Saturday, May 15, 2010

Why you are better off saving your money with ING Direct than Wells Fargo

I bank with both Wells Fargo and ING Direct. I opened an account with Wells Fargo, because they had banking stores in the West Coast and the Midwest, where I was living a few years back. Then, I opened an account with ING Direct because Wells Fargo's saving rates were 1% or so less than that of ING Direct's.

Since then, I have realized that the reason I wanted to bank with Wells Fargo does not matter much anymore. Well Fargo, to its credit, works very hard to make sure you don't come into a branch to see a real person. You can deposit money, deposit checks, deposit cash and withdraw cash from an ATM. If you go into a branch for any unusual service, the bankers normally say that it is better to call the contact center. For example, if you want a deposit verification letter, you have to call a contact center. Wells Fargo will charge you $10 and take more than 10 days to send you the letter. All this despite the fact that I am what they call, a PMA customer. Supposedly a very important person. I have a checking, savings, mortgage, home equity and brokerage account with them.

ING Direct pays you more interest and provides you a better service
Apart from the obvious benefit of a better interest rate, ING Direct shines when it comes to customer service. When you call their contact center, they will send you a notarized, deposit verification letter electronically within a day and send you a paper letter in 3 days. If you mention their name on Twitter, they track it and respond. In other words, they have not only have adopted social media, they have also designed their operations to meet the expectations of their customers.

Brick and Mortar banks do have some advantages. For example, they have lockers. I thought for a while and really could not think of any other major advantages.I used to believe that being local matters and brick and mortar companies can provide better service. That does not seem to be the case with Wells Fargo.

So if you are a Homo economicus, or Economic human who cares only about the money and efficient execution, ING Direct makes sense because they pay you more interest. If you are a regular human being who cares about efficient service and support, ING Direct makes sense. Not much need for Wells Fargo, or the likes, really.

Can you think of a reason?

Update: A few days after this post, I had a conversation with @JohnFMoore about this. After my conversation with @JohnMoore @Ask_Wellsfargo contacted me via twitter. Let's see what they do.

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