Banking in America

I don’t get it, I just don’t. For almost a year I worked to get away from the evil empire, Bank of America. I was proud that I’d moved all my business to a credit union, for UK friends and family, thats pretty much a building society. I bank with Amplify Federal Credit Union. I was pleased when just after the new year I shutdown my BoA account, cancelled my BoA credit cards etc.(1)

As much as Amplify have been really helpful, their inability to do electronic payments to accounts outside the bank has got me to the point where I think it’s time to move again. I just never realized how inefficient their processes were, how they were totally dependent of printed checks and that’s all just too slow for me.  Back in the UK at FirstDirect I can logon, enter an account number, routing code(for the bank), amount and date and in many cases the transfer is done electronically, often simultaneously and always within 2-hours.

At Amplify, I have to use the pay-a-bill system. Essentially this with a few details, allows me to tell them to print and mail a check.

So for example, today I logged on, had to enter a name, a full postal address, and only the account number of a payee; then I entered the amount of the payment, and could select the day I want to send the payment, I chose today. Low and behold the system informed me the payment would be received on March 27th. Note in this instance when they mean received, what they mean is a check would be received on 3/27, they couldn’t mean anything else since they didn’t ask for a routing number for the receiver.

My alternatives were Overnight check – $18.95. Yep some how they were charging me about $12 for them printing and handing my check to USPS for next day delivery, or some other courier company. The only other option is to do a domestic wire transfer, cost $15.

So I’m looking for other responsible banking options., None of the big international banks, ideas anyone?

This seems to be another area, like cellphone plans and cellphones in general where America is gradually has little more than a 2nd rate service. Which really is a shame. Anyone got any insights into why?