Searching for a new bank

I'm looking for recommendations for a new bank that offers free or cheap online access via Quicken and the Web, and won't make me pay a ton of fees, and won't ding me for local ATM transactions at other machines (though this is lower priority). I currently use Wells Fargo. And I'm crazy for Quicken and always run reports on how I'm spending my money. It turns out I've spent $136.65 in bank fees in the past SIX months with Wells Fargo. Give me a break! 78% of that is online bill pay service fees and monthly service fees. So I'm looking to reduce this. If you've got a good bank to recommend, please do so using the comments. Yes, finally I've implemented comments. Improvements to follow.

23 thoughts on “Searching for a new bank

  1. Northern Trust bank is great.
    If you go into one of their banks, you will never go back to a Wells Fargo or anything else. They don’t have a million branches, but they are pretty great.
    The online system is great. You can pay bills for free using it. I can transfer money between accounts online, etc.
    They also have which I use for a money market account.

  2. Etrade Bank has served me well for more than two years. I haven’t paid a dime in fees. My only complaint is a spotty ATM network. Not only are there not as many as other banks’, but often some machines are out of order, though they’ve gotten better about that.
    Don’t know about Quicken compatability.

  3. if you have access to a credit union, I’d highly recommend it. No fees, except for the dreaded overdraft – nice people – just bought my house with the help of the credit union, and it was a very pleasant experience, all things considered.
    don’t know whether most credit unions do the quicken thing, since I don’t use quicken.

  4. if you have access to a credit union, I’d highly recommend it.
    I’d agree with this wholeheartedly. Meg, we use San Francisco Firefigher Credit Union, which is open to any SF resident. It’s great and cheap, though the online part of it offers most services, it looks and acts like a web site built in 1996. There are a handful of other credit unions in the city, you might want to visit each one personally and ask if you can check out their online components, since that’s most likely your point of contact with them.
    Every credit union I’ve used (I was a part of three different ones in Southern California) had a completely different system to handle online reporting and bill paying.

  5. First Republic
    ATM rebate – they pay back all your ATM fees while using other banks ATMs
    SF bay area based, so you can talk to a person if you need to.
    Online banking & bill-pay, but seems pretty home grown, don’t know about Quicken compatibility.
    Making a similar search for a new bank other than Wells Fargo. I think the ATM Rebate piece is going to be the feature that gets me to switch.

  6. compass bank will let you do everything online, uses quicken, refunds atm fees from other bank’s atms and only charges $4.95/mo. one caveat…they tend to put a 5 day hold on large deposits. that drives me crazy.

  7. I’ve found Washington Mutual a joy (online and off) since switching from Wells a few years ago. (They don’t charge for online banking or branch banking.) But I also have an account with Redwood Credit Union that I’ve been just as happy with.

  8. You should:
    – earn interest
    – no fees
    – free ATMs
    – in fact, reimbursements for ATM fees (I get $1)
    – free billpay
    – free wires

  9. This has nothing to do with your search for a new bank (good luck, btw). Have you heard Freelance Hellraiser’s mix of Christina Aguilera’s Genie in a Bottle and The Strokes’ Hard to Explain?
    Not too bad, considering. . .

  10. Thanks for all these great suggestions. I will definitely check them all out and let you know. I’m so annoyed now that I see how much I’m paying in fees that this is a top priority. All those fees would cover two French Laundry dinners a year!

  11. Ultimately, I bet you find a credit union your best bet. But check out Washington Mutual in the meantime.
    I don’t know what they are like in person down in SF, but up here in PDX I have never had a bad experience with them.

  12. I’d recommend citibank, and haven’t had much trouble with them at all. You can download all your statements to quicken, pay bills online (free of charge, I believe) and set up recurring payments for things like rent, where there are no ‘formal’ bills.
    Of course, having worked in a credit union in my youth, I’d highly recommend those as well. Usually much lower fees, and friendlier folk, and higher interest rates than corporate banks because they don’t answer to shareholders.
    best of luck!

