Are there any flexible banks that will let me save in various ways?
January 2, 2006 10:21 PM   Subscribe

New bank for a new year: I'm looking for a bank to help with my financial future. I want a flexible bank that will let me set any number of rules on incoming deposits. I'd like $x automatically going into a IRA each month, I want 10% of any deposit going into one rainy day savings account, and maybe 5% going to another, set aside for vacations and fun. What I want is one bank account, with many sub-accounts, and automatic rules to move it around for me. Do any of the big banks offer this?

Every small credit union I've used seems to only do one checking, one savings account with a paltry web interface. I want unlimited, flexible sets of rules or macros I can run against the account balances into any number of savings and investment accounts. I don't really care about ATM branches (I just take large amounts out once in a great while and eat the $1.50) and I don't mind if it's a bank I never set foot in. I just want a good web interface and oodles of flexible options for savings.

Does such a thing exist? Someone long ago once suggested a Schwab One account to me, but I can't seem to make sense of the Schwab site's options. I guess I want something that feels more like a bank instead of a brokerage, but mostly it's about establishing some savings and retirement.
posted by mathowie to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
...flipping touch pad. I lost my post.

Look into ING Direct at

You can have multiple accounts, and set up automatic, ongoing transfers between them. It's not a bank account designed for day-to-day banking, i.e. bill-paying and such, but more for savings accounts. (An old-fashioned concept!)

I have been very pleased with both the interest rate and customer service with ING Direct in Canada.
posted by Savannah at 10:54 PM on January 2, 2006

Savannah beat me to it (damn it! first time I've logged into MeFi since reinstalling my machine over the last few days)
posted by jkaczor at 10:55 PM on January 2, 2006

...I have six accounts all in one easy-to-use "account", labeled as "major expenses", "main savings", etc., plus an RRSP (registered retirement savings plan) and a GIC (term deposit type thingee). It's a virtual bank, but I have an ATM card I can use to pull cash out. (I don't--it's for *savings* not day-to-day banking) and the web interface is very user-friendly.

I actually get a kick out of checking my interest on the first of each month.
posted by Savannah at 10:58 PM on January 2, 2006

The kicker that I'd love to see is automatic percentage based deposit splits. I currently do that via a ridiculously convoluted system.
posted by I Love Tacos at 11:00 PM on January 2, 2006

ING can't do the automatic percentage thing, but I don't think they limit the number of savings accounts you can have. Plus, you can give them names.
posted by oaf at 11:21 PM on January 2, 2006

Also—there's no ATM card available in the U.S.; I think it's just in Canada that you can get that.
posted by oaf at 11:22 PM on January 2, 2006

You probably won't find too many banks that allow you to do this because they want to make money off financial planning. Go to your bank and talk to a planner, they'll be able to make more money for you than savings account (probably a money market account) -- for a fee.

You can set up some sort of automatic bill pay to financial planners who would then move the money around.
posted by raaka at 12:01 AM on January 3, 2006

Most of the accounts I'm familiar with allow $ amounts transferred, not percentages. That said, USAA and HSBC are both good for the recurring $ amount xfers. I do business with both and I like both of them, and I've never had one of their automatic $ transfers go badly.
posted by bedhead at 12:39 AM on January 3, 2006

Take a look. best bank ever. don't have to be military or related (I'm not). Bank basically organized to provide services and interface geography-free.
posted by ewkpates at 4:56 AM on January 3, 2006

I tried to join USAA. Even though you don't have to be military, they do have eligibility requirements that I (and many others) don't meet.
posted by electroboy at 7:02 AM on January 3, 2006

I believe you can avoid this by telling them you just want to open a bank account. The banking aspect is open to the public. Some of their programs and benefits are not...

I do not meet the requirements, nevertheless I've been delightedly banking with USAA for more than 7 years...
posted by ewkpates at 7:09 AM on January 3, 2006

You're right, ewkpates! I just set up a USAA account.
posted by electroboy at 10:27 AM on January 3, 2006

enjoy man, enjoy.

I really like their multiple account options, investment services, and loooooove web bill pay.

Don't be afraid to call customer service... they are the nicest people you'll ever want to meet...
posted by ewkpates at 10:54 AM on January 3, 2006

hmmm no answer to this, i will look in to usaa and see if they have the ability matt describes but imatt if you've had any luck please pass on your advice to us.
posted by iamabot at 12:56 PM on January 3, 2006

I have an EmigrantDirect savings account and will probably be opening accounts with ING and HSBC soon. (Can't pass up that $25 bonus for opening an account! And HSBC is actually ahead of Emigrant for interest rates at the moment.) Any of those banks would let you open multiple accounts, I'm sure, but if not, hey, split it among them! Any of them can transfer money from your main checking account on a schedule.
posted by kindall at 10:06 PM on January 7, 2006

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