20 thoughts on “Banking Without Branches

  1. I have been looking into Capital One recently due to their high yield and investing program. If I were to bank with them it would allow my capital to easily flow between bank account and investing account which I like. I never knew they had that many ATMs which was a big concern about moving to them.

    I currently only have one bank with Wells Fargo. I am pretty sure I have not received more than a penny from them in terms of interest so this switch may be coming soon!

    PS. We need to talk a bit about public account I would love to know your experience and where it took you!

    • Stefan,

      The ATM discovery was a big breakthrough for me and was probably the thing that tipped the scale. The fact that your capital is easier o access because of the large ATM network versus brick and mortar banks blew my mind. Plus, since you don’t have it and I do, I can tell you that the link between checking and investing accounts is very convenient! Especially when you have to make a quick decision on an investment.

      Feel free to email us whenever you would like to talk about public account! We would be happy to talk about it.


  2. I have three. A local community bank with no fees as a shareholder, Schwab which credits (and makes available) funds/checks in minutes, and Wells Fargo which provides no fee accounts to mortgage holders. Even no fees on (and immediate receipt of) Euros last week.

    • Sounds like that set up is working great for you. Love the no fees concept. It is pretty cool that the community bank ties their fee structure to ownership. I don’t think I have heard of that here, but it is a cool incentive they can provide to combat the larger banks.


  3. I have two checking accounts. The first one I opened with US Bank since they had a nearby branch that I could walk into and deposit checks. The one I use the most is the high-yield investor checking with Schwab. It isn’t so high-yield now but is otherwise great. Reimbursements of any ATM fees and no foreign transaction fees. I do all my investing through Schwab as well so the consolidation is nice.

    I had a coin operated washer and dryer in my apartment a couple years back and I still really only use the US Bank account for getting rolls of quarters or depositing change.

    I used to need US Bank to deposit checks (which I would then ACH transfer to Schwab). Since Schwab has mobile deposits now ($10,000 daily limit which can temporarily be raised to $25,000), I also no longer need a branch location for that reason.

    Consolidating your accounts with Capital One sounds like it will work well for you too!


    • Scott,

      I think having a set up with Capital One similar to yours with Schwab will be nice. Even though the rate isn’t as high, it isn’t like the savings account rates offered by any other bank is blowing the competition out of the water.

      Is everything consolidated now for that reason? Or are you still hanging onto US Bank? It sounds like Schwab is another great non-branch option for those looking to ditch the physical banking tradition!


      • I still have that US Bank account but only keep the minimum ($5) to keep it open. I guess I still have it in case I ever need any change or want to deposit collected change. I also use it to receive any cash back rewards from my US Bank Cash+ card. Once I verify the funds are available I immediately initiate an ACH transfer to Schwab.

        I haven’t stopped in a US Bank branch for about 4 years, though.


  4. I have two of the online banks and one brick-and-mortar bank 🙂 I know it does not meet your simplification goal, but my rationale is this.
    + Each bank is a risk domain for me. Even though each bank is FDIC protected, if it goes under, it takes a while to get the money out of the bank.
    + And the online rates vary…for example, capitalone360 has 0.75% and ally bank has 0.99% interest.
    + I like the brick-and-mortar bank for services like nationwide atms, free demand drafts, instant access to cash…especially beyond the ATM limit, and we get a free bank locker (tiny one) to keep some important docs, cheque writing…

    Been happy with this tradeoff for the past 2-3 years…hope this helps in some way. And thanks for the tip about capitalone atm locations…will check it out.

    • The beauty is that we all find out what works best for us. Simplification is what I want, but it definitely won’t work for everyone. If you want the higher interest rate without losing the security of the FDIC insurance, then go out and grab that higher interest rate! Plus, it sounds like the brick and mortar bank that you found offers up some pretty nice services. The free bank locker is definitely something an online bank cannot provide you. And to your point about the FDIC limits, it is true that the FDIC would take a while to pay out in a hypothetical payout. However (and this is despite what happened during the financial crisis), I don’t foresee a situation where keeping the cash under the FDIC limit at one bank would cause your cash to remain stuck at a bank for a while. You have to dig through their 10-Ks, Call Reports, etc., but there is enough information available that would alert you if the bank started to show signs of trouble that would provide you with enough time to liquidate if needed. But, again, if you want to spread out the cash and don’t mind having the extra accounts, then who cares haha


  5. Checks? Really? When is banking in the US going to catch up with the rest of the world 😉 We have been doing electronic banking (direct deposits, payments, etc.) for the last 15 years without using checks at all (never even used one until we ended up in Canada, and even there we only had a handful in about 6 years).

