Bank accounts, what is all this shit even.

IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
So, up to this point I've had a joint account with my mom, which they are ready to sever now that they are changing banks. I've always had a bank of america account.

For now I just need a checking account, eventually when I find a better (or second) job, I'll need a savings. I haven't actually gone inside of a bank of america in a year or two, so I'm considering an online bank like Ally. I have less than 5k and therefore will probably not be needing any special accounts, or getting any awesome interest rates.

My boyfriend and I are not settled into our location, so I'm assuming credit unions are out, considering we may pack up and move across the country in a year or two, but I really don't know anything about them either.


So Uh, I guess advice? I will gladly read helpful articles that will inform me on how to make this decision

Posts

  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    are you freelancing or do you have a day job? Depending on your employer, you might be able to get free checking that way-- I have a free checking account with Chase that I got by networking with my employer.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Day job, But we are an insanely small operation. If I can use the business to leverage a deal I'm sure my boss would be all for it, but the avenue for that wouldn't already be set up, and i'd probably have to do it myself.

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    Echo wrote: »
    Something working on the first try is a source of great suspicion.
  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    Many checking places will give you a free checking account if you set up direct deposit. There are usually banks that offer just plain free checking, but don't provide checks (which is less of an issue now thanks to many places allowing electronic payment).

    I have been with Bank of America for something like 8 years, but I don't love them. They're effective, they're very very common on the east coast and are available nationally, and they're large enough that their checking is free and they have deals with international banks (I can withdraw funds in many places in Europe with no conversion or ATM fees).

    If you're flexible and want online-only because you don't want to go into a teller, I can heartily recommend Charles Schwab checking. Their checking account bears interest (much more than you'd earn in a typical savings account, which is so low as to be a joke), and most importantly, they refund ALL ATM fees. So every ATM is your atm, including the sketchy one outside the bar. There's no minimum, unless they've changed it in the last couple years.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that it's not really a big deal to change banks, other than the whole getting new checks thing. If you end up moving somewhere and have to change banks, that's not enough of a big deal to really influence your current bank choices. It's more of an issue if you travel a lot.

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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    I happen to be a big fan of usaa checking even non military can use it. For real banks. Wells Fargo or suntrust are good enough.

    h3nduLaPuzza
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Credit union if you have a good one in your area.

    h3ndu
  • localh77localh77 Registered User regular
    The advice so far has all been good. One thing I would throw out there is that I wouldn't recommend going with only an online bank. It might not happen much (and maybe never), but when it happens that you do need to go into a physical branch, it's nice to have that option.

    But I also agree that you shouldn't have to pay for a checking account. If you can get free checking with direct deposit set up, or keeping a certain minimum, or some other simple condition, don't bother.

  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus premium Registered User regular
    edited May 2013
    Iruka wrote: »
    My boyfriend and I are not settled into our location, so I'm assuming credit unions are out, considering we may pack up and move across the country in a year or two, but I really don't know anything about them either.

    Many credit unions are part of shared branching networks. I don't recall the exact name for them, but it's possible to move across the country and still be able to keep your credit union account you had before, and do everything from a local credit union. My girlfriend moved to Iowa from Seattle and didn't have to fill out any paperwork or anything.

    EDIT:
    Here we go!

    http://www.cuservicecenter.com/

    Search your relevant credit unions there.

    DarkPrimus on
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  • SixSix Ask me about my butthole Registered User regular
    Credit union is likely your best bet, but make sure you find one that will reimburse ATM fees so that you never have to worry about paying them. This is as opposed to many national banks who will not only not reimburse you, but also charge you an additional fee for not using their ATMs, so you get hit twice.

    If you can't find a credit union that will do this, there are other options. Fidelity, for instance, offers a (low) interest-bearing checking account and will reimburse all ATM fees.

    Also make sure you're aware of any fund minimums (ideally none) so you can avoid those fees as well.

