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15 Little Life Hacks

What do you think about your bank?

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Occasionally, we do large-scale “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” surveys and analyze the data. In the past, we’ve analyzed what people wish they’d saved for, what people spend on Valentine’s Day, if people spent less because of a recession, and the differences between men and women when it comes to money.

Today, I’m running another survey. This time, I want to know: What do you think of your bank or credit union?

It will take you about 5 minutes. We’ll slice and dice the data and present it here shortly. Thanks for your help.

Click here to take the survey.

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55 Comments on "What do you think about your bank?"

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Scott
Scott
6 years 1 month ago

You don’t have citibank on your list of banks at the beginning. That surprises me.

Your last question “Do you want to get the iwtytbr newsletter” should have a third choice “Already signed up, thanks!”

Stefan H
Stefan H
6 years 1 month ago

Ehm, there’s something wrong with the survey. I went from page one to two to ten and then I was done? 🙂

Jourdan
Jourdan
6 years 1 month ago

Love my local credit union! Sometimes their website and services feel a bit dated, but they communicate really well, have low fees, lots of ATMs, and are always willing to work with you.

James Weinert
James Weinert
6 years 1 month ago

I love USAA and will recommend them ad nauseum

Chase Thompson
6 years 1 month ago

USAA does have a great product. They really seem take care of their customers.

Clark Bailey
Clark Bailey
6 years 1 month ago

I want to marry USAA.

Amazing customer service. Deposits with my phone, no hidden fees. I haven’t been to an actual bank in long time.

David @ The Frugality Game
6 years 1 month ago

Done!

I’m using Wells Fargo, and I’m perfectly happy with them because:
– My accounts are free.
– Online and ATMs are easy to use, so I almost never need a branch.
– There are locations around the country (since I move on occasion).

I’ve heard various opinions of their customer service, but they meet my needs without any fees.

Looking forward to the other results.

red
red
6 years 1 month ago

I’ve got a pretty good package with Wellsfargo as well. I meticulously went through my statements not long ago, and found no hidden fees in my accounts.

I also use USAA, which is fantastic. I do plan on getting an online bank in the not-so-distant future when interest rates recover a bit. Last I looked they were a sliver better than USAA’s best rates for savings, not enough to justify moving everything over.

R S
R S
6 years 1 month ago

Whoa, no Fidelity love?
They have a checking account now.. and they’ve had bill pay for a while.

Jon
6 years 1 month ago

I use wachovia (read: walk all over ya), or so people tell me. So far, I haven’t had many problems with them and they have waved my overdraft fees when they happened. WIll be interesting to see how the integration goes with Wells Fargo. They do charge a nasty international fee on foreign withdrawals so be careful though…

Julie
Julie
6 years 1 month ago

My favorite thing about my bank (chase) is the number of branch/atm locations. I’ve never been more than a few blocks away from an ATM.

Also, I have never been charged any fees, and I use a different (online) back for my savings account, so I don’t care about earning any interest in my checking account, since there’s never much money in there anyways, and I’d probably make less than $1 a month with any interest or checking rewards program.

Big Cajun Man
6 years 1 month ago

TD is fine, on line banking system is OK, ATM machines are fine, integrated with TD Waterhouse so that is cool too. They are open to negotiations for pricing of banking services as well, which is good too.

Big Dave
6 years 1 month ago

I use ING Direct and love them. I direct deposit there and pay bills. Then I have a local CU as a back up for when I need to deposit checks.

kate
kate
6 years 1 month ago

I had Bank of America (BoA) since college. Every time they added a new fee i would cringe but put up with it because moving banks was SUCH a painful painful process. Then USAA (i had their insurance).came out with an iPhone app to deposit checks. NOW it is worth the pain of moving.

I cannot say enough wonderful, glowing, gag-worthy things about USAA! *sigh* happy happy HAPPY USAA banking customer!

Fenriq
6 years 1 month ago

Big fan of USAA as well. In fifteen years of membership they have not screwed me once. When I was with Wells Fargo, they’d screw me over virtually every single month. The only drawback to USAA is not having a local branch which is why I also keep an account at Chase (opened it when it was WaMu).

chantell
chantell
6 years 1 month ago

Why do you need a local bank? You can deposit money from home or with a mobile phone, and you can call the bank for anything that you need that a local branch does. I love that I don’t have to stand in line at a branch, I can just pick up the phone from any where in the world for assistances.

molly
molly
6 years 1 month ago

I can’t believe no one in the comments has raved about Schwab yet. They are absolutely the best bank around for a checking account. No hidden fees, great customer service, and best of all, you can use any ATM you want anywhere wand they will refund the fees to your account, at no cost to you. Also, no foreign currency charges, which makes it a breeze to travel using just your debit card.

