Banking (MP) One evening while voicing my dissatisfaction with my then bank, a business associate told me about the Charles Schwab way of banking. I liked what I heard so I just planned to get my feet wet to see what they were all about. And frankly, since signing up I can only report my complete satisfaction with the company.
If you haven’t seen one of their TV commercials, The back is one the biggest investment banks around! However, you’d be happy to know it’s not just for people in pinstripe suits with fat cigars buying shares in China. Today, Charles Schwab not only serves brokerage and banking companies and investment firms with billions in assets, it serves people like you and me. It’s true, many do not realize the company also provides checking accounts for the little guy. And CNNMoney.com has called Charles Schwab one of the ‘Least Evil Banks.”
Signing up with Charles Schwab
When I first signed up I couldn’t believe the benefits investment banks provide its customers. For example, the bank has no monthly service fees. There isn’t any account minimums. There is almost no required minimum monthly deposits. You earn 0% APY interest on your balance. Your linked Visa debit card is totally free. Your checks are free. You’ll be able to deposit via their mobile app, or with their free, unlimited, prepaid envelopes. At this point,many of the above features are offered by normal checking accounts although few provide all of them. But it was the next two perks that completely won me over to the Charles Schwab way of banking:
The bank offers unlimited 100% ATM fee reimbursement. Since this bank doesn’t have any ATMs dedicated to them, they simply offer to pay all ATM feesForget>about searching all over for your bank’s ATM. Forget about dipping your card into suspect gas station ATM’s, then finding out that they’ll be a $4 charge. Use any ATM, pay the fee, and at the end of the month Schwab pays you back. Whenever you call Charles Schwab, a human being picks up in a short time, and it’s usually a smart, friendly person with a willingness to serve you. You don’t see that everyday. Plus, Schwab handles loads of rich clients, and since they don’t know which callers are poor or rich, they treat everyone equally. Now if that alone isn’t worth signing up –you tell me what is.
Two things you should know
First, you need to have a brokerage account to open one of their checking accounts. But, you don’t need to have any money in the brokerage account. As a matter of fact I opened my first account simultaneously with my checking account. I transferred funds the next month. Does setting up accounts require any extra work or setup? No. Can your account remain empty and untended forever while you conduct your banking through the linked checking account? Yes it can. This linked brokerage accounts is why, for me personally, Charles Schwab offers such a good deal on checking accounts. They’re hoping that if you start conventional banking with them, and you have the resources to invest you’ll do it with them.
Second, the bank doesn’t accept cash deposits. You can mail in money orders or cashiers checks or any other kinds of check, but they won’t take cash you send in the mail. Unless you’re in a cash business (in which case get a money order) you shouldn’t find this a problem.