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Retail Banking ????

Retail Banking ????

Old Apr 4th 2012, 6:48 pm
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Default Retail Banking ????

Hi

I currently bank with HSBC through the Premier service. I'm kind-of happy with the UK bank, although it is nowhere near as good as my old UK bank, Smile, but getting increasingly frustrated with the North American side of the house which is a total mess.

I've banked on-line and via SMS/WAP for years - I was one of the first users of NatWest Actionline as a "guinea-pig" (I worked for NatWest IT at the time it was introduced.)

But the on-line service at HSBC NA seems antiquated - payments take days to appear on the on-line statement; nothing is real-time; I can't initiate electronic transfers to people; I have to talk to bank managers to get stuff done; there are few-to-no ATMs that I can use to deposit/print statements, etc. Sometimes I have to wait 3 days for payments to actually appear on my account - all the UK banks that I've had for the last 5+ years have been almost real-time (certainly within the hour) 7 days a week and I'm kind-of used to that service.

However, the HSBC Global View, ability to transfer between accounts, etc, etc is essential as we have UK income and are not here permanently.

Ideally I'd like the kind of service that I'm used to from a Smile or FirstDirect with a network of ATMs, ability to pay in at places other than my home bank, the ability to make electronic payments between me and other people both in the US and outside through the equivalent of BACS (in other words free, not "wire" which seems to cost a small fortune here). I don't do credit, so don't need a credit card; don't need a cheque book; would like SMS banking and mobile banking. I don't need a bank branch network as long as there are plenty of ATMs I can use for free.

Who do other people use ?

Thanks

D
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 7:21 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

That's just banking in the US though for you.

You generally will have a fee, for most things, unless you carry a large balance. Most banks will have a charge if you deposit in another banks ATM, if you're able to do it at all.

BoA aren't very good or nice, but they do have ATM's everywhere, so can be quite convenient. TD Bank is half decent, but mostly on the east coast and a scattering heading west.

Local credit unions would probably be your best bet.

Oh and you do want a credit card. US credit history is everything here after all.
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

"Local credit unions would probably be your best bet."

Hmm - I did look at those, but local means REALLY local ! I travel quite a bit, both nationally and internationally, so access is my real bug-bear. Plenty of ATMs, efficient on-line service, etc.

Is banking here really the disaster that it appears to be ? It's like going back 20 years....

{No, I do NOT want credit. I haven't borrowed money to do anything for 20+ years and I don't intend to start now. My motto has always been "live within your means."}
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 7:34 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
all the UK banks that I've had for the last 5+ years have been almost real-time (certainly within the hour) 7 days a week and I'm kind-of used to that service.
Welcome to America!
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 7:43 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

Got to say that I've found Chase to be pretty good. ATMs all over the shop where we live/work (NYC and suburbs), the online banking is pretty good, as is the iPhone app. Some transactions take forever to move from "pending" to complete, and while they're good for transfers to other Chase customers (we pay our rent that way) they're poorer for non-customers - transferred some money to my brother in SF and they printed a cheque and mailed it to him!

But as others say, that's just US banking for you.
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 7:46 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
{No, I do NOT want credit. I haven't borrowed money to do anything for 20+ years and I don't intend to start now. My motto has always been "live within your means."}
You do want credit -- you just don't realise it yet. It doesn't have to be a real loan, just something that will kick-start, then maintain your credit rating.
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 7:50 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

The US banking system is still designed like it was originally setup during the 1980's when each state had it's own banks and banks could not cross state lines to do commercial banking operations. Since most small banks do not have high speed lines to the Federal Reserve for clearing operations and for the transfer of funds to other banks, banks use ACH (Automated Clearing House) for clearing which is a batch operation to the federal reserve after hours and after hours transfers to other banks. The ACH operation takes three days due to three specific operations that must be done after hours on three different days.

So you are not going to find any bank in the US that offers immediate transfers except transfers within their own bank since the fees charged by the federal reserve and other banks is very high to use immediate transfer.

