I have been a very happy user of a combination of US Bank (since 2000) and Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct) (since 2007) for a while now. Capital One 360 has paid very competitive rates and the online bill pay has become increasingly useful. However, I am up for a change.
I generally keep a pretty low balance in my US Bank account, as it does not pay interest. It usually does not matter, but I use that account for both ATMs and writing paper checks. Occasionally, I want to write a check or make a big withdrawal, and I have to wait for a few days for the ACH to go through from ING.
In hopes of consolidating my accounts, I am planning to switch my primary checking account to Charles Schwab. I am already a Schwab brokerage customer and I have the Schwab Visa rewards card. I have been thrilled with the overall customer service and a few extras have tipped me over to signing up for the checking account as well.
The two biggest reasons to change are the problems above. Schwab offers free ATM use at any ATM worldwide and refunds other banks ATM fees (up to a six transactions or $9 per month for refunds). They also give you check writing ability. While I enjoy ING’s online check writing, sometimes you need a real checkbook.
The biggest hesitation I have is interest. ING pays a better interest rate on checking and savings accounts than Schwab, but the few dollars per month is an opportunity cost I am willing to get over for checking. I am considering the savings account as well.
I will give you an update a few months in, but I am excited to take a step to consolidate and simplify my finances. I have nothing bad to say about ING, but I was having trouble resisting the draw of Schwab High Yield Investor Checking.