Peter
Peter
6 years 1 month ago

I like BECU but I am interested in trying out the bank that Ramit suggests. It sounds like fun. This online banking stuff is actually really neat.

Stefan H
Stefan H
6 years 1 month ago
Heh, I’m a Swede and, well, banking seems to be… different in the USA to say the least. I doubt there’s one single bank here that doesn’t have a proper internet bank, almost no-one goes to a bank office unless it’s about setting up a mortgage or something like that. And you can always use any banks ATM, at no extra cost, regardless of what bank you use. And we don’t use checks. They exist, but virtually no-one uses them. Haven’t seen one since I was a kid. OTOH, you guys have mint.com, which I’d really like to be able… Read more »
Ryan
Ryan
6 years 1 month ago

I think it’s great that I can do every bit of my banking without ever walking into a branch or picking up a phone. Online banking plus direct deposit = heaven.

@Stefan, I’ve always wondered this since I know that non-Americans do not typically use checks. Let’s say that you buy a used TV from a private person that you found on an online classifieds site… how do you pay that person when you go to pick up the TV?

Stefan H
Stefan H
6 years 1 month ago

@Ryan usually by cash. sometimes by transferring money to the sellers account.

And oh, all well-known (and some not so well-known) banks provide a “mobile” web version of their internet bank as well, where you can check your accounts, transfer money between them etc. And plenty of the banks also provide Android and/or iPhone apps.

Amy F
6 years 1 month ago

Thanks for including credit unions in the survey, and for the mention in your book. I’m a member/owner of two credit unions and I have an ING account (my only account w/ a bank). I am a HUGE believer in the not-for-profit, cooperative, one-member-one-vote credit union movement.

Bryson Holland
6 years 1 month ago
I couldn’t convey enough good things about USAA in your survey. I want to more personally inform you and your readers about how great they are. iPhone apps for depositing checks, full ATM charge refunds the next day (regardless of amount – a $12 ATM charge on a $20 withdrawl from a Vegas casino even got refunded within 24 hours), immediate availability of transferred/deposited funds (the only time there are holds is when the other bank involved initiates one – I’m looking at you, Bank of America!), absolutely incredible customer service. To top it all off they’ve got awesome great… Read more »
chantell
chantell
6 years 1 month ago

I think he meant to say the following: The Las Vegas atm charged him a $12 fee after he withdrew $20. USAA refunded him the $12 the next day. I know this to be true because it happen to me when I was in Vegas. USAA refunds all ATM fees upto $15 every month. Who wants to worry about fees when you are in Vegas!

Melissa
Melissa
6 years 1 month ago
Until just recently I got great service from Huntington. They were growing steadily but still acted like a little bank or credit union. It was fun while it lasted, but it turns out they changed management and shifted their mode of business recently and their service level really reflects a new level of aggression for profit and expansion instead of worrying about keeping you as a customer. Never really had any problems with my account until I was checking my balance online and spotted a $31 overdraft fee. The problem is I never actually overdrew- I had a deposit post… Read more »
Steve Hevel
Steve Hevel
6 years 1 month ago

Melissa – I’m sorry to hear of your recent frustration with Huntington. We value you as a customer and appreciate your feedback. I would welcome the opportunity to work with you to try to resolve your issues, regain your trust and retain you as a valued Huntington customer. I hope to hear from you.

Thanks, Steven Hevel
steven.hevel@huntington.com

Cathy
Cathy
6 years 1 month ago

@Ryan
Cheques are pretty rare here in Australia, too. If I was buying a television, I would use EFTPOS. This is a system where I swipe my ATM card at the store, enter my PIN and the money comes directly out of my savings account to the store. Everyone uses it here for just about everything.
Surely you have something similar in USA? I’d love to know.
Thanks.

Bryson Holland
6 years 1 month ago

Ramit: The casinos change up their ATM charges on occasion, usually when large conventions come to town. It was two years ago, SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trades) was the particular convention so all the hotel/casinos were full of gun guys. I guessed that whoever the owner of that casino was didn’t like guns, and he decided he didn’t like us for liking them. I live here in Vegas and I’d not seen them that high before or since, including when SHOT was back in Vegas at the beginning of this year.

