virgin744
Posts: 825
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 1999 5:51 pm

Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:00 am

I only just realised how fortunate I was being a Brit with our Banks here in the UK.
I have been looking at which US bank is a good one to bank with and was surprised to find out how many charges there were when banking in the States. Most banks have charges for a simple "checking" account and those charges can stem from an outright charge for having the privilege or other charges for things such as a "maintenance". You can also have a bank that has a waiver IF you have a minimum amount in your account, say $5000 and you can also be charged for writing cheques or 'checks'. You then get stung for using the ATM if its not theirs and you also get hammered if you want to see a bank teller  banghead 

On top of that you can get charged if you want an acocunt that allows you to use online banking or if you want telephone banking!

So, if anyone has any pointers on a good US bank (that has outlets in California) which would allow me to write checks, do online banking and NOT get charged for the pleasure of these basic amenities please let me know if them Big grin

virgin744
 
diamond
Posts: 3000
Joined: Sun Apr 11, 2004 8:01 am

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:07 am

Virgin744,

The charges you have described are very common here. Once in a while, you will find a bank that is offering 'free checking' or the waiving of other normal fees. These are usually much smaller banks that are working harder to compete with the bigger ones.
Blank.
 
desertjets
Posts: 7586
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 3:12 pm

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:10 am

Which rinky dink banks are you looking at.

Most major US banks have a pretty standard "free" checking account that doesn't require minimum balances, doesn't have monthly fees, or any of that. Of course things might vary from state to state, as various rules and regulations impacting banking differ. So it might be specific regulations in CA that force monthly fees. But things like using a foreign atm will almost always result in at least one fee for using it, sometimes you will get double charged. However in this day and age of mega banks like Bank of America will pretty much national coverage, being unable to find an ATM from your bank is pretty hard.

In New York state I bank with a major regional bank and have a free checking account w/ interest (a paltry .015%, would be better off digging pennies out of the sofa).
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
virgin744
Posts: 825
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 1999 5:51 pm

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:14 am

I looked at 2 banks that didnt seem to rip me off too much but I dont know their reputation and how good they really are;
http://www.uboc.com/ - Union Bank of California
http://www.wellsfargo.com/ - Wells Fargo


Any advice?

virgin744
 
desertjets
Posts: 7586
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 3:12 pm

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:18 am

When I lived in Arizona I had my account with Wells Fargo, and my student loans are serviced through Wells Fargo. Certainly no complaints from me. At least in PHX and TUS ATMs and branches were plentiful when I needed them. I'd imagine the situation to be the same in Cali as they are based out of San Fran.
Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
 
srbmod
Posts: 15446
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2001 1:32 pm

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:36 am

I've been banking with my current bank, SunTrust for over 2 years now, starting out with a savings account and then after about 8 months opened a checking account. When I opened my savings account, there weren't any monthly fees associated with the account; when I opened my checking account it did, which I expected. What's got me was about six months later, they made my checking account a "free" checking account and then all of a sudden I started getting hit with a $4 a month "maintenance fee" on my savings account. I pretty much quit putting money in the savings account (I've just been too lazy to close it.) and put all of my money in my checking account.
 
VC10BOAC
Posts: 387
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 2:11 am

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:50 am

Reminds me of a Bank TV commercial here in the States - I forgot which bank but they were trying to show that they don't charge fees like the other banks do.

They had a lady walk into the "other bank" with new checks that the bank had printed her name wrongly on. She went up to the teller and told him she would like to return the checks. The teller said "we have to charge you a check printing fee" and pushed a button on a cash register he had on the counter.

She then asked why she had to pay for the bank's mistake and he said "I have to charge you a conversation fee... you don't think this conversation we are having is free, do you?" and pushed the cash register button.

At this point she said "WHAT??!!" and he said "Ooh.. Emotional outburst fee, those can be pretty steep" and he pushed the cash register button again.

He then said "how do you want to pay for that? we take personal checks" He hands the woman a pen to write the check, then pushed the cash register button again and says "there is a fee for the pen too"

Funny Stuff!!

I use HSBC here in New York, fees are minimal with all online checking benefits. Don't know if HSBC has branches in CA though.
 
BigOrange
Posts: 2291
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 2:20 am

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 5:31 am

Bank of America has one that is free as long as you don't go in the bank and use a teller.

If you use online banking and ATM's it's free.
 