Last edited by Michael; Apr 4th 2012 at 8:02 pm.
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 7:51 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

You do want credit -- you just don't realise it yet. It doesn't have to be a real loan, just something that will kick-start, then maintain your credit rating
Sorry - don't quite get you. I never buy anything on credit, never have a loan, only use Amex charge-cards. Why do I need a credit rating if I'm not going to borrow money ? I own my house in the UK, rent here (the UK income helps pay for the US outgoings - my god, it's expensive here !!!)

And we don't live excessively frugally - we just save and pay for everything up-front.

So, why does a credit rating bother me if I don't ever want to have credit ?
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 7:54 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
Sorry - don't quite get you. I never buy anything on credit, never have a loan, only use Amex charge-cards. Why do I need a credit rating if I'm not going to borrow money ? I own my house in the UK, rent here (the UK income helps pay for the US outgoings - my god, it's expensive here !!!)

And we don't live excessively frugally - we just save and pay for everything up-front.

So, why does a credit rating bother me if I don't ever want to have credit ?
Insurance rating.
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 8:17 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
"Local credit unions would probably be your best bet."

Hmm - I did look at those, but local means REALLY local ! I travel quite a bit, both nationally and internationally, so access is my real bug-bear. Plenty of ATMs, efficient on-line service, etc.
A lot of the credit unions belong to the CO-OP Network which provides free service at 28000 ATMs in the USA, or MoneyPass. In fact my CU belongs to both and I can use some ATMs overseas for free.

Last edited by lansbury; Apr 4th 2012 at 8:24 pm.
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 8:17 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
So, why does a credit rating bother me if I don't ever want to have credit ?
I have no need to borrow money, so instead I use my credit rating to acquire free flights and hotel nights through credit card deals. So far I'm on track to take the family to Europe each year plus one more vacation per year - all in business class (and sometimes first) and with minimal outlay on taxes and fees. It's a luxury that I could never justify under any other circumstances, but so far this year I have booked well over $50,000 worth of travel for an out-of-pocket outlay of roughly a grand.

This is why I care about my credit rating, and follow it closely.
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 8:46 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

Originally Posted by dlake02 View Post
{No, I do NOT want credit. I haven't borrowed money to do anything for 20+ years and I don't intend to start now. My motto has always been "live within your means."}
Welcome to the US.

You're making your life a misery by getting yourself either shit or just flat out refused home mortgage or any other loan, not to mention creating hassle when it isn't needed for getting utilities or anything else that will want a credit check.

Suck it up, get the card, put it away.

Your drivers license and your credit history are everything in the US, you are nothing without either.
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 9:32 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
BoA aren't very good or nice, but they do have ATM's everywhere, so can be quite convenient.
Their online banking is also reasonably good -balances are updated in pretty much real time and it is easy to schedule bill payments or money transfers (although, of course, only transfers to other BofA accounts are "instant").

That having been said, their customer service sucks and they are always looking for new ways to charge you higher fees ...
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 10:30 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

Banking in the US is seriously old-fashioned. I've never used so many cheques in my life as I have in the past year. Setting up any sort of automated bill-paying is a ruddy nuisance and takes forever too.

I did discover something interesting about credit unions today though. A lot of them seem to do 'shared branching', that is, you can be a member of one credit union but do most of the day-to-day transactions at a branch of another. You can even make deposits at other credit union ATMs. That's handy, as we now live 25 miles from the nearest branch of our credit union.

Worth looking into, as you might find it opens up more options for you.
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Old Apr 4th 2012, 11:14 pm
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Default Re: Retail Banking ????

So Thank You to those that suggested credit unions - the whole credit union and Co-op ideas are ones that I strongly support anyway, so I will be looking at those. My issue will still be moving money between the our various UK accounts, savings and the US. That just seems horribly difficult to do.

BofA have been suggested to me before - I believe that you can transact through Barclays in the UK ? I've also been warned that they make AT&T customer service look slick and friendly....

I've actually had no issues getting things like phones, water, electricity connected here - no intention of buying a house here as we are not here long-term and no need to buy any "big ticket" items as that is all provided by our very good landlord. I think the most I paid was $150 to the municipal electricity company, and given the rates are so cheap, that seemed pretty good to me.
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