    Good luck with the switch. Hope they move forward and ultimately allow everything to be electronically performed.

    • Hahahaa oh yeah, plenty of people love writing checks still…especially the older generation. Me personally, I love the features that online banking provides you with electronic transfers and payments. Glad to see that ditching the paper checks has not brought your economy to a screeching halt haha


  6. I have had a Huntington Checking and Savings account since college and its been earning next too nothing interest wise (.01%). However its easy enough to avoid fees as long as use their ATMS only which are spead all over Ohio. In 2014 I opened my IRA with Schwab, later that year I wanted a taxable brokerage account to start boosting the investments.

    That new brokerage account came with a free checking account that earned .1% interest but I think its dropped down to .02%. The really cool thing though is that the checking account has a reimbursement of all ATM fees at the end of the month, Casino $5.99 fee at their weird ATMs not a problem as its all reimbursed. Heck I knew it said they even offered competitive exchange rates out of the country. Well last month I went to the Dominican Republic and had two separate withdrawals of about $60 each, it compared much better to the going rates at the airport and the hotel desk based on the defacto rates of about 45:1. To my amazement I was reimbursed almost $20 in ATM fees at the end of the month in addition to the great exchange rate, I thought it was a fluke.

    Lastly to get my Savings really going when they aren’t being sent to my brokerage accounts I opened up an Ally savings account at the beginning of this year which earns a flat 1%. Its better than investing in VISA at a dividend yield of .7% when looking at just the cash flow.

    Awesome job by LeBron and the rest of the Cavs!

    • First and foremost. Amazing job by LeBron and the team to bring that one home. That game was a nail biter and it wasn’t decided until the very end. That block that LeBron had on Iguadola took the wind out of their sails and allowed the Cavs to finish them off if you ask me.

      Huntington is very convenient and it is one of the banks that I have an account with now. Their no-fee checking account is pretty nice! A few other people who have commented on their article about Schwab’s checking account and it looks like I shuld have reviewed them before I sold my soul to Capital One. That ATM re-imbursement is HUGE, especially considering some of the high fee ATMs you mentioned in your response. How the heck do they offer a more competitive rate for currency? Now that is cool to me. I wonder if Capital One offers a service like that as well…hmmm.

      Thanks for the comment and stopping by.


  7. Hi Bert,
    Looks like a good move to me. I use Ally Bank mostly so I don’t think you’ll have any issues with using only Capital One. The other nice feature they both have is bill payment which is convenient for sending checks (for free) when I can’t pay by credit card.

    I do still have my brick and mortar account at Chase; I didn’t want to close it because of my credit score (it’s my oldest account) and it’s really just a pass-through account for my salary. I own shares in JPM too. Lastly I have a Schwab checking account (same as Tay’s comment above) because they reimburse all ATM fees worldwide – I just use that account for cash withdrawals. I like using the Schwab card at Chase ATM’s even though I have a Chase ATM card – I get a refund and Chase gets a little income from Schwab 😉

    Best wishes,

    • Thanks DL! I love the bill payment feature. It takes away 99% of the hassle of writing a check (if there is such a thing. Plus, who really wants to write stuff out on paper anyway besides for my wife). That Schwab feature is clutch. If you travel and find yourself outside of the country, getting re-imbursed ATM fees would be amazing. It is also a cool way to differentiate yourself from the other online banks. I did some research on the credit score impact for closing my oldest account, but in the end, I didn’t see anything that was too damning. I have a CC with my oldest bank and I’m not closing that one. Instead, I’m just going to cut the card and maintain a zero balance.

      Glad to see you have found a system that works out well for you! Some great ideas ifthe one bank idea isn’t as successful as I hope and I begin reviewing other offers.


  8. Hey Bert,
    Funny thing is I am also consolidating my accounts to one bank. Unfortunately I am departing from CapitalOne/Sharebuilder. I will have a post up soon to go into the details and my reasoning.
    Dividend Family Guy

    • Dividend Family Guy,

      What the heck???? Kidding, kidding. I am excited to see/read your post and see what changes you decided to make and why. I’ll battle my pros against your cons and see who wins haha


  9. Bert,
    Capital One is my bank. My wife and I use their 360 version, which I am sure you’re familiar with; its great good interest and puts everything under one roof. I had Wells Fargo before and she had BB&T. Now all we have is Cap One, with 2 small savings accounts at local credit unions => the most emergency of emergency funds…
    Good choice to go with them.
    – Gremlin

  10. I use CapitalOne360 for my high yield savings but still use a local bank for my checking. I have been debating switching though because the onlineand mobile options are lacking, which is unacceptable in 2016.

    Do you receive much cash? How does the cash deposit process work for an online account?

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