Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

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Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby lightheir » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:42 pm

Was curious how many of you folks use a branchless, online bank, and why.

Back in the day, these used to offer significantly higher Money Market or savings rates, but now they seem to be essentially equalized (all low).

I have an online acct, but ran into some troubles when trying to withdraw cash over $1000 a few years ago - turns out it was extremely difficult to do without a branch location, and I ended up having to transfer the cash to a Wells Fargo and waiting for the money to clear.

The one advantage of my online acct - free, unlimited ATM use. They refund the ATM fees at any branch I use. I've gotten used to this perk -it's quite nice.

Still, I'm not sure I'd open an online-only acct in todays' lousy interest rate climate. Any other compelling reasons for keeping this online acct?
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby kermit » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:45 pm

They often have very nice websites and excellent phone support. USAA for example has a very well designed and useful interface.

But my number one reason is needing to do anything in person is a burden to me. I don't have time during the day to wait in line. And a branchless online bank, for obvious reasons, doesn't require you to visit a bank to do anything.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby sscritic » Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:54 pm

No. I love bricks. Here in CA they are relatively rare, except in the older neighborhoods. Since a brick house is out of my reach (not counting when I listen to the Commodores), I go to a brick and mortar bank.

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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby linuxuser » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:09 pm

I used to an account at ING among others, but I actually get slightly better rate now through the internet branch of a brick and mortar bank.
You have to open the bank online, but you can make deposits and withdrawals at the local branch.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby HueyLD » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:19 pm

lightheir wrote:The one advantage of my online acct - free, unlimited ATM use. They refund the ATM fees at any branch I use. I've gotten used to this perk -it's quite nice.

You presented their advantages very well. Chances are: you may only go into a B&M branch for signature guarantee/notarization once every xx number of years.

Still, I'm not sure I'd open an online-only acct in todays' lousy interest rate climate. Any other compelling reasons for keeping this online acct?

Probably not opening a new one today, but you may want to keep the one(s) you already have provided they don't start charging you for having accounts with them. Opening new bank accounts is a PITA and setting up account links usually takes a while.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby pochax » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:20 pm

i us both online and B&M. online is for savings and CDs where the rates are slightly better and it is linked to my checking acct at a B&M. if i ever need large withdrawals, i just transfer the $ from my online savings to my B&M checking and go to the bank to withdraw it. have never had any problems with this system to date.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby Toons » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:25 pm

I use ING(now Capital One) electric orange.Billpay,deposit with check photo capture option,If I need cash I use an ATM,or I will use card as debit then "cash back" at local stores.Haven't had the need for checks yet but they do offer 50 for 5 bucks.ATM withdrawal limit is 1,000 per day.So far very pleased, I started using Electric Orange in 2008 :happy
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby tfb » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:38 pm

lightheir wrote:Back in the day, these used to offer significantly higher Money Market or savings rates, but now they seem to be essentially equalized (all low).

They still do, relatively. 0.75% is 15 times 0.05%.

lightheir wrote:I have an online acct, but ran into some troubles when trying to withdraw cash over $1000 a few years ago - turns out it was extremely difficult to do without a branch location, and I ended up having to transfer the cash to a Wells Fargo and waiting for the money to clear.

If you are OK with keeping a local B&M account, that works. Money pushed in clears immediately. It's just a one-day delay if you have the right online bank. Transfer today, withdraw tomorrow. Or else if you know the right way to withdraw cash over $1000 from an online bank account, you don't even have to wait that one day (limit $2,000 per day at my bank). See How To Withdraw [A Large Amount of] Cash From Online Bank Account.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby Default User BR » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:58 pm

I do both. I have American Bank[1] for online and US Bank[1] for brick and mortar. The latter has convenient branches by me, and their ATMs are in a local supermarket I patronize. The former gives me at least a bit on my holdings.


1. How patriotic of me

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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby jebmke » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:10 pm

I use USAA. I rarely get checks to deposit and they have a decent scan-deposit function. No minimum balance (I keep a very low one) and they reimburse ATM fees. We only use the ATM every other month or so -- don't really need currency for much anymore.

