Banking 
13
comments

Ally Offers Popmoney

A lot of people seem to hate Bank of America, if the comments on my post covering the Bank of America Overdraft Fee Settlement is any indication, but I really like being able to transfer money to my friends when I owe them (they need an account too). I’d use Paypal except Paypal will charge fees, which is too much considering I can write a check (for free) or pay in cash the next time I see them (also for free).

So when I saw that Ally was participating in Popmoney, I took a closer look. I wanted to know how much it would cost me to send money and I was surprised to learn it was free. While it’s basically the next step in Billpay (instead of sending a paper check, it sends electronic funds), it’s still pretty cool that it’s available and free.

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 Banking 
8
comments

What Happens If Ally Bank Buys ING Direct?

Allying DirectLast week, there was news about Ally Bank in talks to buy ING Direct. It would be a marriage of my two favorite online banks*.

The biggest question I had, as a customer of both, is what should I expect after an acquisition. I know it’s still early but I’m curious to know, so I called Greg McBride of Bankrate, one of the most knowledgeable people I know, and he gave me a good idea of what to expect (if anything, many times these “talks” become nothing).

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 NEWS 
22
comments

Ally Bank Buying ING Direct?

Allying DirectWhile I was on the Amtrak train to New York for a business meeting yesterday, I tweeted news that Ally Financial was in talks to buy ING Direct. It’s still very early in the process but the news came from The NY Post and there isn’t much additional news other than they’re “in talks.” The article cited sources that ING Direct could go for as much as $10 billion, which ING would be use to repay $13B in loans from the Dutch government.

It makes for some good chatter, so let’s chatter! What do you think about these two guys potentially combining into one? How do you like my “Paintshop” skills?


 Banking 
21
comments

Least Evil Banks

I think it’s always dangerous when you start assigning “feelings” to financial institutions. While I realize that CNN Money just wanted to throw “evil” out there to sensationalize a bit, I think it’s a little irresponsible to say that a bank is evil. A bank is a create of our financial environment and, ultimately, it’s a business. It’s trying to make as much profit as it can and whether that comes from fees it charges you or the interest it doesn’t pay you, the market needs to demand better in order for them to change.

That’s also why I think this list by CNN Money is great, they’ve scoured the banking ecosystem to find eight banks with zero ATM fees, free checking, and higher yield accounts.

Ally Bank

AllyI wasn’t surprised to see Ally Bank at the head of the class, I personally love their 60 day penalty on closing CDs early (most banks have you pay far more). They were lauded for their ATM reimbursement, higher interest rates, and lack of maintenance fees or minimum balance requirements.

ING Direct

ING DirectAgain, not surprised that we have another online bank as one of the least evil. ING Direct’s free checking and no ATMs were the first two reasons CNN Money mentioned, though you’ll have to use an Allpoint network ATM to avoid fees. If you don’t have an account, take advantage of ING Direct’s referral system to get a deposit bonus ($25 if you deposit $250).

The six other banks were, in order they were listed, USAA, Capital One, Alliant Credit Union, PNC, The Incredible Bank (internet only, I’d never heard of them), and Charles Schwab Bank. I don’t think it’s any indication of their evilness, so don’t see Charles Schwab as a little “eviler” than PNC. :)


 Banking 
2
comments

Ally Bank: No Plans to Change 0.25% APY CD Loyalty Bonus

Last week, Reader Dan emailed me a transcript of a conversation he had with a customer service representative. In the conversation, the CSR said that the 0.25% APY renewal/loyalty bonus may be going away after next month (September).

Here’s the chat transcript (edited for formatting but otherwise 100% intact as what Dan sent me):

Joshua: Thank you for chatting with me today. How can I help?
Dan: Hi, are you still offering your .25% loyalty bonus?
Joshua: Correct Dan. The offer is still good for renewing CDs through next month.
Dan: oh, it ends after next month?
Joshua: That is what we have been told. It may be extended but we have not been notified. Do you have a CD with us now?
Dan: several. ok, so can I apply the loyalty bonus towards the No Penalty CD?
Joshua: Great. We should have a new offer for the current customers. But again we don’t have any details yet.
Joshua: Yes. That goes to any CD that has matured and that you will renew with us.

If you interpreted that as “the promotion is going away and will be replaced with something else,” you did what I did – you jumped the gun a little.
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 Banking 
1
comments

Adding a Joint Account Holder at Ally Bank

When I opened my Ally Bank account, I set it up as a joint account because it would be easier to manage. While I manage the bulk of our finances, it’s always easier when there is more access because then anyone can make adjustments and changes as necessary. We subscribe to the joint finances philosophy so a joint account is very natural for us.

However, when I started opening certificates of deposit at Ally, I erroneously made them single accounts. This left me as the single account holder on record and only I could make changes to the accounts. Normally, this isn’t an issue but if changing it is easy, I’d prefer it the other way. Here is what you need to do to add a joint account holder to your CDs at Ally Bank.

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 Banking 
22
comments

Ally Bank CD 60-Day Early Withdrawal Penalty

At most banks, if you close a CD before it’s maturity period you pay a penalty of 90 or 180 days. 90 days, or three months, is the penalty for shorter CDs, generally less than 12-months. The 180 day penalty is reserved for CDs with maturity periods of 12-months or more. What makes Ally Bank rare isn’t the clever advertisements or the great customer service (I’ve used their online chat features 3-4 times in the last few days, it’s absolutely wonderful), but higher rates and one of the most generous CD termination penalties on the planet.

The penalty is only 60 days of interest, regardless of the maturity of the CD.

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 Banking 
9
comments

Overdraft Fees at Online Banks

Bank FeesLast week, I wrote about how ING Direct and Everbank offered overdraft protection by way of a line of credit, rather than socking you with overdraft fees. I commented, off the cuff and without doing much research, about how online banks are better than traditional brick and mortar banks about overdraft fees because they aren’t as much a slave to meeting their revenue expectations. I figured it’d be a little unfair if I just left it at that, so I took a look at how online banks deal with overdrafts on their checking accounts.

In general, online banks are cheaper than traditional banks. Some use the same system of fees while some use overdraft protection, charging an interest rate. Some charge one fee regardless of the number of overdrafts in a single day while others hit you for each one. On the whole, online banks are cheaper probably because they can afford to be.

Let’s take a look at some popular online banks and their checking account fees:

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