Complicating rather than simplifying our finances: Opening another savings account

We’ve been getting pretty regular ads to get a cash bonus for opening various checking accounts for a few years now, but so far we’ve ignored them because with our Credit Union account and our Wells Fargo account we’ve been pretty much getting what we need without a lot of hassle or spreading our emergency fund too thin.  Wells Fargo kind of sucks but it is very easy to deposit checks on the go, find an atm, keep track of deposits, and write checks with it.  It’s not the best, but so long as we keep $2,500 in savings and $7,500 in there overall we don’t have to pay any fees or set up any complicated deposit systems.  Our credit union also is less attractive than it used to be, but it provides free services whenever we need a notary or certified check and all of our automatic deposits are set up to go there.  And if we ever do need a car loan, it has some pretty amazing deals.

What changed?  We got an ad from Capitol One for a 1.3% APY savings rate (money market account, so FDIC insured).  Right now we’re getting 0.01% on our Wells Fargo account and 0.2% with our credit union account.  This didn’t matter so much when we just kept our summer emergency fund in there and the outside options were only a little bit better (so we were losing maybe $200/year), but with our income increases we’ve bulked up the emergency fund.  We don’t need all that emergency fund easily accessible, but we also don’t want to put it all in the overinflated stock market.  So I would like to put $50,000 into this online savings vehicle.  That will provide $650 in interest this year plus the $200 bonus (minus taxes, minus the APY opportunity cost from the credit union account).  And I no longer have to look at the savings account and see 80K in there when I know we really only need 30K for a short-term emergency.  So this may cut down on our spending too (maybe not though– it’s probably good that we’ve increased donations and we probably should do some renovating at some point).   There are also no fees ever and we don’t have to play stupid deposit games, just put money into the account and leave it there.

Will we ever close down our Wells Fargo or Credit Union accounts?  Maybe.  Right now they’re not causing any difficulties, but if they do (I’m looking at you, Wells Fargo), it will be easier to drop one or both of them.

Actually doing the opening of the account wasn’t too bad, though we did have to switch from Firefox to IE in order to add DH to the account because the box for confirming his email wouldn’t fill out (it did fill out in IE though).  And it took five days for the money that had left our credit union account to actually show up in the capital one account.  :/

I also have $600 in an Etrade account from back when they had high interest savings.  I’m just sort of letting it sit there doing nothing.  Let’s just pretend it isn’t there.

How many banking accounts do you have?  Why did you add/change banks the last time you did?


34 Responses to “Complicating rather than simplifying our finances: Opening another savings account”

  1. Shannon Says:

    My husband and I each have small personal accounts – we use them to buy gifts for each other, fund our own personal spending, etc. These were sitting at Bank of America. They just announced they’re going to start charging fees on small accounts like ours, so just switched that account to Bank of the Internet a couple of weeks ago. Which reminds me I need to close that BoA account as it’s just sitting empty and dormant right now. I’d really like to switch our main accounts. They’re at Citizens which hasn’t been the best. But that would require so much untangling – changing direct deposits, updating all of our auto-pays, etc. – that I haven’t found the time or energy to do that. I am not unhappy enough with them. I probably should look at moving the savings though – they pay anemic rates, and we park a substantial amount of money there.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, it’s hard to move everything.

      Every few years we’ll take a financial day off work and just go through and call up our providers for discounts, and deal with big things like figuring out the best retirement provider and making those changes etc.

      I should really dedicate some time to do things about the experien leak…

  2. Leah Says:

    We just moved (like, a year ago) from Wells Fargo to a local bank. The interest is much better, but it’s such a pain. It’s kind of like banking in, well, the early 90s I suppose. You can use an ATM card, but they still have the pneumatic tubes. I literally need a withdrawal slip to get cash out from the teller (a specific one from my account, and they only give you a limited number) or else I pay $1 for the transaction. The online interface is a pain. I have no idea how to check our account balance there (note to self: learn that). Plus, we pay for checks. I didn’t know that was still a thing. Maybe we paid for checks at Wells Fargo too? But my husband likes having a brick and mortar bank, and the interest rate is good.