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  • AspectVoidAspectVoid Registered User regular
    Once you're in a Credit Union, you're in it for life, and they almost all have online banking available. You also get far, far better rates then you would with a bank (my standard savings account with my CU is giving me 0.9% interest, where Bank of America's best CD in my area is only giving 0.35%). If you're like me and almost never use cash (my barber is the only place that doesn't take credit cards anymore), then ATM fees really don't matter. Especially since you can bypass most fees by using your card as Debit at the grocery store and getting cash back with it.

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  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Also, Ally is a really good online bank. Capital One 360 is also a good one (Formerly ING Direct).

    Ally and CO360 tend to have really good interest rates in comparison to local banks and CUs, I've noticed. Plus CUs don't tend to offer you interest on your checking accounts.

    Weigh all the options on the table. I used to buy into the CUs being the best of the best, but I've found them to be barely above banks, and sometimes, worse (they have less disposable income to work with so charge you fees out the fucking wazoo for silly shit).

    One of the CUs around here charges you $20 to replace ATM cards every 2 years. Another one will charge you $60 if your accounts get compromised (increasingly common now-a-days). Banks don't tend to do shit like that. So, make sure you read those packets they give you when you're going to open an account.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    cabsy
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Thanks for all the info, guys!

    My parents seem to be opening up an account with Ally. I'll check into credit unions in the maryland area, and if I don't see anything I'll probably go with them. I'll be sure to check out their fees and penalties, thanks for that tip bowen! I at least feel a little more informed than before.

  • cabsycabsy the fattest rainbow unicorn Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    Also, Ally is a really good online bank. Capital One 360 is also a good one (Formerly ING Direct).

    Ally and CO360 tend to have really good interest rates in comparison to local banks and CUs, I've noticed. Plus CUs don't tend to offer you interest on your checking accounts.

    Weigh all the options on the table. I used to buy into the CUs being the best of the best, but I've found them to be barely above banks, and sometimes, worse (they have less disposable income to work with so charge you fees out the fucking wazoo for silly shit).

    One of the CUs around here charges you $20 to replace ATM cards every 2 years. Another one will charge you $60 if your accounts get compromised (increasingly common now-a-days). Banks don't tend to do shit like that. So, make sure you read those packets they give you when you're going to open an account.

    I switched from a credit union to a smaller local bank because our credit union was doing incredibly shady shit, like if you are going to bounce the account they charge a bounce fee immediately and FIRST, before processing any payments or transactions, so instead of the bank standard of four transactions, the last one will bounce, one bounce fee; it was four transactions, one will bounce, bounce fee before processing any transactions, now all four transactions will bounce and they could charge three more bounce fees. When we called them on it they said that it was our own fault for bouncing the account and there was absolutely nothing they could do for us. Our current small local bank, for example, now gives us 2-4 days before the payment processes to make a cash deposit or transfer before they charge a bounce fee.

  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    I will ecco Credit Unions. If for no other reason then big banks are poor corporate citizens, and patronizing them only encourages them.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with opening an account at a local credit union and then closing it a year or two from now when you relocate. you won't hurt their feelings. =)

    Also, you should be able to get free checking with an ATM card and online access and everything else at a credit union.

    I would caution you against having your personal and business accounts in the same bank. God forbid anything happens to your business, but your bank may be able to freeze your personal assets to recover any losses in your business account. Just something to consider.

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited May 2013
    Yup, always check the account fees and all that. I've gotten into the habit of moving banks every 3 or so years at this point because fuck banks and CUs, fuck them all, if they try to convince you they're better because they're not "banks" they're liars, CUs need to make money too, and they make it for their shareholders (which will be the big accounts, not you, even though you technically are).

    I always thought my dad was crazy for doing that, but, you always get something out of it for the minor hassle of having to keep a float in another bank for a month. Some CUs are terrible in comparison to the worse banks. Some banks are amazing compared to the best CUs. Always check those papers, and don't follow the dogma!

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    Youd be surprised at just how useless a savings account can be unless you have a ton of money.

    I thought i was doing myself a service by making one, and dropping a few thousands dollars in it since my checking account was the only one i was using and it was growing enough that i figured it wouldnt hurt to partition the money. But after a year I looked back on the 'interest' i was earning and it literally was less then 2 dollars total per 1k for an entire year. I just closed the account after that. The only reason i can think of doing this again is to try and make some cash in one of those bank offered '100 bucks free after 6 months having a balance' offers however now they make you transfer your direct deposit as well, which i dont want to keep changing.