Matt T
Matt T
6 years 1 month ago

I have to share love for my credit union, DCU. I get reimbursed for ATM fees (though not as well or quickly as USAA, incredible story about the Vegas ATM). I also get my Equifax credit score from them monthly for no charge. Helpful customer service, haven’t paid fees of any kind. The only drawback is staggeringly low (0.1%) savings rate. Hence the bulk of my savings is with Ally (set up with multiple sub-accounts ING-style), who I also love dearly.

cc
cc
6 years 1 month ago

another usaa satisfied customer- i have all my investments & insurance & a good amount of cc debt all with them, very nice customer service reps, i know they’re not out to get me like all the other banks :^)
but i use hsbc for day-to-day checking and online savings- they have a great website, good savings rates, and a branch near my place. i can’t go 100% mobile banking yet, as my iphone doesn’t have ATM functionality 🙂 the twenties won’t come out, no matter how hard i shake it.

RJ Weiss
6 years 1 month ago

I have used ING Direct for about five years now. I know the interest rates are not as great as they used to be, but I like their interface, customer service. Plus, I’m too lazy to actually switch.

I do bank locally though. I have one month’s of expenses in a local bank and I use it for the check book. Once in a blue moon I will have to write a check.

victor sarmiento
victor sarmiento
6 years 1 month ago

USAA all the way baby, Great Online Banking, Free anywhere ATM (up to 15 dollar per month), the customer services is second to none, home deposit,…….. my car insurance is good as well, although Geico beat it by $20 bucks but is not enough for me to leave them. My USAA credit card is 7.5% apr after they raised it from 5.5%apr….. I can’t complain at all, and to top it all they did not need a bail out from the gov!!

sylv
sylv
6 years 1 month ago
I’m surprised Wells Fargo isn’t getting more love on this site (since this site is high on automation and MPT). Their PMA account is quite nice for those who manage their own portfolios. Why I like it: – 100 commission free trades a year if you link your checking with their brokerage service. If you buy mutual funds, many of the online brokerages charge up to $50 / trade. I buy shares once monthly and do portfolio rebalances quarterly, so this is quite helpful (their brokerage does not provide special tools, but trades are executed swiftly and accurately) – Transfer… Read more »
Kat
Kat
6 years 1 month ago

I deeply loathe BoA. Used to bank with a credit union until I moved to the States. Looking to switch to a new bank that won’t screw me at every turn. Some replies here give me hope that such banks still exist. Will be looking into USAA and some others. 🙂

Scott
Scott
6 years 1 month ago
Following your advice, Ramit, the more you automated, the less it matters what bank you are with. Having a checking account that pays interest would be nice, but I’m never going to leave enough money in there to make it worthwhile anyway. There are many choices these days and it’s not hard to make sure you get everything for free (the basics, anyway). There are ways to make your most convenient bank work for you (and that’s part of the plan anyway, right?). I would ATM fees are the one obstacle that I don’t know how to get around without… Read more »
Karen
6 years 1 month ago
USAA is the best. I just relocated last year. Although I had my insurance with USAA, I did not initially open up a savings/checking account with them as I thought that being able to visit a bank would be better. It’s not. I enrolled with M&T, am a dissatisfied customer & will be closing my account with them soon. Added fees (if you use their debt card at a grocery store an extre .50 fee is added). Customer service is lacking. Going to their bank is not pleasant. More than once they’ve had side-bar conversations with other tellers in the… Read more »
Pam Lee
6 years 1 month ago

I use more than one bank for different reasons:
– Wells Fargo checking, savings, and brokerage for everyday convenience
– HSBC Online Savings for interest rate and bank-to-bank transfers (free money movement between institutions)
– First Republic ATM Rebate Checking for no ATM fees (non-bank ATM fees reimbursed) and no foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad

I just completed the survey for Wells Fargo. Should I complete another for the other two banks?

purplegirl247
purplegirl247
6 years 1 month ago

Do you still have to be a member of the military to enjoy USAA’s fabulousness? They sound great, but not “I’m willing to join the Armed Forces to get an account” great, y’know?

Ely
Ely
6 years 1 month ago
Love love love ING Direct. Awesome features, no fees, better interest than any ordinary bank, as many savings accounts as I want, electronic automated bill pay… I could go on. I have a linked account at a small local bank, where I deposit my 2-3 checks a month – reimbursement checks, gifts, rebates etc – and keep a little cash in case I have to write a check, which I do maybe 3x a year – for example, paying a friend back for a shared hotel room, I would rather hand her a paper check than make her wait for… Read more »
Tiffany
6 years 1 month ago

I recently started banking with Chase, about three months ago, and it’s been the worst baking experience that i’ve ever experienced. Checking fees, debit fees, and not being able to access my money al ofl time is the worst!

