Changing Banks . . .
May 21, 2007 6:48 AM   Subscribe

So, I need a new bank. And I'm picky and I don't need or want a brick-and-mortar.

NetBank has been bought by EverBank, and I'm not sure I want to bank with EverBank. (I have tried looking around their site, but the pages about checking are throwing a 500 error.)

Right now with NetBank, we have the following:

Joint checking
My husband's personal checking
Money Market
Checking for our business
My IRA (Rollovers from 401(k))

I realize I may have to spread this stuff out a little more. I am looking for

1) Good online access.
2) Actual real-time reflection of transactions.
3) Free online bill pay
4) Decent returns, but this is negotiable.
5) No fees.
6) Negotiable, but I would prefer an online application process as I don't really have time to deal with this at present.

We've tried Washington Mutual, and I will never, ever so much as darken a sidewalk near one of their financial centers again in my life, so help me God. (Their check card system was ridiculous - there is no reason for a PIN transaction to show up two weeks late.) I know about Credit Unions, and we will research which ones we might have access to, but I've looked into it before and I think we are going to come up rather dry. I have heard good things about USAA, and I noticed today that ING has an "Electric Orange" account that might work out, but seems to not offer online bill payment (also, I hate Quicken with a firey passion). Keeping in mind that we are paying off some debt right now, so I can guarantee a miniumum of $1,000.00 in savings but pretty much everything over that goes to debt for the next little while (getting closer . . ). So, with all this in mind - can anyone give me information on how USAA measures up to what I need? Does anyone have any feedbank on Electric Orange? Has anyone used CheckFree's standalone service with that account? If so, did that work out? What other online banking solutions would you say we should look at? And, of course, if you bank with EverBank, what about them?
posted by Medieval Maven to Work & Money (24 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
If you are eligible, then USAA Federal Savings Bank will fit the bill. I can't recommend them highly enough. All you are asking for and great customer service.
posted by procrastination at 6:56 AM on May 21, 2007

I've had USAA for quite some time- it has wonderful online banking and they not only do not charge for out-of-network ATM transactions, but they refund anyone else's terminal charges. (So you can use any ATM, anywhere, for free.)

However it is limited to US military service personnel and their dependents, only; this is one reason why their service is well designed for remote banking/usage, as most of their customers are either overseas, often changing assignments, etc.

If you qualify to be a member of USAA, by all means do so- they are great. (and they give reasonably regular auto insurance refunds!)

I'm interested in hearing about other online banking solutions, I see some really fantastic stuff offered in the UK and I continually wonder why the US seems to just suck at this.

Anway, if you do qualify for USAA, this solves your problem, as they are fantastic and provide so many free services it's just crazy not to use them, if you can. My 2 cents!
posted by EricGjerde at 6:57 AM on May 21, 2007

Ing has online bill payment on their checking. In fact, that's all they have. You can't even get a checkbook. You have to do checks through the website. Also, their ATM solution is a little sketchy. Not the normal network. I'm not sure what Quicken has to do with anything??? In general, I find Ing to have the easiest interface. Setting up additional accounts is as easy as it should be.

As a primary checking account, I find it limiting. I also have a free checking account at a local B&M bank to get the local ATMs and the checkbook and the various bank services that you occasionally need.
posted by smackfu at 6:58 AM on May 21, 2007

Best answer: I am a happy E*TRADE Bank customer. They offer all of 1-6 you specify above. And very easy linking to their trading account, if you choose to establish one.
posted by needled at 7:00 AM on May 21, 2007

Second E*Trade.
posted by jiiota at 7:11 AM on May 21, 2007

Citibank, believe it or not, offers 1-6 along with rebates on other banks' ATM surcharges if there is no Citi branch in your home county. While the web interface is a little quirky, it's also comprehensive (e.g., you can get images of online payments made via check) and reasonable (you can make instant transfers to all accounts, including Citi credit cards).

Citi also paid me $200 to move my account, but I'm not sure if that promo is still available.
posted by backupjesus at 7:24 AM on May 21, 2007

My understanding is that you don't have to be a USAA member to get a bank account with them. You *do* have to be a member to get insurance.

I go with Bank of America, and it meets your requirements (except for decent return--I link my BofA checking account to an E-Loan savings account). I'm happy with it. It also has a completely addictive online portfolio aggregation tool.

Citibank also has a really good website and might meet your requirements. (So does Chase, but I don't think they operate where you live.)
posted by phoenixy at 7:27 AM on May 21, 2007

If you qualify for USAA, it's terrific for banking, and meets your criteria. They're even trying out this crazy thing where you scan your checks to deposit directly to their website, instead of mailing them in (in the pre-paid envelopes they send you).

They also have great customer service by telephone.

