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Top 10 Banks Customer Service Hold Times Compared

When you've got a question or problem with your bank account, calling up customer service for help may end up being more time-consuming than you'd expect.

When you've got a problem with an existing bank account or a question about opening a new one, calling customer service is often more convenient than visiting a branch. However, with more banks converting to automated systems, getting an actual person on the line may mean waiting a little longer than you'd like. I put customer service hold times to the test at the top 10 big banks to see which ones have the shortest and longest waits.

Image via Flickr
Image via
Flickr

The setup

To get a feel for how each bank's telephone customer service works, I spent some time calling them up and asking a few questions. I used the customer service number listed on each bank's website for new accounts, and for the sake of not hanging up after the representative answered, I asked about second chance checking accounts. These are accounts that are designed for people who've been denied a regular account because they have negative information on ChexSystems.

I also asked if there was another phone number I could call that would be more direct and whether their call center was located in the U.S. None of the banks were able to offer an alternate number, although a few of the representatives I spoke to suggested calling the branch directly instead. The majority of people I spoke with worked at call centers in the U.S., although Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo connected me with reps overseas.

I also made a point of asking each representative when live phone service was available. Half the banks have representatives on hand 24/7, while the other half operate on limited hours each day. All of them allow you to use automated support to check your balance or make transfers any time day or night, seven days a week.

Navigating the customer service options

Image via Flickr
Image via
Flickr

When calling each bank, I made note of how their customer service phone system was set up. Specifically, I paid attention to whether the system was entirely voice-activated or required me to use my phone's keypad. With the exception of BB&T, TD Bank and Capital One 360, all the big banks I called featured a menu that used voice commands.

I also wanted to see if pressing "0" would cut down on the wait and get in touch with a live person faster. Pressing "0" let me bypass the menu with half the banks I called but for the most part, it didn't shave any time off how long I had to wait for a representative.

How the hold times compared

The actual wait times varied pretty widely, ranging from just 41 seconds at Capital One to nearly 9 minutes at TD Bank. I waited a combined 8 minutes when calling Bank of America because after sitting on hold for 6 minutes, I was disconnected and had to call back.

When I averaged them all together, the typical wait time came in at about 3 minutes and 45 seconds. If you've got accounts at a big bank, take a look at the table below to see how the wait time stacks up to the competition.

Bank Customer Service Hold Times

Bank Name Hold Time # of Buttons Pushed to Reach a Person Press "0" to Reach a Representative Voice Activated Commands Located in the U.S. Availability
Bank of America 8 minutes 2 No Yes Yes Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. local time Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. local time Automated support: 24/7
BB&T 6 minutes 3 No No Yes Mon.-Sun. 6 a.m.-Midnight ET Automated support: 24/7
Capital One 360 41 seconds 0, directed straight to a representative No No Yes Mon.-Sun. 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Automated support: 24/7
Chase 2 minutes 1 Yes Yes No Mon.-Sun. 24 hours a day
Citibank 50 seconds 1 Yes Yes No Mon.-Sun. 24 hours a day
PNC Bank 2 minutes 0, all voice-activated No Yes Yes Mon.-Fri. 7a.m.-10:00 p.m. ET, Sat.-Sun. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET
SunTrust 7 minutes 2 Yes Yes Yes Mon.-Sun 6 a.m.-Midnight ET
TD Bank 9 minutes 1 Yes No Yes Mon.-Sun. 24 hours a day
US Bank 2 minutes 3 No Yes Yes Mon.-Sun. 24 hours a day
Wells Fargo 4 minutes 1 Yes Yes No Mon.-Sun. 24 hours a day

Which bank offered the best customer service?

capone

Overall, my vote for the best service goes to Capital One 360. It took less than a minute to get through and I didn't have to press a button or fumble my way through a voice-activated system that kept asking me to repeat myself. The rep I spoke to was friendly and answered all of my questions completely without trying to sell me anything.

The only negative was that live help isn't available 24/7 over the phone. The service hours are pretty reasonable so unless you've got a problem or question that needs to be addressed in the dead of night, you shouldn't have trouble getting someone on the line when you need to.