My wife has a business account at a local B&M bank for her rental property. If we need something like a signature guarantee we can always go in there. The last time I was physically in a bank was a couple of years ago when I closed our BofA account.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby House Blend » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:30 pm

I use an online savings account and a local credit union.

Features I like about the online bank:
--a remote deposit app
--better rates (1% is noticeably better than .04%)
--an ATM-only card (CU only offers a combined debit+ATM card)
--an interim solution in case I ever decide to leave the CU

Features I like about the local CU
--no layers of bureaucracy. If I have a problem, the person I'm speaking to is generally the person whose job it is to solve it. Or the boss.
--fees that are easy to avoid without hoop-jumping
--open on Saturdays

I average maybe one or two visits to the CU per year. The last two trips were to deposit checks, one drawn on a Canadian bank, the other a UK bank. Did both on Saturdays. Foreign checks are a bit of a special case, so didn't want to see what would happen if I mailed it in. (The online bank won't accept non-US checks.)
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby Supermercado » Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:40 pm

I use both USAA (checking) and Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct, savings) online banks. I also have an account at Wells Fargo that I use if I need to do anything locally. I also get a discounted rate on my safe deposit box there due to a program I was eligible for from before Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia a couple years ago. I originally got the ING Direct account when their savings accounts were paying 4-5% a few years ago. I don't remember my specific reasons for switching to the USAA checking account but reasons I've stayed were no (or so low that it might as well be non-existent) minimum balance requirements, free checks (not that I often write a check any more), withdrawals from any ATM with the fees reimbursed, and they were the first - to my knowledge - to allow remote deposits of checks. At the time, it was scanning on a PC and later smartphone apps.

I've had no problems at all with either USAA's online checking or ING's online savings. A couple of times, I've needed more cash than I can withdraw from an ATM in a single day but after talking to USAA, they advised me to do as another poster suggested and do a cash advance. I was essentially able to walk into Wells Fargo, hand them my USAA debit card, and get the cash I needed. All it took was a quick and painless call to USAA to set it up. This is of course in addition to the option of transferring money from the online account to the local one and just making a regular withdrawal. I'd do that if time permitted.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby lightheir » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:09 pm

So it sounds like everyone who has an e-bank also has a local brick and mortar bank?
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby happymob » Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:12 pm

No, because I've never had the need. My local branch 2 blocks away and pays really good rates on rewards checking. They will also reimburse other banks ATM charges, so no great problem there (though being 2 blocks away, we almost always use their ATM).

I did use ING Direct when they had much more competitive rates for a few short-term CDs at one point, but I never used their savings or checking.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby jasc15 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:13 pm

I use ING as my banking "hub". I have a credit union and a brick and mortar bank attached to it, as well as my Fidelity account. I'm considering ditching the bank and using ING for checking/debit, since I have made it so I never have to actually visit the bank to have someone try to sell me a credit card.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby prudent » Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:31 pm

I have both online and B&M accounts. When I need a wire transfer, a medallion guarantee, or something notarized, then I like to be able to get it done in my neighborhood right away. I also have a safe deposit box at the B&M that I access from time to time, and they know who I am. Once I needed to deposit a relatively large check to cover one I had to write to another person - and they were going to cash it the next day. The check I was depositing exceeded my balance by a few thousand. I asked if they would credit my account for the entire check amount immediately without a hold as a favor and they agreed.

Plus, all those people in the B&M are living in my area, paying taxes, buying stuff, supporting the little league, etc. I don't want them to be unemployed.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby doug91 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:09 pm

lightheir wrote:So it sounds like everyone who has an e-bank also has a local brick and mortar bank?


I don't, have been online only since I opened up a Security First National Bank in the mid-90s and didn't visit a physical bank for a while... about a year later, I went all online. They went under & I transferred my assets to another one. I actually keep thinking I need to open up an account with a local credit union or something, imagining that I'll need to get something notarized or have some sort of complex transaction. Then, another year will go by and I'll have had no such incident.