SA7700
Posts: 2936
Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:38 pm

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 6:03 am

Count your blessings! In South Africa, we have 4 major commercial banks. In essence, they form a type of monopoly as they all charge for the following services, with slight variations in charges:


-Cheque service fees
-Cheque issuing-and handling fees
-Inter account transfers (ATM, Telephone-and Internet banking, Over the counter)
-Account payments (ATM, Telephone-and Internet banking, Over the counter, Debit orders and Stop orders)
-Withdrawals (ATM, Declined ATM withdrawals, Branch, International)
-Cash deposits
-Administrative fees
-Government levies
-Balance enquiries (including statements)


All these charges are applicable whether it is your own bank or not. You will for instance pay an ATM withdrawal fee when you withdraw cash from your account at your bank's ATM. One of the most ridiculously high fees is cash deposits – the costs can be exorbitant.

How is that for banking charges?


Rgds

SA7700
When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
 
Lt-AWACS
Posts: 2120
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2002 2:40 am

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:29 am

Banking is basically regulated by state, so depending on which state you open the account in, your rules and fees could be different. Bank of America has a searchable feature by state, including California which could help with the fee schedule. If you have direct deposit with BofA most fees are waived (in most states).

Ciao, and Hook 'em Horns,
Capt-AWACS, Who needs a hug
Io voglio fica ogni giorni da mia bella moglie!
 
gipper913
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 8:22 am

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:42 am

I have to agree with SA7700, if you do your homework, you should be able to find a bank in the US that suits your needs with little or no fees (other than the not-our-bank-ATM fee). Is the good part about having hundreds of banks to choose from.

If you aren't willing to do your homework...then caveat emptor.

I live in CA as well, and you cannot avoid the advertisements on TV and radio for innumerable banks offering no fee checking accounts. Do some comparison shopping and you'll do fine.
The size of the federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern. --R. Reagan
 
satx
Posts: 2771
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 7:26 am

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 8:04 am

There are many US banks that have free checking accounts with no fees for standard service, including online banking and human tellers. We even have banks that will give you $100 or more just for setting up direct deposit account and will reimburse ATM fees you may be charged by using other bank's ATM's. Just shop around; I'm sure you can find something like this in CA.
Open Season on Consumer Protections is Just Around the Corner...
 
virgin744
Posts: 825
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 1999 5:51 pm

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:18 pm

VC10BOAC,
That is tooo funny!!

I will do a comparison before I opt for any but I dont think I will get away with having the srvices I want to use and not paying a fee by the looks of it!

virgin744
 
ANCFlyer
Posts: 21391
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 3:51 pm

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:26 pm

I bank at AlaskaUSA Federal Credit Union . . .

I pay no fees . . . for anything that I'm aware . . .

Free Checking
Free ATM Use (at a Credit Union ATM)
No check limit
On line Banking
Mortgage with them @ 6.52%
Auto Loan with them @ 5.75%
Of course, there is a fair sum on deposit . . . that often will eliminate fees.

yaddayadda . . .

Been banking there for 30 years . . . can't beat it.
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
baylorairbear
Posts: 2841
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 5:25 am

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:42 pm

At First National (I think) in Waco, they rebate all ATM fees that they and other banks charge for using a non-company machine. That's a hell of a savings for someone who travels frequently.

I use Bank of America. I'm fine with not going into the bank, unless there's a problem and they'd better not even think of charging me a fee for that. Plus they have ATM's everywhere. But my check card practically eliminates the need for those. The only time I get cash is when Logan is looking to "earn" a few extra dollars.

BaylorAirBear
I'm just skipping stones...
 
Alias1024
Posts: 2247
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2004 11:13 am

RE: Banking In America

Wed Aug 24, 2005 11:51 pm

I opened an account with Bank of America in Florida, and wound up with free checking, but only if I let them take 25 dollars form my checking account every month and move it to my savings account. I'm not sure why they want to move money from my checking account to an interest bearing savings account (maybe they are hoping I will overdraft my checking?), but it doesn't really bother me, so it's a good deal. They also offer free checking with direct deposit. Laws may be different in California, but you should check with B of A to see how you can get free checking from them.

Pretty much all banks charge you a fee for using their ATM if you don't have an account with them. Some of the larger banks like Bank of America have agreements for reciprocal use of ATMs without fees. For example, while in London I was able to use any Barclays ATM to withdraw money from my B of A account, and wasn't charged any fees.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems with just potatoes.
 
soyuzavia
Posts: 589
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 7:21 am

RE: Banking In America

Thu Aug 25, 2005 12:09 am

Virgin744, as you're from the UK, like us down here, you're probably use to never going into a branch and doing all your banking online, so do you really need a bank with a branch network?

