Help selecting a bank - with good permissions management online
January 26, 2014 5:05 PM   Subscribe

Need help selecting a bank for my partner and me to use for a shared household checking account. Snowflake details inside (primarily about mixing joint and individual accounts with meaningfully separate online banking logins for separate individuals tied to the accounts). If you have or know of a bank that offers accounts like these I'd love to know about it. Google's hard to make headway with searching without a lead and mostly banks I've personally encountered so far provide only one online banking login between different joint owners.

My desire is to have at minimum:
- one shared, joint checking account to be used for household expenses
- for personal checking (not business)
- with no monthly fees or fees for transfers into it from outside institutions
- with included online-banking and bill pay
- with one debit card attached to the account from each joint owner (or authorized user, though I think I remember this is not legal/allowed for accounts that attach to real value - as opposed to credit)
- carrying an interest is not required

Here are the parts I need your help to find (and are part of the minimum):
- If one or both of us wants to open more individual (not joint) checking or savings accounts at the same institution, we want to be able to get personal online banking logins that are limited to "our" accounts.
- If not this, then something like profiles for individual joint users in online banking a la what it's like logging into Netflix these days (a shared login but different profiles).

Bonus features:
- Carrying interest or tied to a spending reward program (for restaurants or groceries, primarily)
- Online banking 2-factor security, alerts and other threshold-trigger services
- Other neat features I've not mentioned and you find helpful

For calibration, I'm extremely techno-experienced and reasonably crypto-experienced, my partner isn't, but is pragmatically interested. I've worked in Finance before as IT, so in general I know my options and most of the rules and I remain puzzled that what I desire here doesn't seem to be widely available - I know enough geeks who work in Finance that it seems like it'd be obvious. Is this some financial regulation or law that I'm not familiar with that's keeping geeks from implementing this kind of thing? Or am I just trying to business with the wrong bankers? :)
posted by kalessin to Work & Money (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Contact a real credit union - that you are eligible for - in your area and ask. If they aren't willing to help with this - putting you in contact with their IT people, then they probably arent the kind of credit union that you want.
posted by lalochezia at 5:11 PM on January 26, 2014

Maybe Simple has what you're looking for.
posted by dfriedman at 5:21 PM on January 26, 2014

If you're eligible for membership, I'd check out First Tech Federal Credit Union, as it pretty much checks all of the boxes you outline. I do my banking with them and have a similar situation as you, where I have some personal accounts and some shared accounts; my partner's login only shows the shared accounts (he doesn't have an individual account there at the moment), and my login shows both my personal and shared accounts. At the moment, I don't have a debit card for the shared account, but I believe I can get one. Even so, I can freely transfer between accounts, so I haven't needed that.

They have your bonus features as well, with interest-bearing checking accounts with no minimum balance, 2-factor authentication, online banking and bill-pay.
posted by Aleyn at 5:32 PM on January 26, 2014

I know I'm talking about an Evil Big Bank here but... Bank of America does all of this:

- I have a joint account with my husband (that we got before we were married). We each have access via our own separate logins (we also each have separate savings accounts)
- There are no fees on this account, though I'm not positive that we're not required to do some sort of minimum balance or direct deposit to get that
- I transfer money in and out to a different bank regularly with no fees (though of course this takes a few days).
- We each have our own debit/ATM cards for this account (the account number is the same on the card, but we have our own names on them)
- We also have a joint credit card with Bank of America that we pay directly from this checking account. This is where we get our rewards.
- There is 2 factor authentication (called SafePass - they send me a text with a code to enter each time I attempt to log in)
- It has great bill pay functionality
posted by brainmouse at 6:20 PM on January 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

My husband and I have this with Capital One.
posted by candyland at 6:26 PM on January 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't know if PNC does separate logins for the same account, but I've been very impressed with their Virtual Wallet feature. Just set up an account a while ago and it blows all previous online banking experiences out of the water. It may vary for you, but I have no fees, free transfers, spending rewards, attached savings account thingy, email / text alerts for everything. I really like it.
posted by mibo at 6:57 PM on January 26, 2014

Mrs. mule and I do this at our local credit union. We have a checking and credit account in common, and we each have retirement accounts. We bank by internet. I don't see her accounts because I don't have access to them and vice versa. We both can see the accounts in common when we log on, and we both can manipulate them according to whatever we need at the time.

With our system, I pay our monthly expenses from the accounts in common, including the credit card charges. She has a separate checking account, to which I don't have access, and a couple of retirement accounts that I never see. Our webpage shows only the accounts we have in common. Each of us can move funds from the retirement accounts to the accounts in common.

Although Mrs mule could access the accounts in common, the only one she ever uses is the credit account. This is because it's my job to take care of the monthly expenses, and they come out of the joint checking account. Two people on one checking account can be problematic, so she never uses this one for her expenses. We have discussions about our finances from time to time, just to touch bases and make overall decisions about this and that.

