# Branchless Banking

Over the past twenty years I’ve had checking accounts at nine different brick-and-mortar banks, including: First Security (defunct), Wells Fargo, Charter One (defunct), Fifth Third Bank, Washington Mutual (defunct), Chase, PNC, Suntrust, and M&T. Why so many? After all, changing banks can be a bit of a pain. Most of the changes were due to either moving across the country (twice!) or through bank acquisitions. A couple accounts were to score bank bonuses, even though I’ll probably never step foot in a lobby.

About fifteen years ago, I moved most of my banking online when I opened an account with ING Direct (defunct). I’ve since banked online with HSBC Direct, Capital One 360, Ally, and Fidelity. But even banking online, I found it useful to have a brick-and-mortar account, even though I rarely step into a branch office.

Earlier this year we bit the bullet, closed our Wells Fargo account, and moved everything online.

## Our Setup

Today, we bank online with Fidelity, using two different accounts:

This is the primary account for all direct deposits (e.g. paycheck) and direct withdrawals (e.g. utilities, mortgage, Paypal, Venmo, Virginia529, etc.). We have it setup as a joint account. Any balance is swept into SPAXX and occasionally I’ll purchase the slightly higher yielding SPRXX, matching or beating most online savings accounts, with no monthly transaction limit. While we could also hold stocks and mutual funds in this account, we don’t, mostly because it would make our budget reconciling more complicated. Instead we use another brokerage account for those trades.

## Branchless Banking FTW!

We’re happy with our branchless banking setup. Let me know in the comments what you think about going branchless. Have you already done it? Any reason I haven’t mentioned that’s keeping you back? I want to hear about it.

Hasta luego!

## 3 thoughts on “Branchless Banking”

1. I’ve been 99.9% branchless since 2005 or so. I was with Ally forever, then Fidelity.

Thanks to mobile deposit of checks, I agree that branches are mostly useless. However, from 2005-2020 I still maintained a local fee-free checking account to have the ability to deposit cash. I’m still surprised that our society hasn’t evolved to be cashless yet. Nonetheless, we still accumulate the green stuff for random stuff.

Since interest rates have plummeted to zero, I recently (and reluctantly) decided to leave Fidelity in favor of a 2% checking account (which was recently downgraded to 1.5%) at a local credit union that has some sort of deal with my university for faculty. I miss a lot about Fidelity; mostly the wicked-fast ACH transfers, but I couldn’t turn down the free interest.

Once Fidelity interest rates come back up, I’ll gladly go back.

1. Where are you finding 2%? I’m only seeing around .6% at most online banks (Ally, quick poll of Bankrate). I’ll probably stick to Fidelity for now, mostly because of inertia. I still have my account at Ally and Capital One, but interest chasing with my cash doesn’t seem compelling enough. Thanks for the comment.

1. Just a local credit union that has some sort of deal with the faculty. It’s pretty darn nice, particularly before they reduced it to 1.5% this past month or two. Unfortunately, it’s not replicable to outsiders.

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