Unfortunately, not everyone can have USAA.
Electric Orange seems like a good alternative for savings and checking, but I've only read about their services; I don't have an account.
E*Trade I know less about, but I have heard that it's convenient for banking.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 7:34 AM on May 21, 2007

I've been using Electric Orange for the past couple of weeks and so far it seems to be going ok. The ATM situation is actually fine - there are dozens around me, mostly in drug stores and convenience stores. The only tricky thing is depositing checks, but for the time being I've been depositing the checks at my small, local bank and then transferring them online to ING. (you can link different checking accounts to your Electric Orange account). The bill pay works pretty well, too. I rarely write checks so not having a checkbook is fine with me.
posted by sutel at 7:35 AM on May 21, 2007

When I lived in the USA, I used Telebank (which has since been bought by E*Trade and become E*Trade Bank). They've been doing branchless banking since ten years before anyone was doing Internet banking and (assuming nothing has changed drastically) they've got it right.

Not only did they not charge me fees for ATMs but they refunded fees added on by the ATM owner. e.g. If an ATM withdrawal came across as $41.50, it would be followed on the statement by a credit for $1.50.
posted by winston at 7:41 AM on May 21, 2007

Nthing E-trade.
posted by special-k at 7:50 AM on May 21, 2007

winston, recenty E*TRADE Bank has become restrictive about refunding ATM owner fees. So no fees for using an ATM, but you have to meet several conditions to get the ATM owner fee refunded.

(I get around the ATM fee thing by using my credit union account for quick cash withdrawals. I mainly have that account to link to Paypal and only tiny amounts of money are kept in it, so I'm not out too much money should any Paypal hackery occur.)
posted by needled at 8:02 AM on May 21, 2007

my younger brother the technologist has recommended everbank, which has won several "best of the web". everbank offers cd's denominated in foreign currencies.
posted by bruce at 8:17 AM on May 21, 2007

I’m not clear on whether you want a checking or savings account, but I have an online savings account with HSBC that I think meets all of your requirements.

They pay 5.05% APY, have free online bill paying and transfers, ATM access, and an online application. No monthly fees, and a $1 minimum balance.
posted by breaks the guidelines? at 8:25 AM on May 21, 2007

recenty E*TRADE Bank has become restrictive about refunding ATM owner fees.

This is the problem I have with the various parts of E*Trade. They love niggling little fees with complicated conditions and minimum account balances. You have to be very attentive to what they mail you to watch out for things.
posted by smackfu at 8:43 AM on May 21, 2007

Nthing USAA, if you are eligible. Their services and support are absolutely top-notch.

In addition to the aforementioned ATM refunds, they also allow you to scan checks at home (using some custom software) and get instant credit so you don't have to mail the checks in for deposit. There are a few requirements to be eligible for that feature -- the main one is that you have to be preapproved for a line of credit from USAA.

They also give you free checks, free postage-paid envelopes for mailing deposits, and plenty of other little perks--like discounts on FedEx shipping and car rentals.
posted by Diggins at 8:49 AM on May 21, 2007

Cash transfers from my ING account to a brick and mortar account or paypal usually take a few days. I think that's just how the system works. Other than that, I have no complaints, and it's very easy to set up CDs and things like that. My accounts have no fees, require no minimum balance, and give a competitive interest rate, although there is burgeoning competition these days. On balance though, I'm happy with ING and have been using it for 5 years.
posted by chlorus at 8:53 AM on May 21, 2007

i've been with everbank for years. i love it. seems to fit all of the criteria you have described, and they'll refund atm transaction fees imposed by the atm owner.
posted by jimw at 9:22 AM on May 21, 2007

USAA altered their eligibility requirements almost a year ago. Where prior anyone could become a banking and investment customer (but not insurance) they switched to limiting access only to military and those who are within the geographic region (a town in Texas) where their offices are. Quite frankly, if federal law did not require them to offer it to people within that physical area I suspect they wouldn't even do that anymore.
posted by phearlez at 9:25 AM on May 21, 2007

Definitely look into ING Direct. They're one of the best examples of a company that understands what customers need and what they don't. Most people really don't need to visit a bank, ever, except for the ATM. They really built their products around this idea, and it works well. Their website is simple, without useless junk cluttering it up. And their customer service is very nice. Overall, I'm exceedingly happy with them.
posted by kiltedtaco at 9:28 AM on May 21, 2007

Check out Charles Schwab Their Checking Account is actually paying 4.25% no minimum required...

They offer:

No Account Minimums, No monthly service charges, No ATM fees, free checks, free billpay, and FDIC insured...

I believe it's one of the only banks that will refund ANY ATM fees... you would be able to use the Chwab Debit Card at ANY ATM

I haven't opened a checking account with them yet... but if that interest rate stays high I might consider it in the future...
posted by MrBCID at 3:13 PM on May 21, 2007 [2 favorites]

I clicked on this question to recommend Charles Schwab, too. I just heard about the same deal MrBCID did. Not many checking accounts pay interest with no required minimum balance, might be worth checking against your other criteria.
posted by salvia at 5:24 PM on May 27, 2007

Response by poster: FWIW we went with E*Trade and have so far been very happy. Someone else's question today reminded me to update.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:54 AM on September 11, 2007

BTW, Everbank backed out of the NetBank deal. Due to mortgage loan defaults, NetBank is facing trouble and was closed by regulators. ING plans to acquire the consumer deposits.
posted by mullacc at 3:06 PM on October 1, 2007

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