Major bank with free online transfer?
April 23, 2010 5:36 AM   Subscribe

What banks or credit unions with local branches and ATMs offer free online ACH transfers to and from external bank accounts?

I use a checking account that is not local to me and does not provide online ACH transfers, for reasons outside the scope of this post.

I need a way to deposit checks and cash into an account, and then transfer it to my main checking account. I need to be able to do this relatively often, so writing checks to myself or wire transfers won't work. None of the major national banks I have looked at offer this service (BofA, Chase, Wachovia, Suntrust)

I'm in the Southeast US so regional banks would be fine too. Anon for reasons of other posts under this name!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
HSBC Direct lets you do bidirectional intra-bank transfers for free, and so do a lot of credit unions.

Of course, getting cash/checks into an HSBC Direct account is a bit more difficult, and they probably wouldn't appreciate you using them as a routing service.

I also know from personal experience that Bank of America offers this, but charges a small fee.
posted by schmod at 6:31 AM on April 23, 2010

BOA does charge a small fee if you initiate the transfer on their end, but depending on where your main checking account is, if you initiate the transfer from there, there isn't a fee.

For example, I use BOA as my main checking account, but have a savings account at an online bank - FNBO direct. After I linked the accounts, as long as I log into FNBO to initiate the transfer rather than "sending" from BOA, I don't get charged any fees.
posted by CharlieSue at 8:39 AM on April 23, 2010

Of course, getting cash/checks into an HSBC Direct account is a bit more difficult, and they probably wouldn't appreciate you using them as a routing service.

What do you mean? I can use HSBC ATMs to deposit directly to my HSBC Online Payment account.

Also, my HSBC account let's me set repeat ACH transfers. I have direct deposit at work into my BOA regular checking account. I then make ACH transfers into my HSBC Online Payment. So I think this should meet your needs.
posted by spicynuts at 8:55 AM on April 23, 2010

USAA does ACH transfers w/o cost. Since they are non-local to almost all their customers they also provide postage-paid envelopes for sending in your deposits. It lacks the immediacy of an ATM or branch deposit but it's hard to beat for convenience.
posted by phearlez at 10:22 AM on April 23, 2010

I have a Citibank "Ultimate Savings Account" which allows me to make free ACH tranfers. I'm not sure if it's free with other Citi accounts.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:11 PM on April 23, 2010

As far as I was aware most credit unions are part of various branch share networks throughout the US.
I've been able to deposit checks to my Washington based CU (Yay BECU) at Credit Unions throughout the Northwest and California.
You should be able to just join up with USAA like phearlez mentioned, mozy on in to any local CU and deposit your money.
posted by Redmond Cooper at 12:26 AM on April 24, 2010

Doesn't have many regional banks, but might still fit your needs: Charles Schwab High Yield Checking account.

They have a easy to use online interface to do one-time or periodic ACH transfers and do not charge any fees to use it.

They give you an ATM card that can be used at any ATM, and at the end of the month they will refund you any ATM fees you were charged no matter what bank it was. (i.e. no matter whether it is a BofA atm, or one of the sketchy atms in a bar, you'll get you ATM fee refunded).

You get free checks and even better they give you 1% interest on your deposits, which is pretty high for a checking account with no maintenance fees and no minimum balance. You do need to sign up for a brokerage account at the same time, but you do not need to use it.
posted by vegetableagony at 10:05 AM on April 28, 2010

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