with my account, I was able to walk into the branch office and speak to a person.  I much prefer this to dealing with someone over the phone.

Yes, I could have done those things elsewhere, but the local credit union made these things quick and easy.  I wouldn't want to do everything long-distance.

Walk in and be greeted by name.
Get handed a credit letter (for a shitload of money) for the farm auction because you ask the bank president for it, without having to make an appointment, based on a handshake and your good name.
 Bank keeps important papers (like powers of attorney) on file, and makes a copy for you to save a trip back home when you ask.
Pick up the local free paper there every week, plus the high school paper.
 Add in free online banking and no checking fees at all, and it's the best of both worlds.

Rural, I see your points because the business of running a farm requires you to have different banking needs than me. I will probably NEVER go to a farm auction or do transactions requiring powers of attorney papers (What does your bank have them for?)

Mrs.Pete, I can't say anything about the theme park tickets, the seminar or the Visa card. If you have those needs and they are worth it to you, then by all means go with the Credit Union. For coins, I go to Coinstar at the supermarket and convert my coins to gift cards to Amazon for no fee. I'll use them anyway so its no loss. For customer service, I've always had better experiences with Ally on the phone than at any local bank I've banked with. I didn't have to drive anywhere, I didn't have to wait in line to speak to anyone. I never got transferred to another higher up because the teller wasn't allowed to close accounts. And every page on the ally website will tell me what the average wait time is to speak to someone on the phone. If I go to the bank, I'd usually have to go in the 1 hour they are open in the evening after I get home from work which is the same hour everyone else has to go. So I'll end up waiting even longer because I couldn't miss the rush.

In my opinion, great phone support I can call 24/7 and can call when I know there isn't much of a wait is WAY nicer than needing to bike/drive to the bank during the only hour that they have a 20 minute wait all day.

jba302

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2013, 10:30:18 AM »
+1 for Ally for all personal banking. Especially after dealing with some BoA and Wells-Fargo bullshit (we once received massive overdraft penalties when they kicked back a mortgage payment due to an unknown error that we had to re-initiate, then the bank re-activated the original mortgage payment. Lots of yelling.).

Although for anything small business / farm etc. I would definitely go with a local CU. One of my buddiess had a farm and a small business and he had his local bank on speed dial, said his business would never have run without their service.

mlipps

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2013, 11:32:11 AM »
+1 for Ally for all personal banking. Especially after dealing with some BoA and Wells-Fargo bullshit (we once received massive overdraft penalties when they kicked back a mortgage payment due to an unknown error that we had to re-initiate, then the bank re-activated the original mortgage payment. Lots of yelling.).

Although for anything small business / farm etc. I would definitely go with a local CU. One of my buddiess had a farm and a small business and he had his local bank on speed dial, said his business would never have run without their service.

Ally's customer service, in my experience, seems to have completely fallen apart in the last 6 months. It took me 2 hours on the phone with them to resolve a minor issue (mostly their fault), 30 minutes to order a replacement debit card, and 18 minutes to put a travel note on my account. I'm shopping for a new bank.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2013, 12:12:34 PM »
+1 for Ally for all personal banking. Especially after dealing with some BoA and Wells-Fargo bullshit (we once received massive overdraft penalties when they kicked back a mortgage payment due to an unknown error that we had to re-initiate, then the bank re-activated the original mortgage payment. Lots of yelling.).

Although for anything small business / farm etc. I would definitely go with a local CU. One of my buddiess had a farm and a small business and he had his local bank on speed dial, said his business would never have run without their service.

Ally's customer service, in my experience, seems to have completely fallen apart in the last 6 months. It took me 2 hours on the phone with them to resolve a minor issue (mostly their fault), 30 minutes to order a replacement debit card, and 18 minutes to put a travel note on my account. I'm shopping for a new bank.

I know this is your experience, but it's my fear with online only banking. When I am dealing with giving a bank my money, I want a local branch I can storm into should the need arise.

pachnik

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2013, 12:14:46 PM »
"I know this is your experience, but it's my fear with online only banking. When I am dealing with giving a bank my money, I want a local branch I can storm into should the need arise."

+1 for me. 

nawhite

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2013, 01:31:13 PM »
I know this is your experience, but it's my fear with online only banking. When I am dealing with giving a bank my money, I want a local branch I can storm into should the need arise.

Can you storm into a Vanguard branch if the need arises?

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #32 on: September 12, 2013, 01:47:49 PM »
I know this is your experience, but it's my fear with online only banking. When I am dealing with giving a bank my money, I want a local branch I can storm into should the need arise.

Can you storm into a Vanguard branch if the need arises?

Are they responsible for your debit card and bill paying checking account?

seattlecyclone

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #33 on: September 12, 2013, 05:58:07 PM »
On to my actual question- does anyone have a suggestion what would be a good bank to switch over to? I understand that I would have to go through a lot of headache changing out automatic payments and direct deposit and everything, but I feel at this point that my current bank is starting to not be worth the trouble. I have looked a bit into online banking but I'm not familiar enough with the landscape to know what to look for in them. I figured this would be just eh community to ask, and any advice would be greatly appreciated ^_^

You need to look at a couple of things in your personal situation:
1) Do you need a local branch? Online banks often offer low no-fee, higher-interest accounts for people who rarely need services that have to be done in person (getting documents notarized, cashier's checks, large cash/coin deposits, cash withdrawals in denominations that ATMs don't stock, etc.). The potential downside with these banks is that you're dealing with a remote call center if anything goes wrong, and you may find yourself out of luck if you do need a cashier's check right away or something else of that nature. I have had uniformly good service with Capitol One 360 and do most of my transactions through there, but I still maintain an additional account at a physical bank.
2) Credit union, local for-profit bank, or large national institution? Credit unions like to sell a warm, fuzzy image of local control, greater customer service, etc. That stuff feels nice, but what you really need to look for is who is going to give you the best deal for the services you need. Oftentimes this will be a credit union, especially for people without a large amount of assets deposited with the institution. The big guys tend to charge monthly fees for less-savvy consumers, but I have found that their array of services is often better than a credit union when your assets increase past a certain level.

