…if I get their credit card and use that instead of getting dinged $3/month for using my debit card.
That’s what John said when I stopped by to get a money order and have my contact information updated. When I told him that my own branch manager and I had run my numbers twice now and I am very far away from qualifying for one, he then reminded me that WF has a secured credit card.
Right. So I can pay higher fees than what they already want to charge to use my own money. Still.
They still don’t get it. I don’t want to pay to use my own money, especially when so much of bank business is done online these days. There are new articles I ran across about firing your bank. Here’s another one. Of course, most of the people in the comments section talk about opening credit union accounts. For a lot of folks that will be a solution. We saw how well that worked for someone with poor credit when you followed me on my quest to get a credit union account opened.
I did find a solution out of desperation when I got my SSDI backpay. There was a good deal of money, and since I have an addiction to debting and spending, I freaked out! I didn’t want that much sitting there available. So I transferred a large portion of it to an account at Ally Bank. They’re an online bank, with no physical branches anywhere. That would freak me out, except that just like any other bank, they’re FDIC insured, and they were around physically since 1919. This is not a fly by night company.
Now I have a savings account and 2 year CD with them. I feel more grown up and solid, and the best part is that not only am I not being charged fees, my CD gathers daily interest at a rate higher than what Wells Fargo could ever offer me.
Yep. Daily interest.
And I’m not the only one. Apparently these extra fees are causing a lot of people to turn to online banking. Check out these articles. And this one. And this one. I could go on and on, but you get the point.
I would encourage everyone to look into online banking, especially if you have issues that stand in the way of getting a credit union account. If your major worry is ATM access, Ally Bank reimburses all ATM fees you pay at the end of each month.
Keeping up the search, my next stops will be Watermark CU and BECU.
Here’s the thing: I looked at the websites for both, and they say the same thing that Salal said about the requirements for being a member of their credit union:
“Salal Credit Union membership is open to anyone who lives or works in Washington State. Check and see if your employer offers Salal membership or if someone in your family is already a member—that makes you eligible for membership too.” Nowhere on this page does it say anything about needing a minimum credit score.
You can apply for BECU membership by fulfilling just one of these requirements:
- You live in Washington state
- You work in Washington state
- You attend school in a Washington state school district
- You belong to a church in Washington state
- You, or a family member, are a current or past Boeing employee, an employee at a Boeing subsidiary or at the Museum of Flight.
- You may also apply for business membership if you have an active Washington State Business License.
“It’s easy to join. If you live, work, worship, or go to school in any county in Washington State, you are eligible to join Watermark Credit Union.”
Neither BECU or Watermark put a number requirement on membership. But I guess we’ll find out when I go, won’t we?
Shouldn’t a financial institution be required to put the minimum credit score right there on the site with every other membership requirement?
As soon as I decided it was time to move my money, I started web research to figure out where to go. I live in Seattle, so I started by searching this database:
After the search results popped up, I decided to start with Salal Credit Union. Their website had a lot of good information, and they have a branch about five blocks from our apartment. I went down to open an account last week.
And was not able to do it. I’m about 80 points short of being good enough to have an account.
Salal requires customers to have a minimum credit score of 600 in order to open a checking account with them. My credit score is not that high. The lady I talked to said that most credit unions are moving away from ChexSystems to verify that you’re not passing bad checks and toward requiring a certain minimum score to have an account.
I have to wonder: If that’s true, how are they going to do outreach to people who are stuck using payday loan and check cashing places? Those folks are not going to have a high enough score to qualify. Which is doubly odd, since Salal has something they call SalalReadyCash. They bill it as an alternative to the payday loan industry. But how can you access something you don’t qualify for?
The lady I talked to told me to keep trying other places, and thought that BECU might be large enough to absorb people with lower credit ratings.
I guess it’s back to the drawing board. But I won’t stop looking. I’ll keep you posted.