Branchless/Net-Only Banks: Experience, suggestions?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by SeerSGB, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    A some point in the next several months me and the Mrs. are looking at doing a lot of traveling--some back and forth between the US and Canada--and I'm looking into branchless banking to solve some of the money handling issues (our credit union doesn't allow outside the US ATM / POS transaction--they're even a beast to deal with on international orders made online).

    I don't know anyone around my parts that has used these types of banks, so I'd see if any one of the board has. If they did any warnings, advice, bank recommendations?
     
  2. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    I currently use a credit union located 700 miles from where I live. So, I'm effectively "branchless." I've been doing this for 4 years now, so I can say it works fairly well. The main drawback is having to pay ATM fees, but I don't use ATMs that much--I tend to debit as much as possible.

    I'm surprised to hear your CU doesn't allow international ATM usage. Mine does.

    I'd say just look up online reviews of any bank/credit union you're thinking of trying. Any of the big ones will probably be fine, in any case.
     
  3. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    I used to be in the same situation as Robert Maxwell, minus the ATM fees. The bank did have branches and you could call them. I once had to send in my debit card because it had been blocked. But apart from that, I didn't miss the branches.
    I'm now with the online branch of a bank that also has real branches - though they're far and between. I only needed their help once. So, in summary, you should be fine but I'd look for one that offers help via phone (with real people on the other end), too, in case something unforeseen should happen. Some internet research should get you some reviews.
     
  4. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't do much dealing with a bank, but when I do, I use a local bank. (No, I don't drink Dos Equis.) I like the idea of being able to walk into a local branch and ask them questions if I have a problem.
     
  5. Gaseous Anomaly

    Gaseous Anomaly Pimpin' Robot Premium Member

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    I'm with USAA for banking and have yet to step into a branch. They cater to military and former military so they have the whole branchless thing down pretty well. If you are prior service I'd suggest them.
     
  6. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Stay thirsty my friend.


    I use a credit union too. It not exactly branchless, but they are few and far between. I pay no ATM fees when I use their machines, no service charges (other than buying new checks), and I receive interest on my checking account.

    I've used ATM's in Canada, Panama and Brazil. The Brazilian ATM's took nearly three minutes to make the connections (which I basically expected), but it did work. Oh, and they charged me a three dollar fee.

    :)
     
  7. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    If a bank literally has no branches, then how do you deposit cash? Usually they don't let you do that at ATMs, do they?
     
  8. Gaseous Anomaly

    Gaseous Anomaly Pimpin' Robot Premium Member

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    I use mobile deposit with my smart phone, I can deposit 10,000 a day that way. The closest branch is 60 miles away, but I really don't feel I need to go there. I've been able to solve any problems over the phone and that was getting deposit mobile initially set up.
     
  9. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    He was asking about cash. Like, paper money. I don't see any way that would work with a smart phone.

    I'd be pretty screwed if my bank didn't have a branch since the majority of my income is cash and my paychecks aren't direct deposit.
     
  10. Gaseous Anomaly

    Gaseous Anomaly Pimpin' Robot Premium Member

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    You could always get a money order or cashiers check, also I can make deposits at any UPS store.
     
  11. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    In my experience, one needs to go to a bank to get a money order. And if I'm already going to the bank, I might as well just deposit my cash there. The point is that I would still physically need to take my cash somewhere.

    And we don't have UPS stores around here.

    And frankly, that sounds like a huge waste of time. Besides, the ladies at my bank are friendly, and they always thank me for having my deposit slipped filled out (because apparently most people don't do that).
     
  12. Gaseous Anomaly

    Gaseous Anomaly Pimpin' Robot Premium Member

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    Enjoy your bank branch and all the perks. :rolleyes:
     
  13. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    I'm really not sure why you're rolling your eyes. I literally can't function without a physical place to take my money. I do most of my banking online, but I still need a place to go in order to actually get my money into my account.
     
  14. Gaseous Anomaly

    Gaseous Anomaly Pimpin' Robot Premium Member

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    Have you tried direct deposit?
    You can get money orders at almost any corner store or post office or grocery store too.
     
  15. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    I am a bartender. Most of my income is from tips. At the end of my shift, I leave with a wad of cash. That cash needs to get in the bank. Why would I get a money order when I can just take the cash to the bank and put it directly into my account? Getting a money order is just creating extra unnecessary steps.
     
  16. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    So with a branchless bank, how do you know which ATMs you can use without a fee? Do they tell you flat-out?

    And there's no problem depositing checks into an ATM that does not belong to your bank?
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    My Credit Union's ATMs will take endorsed checks and cash deposits. No coins though.

    It has to be one of their machines.
     
  18. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the US, almost every convenience store sells inexpensive money orders.
    Ally Bank, formerly GMAC (General Motors Acceptance Corporation), is an online, branch-less bank. They let you deposit checks online by scanning the document. They also do not charge ATM fees AND reimburse other banks' ATM fees.

    Hope this helps.:techman:
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  19. Sigokat

    Sigokat Commander Red Shirt

    I use USAA as well like another poster. (I'm active Army) and USAA refunds up to a certain dollar amount/numerb of transactions ATM fees each month.

    I don't use ATMs to much when I'm back stateside, so I've never gone over the amount that USAA has as a cut-off for monthly ATM fee refunds.

    As for checks for deposit, I'm old fashion. I mail them to the main USAA branch in San Antonio. Yeah it takes a bit longer, but it works for me.
     
  20. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    But again, getting a money order would be a completely inefficient use of my time.