Online Banking
January 5, 2004 10:26 PM   Subscribe

Which bank has the best on-line banking interface? Bank of America's systems and poor customer service seem to have been designed to help a merchant steal $650 from me, so I'm looking to switch to a different card (and probably bank) provider. On-line banking is a very important feature for me. Since I'm in LA, it wouldn't hurt if they had a lot of conveniently located ATM machines too (the reason went with BOA 8 years ago when I moved out here), and a bank that takes card holder security seriously would be good since that's the reason I'm looking to switch in the first place.
posted by willnot to Work & Money (15 answers total)
wellsfargo isnt the prettiest - but it works well.
posted by specialk420 at 11:16 PM on January 5, 2004

ditto on wells fargo. simple, easy to check balances and transfer money between accounts and my WF credit card. that's pretty much all i use it for and it works great.

I was with BoA earlier, and one of the reasons that i switched was because of their... um... slow and tedious online banking.
posted by ruwan at 12:34 AM on January 6, 2004

Westpac's on-line system is quite good, but that probably does not help you very much.
posted by dg at 2:28 AM on January 6, 2004

Citibank's online banking is pretty good and there should be plenty of local ATMs for you.

If fees are an issue, you should also check NetBank, but their bill pay is clunkier. They don't have their own ATMs, so get cash at the grocery store.

It's disconcerting to think that there's any online bank that still doesn't take security seriously, but that's probably something you don't really find out until something goes way wrong.

Here's a Gomez scorecard.
posted by sageleaf at 5:08 AM on January 6, 2004

The Wells Fargo transactional interface isn't very pretty -- it just underwent an overly focus-groupped redesign by someone with microscopes for eyes and a love of <input type=submit> -- but the back end is as solid as it's going to get. It connects to the same systems that the ATMs and teller terminals use, so the chances of problems are no greater or less than doing business with the bank in another manner.

The down side is that they are a very fee-driven bank, and rates on interest accounts are competitive only with other huge retail banks. Also, the online banking customer service group is a mixed bag. Some folks are great, others are easily confused by simple questions, but the call center as a whole does try very hard and the management cares deeply about the customer getting a positive experience.

Also, that Gomez scorecard isn't too accurate: they seem to pick the rankings out of a hat each year or at least give similar results over time.
posted by majick at 6:23 AM on January 6, 2004

As a habitual checking account demolisher (which I have resolved, this new year, to quit doing) I have found my best luck with smaller, local banks. Most banks have on-line banking now, even the little ones, and I find that I get a lot more sympathy for things like incorrect charges from merchants or fee-waiving if the bank is smaller, local, and I can get into the branch at least once a month to make a deposit and get some face time with the tellers and CSRs.

I would imagine your interest rates on a credit card at a little bank might be somewhat higher, or you would miss out on the low low intro rates or something, but maybe not. When my SO transferred his big bank credit card balance to one with his little credit union, he got a lower intro rate, lower regular rate, and a free spiral-cut ham. (Free ham!!!)

I had a BoA account when I lived in California, before the days of widespread on-line banking, and they sucked out loud then. I have no idea what, if any, options you might have for smaller banks in LA are, though.
posted by jennyb at 6:43 AM on January 6, 2004

If you've got $10K to your name, and you don't need a bank credit card you can probably do your banking through a brokerage, and have free checking, a world-class web platform for bill payment, cash management features, and (maybe) four or five ATM fees per month rebated to you. The downside is that you have to do all of your physical banking through ATMs, but if you never need more than, say, $250 in cash, this could be the easiest way to go.

I haven't had a bank account for ten years, and I've been very satisfied.

Check out E-Trade or Fidelity...
posted by trharlan at 7:41 AM on January 6, 2004

The Motley Fool has a discussion board specifically for online banking. Reading through that should give you plenty of good information to help you make an decision.

I myself have used NetBank for nearly five years now. I have never had a problem with bill pay or anything and their interest rates are among the highest (according to Bankrate.) For example, NetBank Money Market interest is 1.9% while Wells Fargo is 0.05%
posted by jaronson at 8:15 AM on January 6, 2004

if you can get USAA, it's pretty solid.
posted by Hackworth at 9:04 AM on January 6, 2004

Netbank looks nice, which is why I joined with them (especially since they were/are giving money away) but it was a hassle to mail any paper checks you receive, the lack of ability to get money at an ATM, etc. They also started taking some money, too. Couple of dollars here, couple there, etc.

I also have this bad tendency to run out of money. Without the ability to throw (somebody else's) money at a teller to get it immediately credited, I got slapped with huge fees, worse than most local banks.
posted by ajpresto at 9:14 AM on January 6, 2004

I've been a BOA credit card customer for several years and haven't had a problem since they redesigned their website last fall.

Capital One has a nice interface for CC management, but I've not used the other features of their on-line banking system.
posted by DBAPaul at 4:49 PM on January 6, 2004

Like a few others, I would recommend looking at smaller, local banks and credit unions. I started rolling funds out of BofA when they announced that they were offshoring backend processing to countries that had no privacy laws. I switched to a local credit union, and their online system is as good as anything else I've run across.

I've not personally dealt with Well Fargo, but I've heard a lot of horror stories from friends about accounts being frozen, excessive fees being removed, new fees being arbitrarily added. Just based on what I've heard, I would be afraid to put my money in their bank.
posted by dejah420 at 9:24 PM on January 6, 2004

Netbank is fine is you're fiscally responsible...bill pay isn't that bad, and their interest rates do rock.

And as for them not having their own ATMs, they have some partnerships set up with some ATM networks to let customers use those for withdrawals and deposits, fee free.

I use Suncoast Federal Credit Union and MacDill Credit Union and Suncoast School Credit Union machines, all of which are on the CU24 network...sure, check deposits might take a week to get credited, but I'm not depositing checks in a rush to get the money into my account...if that's you, you're prolly better off with a brick and mortar place anyway.
posted by taumeson at 12:10 PM on January 7, 2004

I know somebody who programs for Wells Fargo. Their entire culture is fucked.

Stay away.
posted by taumeson at 12:10 PM on January 7, 2004

taumeson: The Wells Fargo banking systems/IS/IT guys (who are the ones infected with the frightening Minneapolis Norwest Bank "screw you, not my problem" culture) and the online banking folks are deeply, thoroughly, and immutably unrelated to each other.
posted by majick at 9:53 PM on January 7, 2004

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