How to get best customer service from your bank

Image via Flickr
Image via Flickr

If you've been frustrated by long wait times in the past or you've had a bad customer service experience there are a few things you can do to make your next call a little smoother. One option is to get someone to hold your place in line for you so you're not glued to your phone all day.

Lucyphone is a virtual call-back system that's free to use. You type in your bank's name or customer service number and your phone number and the site connects you automatically. If you get roadblocked by the automated system, Lucyphone waits on hold for you and you'll get a return call when the representative comes on the line.

If you're calling a bank that doesn't direct you to a voice-activated menu, you can still try saying what you need instead of wasting time punching buttons. At BB&T and TD Bank, I was able to get in touch with someone by saying the word "representative" when the system asked me to enter my account number.

Asking for the rep's name and ID number is also a smart move if you've got a complicated issue and you're worried about getting disconnected. If they've got an extension or a direct number where they can be reached, that's even better. You should also check to see if there's a ticket number assigned to your call in case you have to call back and speak to someone else.

If all else fails, ask for a supervisor

There are some questions that customer service representatives may not know the best answer to and if you're stuck talking to someone who obviously can't help you, it's okay to ask to speak to a supervisor who can. The same goes if you feel the rep you're speaking with is being rude or going out of their way to not provide the best service. Just make sure you keep your cool so and be clear about the problem so you can get it resolved as quickly as possible.

Have you had a nightmarish customer service experience when calling your bank? Tell us about it in the comments.