  13. As others have said, credit unions are your friend. (Carl uses Patelco, I believe, and he’s very happy with it: ) But US banks simply shock me: I’m used to British banks, all of which do no-fee personal banking, with great online services and, usually, nice overdraft limits 😉

  14. Meg. I’m a huge fan of NetBank ( Like you I was sick of paying online billpay fees. At NetBank it’s FREE. Also, they have great interest rates on their checking account and all you need is a balance of $50. In addition to a checking account with them I have a Money Market account which has even better interest rates PLUS it serves as overdraft for your checking so you can keep your checking balance low. Their billpay app is also pretty solid, allowing you to even schedule payments in the future. This is a plus since sometimes, at one sitting, I want to pay all my bills but rather than pay off the visa bill 10 days early, I’d like to schedule the payment for the last day possible so I can take advantage of the interest bearing account.
    Like you, I’m a Quicken junkie. But, alas, I’m on a Mac and NetBank’s Quicken feature doesn’t integrate with Macs. If you’re on a PC you *should* be ok though.
    Regarding the ATM fees … right now that’s the only downside to NetBank for me since you get dinged $1 for using an ATM. My workaround – I always get an extra $40 – $80 cash back when I use my debit card for groceries. Using that strategy I’ve only needed the ATM once in over a year.
    One other drawback to NetBank, but again, it hasn’t bothered me, is that it’s only a virtual bank ie. no bricks-and-morter operations. For deposits you use postage-paid deposit envelopes. It hasn’t bothered me though as the deposit is usually in my account 3 days after I mail it. Plus, my paycheck is deposited by electronic-funds-transfer – if that didn’t occur I’d be less excited about mailing my paycheck every other week.
    Sorry for the novel. Good luck on the search.

  15. If you Americans are feeling adventurous, and the banks will accept you as customers, I recommend PrivatBanken and/or Skandiabanken in Norway. Not sure about the Quicken thing, but you’ll get over 7% risk-free interest from the first Norwegian krone you deposit there, and there’s no fees whatsoever except for a one-time purchase price for their VISA cards…

  16. Thanks for all the detail Rob. I’m wondering, how do you get your information into Quicken then from NetBank? Do you have to download .qif files and import them? I actually am moving to Quicken on the Mac so this is an issue for me. Thanks.

  17. I’ve only used a credit union for the past 10 years. I doubt I’d ever use a bank again.

  18. If you don’t need local access, try We love it — works with Quicken, great (free) web interface with billpaying, etc., and they actually rebate the fees that other banks’ ATMs charge you!

  19. Meg – regarding getting my info into Quicken for the Mac from NetBank … unfortunately I haven’t found a way. The .qif file download and import hasn’t worked for me and I’m not sure why. So, right now, I hate to admit it, but I just save receipts and enter the transactions manually into Quicken and then do a monthly check and balance comparison with the data in my NetBank account. I know – not exactly fully integrated Net banking. If you do find a bank that is compatible with Quicken for the Mac AND online billpay is free AND they have interest bearing checking, I’d love to know about it.

  20. I bought Quicken yesterday and downloaded my latest bank statement from Washington Mutual. It was awesome! I haven’t had any fees from Wamu that weren’t overdrafts (oops).

  21. Quicken for the Mac definitely has problems with Netbank. Since Quicken is obviously not going to fix their problems anytime soon, I decided to move onto greener pastures. After the surveying the Mac personal finance landscape, I settled in a green valley called Moneydance.
    What is it?
    Moneydance is a java personal finance application that features the following:
    1. Maintains registers of your bank, creditcards, loans, ect.
    2. Can automatically download transactions
    3. Has transaction reminders
    4. Can track your 401k and other investments
    5. Can automatically update stock prices in your investments
    6. Has a boat-load of reports.
    7. Has budgeting
    8. many more features…
    The thing I like most about MD is that it automatically download transactions from Netbank. Quicken failed miserably at this. MD is fast, inexpensive, and easy to understand. Read the rest of my review at:

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