Ryan
Ryan
6 years 1 month ago

I love banking at PNC but that is mainly because I like the tellers there and they had no problems accepting large $1 gold coin deposits from me =)

Currently also use ING Direct for a savings account because of their much better interest rate than what I could get at a traditional bank. Plus it is really easy to make sub-accounts for different savings goals.

jgonzales
jgonzales
6 years 1 month ago
purplegirl247, you don’t have to be a member of the military to join USAA (anymore) but you do have to be related to someone. My mom was able to join because her dad had an account and she’s been raving about them to me. This blog is the third or fourth time this week that I’ve been told I should switch to USAA. My only problem is that my husband’s company is very small and doesn’t offer direct deposit, so I have to have a local bank to deposit his payroll checks if we want access to the money quickly… Read more »
Bryson Holland
6 years 1 month ago

You don’t need to do any of that with USAA to get your money deposited. They have an iPhone app that you can simply take a picture of your check with, or if you don’t have an iPhone you can scan it and send them the picture, the money is available immediately.

Sherwin
Sherwin
6 years 1 month ago

Hi Ramit,

I’m currently reading your book and the high interest rate of online bank accounts fascinates me. However, it seems like no bank now days offer the “is it true that the good old days of 3-6% interest rates for online banking is now over due to the recession?

Niluka Weerasinghe
6 years 1 month ago

I rarely got to the bank to withdraw money. collecting by ATM machine is very easy method.
I don’t thing about interest. finishing work quickly is my policy.

Niluka

Rob O'Keefe
Rob O'Keefe
6 years 1 month ago

I am in the process of switching banks today as we speak..

USAA offers .1% interest with a 1,000 minimum..

Charles Schwab is offering .5% with no minimum..

Since both banks are offering the same deal otherwise (free ATM reimb, free online banking, no service fees) I am going with Schwab because of the higher interest.

Hope this helps anyone else considering switching banks

cc
cc
6 years 1 month ago

re: usaa membership- it’s all relative, baby 😉 my dad is a member, his whole family has access to membership. i’m getting married next year and asked usaa if my fiancee will be able to join when we tie the knot, the answer was yes. so you don’t have to join the military for usaa, you can also marry into it!

mari k.
mari k.
6 years 1 month ago

sad I missed the survey. curious about what the answers were.

I was wondering if anyone on this discussion happens to know whether there are any debit/ATM cards that do not charge or reimburses for foreign transaction fees. I know about Capital One credit cards, but how about debit?

thanks!

Pam Lee
6 years 1 month ago

@mari k I mentioned above that I use First Republic ATM Rebate Checking for no ATM fees (non-bank ATM fees reimbursed) and no foreign transaction fees when traveling abroad. The minimum balance is $3500 or there will be a monthly service charge, though. Let us know if you find something better.

Financial bondage
6 years 1 month ago

banks are greedy. credit unions are better

Eddie
Eddie
6 years 27 days ago
I was splitting my funds between USAA and Navy Federal Credit Union. Then, I got deployed to Iraq. USAA cut my credit card interest to 4%, then waived it entirely when I came back with a medal. Navy Federal kept the rate as it was, and called my wife 4 times in one day because she had forgotten to transfer a payment. She made her payment with the first caller, then got 3-8 calls a day for the next week while they applied the payment to the wrong account, reversed it, and applied it to the correct one. Needless to… Read more »
Joe L.
Joe L.
6 years 19 days ago
Gonna join the USAA love parade. Low car insurance rates, ATM fee refunds, iPhone deposits, amazing customer service. 1) refunded $300 of unauthorized payments when I lost my debit card at a Minneapolis bar within 24 hours. 2) Used a supposed “free trial” USAA Credit Monitoring Service through Experian when I was purchasing a new car (just to keep tabs on any credit checks). Naturally, Experian charged me a fee despite me canceling early (which they made extremely difficult to find information on how to do so). Experian refused to reimburse me. Called USAA and said I was disappointed they… Read more »
Drew
Drew
6 years 15 days ago
I have just been reading all of the positive comments about USAA, and still feel the need to reiterate how AWESOME they are. They: -refund ATM fees -gave me a $25,000 loan at under 2% as a 21 yr old -dropped my credit card to 4% and COMPLETELY reimburse any foreign transaction fees while I am overseas for TWO years -took care of almost $4,000 in fradulent charges in a foreign country within 24 hours after a 5 minute phone call – they noticed the activity before I did and called me to resolve it! On top of all of… Read more »
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