Let's compare a few representative options:
Capital One 360 (online bank): No monthly fees, free bill pay, large network of no-fee ATMs, 0.75% APY on savings and 0.2% APY on checking, no physical branches. I use this service as my primary bank account and generally recommend it for anyone who can do most of their banking electronically.

BECU (popular credit union in the Seattle area): No monthly fees, large network of no-fee ATMs, 0.1% APY on savings and 0.05% APY on checking, with bonus interest rates on the first $500 in checking and savings if you jump through certain hoops (this bonus rate amounts to $20 per account per year -- nothing to sneeze at, but also not very significant in the grand scheme of things). They have a very limited number of full-service branches and a larger number of limited-service "neighborhood financial centers." I looked into them because the concept of a credit union appeals to me, but the warm fuzzy feelings never overcame the combination of low interest rates and limited services that the credit union offered. That said, this can be a good option for someone with limited assets, simple needs, and a desire for a physical branch and no monthly fees.

Peoples Bank (smaller bank in Washington state with only a few branches): No monthly fees for a basic checking account, savings account fees waived with balance over $250, free bill pay, decent selection of fee-free ATMs, 0.15% APY on savings and no interest on checking. The overall package here looks pretty similar to the credit union. It's another situation where you're letting them hold on to your money for basically nothing, but you're not directly paying them anything for their services either.

Wells Fargo (large national bank): No truly free checking option. The lowest tier has a $7 monthly fee that can be waived if you have $500 in monthly direct deposits or your balance never dips below $1,500. Lots of Wells Fargo ATMs available, but they'll charge you $2.50 every time you use an ATM owned by someone else (in addition to any fee the ATM owner charges). There's also a $3/month fee for online bill pay, and plenty of other fees for other services. On top of all that, the lowest tier of savings accounts pays a laughable 0.01% interest and the checking account pays no interest at all. Probably not the best option for most people.

That said, once you have saved $50k to put in a brokerage account and/or IRA, you qualify for the PMA package that gives some nice benefits. If you have that level of assets with Wells Fargo, there are no monthly checking or savings account fees, online bill pay becomes free, the interest rates go up slightly (0.08-0.1% for savings and 0.01-0.1% for checking), the $2.50 non-Wells Fargo ATM fee goes away for the first two withdrawals each month, fees for other things (like cashier's checks, money orders, check images, basic check printing, and more) also go away, you get preferential interest rates and fee waivers on loans, and more. They used to offer 100 free trades each year for brokerage account customers (which was a pretty great deal that I have grandfathered in on my account), but that benefit has since been replaced by the less-compelling offer of unlimited $6.95 trades for new customers.

You'll find most of the big banks have a similar system in place: they'll soak the people with lower assets who can't consistently jump through the hoops they set for monthly fee waivers, while offering pretty nice levels of service for those who have managed to save more money. Credit unions have a more egalitarian strategy: they give everybody a basic level of service for free, but putting larger sums of money into their care scores you few bonus points.

Crash87

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #34 on: September 13, 2013, 12:52:25 PM »
I like capitalone360: no fees, links to external bank accounts, decent interest rates.

 www.kasasa.com is worth checking out for some higher interest rates too.

Happyback

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #35 on: September 14, 2013, 04:05:24 PM »
I like to make sure all my bases are covered. I use an online bank (Alliant Credit Union) for my savings, and Health Savings Account.  It's available 24/7. And the interest earned by my cash is higher than what I would get locally.  All the accounts are free.

I use a local CU for my auto deposits and paying my monthly bills.  I find that mistakes on billing or deposit errors are easiest to clear up face to face (even tho they are exceedingly rare).   

I guess I feel like if something happened to my local bank, I have the one a few states over until things get straightened out, and vice versa.  But, I would like to support the locals wherever I can.  There is something comforting about knowing that the folks watching over my ever increasing 'stash of funds know exactly who I am.

No fees, supporting local, back up CU, not supporting any big bank with poor lending histories and bad judgement.
:)

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #36 on: September 18, 2013, 12:04:18 PM »
I just ditched a regional bank and put some EF in my local Credit Union here... The rates are 10x my local bank is, and the daily limits are higher too for large purchases if needed. I think this CU beats my local bank in every way possible.

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Re: Banking suggestions?
« Reply #37 on: September 18, 2013, 12:14:15 PM »
Look for offers over the internet. You might be surprised what's out there. I opened an account with Bank of America on-line and don't have to pay any fees no matter what my balance is. My credit card is also linked and I pay off my account via transfer of funds from checking to credit card. I have also used Bill Pay to pay some bills. Those offers might not be there all the time, but they are out there.