I hate Wells Fargo. Not only do I feel cheated out of the money I’ve paid them in PMI, I feel cheated by using their savings and checking accounts. A few weeks ago, O-Nerd nickfranklin recommended a search tool on bankrate.com to locate a high-interest savings account. I was blown away to see multiple Internet banking savings accounts offering interest rates over ten times what my money was earning at Wells Fargo. Not only that, these accounts had no minimum balances, no fees, unlimited transfers, free bill pay, etc. It was everything I could want in a bank – I just had to make the switch to what I call "unadulterated" Internet banking, i.e., banking purely online with no physical location accessible. Given I performed all of my savings account activities online anyway, and that a call to Wells Fargo found them clueless as to why their interest rates were so much lower, I made the change – to Apple Bank, which had all of the perks I mentioned earlier, one of the top interest rates, and a good security rating. In the first month (which wasn’t even a full month), I made more in interest than I had made in years with Wells Fargo.
Only a couple of weeks later, I received a tip about checking out ING Direct. Not only did they have some decent savings accounts (although not as good as Apple Bank), they had checking accounts with interest rates more than ten times what was on my old Wells Fargo savings account. Of course, moving to an unadulterated Internet checking account was a different animal, as I sometimes use the local ATM for deposits and cash. ING Direct’s solution is to subscribe to a generic ATM network (which actually had a closer location) and accept deposits electronically and through the mail. Granted, I’d have to pay for a stamp, but that would probably cost less than the gas it would take to drive to the ATM.
Before making the switch, however, I made sure to check out bankrate.com’s search tool for interest bearing checking accounts. ING checked out as one of (if not the) top options, so I opened my ING account immediately.
On a closing note, when I called to cancel my savings account with Wells Fargo (which I noticed had already incurred a $3 fee for dropping below the minimum required balance when I moved all of my funds out), the customer service representative asked why I was switching. When I told her I found a better interest rate, she asked if I had talked to someone at Wells Fargo about possibilities to get a higher rate with them. My answer was simply, "Yes," but I had all sorts of good stuff going through my head. Something along the lines of: "Yes, and they informed me your savings account with the highest interest rate (i.e., the one with a 5-digit minimum balance) pales in comparison to what I found online with no strings attached." – followed quickly by – "How can a company be so huge and offer such horrible interest rates and fees?" or "Do you know I would have to park over $7,000 in your savings account for a month in order to make enough in interest to counter the $3 fee you charged me for moving my money out of the account before calling you?"
As they say in Korea, "Wells Fargo pie-ee-dah."
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