Bank Blahs {B of A Customers, Check It}.


Whilst daydreaming yesterday, a thought interrupted my British fantasies: I had not yet contacted Bank of America to discuss my moving abroad/not having money in my American account situation. When I called, I spoke with a super helpful gentleman who gave the me the lowdown on my account come September:

A savings account can stay active (without fees) as long as there is $300 or more in the account.
A checking account only needs $2 a month to stay active and will not incur fees as long as the account is the recipient of direct deposit.

The checking is where I’m now having an issue. Obviously keeping $2 in there is no big deal, but the direct deposit? That’s an issue. I have had direct deposit through my company for the last four years, but now that I’m moving abroad there are no paychecks, pension money, Social Security and Supplemental Income (SSI) benefits, or other regular monthly income headed into my account. Without direct deposit, checking accounts are subject to an $8.95 – $9.95 monthly fee, unless you keep a minimum of $1500 in the account. I’m not really okay with that, to be honest.

Since this situation has arisen, I have opted to keep my savings account open in the US, but after transferring my money to my new UK HSBC Passport Account, I will likely close my US checking account. There’s no benefit to paying the $8.95 fee for a year (which adds up to $107.40 in just 12 months!)  since I won’t actually be using the account. Sure, I am familiar with B of A and they have always been super helpful, but these fees aren’t going to cut it. I really liked the fact that B o fA counts Barclay’s and Deutsche Bank as its sister banks and reduces my international charges, so I’m hoping that HSBC will have something similar. Alternatively, I may just keep $1500 in my checking for a while and use my US Visa Debit card at Deutsche Bank & Barclay’s cashpoints while I’m overseas; if the exchange rate goes up, though, that money’s coming out — I really don’t want to have to deal with/worry about exchange rate fluctuation! I’m going to pop into a branch and interrogate one of the associates to find out if there are any other deposits that can qualify as direct deposit and thusly remove the monthly fee. Also, I had noticed that the CampusEdge checking account (which I used to have) has no fees — regardless of how much money is in the account or the direct deposit situation. The account was created especially for high school and college students and after five years you are administratively enrolled in a normal checking (as I was when I hit 21), where fees can be incurred. I’m going to also see if they can re-enroll me in that account while I’m pursuing graduate-level education so I can continue to bank with them. If not, so long Bank of America. It was nice doing business with you!

Signature Stamp - Shannon


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by sonali on August 19, 2009 at 8:44 AM

    ah, im so confuzzled between natwest and hsbc.. personally i feel hsbc makes wayy more sense ..natwest only has a bunch of freebies to its credit ..and i dont really need a free railway pass or a pendrive!!!!
    have u already opened ur hsbc account shannon? how long did it take?


    • Hey — So I love freebies (NatWest’s plus-side), but I was able to apply for my HSBC account online & it’s basically approved ALREADY. I just have to pop into a branch with the paperwork they sent me, my drivers license & my passport and they can open the account — super easy, which I like. It’s 6GBP per month to keep active, but most accounts cost that much! After I applied for the account online, I received my confirmation paperwork within two weeks! You should totally apply — you don’t have to go with them but at least you’d have the option :)


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