Money $100 Bills Benjamins

Online Only Banking

I got a letter in the mail last week from one of my banks, US Bank, telling me that the free checking for life account I signed up for ten years ago is no longer free. I was not happy with that letter.

The Fee

If I did not add a direct deposit of at least $500 per month or reach a minimum balance of $1,500, I was going to have the pleasure of paying $6.95 per month for the account if I had online statements or $8.95 per month with paper statements.

The Response

I headed over to the bank last night were an exceptionally attractive banker and I discussed my displeasure with the “free checking for life” account that I have been using on and off for ten years was a lie.

She told me that if I opened a savings account, I would qualify to keep the account for free. It had no minimum balance. But I did not have any desire to keep any amount of money in a savings account with virtually no interest. I am quite happy keeping my money at Charles Scwhab.

So, I closed the account. I took the remaining balance in my account in cash and headed on my way. Goodbye US Bank.

Hello Online Only Banking

I paused for a moment and realized that I no longer have a bank branch to visit in Denver. What was I going to lose out on by giving up a brick and mortar bank? All I have left is Schwab Bank and Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct). Both are online only.

I can still write checks. I can still use an ATM for free. I can still deposit check, only now I do it with my phone rather than an ATM or a bank branch. I can still initiate online transfers. I can still use bill pay.

The only thing I am giving up is the ability to make a cash deposit. I can live without that.

Am I Part of Something Bigger?

Like most people in my generation have moved from video stores to Netflix and many have moved from cable to online video, are people moving from brick and mortar banking to online banking?

As more banks support smart phone check deposits and offer free ATMs around the world, I think the affluent 20s and 30s will quickly adapt to a new way of banking. In my days as a bank manager, most of our customers that came in person were either old or did not have easy internet access at home.

86% of wealthy people use online banking. 54% used a mobile device for banking. If you do not use mobile and online banking, why not? Have you gone online only? What do you think will happen in the future? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Image by Beige Alert.

7 thoughts on “Online Only Banking”

  1. I have a bank account in TX (I live in GA), found through a service that helps you locate high-interest checking accounts that your qualify for. They’re a “local” bank but I’m obviously not going to texas to make a deposit. I realized I prefer having to just have stamps on hand – when I used bank of america, I always tried to go and deposit checks/cash in person and when the bank closes at 3pm, that’s always a struggle.

    I do have an account at a local bank. I have been there once ever, but in case for whatever reason I have a large amount of cash I need to deposit, I have it available.

  2. Great article! One thing that has stopped me from getting rid of my brick and mortar checking account at Bank of America is that I have to get certified checks from time to time to pay people. Do online banks offer this that you know of?

      1. I’ve had to use certified checks to pay the movers when I have moved 3 times over the past 3 years. 

        Do you think a bill pay check would work for that? They just need something that is guaranteed by the bank that I have the money

        1. It should be fine. Bill pay checks draw from the bank so they are practically guaranteed. You could also get a money order in a pinch if it is rare.

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