Sometimes it pays to call your bank

We’re working with Fidelity and their “Wealth management services” (I still can’t believe that a combined balance of 250k is enough to qualify us), and as part of that I was looking at maybe converting our checking and savings accounts over to their cash management account – and pretty much have all of our money in the same place.  So, I was looking at their current rates, and comparing them to our current banks (PNC Bank and CapitalOne360) to see if it might make sense.  There’s quite a bit of inertial pull to stay with what we’ve got because of the paperwork required to change it, so any changes need to offer a much better situation for us.

Almost no one can beat CapitalOne360’s interest rates – even if we pretty much use it for our emergency fund and to “store” our mortgage payment until the end of the month (and we get paid about $4 to do so).  Everything else is in our PNC accounts, and the interest rate is pretty dismal (0.01%).  So I was looking at PNC’s web page to see if they offered another level of checking/savings that we qualified for (without paying a monthly fee of course), and because both Dad and I deposit our paychecks into that account, we’re well above the minimum direct deposit threshold for no monthly fee.  It’s interest rate is 5 times what we were getting previously. (.05% vs .01%, but still…)  It’s still not as high as CapitalOne360 (.20% checking, .75% savings) or Fidelity’s cash management (0.07%), but it gives us all kinds of perks like free checks, free cashier’s checks, free international wire transfers, no fees for using any ATM at any time (and reimbursement of other ATM fees – including international ATMs), increased identity theft insurance, AND another discount on our line of credit interest rate – so if we ever need to use it, it’s even lower.

So, I called up PNC and asked if our account could be upgraded, and the nice gentleman on the phone also got our savings account upgraded as well (part of the “package”) and we’ll now earn more interest on the piddly amount we have there as well – it’s basically to cover our checking in the very unlikely event of an overdraft, everything else is in CapitalOne360.

So, just by doing a little research and making a phone call, we’ll be “earning” about $5-$6 more per month (at least until Interest rates go up, then we’ll earn more).  I know, I know, that’s not much, but I have a hard time turning down basically free money – and $5-$6/mth over 10 years is $600-$720.

Have you ever called your bank/credit cards/lender to ask about a “better” account or “better” services for you?