    My account is at Schwab. I love it. Free checks, refunds of ATM fees, good interface etc. I need to look into getting the app so I can scan checks in. I’ve never done that, and I’m strangely weirded out by it. I changed to Schwab when I left grad school. I wanted something flexible so I wouldn’t have to change banks every time I moved.

    I still miss my old Washington Mutual account. They had really nice services, and I enjoyed banking there.

    I also have a capital one 360 account for savings. Is that different from what you have? Might need to look into options.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      You didn’t used to have to pay for checks at Wells Fargo, but you do now. They’re still much cheaper than at our credit union. (Though with our credit union we can also use outside check vendors whose prices are closer to Wells Fargo check prices.)

      I miss Washington Mutual too! I think our new account is Capital One 360.

      • Leah Says:

        It looks like 360 is their standard one with 1% interest, and then they have another with money market with 1.5% interest for the money above $10k. I’ll have to run the numbers to see if it’s worth it for me to bother.

        I did eye their kid accounts and see that my kid could earn 1% in a kid account too. Is it awkward to walk into our local bank and close my kid’s account for 1% interest? She only has something like $100 in it (money we/she has picked up off the street, or in the dorms during check out when kids leave change). Is there any benefit to having my kid’s account at a brick and mortar, or is it just nostalgia for me?

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        We have the money market one (but it’s the FDIC insured kind of money market account!)

        My kids don’t have accounts, so I can’t give advice on that! When I got physical checks as a kid, I would cash them at my mom’s local brick and mortar bank (I don’t know if that’s ok now or not).

  3. becca Says:

    Too many?
    2 credit union savings/checking accounts. One was my Brick and Mortar, but now I “need” a new one of those because we moved. I don’t love any of the local banks/CUs very much.
    1 online savings not currently in use (the Ally bucket gets filled after I max the ~3% rewards checking)

    Technically, I also have an HSA cash portion and a DCA which may or may not have money lying around in it at any given point, but I don’t think that complexity is really on me.

    1 savings/checking joint with my partner for kid expenses, 1 savings/checking joint for the now rental property for ease of accounting. Keeping those things separate might sound complex, but generally simplifies life.

  4. Linda Says:

    I do all my banking at I direct deposit my paycheck to one of my targeted savings accounts, then move money around from there into other Ally savings accounts or my Ally checking account. Last year I opened a CD with Ally and moved my main EF into it.

    I looked at local credit unions, but didn’t have a compelling reason to open an account. I like that Ally gives me free checks, doesn’t have minimum balances for checking or savings, reimburses ATM fees, and has a good app for deposits. I’ve been tempted to open a Chase account for the bonus money, though. I could direct deposit a small amount to meet their requirements, and transfer it to Ally as needed.

    Before I moved, I used to have a credit union account that had very limited use to me. I closed it and a Chase checking account I used mainly to pay my mortgage which was also with Chase, and earned me a bonus.

  5. Debbie M Says:

    I’ve made several changes semi-recently. The credit union where I had my HSA started offering higher interest rates than my online high-interest savings account (Capitol360). So I closed the latter and moved everything over to simplify.

    Then I decided to look into moving my credit cards away from big banks (which like to invest in evil) and to credit unions. My local credit union does not have good rewards cards, but my HSA bank had a card even better than my best card. Who knew? So I switched.

    Sadly, my HSA bank stopped offering HSAs, so I had to find a new place. I didn’t like their default alternative, so I switched to a different one. So I’m back to three credit unions: a local one for local services, quick access (just $500 in the savings account), and a just-in-case low-interest credit card, Elements for my HSA, and Alliant for higher-interest savings (1.3% and rising every month) and a rewards card (2% cash back).

    (Full disclosure: I also have a Target RedCard debit card which I am getting pretty good at remembering to use while I am in Target.)

    When I first moved here, I went for a savings and loan account which I liked much better than the local credit union. Then it got bought two or three times, getting worse every time, until finally it was worse than the local credit union. So I switched. I really like that the credit union has never been bought. And the one time they made things worse, they got enough complaints that they went back, so that’s cool.


