Bank According to Your Lifestyle
I recently chose to switch from Wachovia to Fidelity for my banking needs. The decision to switch was easy, but finding the right bank took quite a while. I don't care about frills like earning interest or overdraft protection – I just wanted some way to pay the people I need to pay without paying anything extra. Simple, right?
Not when you travel as much as I do. In the last year, I've lived in more places than I can count on two hands and in a total of 6 states. Fortunately I don't have to worry about things like cashing checks, otherwise I would be in a real bind unless I went with a national chain. Instead, I just have a little issue with getting cash out when I need it.
Although Wachovia has been pretty good to me the last 3 years, I just can't afford the extra $20 it costs per month to pay rent. You see, I pay rent weekly, and since they don't accept PayPal, and I don't have checks, I have to pay in cash, or get checks. Paying in cash means going to an ATM and letting the machine charge $3 or more, and then Wachovia charges an additional $2 – totaling $5 for each withdrawal, times 4 withdrawals per month, that's $20. Pretty ridiculous if you ask me.
So I looked into getting checks. I figured since I didn't get starter checks they would comp the first set – no luck. They wanted to charge $20 plus shipping for just one box. I could've gotten checks online for $6 including shipping, but I realized this ATM problem isn't going away on its own.
Believe it or not, there are several online banks which not only don't charge extra for using an ATM, they will also refund the fees issued by an ATM. The best of which is Fidelity.com – no catches, no gimmicks, no minimum balance, no fees, just free checking with unlimited check writing, free checks, unlimited ATM refunds, and a bonus 1.5% interest gained on your balance. I've just switched, so I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.
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