    Banks rather suck.

    Stercus, Stercus, Stercus, Morituri Sum
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Sometimes just the mental break between savings and checking can be very helpful for people new to banking and budgeting their money though. "No, that's in THAT pile, it's NOT for spending."

    cabsybowenSiskaEnc
  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    That's how my wife & I do it Zerzhul. We have multiple checking and savings accounts at a few different backs to partition the money for thins like our escrow, general savings, student loans, Christmas savings and personal checking accounts 1 for each of us and a separate joint account. It seems crazy, but its what works for us. There are no fees or anything for any of those accounts either.

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    credit unions are overrated at your point in life

    Chase has been good to me and if you have direct deposit from your employer then basic checking is free

    and savings accounts aren't just useless if you have no money, they're also useless if you have money. if you base your banking choice on who offers the best savings account interest rate, i recommend a community college course in economics

    that's another thread down the road

  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    It's worth noting that most people typically don't have enough to invest money, nor, are willing to risk their money. So savings accounts are still a better option than "in a sock under my mattress" or "just stick it all into checking, fuck it!"

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • minirhyderminirhyder BerlinRegistered User regular
    I'm gonna hijack this for just a little bit.
    So if I wanted to have another account to put some money into every month for emergencies and stuff, would it just be simpler to have another checking and not bother with a savings?

  • a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    minirhyder wrote: »
    I'm gonna hijack this for just a little bit.
    So if I wanted to have another account to put some money into every month for emergencies and stuff, would it just be simpler to have another checking and not bother with a savings?

    At almost every bank, it is trivial to open either. Savings accounts usually have less fees and the tiny amount of interest is better than nothing. The idea with that money is that it is a bit harder to get to, but still liquid if you really need it.

  • ThundyrkatzThundyrkatz Registered User regular
    Second what a5ehren said. Savings accounts are nice in that they are a bit harder to get to, and you can kind of forget the money is there.

    In this day and age, interest rates are virtually non existent no matter how much cash you have. However that will not always be the case, and some day savings accounts may again have a noticeable yield.

    Your biggest focus is on costs right now. There are so many options at no cost without a minimum balance that you should not be forced to put your money into any accounts that charge you.

    Lastly, pay your savings account like a bill. every month (or week) throw a specific amount in there. Don't just throw the "extra" each month into savings... there is never any "extra". You should be able to set up a transfer even from your checking at regular intervals at no cost to you. Then just go on your merry way while it accumulates.

  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Sometimes just the mental break between savings and checking can be very helpful for people new to banking and budgeting their money though. "No, that's in THAT pile, it's NOT for spending."

    Definitely this. My Wife and I have three accounts we use:

    Checking: For bills/groceries/general upkeep. This is budgeted to be the same amount every pay period, and if there is carry over that means we might be able to buy something special or go out to a nicer place one night. At various times we had split this into "his and hers" budgets, but recently we just tossed it all in one bucket as splitting it in half was more of a bother with how we spend money than a necessity.

    Flexible Savings: This is a savings account that allows up to 4 transactions a month that we keep a set amount of "ohshit" money for when life tosses something terrible at you. It is always at the same amount capped off (in our case we let it fill up to the exact amount of our rent + monthly bills in case of some sort of disaster that stops all income). If it gets emptied for an emergency purchase, it gets filled up slowly by a set amount of money that comes off our paycheck until it hits the cap we set.

    Major Savings: This is a non-flexible savings account we absolutely do not touch. If the Flex Savings is full, all of our income after the amount we keep in checking goes into here. If Flexible isn't full, a fourth of what would be deposited into Major Savings goes to Flexible, and the rest continues into Major. This is for the big things in life: future house down payments or car purchases. The things you need a lot of capital for.

    This setup has worked extremely well for us. When we only had Checking and Flexible savings it was a lot easier to say something was an "emergency" even when it really wasn't this way there is a certain finality to putting money into savings that we can't touch.

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