Moving my primary bank account to WaMu

WaMu Savings 5%I have been using Citibank as my primary bank account for a while. It is a big bank with tons of cash and lots of customers and as such it tends to provide services of mediocre value. Banking with Citibank is almost like overpaying for a brand name, just in finance world.

I have speculated about a move for a while and the last straw has been the $23.50 check printing fee Citibank slapped on me last month, so I finally decided to look for greener pastures.

In my search, I have avoided any pure online banks. I want my primary bank to have a local branch for easy access to my money. Also, burned by recent Netbank failure, I wanted it to be a financial institution with solid reputation, a bank I can truly trust.

After some research and your useful tips, I settled on this offer from Washington Mutual and opened an account last week. This checking/savings combo totally blows away anything Citibank currently offers and beats most offers from other banks. Where else can you get 5% APY on your regular savings? And that free overdraft protection can easily save you $25-30 a year depending on your bank. Here are the offer details in brief in case you consider a move as well:

  • No minimum monthly balance
  • Free checks for life
  • No ATM charges on WaMu’s part
  • One free overdraft protection per year
  • Free outgoing wire transfers
  • 5% APY on your savings
  • Free online bill pay

Coincidently, Washington Mutual also holds my home mortgage and I find it very refreshing to see my debt as well as my savings in one place. Kind of puts you down a bit. ;-)

What bank do you use? What do you like / not like about it? Please share your own experience in the comments

See also:

13 Responses to “Moving my primary bank account to WaMu”

  1. 1 Genehunter Oct 13th, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    Wamu is not available in many places, esp where I live. So it is kinda hard to find an ATM

  2. 2 Joseph Oct 14th, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    Totally free checking from Wachovia.

  3. 3 Russ A Oct 15th, 2007 at 6:32 am

    I use Bank of America for checking, because it doesn’t cost me anything and they have ATMs everywhere. Makes it really easy to make deposits. They are also fairly reasonable about eliminating fees, if I accumulate one here and there.

    For savings, I use ING and Fidelity Cash Reserves.

  4. 4 Alex Oct 15th, 2007 at 11:28 am

    I am glad my tip came in handy. However I do not use the WAMU account for my primary account. Instead I am sticking with Golden1 credit union for now, but I am seriously considering making the switch for the free lifetime checks. I recently did go into my local WAMU branch and the experience was different. Their branch had an open and airy setup where the tellers are placed on PC islands throughtout the floor and you just walk up to one to get help. One negative feedback I have about the WAMU account is how long it takes to do fund transfers to/from external accounts. They say 3 days but it took them over a week to post the transfer.

  5. 5 Dean Oct 15th, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    WaMu looks pretty promising. Your right about Citi Bank is really is way behind other online banks.

    ING Direct also offers checking and savings with no minimums.

  6. 6 Yan Oct 16th, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    Yes, Alex, thanks a lot for your tip. I will post more later about how things go with WaMu for me.

  7. 7 XynamaX Oct 17th, 2007 at 7:24 am

    I use a local credit union (Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union) along with 3 online banks for high-interest savings..

    I rarely use ATM’s, I charge as much as I could in terms of daily expenses because it nets me a 1.5%-2% cash back reward at the end of the year.

  8. 8 Thor Oct 18th, 2007 at 11:52 am

    So… now that WaMu is being bitten by real-estate, now what do you think?

    I got caught in NetBank… now I’m beginning to worry about WaMu; luckily, nothing will happen to me except a delay in funds (heh… I’m lucky to have $500 in the account), but it was interesting trying to buy a mattress when NetBank went snafu for a day….

  9. 9 Yan Oct 22nd, 2007 at 8:01 pm

    There was plenty of signs of trouble before NetBank collapsed. I wasn’t paying attention because I didn’t have a lot with them. I will watch WaMu more carefully. Unless there is a country-wide recession and things start to fall apart, there should be plenty of time to pull out your savings. As of now, WaMu has liquidity to stay afloat. Here is some useful reading.

  10. 10 Sheila Nov 1st, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    I just happened to come across this site, i already opened an Account with Wamu just lastnight, sounded like a great bank to do buisness with.

  11. 11 TheMightyQuinn Nov 7th, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    One note about WaMu not charging ATM fees. They don’t charge you fees to use a WaMu ATM, but they WILL charge you if you use another ATM. We had to use a BoA ATM once, and we paid fees from BoA AND WaMu.

  12. 12 Alex Dec 17th, 2007 at 9:48 am

    UPDATE: It seems WAMU’s 5.0% was too good to last long. They have lowered it to 4.75%
    Still pretty decent for a savings account, but I did not like how they did it sneaky without letting their customers know.

  13. 13 Yan Dec 17th, 2007 at 10:47 am

    This has happened to my other saving accounts, ING and CitiBank. The rates are going down across the board. I guess the good strategy now is to lock in with a 12 or 24 months CD.

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