    My investments are mostly in Vanguard index funds, but I also have some stocks in Scottrade. However, Scottrade has been bought by AmeriTrade and they have just let us know that they are getting rid of the FRIP, which are like DRIPS except you save up the money until you can buy a full share (much easier to deal with for tax purposes) and you can aim it all into whatever stock you want (good for rebalancing or adding new holdings). I wrote and said that I wish they would reconsider dropping the FRIPs–one of the cool things about buying a company is you get all their good ideas and I really wish they wouldn’t just throw them in the garbage. They said that many people have written about the same thing and they discussed this in a recent meeting with bigwigs, but don’t know if they’ll change their mind. If they do get rid of the FRIP, I’m moving all that stuff to Vanguard.

    I did like Capitol One while I was there. E-Trade, however, I’ve heard nothing good about. My boyfriend also still has a leftover account there that I recently tried to talk him into moving elsewhere, but of course it’s a pain.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Your HSA CU sounds like a great place except for the no longer offering HSA.

      Etrade was great back during the dot com boom! Which is why we still have stocks there, even though all of our new stuff goes to Vanguard. I don’t even want to get started on how many different brokerage accounts I have. (I even have two different etrade accounts because Brown & Co got bought by etrade! They have different rules for purchase costs and when I tried to consolidate, only one of my accounts got moved over because they couldn’t consolidate my joint accounts.)

  6. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    Erm. A lot. We have joint checking/savings, I have a business checking/savings pair, we each have a checking account at 2 different banks, then we have 5 savings accounts at Ally along with 5 CDs there. I have more plans on making it even more complicated in an upcoming post, once I figure that strategy out. That’s ignoring our investments (so many accounts there!). No wonder I wanted to simplify our holdings.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      How did you end up with so many? On purpose or legacy?

      • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

        Both. I used to bank a lot at Citi when I lived LA-ward, so I left that account open when I opened up my online only bank accounts so that I’d have one B&M. Those online only (USAA, Ally) are my primaries for checking and savings, then PiC had a legacy at his bank that we’re going to close soon. Then we recently had to open a checking account in the name of our trust so we now have a shared checking account with B&M access for cash, and that makes my Citi account redundant as well. I think I even forgot to mention the trust account above. Whoops. Too many indeed. But eventually will consolidate to 4 banks, I think.

  7. purple Says:

    Miss WaMu but miss World Savings even more. It was taken over by WaMu long ago ….
    Would like to know how to decide to whom to send money re November’s elections. I am so tired of hearing that donations to candidate and party election funds are spent to hire the candidate’s family members or to pay sexual harassment accuser fines or to fund fancy travel and meals. Know there are sites that provide information on effectiveness of charitable donations (including % that goes to salaries of top management versus actually getting to the intended recipient) but how to know how campaign money is spent and how much is valid for administration fees etc. Also I support person Y in state X while living in state D but should I send money to person Y directly or do I send it to person E in same party who represents my state D to pass on and what is the reason for doing it indirectly? Does person E increase in political power and become more able to have influence that helps my state by ‘sharing/providing’ financial support to someone outside my state?
    I have no idea how to figure it out but when I am small fixed income I do NOT want to pay for wrong doings, high living, paid employment of relatives of well paid public figures, etc and both parties seem to be involved in such things. Any help?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I don’t know of any charitynavigator for political contributions, but we’ve given money to Swingleft. You may also want to focus locally since their budgets are generally smaller.

  8. jasonedwards57 Says:

    I have been thinking about moving some of our emergency fund to a higher rate savings account. This actually is something we should look into.

  9. bethh Says:

    My setup is rather complicated.
    I still have a checking & a savings account at the first bank (credit union) I ever banked at, Navy Federal Credit Union – for decades I kept my small accounts there Just In Case and was shocked and delighted when I learned they will issue mortgages and not charge PMI if you give 10% down; they also were willing to write a mortgage on my house even though it had been flipped very recently, and other banks were balking. So NFCU wound up being an unexpected delight.