(BTW, we used to use PNC to service our mortgage, and had a long-term, positive relationship with them.)
posted by mule98J at 7:00 PM on January 26, 2014

Charles Schwab bank has all of your minimum features, and also has interest on checking accounts, refund of all ATM fees, and check deposit via photos taken by a smartphone and submitted through their app. We have both joint and individual accounts and we each see the joint account and our individual accounts through our separate logins. Their customer service is also really good. You get investment accounts linked to your checking account, but you don't have to use those (I don't). The one thing on your want list they don't have is two-factor authentication.
posted by medusa at 7:29 PM on January 26, 2014

ING (Orange) used to have all of these features, including the bonus ones: distinct logins with shared accounts and non-shared accounts, two-factor authentication, decent interest rates (really, far better than my credit union), online bill payment, a large ATM network, and more.

Then they got bought by Capital One, and ... Capital One made it slightly better[*].

Check them out at Capital One 360. We've been pretty happy with them.

[*] By offering paper checks as well. So now you can choose whether you want them to pay for the stamp to mail your check (they keep the float) or you want to keep the float and write a paper check. But this is a trivial detail - they didn't make it worse.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:04 PM on January 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ally supports joint accounts and individual cards, with entirely separate profiles for each person. When you log in, you'll both see the joint account(s), and your personal ones will only show up for you, respectively. There's a field for giving each account a nickname, so you know what's what.

No minimums or fees for pretty much everything short of overdrafts and stop payments, ATM fees are reimbursed, plus bill pay along with a setup that allows you to have a lot of utilities/credit cards and such bill/notify you via Ally if you want. [Full details]. Alert options are covered here.

There's no rewards program I'm aware of, but the checking account offers .4% interest up to $15,000 and .75% above that. Savings is at .87% (All as of this writing, of course.)
posted by Su at 8:05 PM on January 26, 2014

Thirding that Capital One does all this. Wells Fargo does too, although there might be a fee for bill pay.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 8:34 PM on January 26, 2014

This is possible at Mechanics Bank, which is an awesome Bay Area bank. I've had an individual account there since 2003 or so and my boyfriend and I have a joint account. When I log in I see both accounts, when he logs in he sees only the joint account (if he had his own he'd see that and I wouldn't). I don't think they do 2-factor, but really they are all the nicest people and if you go ask them they'll tell you all the options. I really don't work for them, I had just only had shitty national banks before and seriously they remember your name and stuff.
posted by grapesaresour at 10:34 PM on January 26, 2014

This is possible at Bank of America, but I have always had to visit a branch to get things set up. I'm sure they have minimum balance requirements but I've never had to pay fees for any of the things you list (there is a maximum on monthly transfers, but it's never been a problem).
posted by mr vino at 12:24 AM on January 27, 2014

I'm stumped by your question, maybe things are different in the States. Everywhere I know, shared accounts are separate from non-shared accounts. I'm wondering if you are having a real problem, or are you trying to forsee a solution to a problem that might not exist?
posted by devnull at 1:40 AM on January 27, 2014

Most any retail banking institution will have what you are looking for, from Chase (my bank of choice) to BofA to Wells Fargo to ING, etc etc. Credit Unions are a local choice to go, but you may have varying levels of sophistication with them.

Simple and other online Banks are going to usually be slightly more technologically advanced, and will focus on specific market segments more. If you want investment accounts, Betterment is an interesting choice for SMA-type accounts.

Personally, I find BofA's websites to be a bit archaic, especially in the credit card space for making payments. Chase has a great integrated feel (plus is a major lender, so your auto loans and mortgage would integrated, and are on the same account list). Of course, which lender is the player in your area will depend on your locale - if you're out West, Union Bank or Wells might be a better choice.
posted by rich at 4:18 AM on January 27, 2014

I came in to say BofA as well, but looks like it's been said. They'll waive the monthly fee if you have a monthly direct deposit of $250 or more. My wife and I each have our own logins; she can see her accounts and our joint checking; I can see our joint checking (and was able to see my personal accounts when I had them there).

Simple doesn't support joint accounts yet - I don't think they support multiple accounts per login yet either, as it's not needed. I used them for a while but bill payment was slow and unpredictable (they mailed checks, took the money out of my accounts once the check was mailed, but then the payment wouldn't post to my credit card or show on my Simple account for 10 days.) So I moved on from them as well.
posted by neilbert at 5:39 AM on January 27, 2014

Capital One 360 and PNC both do all of these things.
posted by bleep at 6:24 AM on January 27, 2014

I'm wondering if you are having a real problem, or are you trying to forsee a solution to a problem that might not exist?

I don't really find this suggestion helpful. Would far prefer you presume genuineness that actually exists.

We think our current credit union put us in the current shitty password sharing situation because the rep was sort of clueless about what we really wanted so I am resolved to go back and ask again really clearly. But failing that working out, thanks again for all the suggestions and referrals from everyone else!
posted by kalessin at 6:40 AM on January 27, 2014

Also, unfortunately, Simple does not offer options for multiple logins or users without sharing passwords. I had high hopes for them so I did sign up, but never deposited any funds because of that limitation.
posted by kalessin at 7:03 AM on January 27, 2014

Also, didn't specify, I know, but I live in the SF Bay Area.
posted by kalessin at 7:04 AM on January 27, 2014

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