dcsimg

Capital One 360 review: as good as its predecessor?


Capital One 360 review: as good as its predecessor?

Published 12/9/13  (Modified 2/19/14)

By Justin Boyle

Most people can't tell you where they were when they first heard about online banking. After all, U.S. consumers got the news back in 2000 during the dot-com bonanza, when so many services were migrating online that people couldn't really be expected to remember every little innovation.

The bubble did eventually burst, and only a few of those new virtual institutions were strong enough to stick around. Thanks in part to a robust customer-care policy, ING Direct was one of the companies that weathered the storm.

Things don't stay the same forever though, and the acquisition of ING Direct USA by Capital One was approved by the Federal Reserve on Valentine's Day 2012. The service emerged as Capital One 360 about a year later, and Capital One firmly announced its intentions to do right by ING's customers.

The new bosses have likely had time to get most of the kinks worked out by now, so it seems fair to ask: Does Capital One 360 measure up to the venerable online bank it replaced?

Capital One 360 accounts

The basic personal banking products available through Capital One 360 appear to have experienced little more than nominal change under the new guard. The basic online savings account still charges no fees, requires no minimum balance and features a variable annual percentage yield (APY) among the highest online savings account rates available, as of this writing (see the current Capital One 360 rates in the table below).

Read the full article »

American Express Bank review: savings accounts from the card giant

Published 11/27/13  (Modified 2/19/14)

By Peter Andrew

I'd better come clean. I rather like American Express. True, I don't have any of its products, but that's because the chances of the company approving me for any of its plastic are so tiny that I don't bother applying. People with my history aren't exactly core target market for AmEx. But I know it's won top spot in the J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study in every one of the seven years the survey has existed, including 2013. And a large part of that success is down to its card division's commitment to excellent customer service.

So when it comes to American Express Bank -- the company's online-based deposits division that offers savings accounts and CDs -- do the venerable company's best virtues still shine through?

Click here to open an American Express Bank savings account.

American Express Bank customer service

You're probably already aware that, at least at the time of writing, American Express Bank, FSB (federal savings bank) is paying competitive yields on its online savings accounts, and that it has done so consistently for some time. But has the deposits side of the business successfully absorbed the customer-service ethos of its sister company, the card division?

Read the full article »

GE Capital Bank: a (reluctantly) glowing review

Published 11/11/13  (Modified 6/3/14)

By Peter Andrew

Pushing 20 years ago, I bought a new television on credit through one of GE's numerous financial arms. One month, I somehow transgressed, and the whole account was passed to a collection agency. I judged that a massive overreaction to such a minor misdemeanor, and promised myself not only that I'd never buy an aircraft engine from the group, but also that I'd one day exact revenge.

So I was very happy when my editor asked me to review GE Capital Bank. A hatchet job would be a great opportunity to fulfill my promise, even if it was in the form of a dish served very, very cold. Sadly for me, I can't find a single bad thing to say about the bank.

Read the full article »

The real story behind credit unions

Published 9/13/13

The real story behind credit unions By Justin Boyle

In August, I visited a professor I'd gotten to know back in college. Her son had turned 16 in February, and she had co-signed with him on an auto loan from a credit union. But now that the income from his summer job was about to slow down, he was balking on his promise to keep up the payments.

"I shouldn't even have to pay them!" he told his very patient mother. "It's not even a real bank!"

At the end of the conversation (inasmuch as that sort of conversation with a teenager ever ends), the boy did acquiesce to continuing his loan payments. But nobody explained to him what exactly a credit union was, so here's a little help. Matthew, this one's for you.

How credit unions work

According to the World Council of Credit Unions, credit unions go back almost 300 years, to mid-19th century Germany.

Read the full article »

Should you switch to an online-only bank?

Published 4/24/13

Should you switch to an online-only bank? By Jennifer Goforth Gregory

Many of us bank online today without a second thought. I use online bill pay to handle the electric bill each month, and regularly check my accounts and transfer funds without leaving my house. And while I haven't accessed my bank account from my mobile phone, according to a recent study from the Federal Reserve, 21 percent of mobile phone users have accessed their accounts through mobile applications in the last year.

But when my husband recently suggested moving our funds to an online-only bank account, I was a little surprised. Each year we sit together and review the rates and terms on all our accounts to make sure we are getting the best deal possible. While looking at the information, my husband pointed out that our credit union offered an online account with a higher interest rate than we were currently earning and much lower fees.

But when I looked at the fine print, I realized that this account would not grant us free access to our local branch and would require us to give up our checkbook. Not all online-only banks require you to give up your checkbook -- many now offer check-writing privileges just like an ordinary bank -- but that was the deal with this particular account.

Because we were already comfortable using online banking, our main concern was what we would lose in services and convenience by changing accounts. Here are three key questions that we asked ourselves when trying to make the decision.

Read the full article »

Is your bank's customer service going down the tubes?

Published 11/8/11  (Modified 12/2/11)

Is your bank's customer service going down the tubes? By Justin Boyle

We've all heard "the customer is always right." You might go as far as to say that we live in the age of the customer. Customer service is emphasized as a driver of business success in several industries in the U.S., and companies tend to take that to heart. I spent a few years in the customer service trade, myself, helping put a pleasant face and voice on computer support, sandwiches and Cadillacs.

Nearly every worker in a commercial environment, from butchers to bakers to BLT makers, is trained to consider the customer first. With this being the case, why are members of the online community crying out about poor customer service from the best banks? I got a hold of an expert in the field of customer service, as well as a banking executive, to try and sort it out...

Read the full article »