Thoughts on Owning a Business and Using a Bank

July 10, 2013

I have been using various banks in and outside Connecticut since I was young. My initial experience with personal banking involved accounts as Dutch Point Credit Union and Equity Bank. I continue to use Dutch Point Credit Union in conjunction with Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct) as my personal banking solution and also have a Bank of America credit card. However, for political campaigns and business banking I have been using TD Bank. For the most part I am happy to recommend all of these companies.

TD Bank is ubiquitous across the nutmeg state and for that reason they are a good option for business banking. I have used them for political campaigns and having an account there does not cost anything to the campaign. Fees for checks and other services are minimal or non-existent. It is slightly different if you own a business account: you get a free trial of their premier service and then have to maintain a minimum balance to avoid fees. However the least expensive option only charges $8/month which was cheaper than the competitors that I had researched. As a bonus TD Bank can print and activate a debit VISA check card in its branch. You can have a nearly fully functional account in under an hour. The online banking takes a little longer to set up but it otherwise works well.

Personal banking has been a more confusing conglomeration of solutions for me. I like and have used Dutch Point Credit Union my entire life but the interest rates on their savings accounts are low and their online banking interface and features are lacking. On the flip side the fees the credit union charges are minimal. When I had to get certified bank checks to pay my bar registration fees they cost significantly less than my friends using Bank of America had to pay.

To make up for the lack of online features I setup an ING Direct account several years ago. The advantage of ING Direct was a large interest rate on its savings account, however it has now dwindled to about 0.6%. Their iPhone application allows for the deposit of checks using the iPhone camera, and that convenience along with their providing of easy tools for inter-account transfer of money and printing voided checks has made keeping the account worth it. Even as they have been taken over by Capital One and been renamed Capital One 360 they provide bleeding edge online banking, and you can withdraw money from ATMs at any CVS without being charged a fee. Without physical branches this account works well as a companion to an existing account.

I also am a Bank of America customer since they bought out the company they issued me my first credit card years ago. A nice feature of many modern credit cards is that they provide an additional year of warranty protection for items purchased on the credit card at no cost to you. However most cards hide this feature. It took some extra legwork to get reimbursed for a keyboard repair on my MacBook Pro by the company that Bank of America contracted with for this, but my check did arrive and I was happy. They also have not charged me fees. At one point I accidentally overcharged my card by a few dollars and a phone call was all it took to get the fee waived.

It is my hope that eventually one of these banks will be able to be the best at everything since this mishmash of solutions is a little annoying to manage. However I think if you are willing to take a little time and work the system it is not hard to maximize the value you get from banks here in the state.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.