OK, not ALL my money…but I am moving my checking, “immediate need” saving, and brokerage accounts over to Charles Schwab. I have written in the past about my displeasure with some aspects of Bank of America and while I have been with them for what seems like forever, it’s time to move on to a bank I can be happy with. I looked into credit unions, which I would have preferred to go with, but I didn’t find anything in my area that I could join that met my needs. So Schwab it is, and so far so good…with the opening of the accounts.
The big difference I will have with them from BofA? Schwab is online only – there are no bank branches. Sure, there are brokerage offices, where I could go deposit a check into my account if I really needed to, but most everything is done online and through the mail. Sound scary? Well, BofA doesn’t have a single branch in Colorado and the closest one in NM to my old house was 24 miles away, so I have been banking “online” for almost 2 years now. No worries there for me.
Why am I moving to Schwab? Well, for many reasons, but let’s take a look at a few big ones:
– First of all, they reimburse any and all ATM fees. I have been paying up the wazoo for using an ATM in a pinch with BofA, but that ends now. Use an ATM with Schwab? They automatically reimburse you directly into your checking account for the amount the bank charged. Pretty sweet.
– Free checks. While I don’t use checks too often anymore, free ones certainly beats having to buy some.
– Their checking account pays interest. It’s not a lot, but it’s more than BofA pays me, which is zilch. At 0.75% it is not going to make me rich, but it will help me make a little cash on my cash.
– There are no account minimums and no service charges whatsoever. BofA gets you for everything if you are not careful.
– Organization. I am tired of having like 10 accounts holding all my money, and I am going to use these guys to consolidate most of my accounts.
The only accounts I am leaving put are my ING Direct savings accounts (emergency fund, tax fund, car fund) and my TRowePrice account that holds a few mutual funds and my Roth IRA. All other accounts – my Scottrade account, a holding account that holds my, er, BofA stock I inherited, and some bond accounts along with a few other little things will be moved to Schwab over the next month.
Schwab is one of the few banks/brokerage houses that didn’t take any Federal bailout money, so I am pretty happy about that. And so far, the account opening process has gone smoothly and I am slowly moving all my money over to them. It’s a little tricky when you have so much set up to be paid automatically out of your checking account, so I have to keep an eye on the few things I have left that are not charged to my credit card monthly. But overall I am excited to start using them and seeing most of my money in a single place, which will make my life easier.
What about you? Any of you guys bank or invest with Schwab? If so, let me know what you think!