Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fed Up with Wachovia

Wachovia used to be a nice bank. Becky and I established our Wachovia account way back in 1997 when we moved to Virginia. Back then, it was First Union, and one of the only banks on Main Street. We wanted something local and convenient with an ATM in our town to avoid extra charges.

Things were great for thirteen years. The bank was so good, we joked Wachovia was pronounced, "WATCH-OVER-YA".  Their Crown Banking had no fees as long as we kept a minimal amount in our account. Mind you, the checking and savings accounts paid a ridiculous amount of interest (.1% or something like that), but that was the norm for checking accounts nationwide.  Otherwise, the access was good and the price was free.

Cue the ominous music.  Enter Wells Fargo.

On Dec. 31, 2008, Wells Fargo purchased the Charlotte based Wachovia, and things were fine... for a while.

In my last statement, they have started to nickel and dime me with charges. I only wish it was just nickels and dimes, though:
  • $5.95 per month for online banking, a service I absolutely need,
  • $2.50 for each non Wells Fargo ATM (in addition to the normal charge from other banks), and
  • $2.00 per month if I want a paper statement with check images on it.

Is that all?  I don't know.  But I'm not finding out.  I'm out of here.

After thirteen years, I'm walking away from Wachovia. (Or is it Walk-Over-You?) Changing banks is not something I do lightly. After all, it's a pain in the butt to change.  I have to reset my direct deposit, get new checks, get new ATM cards, get new custodial accounts for the boys, transfer all the money over.  But I will not pay these ridiculous service charges just to have access to my money. Honestly, at $10 per month, isn't it cheaper to keep my money under a mattress? That's not supposed to be how banks work.

Where did I decide to bank? Well, I won't be broadcasting that on the Internet, thank you very much, but suffice it to say that the new bank offers:
  • Free checking and savings with actual interest
  • Free accounts for the boys (which include ATM cards and checks as we teach them financial responsibility)
  • Free ATM access (even if we use a non-affiliated ATM, they will refund the OTHER BANK charges!)
  • Free checks
  • Free deposit slips
  • Free online banking
  • Deposits by scanner at home (that seems pretty cool)
All this from a company that has been in business for just under 100 years.

Now I'm wondering, why didn't I do this sooner?


UPDATE:  In the category of "This Further Pisses Me Off", Wachovia also started embedding advertisements into my online banking.  This is really so annoying.  I'm not just talking about the standard side-bar ads that most of the banks use, but the embedded yellow call-out ads slid in between each line of my account status.  (With no way to acknowledge or close the ads.)

As if I needed another reason to leave!

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