Monday, March 05, 2012

US bank-to-bank transfers

When we came to the US, Direct Deposit (i.e. depositing your pay check directly into your checking account) was a big deal, and there were plenty of promotions to get free checking account when using it. We were scratching our head what all the excitement is about.

15 years later, I still find myself unable to easily send money from my checking account to someone else's checking account. To do a wire transfer which is the only available option to do this electronically, I not only have to come in to the bank branch, but also are required to pay $40 for the privilege. ... And I think they still print checks for this process.

This bank no longer accepts wire transfers through online banking due to "regulatory constraints" (Another bank I do business with doesn't have this limitation, and they will get more of my business in the future).

Sooo, ... instead of a simple electronic transaction (that in addition could be traced easily in financial networks) I have to drive to the bank, talk to a person, get a printed official check, pay $5 fees, drive back to the office, print out an overnight shipping label (and pay shipping fees), find an appropriate envelope, put the check in the envelope, seal it, put the label on the envelope, ride a bike to the shipping drop box a couple blocks away, where the express shipping company will stop by tonight to bring the envelope to the airport, to put it on a plane to LAX overnight, and deliver it, so that the escrow company has the check tomorrow.

What's not wrong with this picture?

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