E-Commerce Times Talkback
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If you lost 100,000 customers in the course of one fiscal year, as Internet-only banks
have, what would you do? Close up shop? Revamp your product line? Perhaps you would take
the plunge and pour venture capital into a major marketing push.
Some businesses might study their market to determine what went wrong. Still others would
assemble consumer focus groups to hear what potential customers really want from the
business. While those are all viable ideas, for some reason the online banking business
gives little indication that it is interested in any of the above. From the outside
looking in, it seems like Internet banks are stuck in neutral.
Online banks WILL survive. Like Tom (post above) I'm a very happy customer at NetBank. I left my bricks-and-morter bank, National City, because I was sick of paying $5.95 per month for online bill pay. PLUS - I'd get dinged with another $5 account maintenance fee if my balance dipped below $500. At Netbank I'm earning +2% in my checking account and +4% in my money market account. I have NO miminum balance in my checking account and only an average monthly balance requirement of $250 in my money market. On top of that online bill pay is limitless and free and easy to use. I'm also considering applying for a home equity loan from NetBank where they have some of the lowest rates in the country. Sure, online banking may not be for everyone but there is a market for it. I'll gladly skip the option to speak with a teller in exchange for no fees and higher interest. To top it off the phone customer service I received from NetBank is better than the in-person service I receive at bricks-and-morter branches.
Now that Wingspan is shutting down, I've been considering moving to NetBank, but I've got two major issues. 1. Not ATM rebates. What's up with that? Every other net-only bank offers at least $5 a month. 2. Their bill pay is garbage. How can they take the money out of your account before the payee has cashed the check? Until NetBank changes this policy, I don't care how much interest they charge. I've been looking at eTrade and AmericanExpress. VirtualBank also looks decent. Does anyone have any feedback on any of these?
Arik - I'll give you the two negative points about NetBank. Thus far I've "dealt with" the first point by getting extra cash on top of my debit card transactions (not all merchants allow you to do this, but I think most grocery stores do). By doing that I've only had to withdraw cash from an ATM (and pay the fee) 1x in the last 6 months. Regarding the withdrawal of funds before cashing the check - I wholeheartedly agree - that policy bites. If you find a net-only bank that has every feature NetBank has + addresses these two issues, please post your results to this board.
Online Banking Trust is lacking and the websites are confusing. Too hard to get to talk to a live voice. Brooks Alden
I disagree. Online banking is a god-send! No more waiting in line, no more annoying tellers, no more automated phone lines. And, I get interest-bearing checking, free online bill pay, and the ability to consolidate all my accounts into one single online statement. You just have to do a little research, and you'll see it's much better out there! Check out http://www.netbank.com
NetBank Bank is a customer's worst nightmare. It may seem okay if you have no problems, which is what my case was prior to November 2005. In Nov. 2005 I was the victim of Visa Check card fraud. When I notified NetBank Bank they shut off the card as they should have, and once I submitted their required paperwork they issued a "provisional credit" for the stolen funds.
The NetBank form for reporting the EFT withdrawal included a section for me to include a police report number. Unfortunately the theft occured over a thousand miles from where I lived; I went to my local precinct, where I was told that they had no jurisdiction over the matter and to tell the bank that I could not file a police report.
After informing NetBank of my interaction at the local police department, both via "bank-mail" (NetBank's in-house e-mail service) and telephone, I got no response. I made over nine attempts asking how I should proceed. I received NO response.
Approximately ten business days after the provisional credit was issued it was reversed. The only explanation was that I had not submitted the requested documentation.
I have subsequently sent numerous faxes and certified mail requesting information and assistance from NetBank Bank... I have received nothing in return.
The details of the entire affair are too lengthy for this comment, but I am going to put together a web site where consumers can follow my travails, and see for themselves that NetBank Bank is not interested in its customers, other than to control their money.
It is my sincere opinion that I will have to file a claim against this company in order to get their attention.
During the interim, I am on a mission to alert consumers considering doing business with this organization to carefully consider whether they want to do business with a firm that does not offer a branch in which they can speak, face to face, with a representative of some import.
NetBank is, in my opinion, organization whose leadership appaers to consider that ignoring a customer will lead to their capitulation; a war of attrition, if you will.
For those of you doing your "reasearch" heed this warning: STAY AWAY from NetBank Bank!
Net banking is the best! The big problem is that all this publicity is making them shut down. I've been a Wingspan customer for the last two years, and couldn't be happier. Free bill pay, $5 a month in rebates for ATM fees, high interest rates, online inter-bank transfers, you name it. I don't understand why anyone would use a brick-and-mortar bank. Now Wingspan is getting rolled back into BankOne, and I'm screwed!
As far as the stats on a 110% increase in online banking for traditional banks, this just shows how viable online banking is. The core problem is that switching banks is the biggest pain in the world - direct deposit, bill pay, automatic withdrawals.. To move this to a new bank is so much work that it is very difficult for banks to acquire new customers.
I think the problem is that the general public doesn't understand the value of net-only banks. On a balance of $10k, you can save/make about $50 a month compared to a traditional bank. Once the general public realizes the monetary benefits of using a net-only bank, traditional banks are going to be in trouble.