I'm not really advocating online-only, I just so rarely find any need that a physical bank would meet that I've never gotten around to adding the tracking complexity of having another account around.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby Nummerkins » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:28 pm

I do my banking primarily with USAA and Ally. I don't use cash and can do everything I need online.

The banking system itself is electronic anyways and has been for years. My paycheck is direct deposited. When I owe people money I add their bank info online and ACH it to them. I pay all my bills electronically. I use credit cards. In short, all I do is move money from here to there. Why would I need a person involved?

I do have a local credit union account with branches should I need any legacy services.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby Sam I Am » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:33 pm

Message deleted.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby midareff » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:37 pm

I kept my CU in case I need a certified check from time to time. I use Ally online for everything else including a couple of monthly scheduled ins and outs to my CU to avoid their inactivity report.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby crowd79 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:41 pm

Just like to add having an Ally MMA with debit card is awesome. High interest, no fees, no minimums and they refund all ATM fees home and abroad (except the 1% foreign conversion fee). Got refunded $50 in fees from my trip to Thailand last year.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby obgraham » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:54 pm

Been using ING, now becoming Cap One, for 9 years. Always happy. 99% of my banking goes there. Not enough cash in there to worry about the rate or chase rates to another bank.
I gave up on the big bank that has part of USA in its name because one hand never seemed to know what the other hand was doing there.
I do have a small account at a small local bank, for safedeposit box, and if I should ever need a bank signature for something. Two of my friends work there. But I only go in there to access the safedeposit box.
Never had the need for more cash than they allow in a day. If I did, I guess I'd either work on it for a few days, or visit that little bank.

I do carry both banks' debit cards when traveling overseas. I've found it to be unpredictable when my debit card will not produce cash at a foreign ATM, and 2 cards increases my odds.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby 555 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:59 pm

I'm stumped by this question.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby JamesSFO » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:13 pm

If you need large amounts of cash it can be a hassle. I'm 99% sure I've done medallion guarantees w/ USAA by postal mail, though of late I got to a local brick and mortar bank where I keep $300 in savings + a safe deposit box. Otherwise, online works better.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby kramer » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:00 am

I have lived mostly abroad since 2007. But I have not visited any branch of my various banks since 1998 back when I actually lived near one.

Fortunately, I have never needed a Signature/Medallion Guarantee (which seems to be quite a rare requirement). The one time I needed to *deposit* a large sum of cash (more troublesome than getting cash, IMO) was when I sold my automobile in 2008. In that case, I just deposited the money into my mom's local account and she wrote me a check. Another useful feature of a local bank would seem to be if you are buying or selling a car, a bank is a good place to do the final part of the transaction.

I have gotten things notarized at the neighborhood UPS store (or whatever it is called), the fee is small to get that done.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby jasc15 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:32 am

What about certified checks? I still have a B&M attached to my ING account which I used for a recent car purchase, but they do not offer certified checks:

No. We cannot send a certified check on your behalf, like when you’re closing on a home. In those cases, we recommend transferring the funds to your external linked checking account, so that institution can issue a certified check for you.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby THY4373 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:49 am

lightheir wrote:So it sounds like everyone who has an e-bank also has a local brick and mortar bank?


Not me. I have Ally and USAA only. Last time I was in a bank branch was probably 07 or 08 when BofA bought out Countrywide and then killed their decent interest rates. I showed up at BofA long enough to close out my account. The last time I needed a Signature/Medallion Guarantee was probably 1996. And if I need that again there is a Schwab brokerage near me (never been there) and I have a brokerage account with them so I am sure I could get it there if needed.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby minesweep » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:25 pm

lightheir wrote:So it sounds like everyone who has an e-bank also has a local brick and mortar bank?

Since 2001 American Bank has been both my online and brick and mortar bank (about 10 miles away). In all those years I’ve only stopped in there 2 or 3 times to do business. Their e-Checking account pays 0.55% up to a $10,000 deposit amount (somewhat lower for deposits above that amount). I remember the good old days when the yield was 6%.

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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby WHL » Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:44 am

ING is amazing. I've used them since 07 with zero, absolutely zero, issues.

