A couple of months ago, I wrote about my desire to simplify my finances and make our lives a little easier. Method #1 was to consolidate the number of banks had accounts with and just make our banking situation easier. Despite the fact I wrote about this back in April, I saw my upcoming wedding as the golden opportunity to hit the reset button and start over in terms of banking when we would eventually consolidate our finances. Before the weeding, we banked at four branches. We made our decision and after we were married and reduced that number to one. What’s even crazier is that we dropped the idea of using a local bank with “roots,” or branches, in our community. I’ll let you in our decision to ditch a bank with a physical branch all together and take the first step towards simplifying our finances!
Out of the four places we banked at, we only had one in common…Capital One. Two of the banks were our personal checking accounts that we have had for as long as we could remember, one of the accounts was a joint account we opened for wedding expenses, and then there was Capital One. Honestly, I didn’t even know Capital One had an online bank until Lanny introduced me to their high yielding savings account over three years ago. The high interest rate was a great place to park our excess capital and try to earn something versus meager savings rate offered by the local branch. Thanks for the tip-off Lanny! Due to the high interest rates, it was determined that we were definitely not ditching the online bank.
Before I go any further, I felt that I should make one thing clear…this is not a sponsored post for Capital One. I just wanted to make that clear so you aren’t thinking that while you are reading the rest of the article. I’m simply sharing my experience/research with you all. However, if you are interested in checking it out, I included a referral link here! Okay, so now, back to the article.
Our initial plan have one banking account with Capital One and one account at a bank with local branches. Unfortunately our website’s favorite community bank that we keep scooping up shares of, Citizens and Northern, does not bank in our neighborhood. That would have been a game changer. Anyway, back to business. The thought was to continue to have the Capital One account to take advantage of the high savings rate and to have one bank nearby to assist in the day-to-day operations of our life. You know, things like depositing a check at a branch, withdrawing funds from the ATM, and having a place we could go to if needed. So which of the three would we pick? We combed through all of our options and determined we were going to opt for the one with the lowest fees and largest benefits.
Honestly, after our first review, we weren’t liking what we were seeing. Each of the banks had their pros or cons that resulted in additional banking fees being charged for one thing or another. One bank had ATM withdrawal fees that would never be waived, the other had a ridiculous high average balance that was required to waive checking/savings account fees, and one place had nothing going for it and even charged you for each checkbook (It was easy to figure out that we were ditching that one haha). We made our choice and were ready to pick the one with the no fee checking account with ATM fees for withdrawals at non-bank branches. That’s a fee we could control. But honestly, we weren’t exactly thrilled with out selection.
Then one day, literally one day before we were ready to visit the branch and set up our new banking relationship, we had a thought while sipping on a nice cup of Starbucks coffee brewed at home. Why not just bank entirely with Capital One? They have no fee checking and savings accounts (with that higher interest rate) and link very well to our Sharebuilder/Capital One Banking accounts. There was the one hurdle/roadblock that we had to get over first… the fact that Capital One does not have any physical branches in Ohio and we would have to do everything electronically. Could we convince ourselves to ditch conventional banking in favor of this laptop/app driven bank? We debated our fears/worries of this approach and here were our arguments. For this, we spent a lot of time on Capital One’s website and began investigating.
Concern #1 – Depositing Checks. As it turns out, using Capital One’s mobile deposit feature, we could up to $5,000 worth of checks during any business day via mobile deposit. If not, you could always mail the check in as a tribute to the old ways of doing things. We asked ourselves when was the last time we ever deposited more than $5,000 of checks in one day. The answer was never. No longer a concern.
Concern # 2 – Access to Cash. We were training our whole lives that you had to withdraw cash from your specific banks ATMs to avoid paying a fee. You could get the cash from anywhere, but you were going to pay. We definitely didn’t want to bank with Capital One if we were going to be charged ATM fees every time we wanted to withdraw cash from our bank account. Upon review of the website, we actually learned that Capital One has a network of over 40,000+ fee free ATMs throughout the country. The website/app has a really easy ATM locator function that shows you ATMs that allow you to withdraw cash fee-free. In fact, there were about 5 ATMs that were within a mile to our house. Blew our mind! Well you get it, it clearly was no longer a concern.
After that, something funny happened. There were no more concerns about using Capital One as our only bank. Honestly, it is easier to deposit and withdraw your cash than traditional banks. The more we thought about it, the more we liked the idea of only having one bank to deal with and worry about on a day-to-day basis. Our finances would be under one umbrella and we would only have to remember one log in. Refreshing and liberating if you ask me. Just like that, we made our decision to ditch all the banks in the area and begin the long, annoying process of switching banks. Hopefully, our experiment of banking at a place without a physical branch in the area pays. If it doesn’t, no problem. There are plenty of banks in the sea and lots of sign-up bonuses for us to exploit!
Have any of you ditched your local bank and used Capital One or a bank like Capital One? Do you have one or multiple banks? Any advice for us as we continue to evolve our banking practices? What are your thoughts on our decision?