I'd probably check out the following....

http://www.netbank.com

The only reason you'd need to go into a physical branch is to deposit a cheque, and these guys do everything via UPS (due to them not having a physical branch network).
 
AirScoot
Posts: 667
Joined: Thu May 12, 2005 6:44 pm

RE: Banking In America

Thu Aug 25, 2005 6:04 am

Virgin744 -

When I lived in California - mind you this was 10 years ago - I made the mistake of getting an account with Bank of America.. They're intent on charging you every chance they get where you have to deal with a real live human being. I tried to transfer to WellsFargo and it was the same thing. Ultimately I never did find anyone out there that was truly low-cost that had convenient branch access.

What I ended up doing was opening up a bank account in Florida and doing the majority of my banking online and via ATM. It doesn't really matter where your bank is - unless you will be depositing a large number of paper checks. In my case the paper checks that I do get which are few and far between I end up mailing to the bank and they generally get there in a day or two. The nice thing with the bank I chose is they absorb fees charged at non-branch locations.

Good luck on your search!

S
 
BMIFlyer
Posts: 8065
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 7:11 am

RE: Banking In America

Thu Aug 25, 2005 6:11 am

Quoting Virgin744 (Reply 3):
Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo have to charge you enough to cover the costs of running this


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without eating into the profits  Wink



Lee
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
N312RC
Posts: 2586
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2000 10:58 am

RE: Banking In America

Thu Aug 25, 2005 6:16 am

I have checking/savings accounts at Bank of America and National City Bank of the Midwest... The only thing either charge me for is reordering checks and using off-network ATMs.. the rest is free... including Inter-bank transfers.
N/A
 
ltbewr
Posts: 12492
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:24 pm

RE: Banking In America

Thu Aug 25, 2005 6:36 am

One bank to consider that has branches not only in California, but in a number of other states as well (including the NY City area of NY State) is Washington Mutual. They offer 'free' checking, a large ATM network, and online access and bill pay. See their website at www.wamu.com for more info. I have had an premium interest checking account ('Platinum' level) for over a year and very satisfied with them.
 
tanyaluvs2fly
Posts: 342
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 12:07 pm

RE: Banking In America

Thu Aug 25, 2005 6:59 am

I worked for Fleet Bank now Bank Of America as a teller, now I am currently working for TD Banknorth in the Overdraft Department. Its a pretty interesting job.
Live, Laugh, Love!
 
102IAHexpress
Posts: 898
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 6:33 am

RE: Banking In America

Thu Aug 25, 2005 9:27 am

Quoting Virgin744 (Thread starter):
only just realised how fortunate I was being a Brit with our Banks here in the UK.

I'll take your word on that one, I remember when I lived in the UK as a student, trying to open up a bank account there was a nightmare. Their mentality was that, they were doing me a favor, for depositing my money.

In any event there are plenty of banks in the US that dont charge anything for a simple checking account. But most require a direct deposit from your employer. The only one that i've come acrross that didn't have the direct deposit requirment was Wachovia. But i'm not sure how big they are in the west coast.

http://www.wachovia.com/personal/page/0,,11_480_3972,00.html
 
StevenUhl777
Posts: 3281
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2001 11:02 am

RE: Banking In America

Thu Aug 25, 2005 11:57 am

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 20):
One bank to consider that has branches not only in California, but in a number of other states as well (including the NY City area of NY State) is Washington Mutual. They offer 'free' checking, a large ATM network, and online access and bill pay. See their website at www.wamu.com for more info. I have had an premium interest checking account ('Platinum' level) for over a year and very satisfied with them.

Great to see a plug for WaMu! I work for them in the Treasury Dept. here in Seattle. They're widespread on the west coast, and plan to add something like 200-300 branches per year. Primarily occasio branches, which are more self-serve type branches, so you don't have to stand in line for a teller.
And the winner for best actress is....REESE WITHERSPOON for 'Walk the Line'!!!!!!!!
 
aa757first
Posts: 3140
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 11:40 am

RE: Banking In America

Thu Aug 25, 2005 2:16 pm

Does anyone here use an internet bank?

AAndrew
 
virgin744
Posts: 825
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 1999 5:51 pm

RE: Banking In America

Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:49 am

Thanks everyone for the tips and advice. I do use internet banking a lot and dont really visit a bank here in the UK so maybe Washington Mutual would be a good choice - I was also given them as one to look at.

thanks once again

virgin744

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