This review is for: iChecking
I've had an ING Direct Electric Orange account for sometime now, and am always on the look-out for high-interest rate checking accounts, without any usage requirements. A friend recently pointed me to Imperial Capital's iChecking account because of their high rate and flexibility.
When I first checked out their site I was excited. Their rate for all balances above $1,000 was higher than ING's rate for balances above $100,000. A quick read through the features of the account also made me comfortable that I wouldn't have to change or worry about my behavior in order to receive that rate, and all of the benefits I was used to.
To be sure that this account would truly match my needs, I gave them a call. The woman I spoke with was very helpful. I asked about usage requirements, and she confirmed that all I'd need to do to obtain the rate and avoid any monthly fees was to set-up Direct Deposit (which I would do anyway) or maintain a average Balance of over $2500.
However, I then asked her about moving money between this account and my other banks, and she unfortunately answered that they don't have a money transfer system included in their online banking site, and in order to move money to and from an external account, I would have to do so from my other bank. I wasn't very excited about that aspect of the account, as I like to do all of my banking from one location.
I also asked about statements, and for whatever reason, they only send them out quarterly! and via paper only. I've gotten so used to getting everything online, and filing it away on my computer that I'm not sure I could make the switch.
I was initially excited about Imperial's iChecking account, but unfortunately it's missing a few key items for me that will prevent me from switching over.
Posted by anniec -- March 27, 2009
This review is for: iMoney Market Checking
I recently found out about Imperial Capital Bank's iMoney Market account when a friend forwarded their site along with a note that they "Waived Foreign ATM Fees." He caught my attention, because this is a pet peeve of mine, as I do a reasonable amount of travel to Spain for work, and am continually frustrated by the withdrawal fees that I need to pay just because I'm in a different country.
Well I checked out Imperial Capital's site, and sure enough, right on their page for the iMoney Market account they talked about waiving the Foreign ATM charge for 6 monthly transactions. I was a little suspicious that it was enough of an issue for that many people that they'd put it on the front page for the account. I thought I had received a hot tip from a friend and was expecting to have to dig to find out details for it. This warranted a call, so I gave them a ring. The person I spoke with gave me the bad news I was expecting. Turns out that they charge the same fee that every other bank I've had has charged, it's called an International Conversion Fee and it's 1% of the transaction. I asked the woman on the phone if she knew if this applied to all cards, and she said as far as she knew that it did. I'm still holding out hope. And the Foreign ATM Fee? I guess that's how Imperial refers to any ATM that they don't own, very...Imperial of them.
Posted by nedder -- March 27, 2009
This review is for: iSavings
Although Imperial Capital Bank’s iSavings account has an “i” in front of the name, this account is not quite worthy of the “internet” label.
I gave them a call in order to get some more info on the account and spoke with a csr who was a bit of a space cadet. I asked about their ACH system, and she wouldn’t say they didn’t have their own system, just that they couldn’t handle ACH transfer requests through their online banking site - she explained that for them to process an outgoing ACH from their side I’d need to send the request via mail - that’s US postal mail - because they need a signature, and overall, the process can take up to 2 weeks...? So they effectively don’t have their own ACH system. But they are happy to have external banks initiate withdrawals and deposits. I asked about wire transfers as well, and unfortunately the answer was the same - they require a mail or fax to execute a wire transfer - because a signature is required each and every time.
During the call, the rep emphasized the point that these accounts are only available online, and must be opened online or by mail. She also mentioned that there was a signature card required during the application process - not an uncommon practice, even for legitimate online banks - but when I dug deeper I found out that the signature card had to be notarized...in the age of electronic signatures, isn’t the concept of a notary public a little outdated?
So in general, Imperial Capital is trying to have online accounts with their “i” suite of products, but just hasn’t built the tools/systems to handle the demands of the customers who use those products. They may get some die-hards who are willing to jump hurdles for an extra half a point (while they have that half point over the competition), but I’m going to wait until they get a real online banking system in place.
Posted by danncer -- March 19, 2009
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