Two weeks ago I made the move to complete online banking when I closed bank account at a local brick & mortar bank, and opened a checking account with Capital One. Unlike my Ally Bank account, the Capital One 360 account is a bona fide checking account. So there are no limits on usage during a statement cycle. It’s also an interest bearing checking account; although the interest rate, at 0.75% APY is a bit less than my Ally Bank money market account’s rate at 0.85%.
Now I’m a bit new to this account, but I figured I would write this review anyway. There are a couple of reasons why I went with Capital One to begin with. A major one was the fact that I already have a Capital One Investing Account. Originally, it was Sharebuilder by ING…but they were brought out by Capital One a few years back I believe. While ING’s Electric Orange online checking account had great reviews, I was also mindful that Capital One is a completely different company, and it seems to be a relative newcomer to the online banking club. In fact, it didn’t make an appearance on this top 10 list of online banks. However I still kept them on my radar because I had heard come across some reports that they don’t use Chexsystems. Ultimately, this wasn’t the case though. So if you do have a Chexsystems report, make sure you do this by going here before applying.
Once you get past that hurdle (if necessary) you need to fund your new account. I just transferred money in from my Ally Bank account. While their account terms said that your initial deposit is held for 10 business days, mine was actually available in 3 (or maybe it was 4). Not that it mattered though. It’s not like I had a debit card or checks to actually take the money out of the account. You have to go in and initiate ordering your debit card (its not automatic), although you will get reminders when you log in to order your debit card, order checks, set up direct deposit, etc. I ordered my debit card and they sent it via FedEx (bit of an overkill in my own humble opinion….but whatever). Activating the card and setting up a PIN number was super easy; you just logged into your account online and did it there (much better than Ally Bank’s process). I also ordered checks (first 50 checks are free), but they haven’t arrived yet.
This is the screen that you see when you first log in. As you can see, I can also view the balance on my Investing account…but more on that in a bit. I really like that they put the routing number right there. I had to go and enter in my new banking information in several places. For whatever reason some banks like to bury their routing numbers (my former brick and mortar bank didn’t have it anywhere – I always had to call them to get it if I didn’t have a check handy). And I find this incredibly pointless and annoying.
One thing that threw me through a loop though, while setting up my account, I tried to use the same username that I used for my investing account. Of course it said that it was already taken. So I proceeded to set up the 360 account with a different user name. Once that was set up, I was able to link my investing account. But never was I given the option to somehow merge the two accounts, to where one logon gets you into both systems. Also, on the side of the investing account, ever since the accounts were linked (so about a week or so I would say), there is a message on the screen that says that ‘instant transfer between Capital One 360 accounts and investing in unavailable – we apologize for the inconvenience”. You can still move money around…but it is via ACH. When I did initiate transfers though, it only took one business day. That’s much faster then I think would happen on a transfer from a non-Capital One bank. So not instant, but still pretty quick.
When you click on the link to the checking account, you’ll get an account ledger, which (part of it) looks like this:
Now I’ve never had a bank account’s online ledger show you both an icon for how the transaction occurred (debit card, check, cash deposit, etc.), but also showed the icon of the company where you made the purchase. Pretty spiffy. Definitely makes finding particular purchases easier, that’s for sure.
I also opted to pay my rent using their bill pay system. In my case, they had links to pay my electric provider, gas provider, Comcast (of course…pssh), and even my water company. But for my rent, I would need to mail a paper check. That screen, looks like this:
Again, I’m just really impressed with the user interface. Everything is just really user friendly in terms of the Capital One 360 website. Also,
my available balance has not been reduced by the amount of the check*, like some banks do. This is a good thing for interest bearing checking accounts, because you get to earn interest on your money up until the day the recipient cashes the check.
I still have yet to install the mobile app and make a check deposit, so I have no comment on any of that. But for now, I give strong kudos to the ease of applying, setting up, and using your account. The only things that leave a bad taste in my mouth is that the linking/integration of the Capital One 360 account and the Capital One Investing account is not as seamless as they make it out to be. Also, their ‘refer a friend’ link doesn’t work — in spite of web searches stating that the promotion is good until September 2015. In general the online interface is very slick; but you do get this feeling that they are still ironing out some kinks here and there.
This is also a good option for those who have bad credit or a report in Chexsystems. Just make sure that you do not apply for Capital One 360’s overdraft protection, because that will produce a hard inquiry on your credit report. If you do get approved for the overdraft protection however, you’ll only pay a few cents, not dollars on your overdrafts. Which is pretty cool.
So if you are unbanked or struggling to get a checking account, I recommend this. Cut up and through away those prepaid cards! Get an account that will give you a little bit of money for being their customer, and not the other way around 😉 .
*Update* – they actually did reduce my available balance by the amount of the paper check. It just took them 3 business days to do so. There is a note by the payment that the balance will be restored if the check remains un-cashed after 90 days.