I've been with schwab for about 1.5 months now, and I've been extremely impressed.
I was reluctant to go with such a large corporate institution, but my experience has only been positive. I don't know what a guy has to do to get charged a fee at schwab, but, I haven't been charged one yet. In addition to the niceties you'd expect from a well rated online bank (free atm use at any atm, no maintenance fees, free online billpay, etc.) there are things here you simply can't find anywhere else:
1) Free checks. I don't mean you get your first 100 checks free. I mean free checks. Always.
2) ATM fee reimbursements. I don't mean, reimbursement of the first $5 per month. I don't mean only in your state, or even your country. I mean, reimbursement of ALL ATM fees, everywhere in the world. That's right. I can take money out of an ATM in Thailand and they'll reimburse the fee.
3) Speaking of Thailand, no currency conversion fees. Other banks, in addition to not reimbursing international ATM fees will also charge you a percentage of your withdrawal just for 'converting' it to the local currency. Schwab does not charge this fee.
Aside from that, I've had to call customer service a few times. Awesome. It's not farmed out to India. It's not some stoner playing angry birds while he's talking to you. I'd swear I was talking to a real bank manager everytime. I generally hate calling customer support but, everytime I've hung up the phone with a schwab representative, I'm downright ecstatic that they are my bank.
You know, the concept of a bank fails without depositor accounts. I don't mean they'd do less business or make less money. I mean there simply would not be banks without depositor accounts. So, it's really nice to finally find a bank that 'gets' that and treats depositors as they should. Which is to say: grateful to have your money in their bank.
I recently opened a Schwab Bank account because CNN called them one of the "least" evil banks today. I was using them just fine for over a year with no issues or complaints at all. They assured me when I signed up that even though there are no "local" branches near me in Minnesota I could call into the 24 hour phone line and request temporary ATM limits to access my money if necessary and so forth, so I went ahead and did it.
Yesterday afternoon I called in to get a temporary 24 hour ATM card limit increase because I need to take some cash out for a international trip I have coming up. They hung up on me while I was on hold to confirm the limit has been raised for 24 hours. When I went to use the ATM it didn't work, so I called in to find out Instead of raising the limit they blocked all of my 3 ATM cards from being able to pull out any money and no one on the phone there knows how to lift the block. It's now been over 24 hours and not only have they not increased the ATM limit on my card for me, they blocked all my ATM cards from withdrawing any money.
I've talked to customer service reps, managers, supervisors and now the "Client Advocacy Team" but still nothing, no one knows why my ATM cards are blocked, no explanations as to why its happening and no date if ever that they will be unblocked. Only way to get my money now is to close my accounts and hope they issue a check for the balance because they refuse to call me back or explain why they've locked my ATM cards, and I'm not willing to "FLY" to the nearest branch just to withdraw my money.
Think twice before putting your money in the hands of Schwab, at any moment they may lock your account, say no one knows anything, and leave you high and dry for an "unknown" amount of time. Today is Friday so I'll have to cancel my upcoming trip on Sunday because the department that put the block on my account that apparently no one can get a hold of is closed on the weekend.
My experience with Charles Schwab has been a nightmare. They are very slow in processing disbursements. They give the same scripted answers and lame excuses -- one more day, two more days, by Friday, by Tuesday-- but nothing is done.
My online account is not accurate and the customer service representative stated that it is not always updated accurately. So the online account is inaccurate, you call and the customer service representative give you lame excuses and inaccurate time frame and meanwhile the days go by and nothing is done. They are still holding my 401k and my Roth funds. The Roth is not vested but they told me the do the 401k first "then" the Roth, really?
I left my employer 30 days ago. They also try to scare me about withdrawing the money about taxes and fees, trying to convince me to keep my money there. No way. They are horrible. Fidelity gives me my money in my bank account within 3-5 days!