    Most of my banking is at USAA – I have something 2 checking and 5 savings accounts there so I can do some bucketing, at least in theory. In practice… I could do with a few fewer, but they’re no-fee.

    I used to have an account at some of the mainstream banks but have been all credit union all the time for political reasons, for at least 15 years. It’s been so long I forget why I closed my mainstream accounts!

    However – my efund is still in the market – is there REALLY nothing better than 1% or so ????? I know it’s really not smart to let it just sit in stocks, but the returns have turned my head.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Sorry the spam filter got you! Those military credit unions do seem to have some pretty generous programs.

      Yes, interest rates are still pretty low. You could CD latter with long-term CDs for a bit more than that, but you wouldn’t be able to access that money right away. So… safe money isn’t making much!

  10. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    My wife and I each have separate Wells Fargo accounts (I switched from Bank of America about 20 years ago). Our household account is in a local credit union. Most of our savings are in retirement accounts (TIAA, T. Rowe Price, and a plethora of funds managed through Fidelity, who handle those university 403B plans that aren’t managed directly by the university). Non-retirement savings are in T. Row Price’s California tax-free bond fund, which I have a monthly automatic transfer to from my Wells Fargo checking account. I may need to increase that transfer, as the checking account has gotten a bit big (given that the interest rate is still effectively 0).

  11. First Gen American Says:

    Between recently paying off the house (again) and having my personal info leaked, I did the opposite and cleaned house. I had a small dormant account that I opened for a bonus fee, which is now closed. I also had a special account opened at the same bank as my mortgage company where the mortgage payments were deposited, then auto-paid. They changed terms about a year ago and I racked up over $50 in “low balance” fees before I even noticed I was being changed these new fees. I rarely looked at that account, so needless to say, I couldn’t wait to take my business elsewhere after that event.

    I’m at the point where I actually want the interest rates to go up again, as my mom’s money is all in safe CD’s which are making next to nothing when she used to be able to make thousands a year.

    Our emergency fund is all in i-bonds and thankfully I bought them a long time ago when interest rates were higher, so the interest I’m getting on those is 3 to >5% depending on the issue date, which is nice. Actually, I just looked them up again. They still have an okay interest rate on them. Perhaps this would make a good post.

    From the treasury website:
    The composite rate for I bonds issued from November 1, 2017 through April 30, 2018, is 2.58%. This rate applies for the first six months you own the bond.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Congrats on mortgage payoff #2!

    • Debbie M Says:

      Yes, interest on I-bonds is better than savings accounts and even many CDs so long as the powers-that-be admit that we have inflation, but the fixed interest rate is still only 0.1%, unlike the early ones which were 3+%. At 2.58%, the composite interest rate could go down to zero for the second six months and it would still be about the same as “high-interest” online savings account if you sold them after the one-year minimum. I plan to get some again for my income tax refund this year.

  12. Middle class Says:

    I have 4 bank accounts. I opened a Chase account for a good bonus offer and have never bothered to close it. I have a credit union account because I dislike big banks and was going to make that my main account…never happened. I have Capital one and like it a lot. I opened a money market account just now, thanks to your tip!

  13. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    I woke up without a headache for the first time in days (I still have a cold, but it is finally running its course, hopefully). Congress is back, which means it is time for more activism calls! I called my senators and congressman about the Dream Act:

    I also called about no war with Iran:

    • purple Says:

      THANK YOU!!!!!!! doing same. You help defuse a bit of my anxiety/fears and remind me that when I act I have more hope. Keeps me acting.
      You are making a difference that is positive and important. Remember that and praise yourselves (Women in my generation were taught all self-praise was boasting and negative … really a bad thing for women to be taught as it increases self-doubt and dependency and is VERY different from what males are taught. So PRAISE YOURSELF!)

  14. chacha1 Says:

    I would love to open a savings account that actually pays a measurable amount of interest. Am not quite there yet, though – I want to keep our e-fund very accessible and it’s not really big enough to split, especially considering the odds that I will switch jobs this year.

    DH has checking and savings accounts at the University Credit Union, I have checking and saving at Union Bank of California. Pretty basic around chez nous.

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