Need to withdraw $5000 RIGHT NOW? Take your ING debit card to a bank and do a cash advance. It's free at ING, and it was free at Chase, even though I wasn't a customer.

They have traditionally had the highest, or nearly the highest, interest rates for savings accounts.

Their user interface is so easy and simple. I can send paper checks for my rent for free. I can transfer money to any other bank account, family member, etc.

I currently have a Chase account because I have many of their credit cards and wanted an ATM with no fees. Since Chase is everywhere, it made sense.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby Lon » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:30 pm

I have used branchless online banking as my only bank for over 20 years and use it for the same reasons as having all bills and statements paperless -- CONVENIENCE--Haven't bought stamps or envelopes in a long time, no standing in line at walk in bank or parking problems, savings on gasoline. I have no trouble getting cash or making deposits and foreign ATM access is totally reimbursed as is domestic.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby Toons » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:46 pm

Lon wrote:I have used branchless online banking as my only bank for over 20 years and use it for the same reasons as having all bills and statements paperless -- CONVENIENCE--Haven't bought stamps or envelopes in a long time, no standing in line at walk in bank or parking problems, savings on gasoline. I have no trouble getting cash or making deposits and foreign ATM access is totally reimbursed as is domestic.


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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby ryuns » Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:25 pm

Lon wrote:I have used branchless online banking as my only bank for over 20 years and use it for the same reasons as having all bills and statements paperless -- CONVENIENCE--Haven't bought stamps or envelopes in a long time, no standing in line at walk in bank or parking problems, savings on gasoline. I have no trouble getting cash or making deposits and foreign ATM access is totally reimbursed as is domestic.


20 years???? How did online banking work 20 years ago? Considering the website of a fortune 500 company looked like this just 17 years ago, I think I would have stayed far away :shock:
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby Flobes » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:14 pm

Privacy.

I live in a small town, where friendliness often blurs discretion and everybody is in everybody's business. I believe the scope of my wealth is only for me to know.

At the local brickbank account, I have a free safe deposit box (for being over 50), and I keep my checking account to pay my bills. In this real world, I appear the same as I have for the 35 years since the bank opened.

For moving and storing the big money, surprise inherited 5 years ago, I live in the virtual world.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby Lon » Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:30 pm

ryuns wrote:
Lon wrote:I have used branchless online banking as my only bank for over 20 years and use it for the same reasons as having all bills and statements paperless -- CONVENIENCE--Haven't bought stamps or envelopes in a long time, no standing in line at walk in bank or parking problems, savings on gasoline. I have no trouble getting cash or making deposits and foreign ATM access is totally reimbursed as is domestic.


20 years???? How did online banking work 20 years ago? Considering the website of a fortune 500 company looked like this just 17 years ago, I think I would have stayed far away :shock:


It's worked quite well for all that time, never a glitch, never a hitch, and I can't say that for any of the walk in banks that I used prior.
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby gkaplan » Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:36 pm

I always bring a book when I anticipate having to stand in line (post office, grocery store, credit union, and so on.)
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby Lon » Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:35 pm

gkaplan wrote:I always bring a book when I anticipate having to stand in line (post office, grocery store, credit union, and so on.)


I read my book while you are standing in line at the various places. :D
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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby fsrph » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:14 pm

I use Ally online for a few cd's. But keep checking and direct deposit (work) in local banks.

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Re: Do you use a branchless online bank, and why?

Postby archbish99 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:46 pm

lightheir wrote:So it sounds like everyone who has an e-bank also has a local brick and mortar bank?

I don't -- USAA only. Originally because I moved a lot in college and preferred something that didn't assume you would be local to their branches at all times. Since then, largely because they've been good to us and it's not worth the hassle to move everything.

For notary services, we go to a notary at work -- they're willing to accommodate low-volume personal requests. For cash, there are a couple options, but the most common is just to buy a gift card to our local grocery store and use it for groceries until it's spent down. We could also take it to Sears and put it toward our Discover Card bill for the month, though we've never tried it. Both the need for a notary and needing to deposit large amounts of cash are such rare occurrences that they're not worth designing for.
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