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. :)


 Investing 
15
comments

2011 Kiplinger’s Best Online Brokers

Every year Kiplinger’s magazine puts out a survey of the best online brokers. Every year, I take a look at the list because I’m curious how the different brokers stack up. I’d like to know if anyone has made any big changes or improvements to their service, it might change my mind about who I do business with.

Usually the lists don’t change all that much. As you scan this year’s list, you’ll see the same ones near the top, the same ones near the middle, and the same ones near the end. The meat is in the article detailing the different categories (like commissions and fees, investment choices, etc.) because it adds a little color to an otherwise robotic list.

One important thing to remember as you peruse this list: the best online broker is the broker that satisfies all of your requirements. All the bells and whistles in the world don’t matter if they don’t offer exactly what you need. With so many brokers, many of which are inexpensive, you should be able to find your best broker, online or offline, if you’re diligent.

Let’s get to the list…

(Click to continue reading…)


 Investing 
11
comments

Consumer Reports America’s Best Brokers

On The Money, the personal finance show on CNBC hosted by Carmen Wong Ulrich, recently had a little web extra spotlighting Consumer Report’s list of best brokers. In their brief piece, they talked about the top three: USAA Brokerage Services, Vanguard, and Edward Jones.

(Click to continue reading…)


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