Usually people are impartial to their bank until their bank makes an error which ties up someone’s personal time trying to sort it out. I never care that much about Chase until I was hit with something like $60 or $80 in fines about seven years ago. I had deposited a check and it had not cleared. I had written around three other checks which all arrived at the Chase on the same day. I received a fine for each check that bounced. Yikes!
I lived about fifty feet from the bank. I hoped by walking in and talking to the manager, I could get the fine waived or at least part of the fine waived. Seven years later, I do not recall if the manager waived the fines at first. My conversation lasted awhile and it was stressful. So, even if the manager did waive the fine, it did leave a sour taste in my mouth.
When I decided to have a separate account for blog expenses and income, I opted for Ally. I knew I would have better rates at Ally since the bank has no store front. They have an immediate cost savings not having physical locations. Nearly all of my transactions are electronic so I did not need a place to drop off checks or have something notarized. (Did you know that you can have documents notarized at a bank for free?)
It was easy to set up. I do not have any checks, just a debit card and I transfer money via PayPal. It is a very simple set up. Fool proof right? Not exactly. I made an error. I keep very little money in the account. I do pay my web hosting fees to Page.ly each month from that account. I have never been hacked. Moreover, when I had trouble with my template and host, Page.ly came through and helped me solve my problem. I pay a little more, but peace of mind is priceless in my opinion.
Last month I made a purchase and forgot that I was billed each month for web hosting. I have been delaying posting on my blog. (My kiddos have had some health issues and I always put family before blogging.) It was at least three weeks before I noticed that I had a negative balance in my Ally account. I immediately made a transfer from PayPal.
It took a couple of days for the PayPal transfer to post. I expected a fine to be the next line item. Perhaps $20 or $30 dollars? Yet, there was no fine listed. A couple days later I was having difficulty with another transaction. A company had called to tell me that my card was declined. However, the total cost of my purchase was less than $98.68. It was at that moment that I figured that a fine was pending and that was causing my card to be declined.
I called Ally and my representative informed me that I was not going to have a fine…the amount was so small. She figured out the reason that my card had been declined and fixed the situation. Thus, the purchase went through. I thought perhaps on account of the negative balance I would lose some of my other benefits like interest checking, etc. My interest for July was something mibiscule like .03, but I was not penalized with my interest free checking. Then I thought that I might lose out on my Ally perks…
Ally perks are something that I happened upon by chance. Every retailer has some sort of “deal” attached. You know buy groceries and get 2% cash back or click through the bank site for cash back, etc. Come to think of it…I do not think our primary Chase debit card has any deals attached to it.
I noticed that my Ally account had a new $5 credit. I had made $5 for doing something. After some research I learned that the $5 came from a Sephora transaction. There was a Sephora promotion going on–$5 back on a $50 purchase. Unbeknownst to me, I earned this credit when I made a purchase from Sephora on July 17th. The offer was valid from July 16th to July 29th. I really lucked out on this deal since I did not know it existed. I also lucked out on some iTunes credits too. I purchased some apps for the kids and received .50 back—on top of my Ebates cash back of around 3%.
Initially thought that my .50 Ally perk was something related to my interest bearing checking account. I did not realize that I was getting extra perks for using my Ally card. It was not until I saw the line item on my account for the $5 that I realized there must be some offer or reward that I received. So there it is…my $5 credit!
There might be other online banks that have better offers and rewards than Ally. However, I am really happy with Ally and cannot justify investing the time to review other banks.
Do you have a favorite online bank?
*I received NO compensation for blogging about Ally. I just like sharing good deals.
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