My own personal financial secretary....
January 28, 2009 6:39 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a bank with a sophisticated online banking system.

Specifically, I would like a bank that has an online bill pay that will recognize what day I am getting paid and not take money out of the account before that day.

I have several repeating payments that I unfortunately have to check monthly as my pay date changes because the site invariably decides to take out the money one day before I get paid.

One of the biggest problems is that the time frame for the automatic payments is so long. Many of my payments take up to 5 days to process because they are printing out and cutting checks.

A For Example: I am paying my internet bill. The bill is set up to reoccur monthly. The bill takes 4 days to process. I have the bill set up on the 20th of the month so that the money comes out of my check on the 16th, the day after I got paid. If the 20th is a Sunday then the bank pulls money out of my account on the 14th.

I know that I can change the date I pay bills and pay them later in the month so this won't be such an issue. However, I want a automatic banking system that I don't have to babysit every month. A bank that processes checks quickly would also be a plus.
posted by aetg to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Bank of America's billpay of electronic payments generally take one business day. Your money is taken out the night electronic payment is made.

For billers that do not have electronic transfers, they will print+mail a paper check. In this case, the funds are not taken from your account until that check is presented for payment. When you set up a bill to be paid, you put in the date you want the biller to receive the payment. In your internet bill example, you would set up the bill to be paid on the 20th of the month, they'd send the check to them 3-5 days before and would account for the day being on a weekend or holiday, and the money would come out of your account on whenever the internet company actually cashed the check.
posted by birdherder at 6:58 PM on January 28, 2009

Best answer: While it doesn't do exactly what you're asking for with regard to detecting the deposit from your paycheck, I've been really satisfied with the automatic payment, e-bill and other online tools provided by Bank of America. Sure, it's big, kinda faceless and unforgiving they way you'd expect but they provide a significant set of my must-haves in online banking.

You can certainly set specific limits on automatic payments ("never pay above X amount", etc) and each time I check they seem to have added more features as far as date flexibility (not just days but relative dates like "last day of the month").

Many of their additional account aggregation services are provided by Yodlee who may be able to provide more of what you're looking for in bill pay.

I don't work for either company, but I have gone so far as to open small accounts at several banks including Sun Trust, Wachovia and Wells Fargo to test out their online banking services. Yeah I'm that kind of geek.
posted by abulafa at 7:02 PM on January 28, 2009

Which country do you live in?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:13 PM on January 28, 2009

Banking in America actually uses cheques for automated payments? In New Zealand I set up an Automatic Payment (weekly, fortnightly or monthly starting on a specific date), provide recipient bank account number. It leaves my account on that day, and depending on the destination bank, either shows up immediately, or the next day.

Payments are processed 7-days a week. If I don't have the funds on the assigned, it will try three times the following day before dishonouring my payment.

That said, I've never seen a bank that would allow for a sort of trigger-based payment system ("when a deposit comes in that meets these criteria, make these payments") could be quite handy really.
posted by sycophant at 12:46 AM on January 29, 2009

Response by poster: I live in America.

abulafa- I'm impressed by your dedication to finding a good online banking source. You are doing exactly what I didn't want to do, ie having to sign up for a checking account with a ton of different banks to find the best solution.

sycophant- The majority of checks are handled electronically and some of them will post next day. Sometimes checks for smaller companies are handled by the bank printing a check for you and mailing it. In addition to being a five day wait is that the money isn't posted on weekends so you can add another four days to your wait: making it nine days since the money was taken from your account, but before it can be posted into your bill.
posted by aetg at 3:15 AM on January 29, 2009

I use Bank of America for this and it pretty much thinks AND banks for me. You can set up any reminders and alerts you want in any combo for any bill and have it come to your e-mail etc. and then also have the checks cut automagically.
posted by Rudy Gerner at 4:12 AM on January 29, 2009

Most Bank of America payments are by electronic funds transfer and take 1-2 business days. If the recipient can't accept electronic payments, Bank of America sends them a check, which takes up to 4-5 business days. When you schedule a payment, you specify the date you want the payment to arrive (due date).
posted by kirkaracha at 8:28 AM on January 29, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all your answers. I'm a little surprised everyone is saying BOA only, but ok.

Marking birdherder for best answer for calling it first and abulafa for dedication to the cause of better online banking.
posted by aetg at 6:37 AM on February 1, 2009

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