I’ve been trying to find a banking alternative because I hate banks so here’s my experience with them and why I hate them.
With Wachovia, I was used to as soon as my money deposited, it was available to me for spending, but that was not so for Wells Fargo. WF repeatedly loved to hold on to my deposits in pending status and I found out the hard way about it that just because it was there, doesn’t mean I could spend it, the hard way. Overdraft over overdraft over overdraft fees happened in one day and when I checked my account that evening I saw the horror and WF was like nope, it’s still in pending status so you can’t spend it, but oh by the way, we’re taking those fees away from the pending deposit. Some months passed and then the law came out where I could opt out of overdraft protection so I thought yay, they can’t do that to me again. Boy was I wrong. I had my car payment linked to my WF checking account and I had called up the bank I had my car loan with to make a payment. Well, the agent who processed my payment screwed it up and had charged my account several times for my car payment so a $400 car payment was a nightmare of $1200 deducted from my account BUT I only had enough in there to cover the ONE car payment I authorized, so yup, got charged three overdraft fees for something no fault of my own. I called up WF and asked how in the world could they charge me overdraft fees when I opted out of overdraft protection and WF’s response was, the overdraft protection only covers point of sale purchases, NOT ACH withdrawals, so I was still screwed.
I still held on to WF even though I had pretty much had it with them and their hidden fees and the many “if’s” in their financial services, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when I got a letter in the mail from WF that they were discontinuing all the accounts carried over from Wachovia and now going to charge me $8 per month to migrate my account to a WF checking account. To maintain a similar account with WF they were going to charge me $8 per month unless I upgraded to the next account which was $12 a month or free if I maintained a $1500 balance. The letter also said that the one year of having a free checking account was a “promotion period” for Wachovia customers. With Wachovia my checking account was 100% free and after this I said I had had it. I went to WF and closed my accounts because I am not going to pay anybody anything.
I began searching around for a new bank but I found that all the banks here now charged a monthly fee for checking accounts unless you kept some kind of ridiculous $1k balance. You used to be able to get free checking by just having direct deposits but they didn’t recognize that either. So I heard about pre-paid cards from a co-worker. I had never heard of a pre-paid card but they recommended Netspend so I checked that out and liked it. It was still $5 a month for unlimited swipes but that was still less than the banks around here were charging. The sad thing was the amount of fees they charged; Netspend charged a fee for everything, but I found a way around it by just linking my PayPal card to it so I was able to make charges with no fee plan, BUT the drawback was PayPal does not allow large purchases on the debit card so I was still screwed. I could make little $50 and $75 charges but anything above that was null. One time I went to Best Buy to get me a Naga mouse and headset which came to about $140 and the PayPal card would only take the purchase one item at a time. Lame.
After that I just started paying the $5 a month to Netspend but I wasn’t happy about that so I looked for another pre-paid card. Green Dot sucked because I had to have a $1000 direct deposit a month or it wass $4.95 I think. Capital One prepaid I had to direct deposit $500 a month or it was $5 a month. BB&T blew because it was $10 a month but then they changed it to $5 or $3 a month with a $1000 direct deposit. I also tried the first American Express pre-paid card but getting money to the account took days and no way to make a deposit to it with cash. So I kept using the Netspend pre-paid card but then one day while lurking on Google Play on my Android phone, I saw this thing called American Express Bluebird.
You can continue reading my review of the American Express Bluebird card here.