2million - My Journey to Financial Freedom

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Wachovia Free Checking Account

I currently have a Wachovia Express Checking account with a Ready Reserve account that acts as overdraft protection. I opened these accounts in college and have used them ever since. I have been very happy with these Wachovia accounts. I pretty much do all my banking at the ATM or using the Free Online Billpay service that Wachovia offers. I recently decided I needed to open a second Wachovia Free Checking account to help keep things separate for my self employment activities.


Enrollment
I decided to sign up for the account on Wachovia's web site. The process was pretty straight forward. I selected the "Free Checking" account I was able to identify my existing account so most of my information was prefilled for the account.

I had to make an initial deposit of $100 to open the account which I transferred from my existing account. The account has no minimum balance requirement so once the account was opened I just transferred the money back to my original account.

I did try to link my new checking account to my Ready Reserve account for overdraft protection, which the web site said you could do, but it rejected my Ready Reserve account number.

Welcome Package
Within 24hours of enrolling, my new checking account appeared in my Wachovia online account page. I quickly received my initial account information via a letter a few days later.

Linking My ATM Card and Ready Reserve Account
Since I wasn't able to link my Ready Reserve account for overdraft protection I went to my local Wachovia branch to see if they could help. I was able to have a Wachovia employee link my existing Ready Reserve account to my new checking account as overdraft protection within a few minutes. I was also able to get my new checking account added to my existing ATM card. This way I will be able to make any deposits or withdraws via the ATM or Online Bill Pay service.

Unexpected Fee for Checks
About a week after I opened the account I received a package of checks which surprised me since when I enrolled it mentioned nothing about ordering checks. I logged into my Wachovia account online and saw they also were nice enough to charge my checking account $16 for these checks I didn't ask for. However, I did send an email to Wachovia customer service and shortly received a reply that they would remove the $16 charge for the unrequested checks.

The small inconvenience to get my ATM card/overdraft setup and check fee aside, I am very happy with my new Wachovia checking account. The convenience of being able to stay with the same bank to add a new checking account without much hassle makes me a happy customer so far.

11 Comments:

  • Next time, consider opening an account that pays you some interest like at www.presidential.com, currently paying 4.37 percent. That's where I bank and there are no hidden fees, etc. You get an initial order of 25 checks for free. You can then order your own checks much cheaper at Walmart.com.

    Over time that 4.37 percent adds to your passive income and compounds into some nice money, which you're not going to get at Wachovia.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:17 PM  

  • Good point on presidential bank. If you want to keep a local account, like for depositing small checks, getting cash, etc. that's fine. You can then link it to your interest-bearing checking account via an online savings account. I use ING Direct.

    You do this by linking Wachovia and Presidential BOTH to ING Direct. Then, for example, transfer $50 from Wachovia to ING Direct, and the same day transfer $50 from ING Direct to Presidential. Abracadabra, you've transfered money between your two checking accounts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:21 PM  

  • I did consider opening an online account, but lets face it, what was my checking account for? It was to mainly deposit checks from and pull money to make payments. Having a local bank where I could make quick depoists (without fees) is my main concern. After all, any excess cash will be moved to an online savings account like EmigrantDirect or ING Direct to earn 4.5%+ interest. I doubt this account will reach a balance of more than a couple hundred dollars at any one time.

    I'm not convinced online checking accounts are the way to go, yet. How does anyone who received checks handle them in a timely fashion without expense if there isn't a local bank/ATM? I regularly get things like checks from family or friends for random things, rent payments, rental deposits, etc.

    By Blogger 2million, at 4:43 PM  

  • 2million - i have used an online checking account since 1999. The bank was bought by E*Trade a few years ago. They used to provide you with self addressed and no postage necessary envelopes with which to make deposits. Now they put labels into your checkbooks (which are free) that you stick on your own envelope and put a stamp on and mail. With very few exceptions these usually hit my account in about 2 business days.

    The other thing you could do is deposit them to your wachovia checking and use their "quick tranfer service" to move them your online account. Those transfers usually hit the next business day and there is no fee for that.

    By Blogger Virgin Entrepreneur, at 2:02 PM  

  • I use wachovia's free checking account too... in fact, i have 3 boxes of my old southtrust checks (wachovia purchased southtrust about a year ago) and they still take those checks... so i haven't had to purchase checks for about 2 years...
    i like their bill pay feature too...

    By Blogger ncnblog, at 6:12 PM  

  • Coulee Bank ( http://www.couleebank.net ) offers an incredible 6.01% APY with their Rewards Checking account. The rate is easy to earn. All you have to do is make 10 check card transactions a month, use e-statements, and do 1 automatic payment a month (they call it ACH). Coulee Bank pays 6.01% on the first $25,000 and 1.01% on anything above that. The best thing about this account besides the rate is it is FREE, you can apply online, and it is from a great bank with real people that answer the phone. And as they like to say, Banking Green has its Rewards. The Rewards Checking account saves paper and preserves our natural resources. No wonder I feel good about recommending this to everyone I know. Check it out. I guarantee you will love it.

    By Anonymous Tony Roberts, at 10:46 AM  

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