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Ask a Question

nicholaswhisenand
Friday, 20 Nov 2020 5:29 PM
<p>been on hold with them for 25 minutes with Capital One<br>yeaaaaaaaa</p>
Wednesday, 26 Aug 2020 8:57 PM
<p>3 and a half hours with TD financial and I'm still waiting just to speak to someone! Googled what is the longest hold time and came across this article. This is crazy stupid how long I've been waiting</p>
ams12345
Monday, 17 Aug 2020 11:13 PM
<p>It would be helpful to update the hold time chart. It's 2020, everyone is using Covid as an excuse for lousy customer service, and I've been on hold for over an hour with Mechanics Bank......</p>
Friday, 17 Apr 2020 7:36 PM
<p>I have been on hold for the 2nd time for almost an hour. Both times they disconnected me after 59 mins. I need to get another card for my unemployment. I was unemployed 2 yrs ago &amp; I threw the card away. My money is on that card but I can't access it because I don't know the numbers of my account which those numbers are on the card.</p>
disqus_iDzIQ66OvU
Monday, 02 Mar 2020 2:29 AM
<p>21 minutes and counting on hold with boa right now. This is the second call today 3rd in the last 2 days.</p>
disqus_stDmRG8k1g
Sunday, 01 Mar 2020 3:11 AM
<p>As I write this.. I am on hold with Bank of America for 47min. They are NOT even ashamed to tell you this before hand... If not that it is my wife's card, I would ask these guys to go where the sun doesnt shine...</p>
wwwafterhogwartscom
Saturday, 04 Jan 2020 6:30 PM
<p>My Dad is stuck in Nigeria and Bank of America froze his account. He has to use phone cards to reach them and already yesterday combined with today we’ve been on hold for over 3 hours! We’ve spoken to 2 people. One person said that they could not help him and hung up after waiting over 1hr. Today it’s been 2hrs waiting and a lady transferred us to fraud after waiting 1 hr on hold. They have our money locked and there is no one to help in emergencies. This is the scariest banking situation I’ve ever experienced. Being stuck in a foreign country without access to your money with bank refusing to help. Bank of America is evil and I’m switching to Chase.</p>
disqus_X2VdFIYf4P
Sunday, 06 Jan 2019 10:11 PM
<p>The information about the wait time of these card centers are absolutely outdated!<br>Its been almost an hour I've been waiting for the BOA card center rep to answer my phone.. “Thank you for your patience! An associate will be with you shortly...” These 2 sentences will recite in my dream forever...</p>
disqus_X2VdFIYf4P
Sunday, 06 Jan 2019 10:06 PM
<p>Bank of America card center is a joke! I was on hold for more than 30 minutes for 3 difference times on the weekdays and eventually I had to hang up. I am calling them again now, it has been 52 mins and I am still waiting.... Its outrageous!</p>
Friday, 07 Sep 2018 8:14 PM
<p>This article is a joke. Bank of America's hold time on September 7, 2018 at 4:10pm is 1 hour and 15 minutes!!!!!</p>
josephrozak
Thursday, 19 Jul 2018 2:38 AM
<p>On hold right now 32 min and counting... As I listen to the recording saying that they know your time is precious that's why they are doing all they can to answer your call as fast as they can.</p>
Friday, 06 Jul 2018 3:31 PM
<p>I've been on hold with Bank of America for 63 minutes at this very moment. I am losing hope. The light is fading from my eyes. I cannot afford to hang up because I had to speak to five people to get transferred to this department, but I have class in a little while...</p>
grey_shades
Monday, 25 Jun 2018 2:11 PM
<p>How do you think they got so rich!!?</p>
grey_shades
Monday, 25 Jun 2018 2:10 PM
<p>How do you think they got so rich!?</p>
grey_shades
Monday, 25 Jun 2018 2:10 PM
<p>Switching to who??</p>
grey_shades
Monday, 25 Jun 2018 2:09 PM
<p>Here I sit, broken hearted ... Thanks TD for giving me a long break! My employer pays me by the hour, so I get to surf while I'm waiting for your rep to fix a stupid mistake ... of TD's!</p>
grey_shades
Monday, 25 Jun 2018 2:01 PM
<p>Government? Really? Our government is run by big business. Change to a small, local bank or savings and loan. Our government is less people and small business friendly now than ever!</p>
lolana
Tuesday, 19 Jun 2018 1:13 AM
<p>thanks. I was wondering whether to keep holding after 30 min. no premium service for me so I think I will move along and have one of those services call them up. maybe it will work.</p>
lolana
Tuesday, 19 Jun 2018 1:12 AM
<p>same right now. 30 min and counting</p>
lolana
Tuesday, 19 Jun 2018 1:10 AM
<p>Welp. Here I am on hold with BofA for at least 25 minutes to get their fraud department. They are really good at flagging transactions and it happens with this one overseas vendor, so I often have to call. I may end up using the Lucy service listed above, thanks. I have to disagree with the hours listed being reasonable. Anything less than 24 hours is really not getting our money's worth for the fees we pay imo. Plus, I don't work 9 to 5, and a lot of people are in that same boat. Sure, they're reasonable if that's the case, but 8 am to 10pm is going to be busy with long waits no matter when you call during that period. Thanks for the article though. I have been with BofA since 94 and I'm not totally unhappy but I do wonder what time of day the author's calls were made so I could try at that time. Mine is 5:45pm on a Monday afternoon. Still on hold.</p>
Tuesday, 05 Jun 2018 4:55 PM
<p>It looks like ALL of these daymn banks cut back on their customer service personnel. It's time the government jump in and do something because this impedes normal business operations particularly when it comes to business accounts and when that happens it affects the economy negatively.</p>
Tuesday, 05 Jun 2018 4:46 PM
<p>This is horribly inaccurate. TDBank is by far the most notorious with hold times exceeding 20 minutes. One time I was on hold for an entire hour. It doesn't even matter what time of day or what day of the week, you will most likely be made to wait a full 20 minutes or more. Usually more.</p>
domreidman
Tuesday, 20 Mar 2018 7:50 PM
<p>very outdated hold times. Had to call BOA few times this week and ALL wait times were 25 to 35 minutes.</p>
Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 6:30 PM
<p>I am on hold with BOA for more than an hour now. I have many experiences with long holding time with BOA than other banks. Was I just lucky or Is this article correct?</p>
disqus_zcLYBTB8vX
Tuesday, 09 Jan 2018 3:27 PM
<p>Horrible phone support BOA waited on call for 1hr third day in row and still could not get a agent to file a dispute in transaction.When i went in person they say u need to call customer phone support</p>
disqus_yVuIEtRBOa
Monday, 02 Oct 2017 2:41 AM
<p>WELLS FARGO - stay away from them. Inconsistent customer service with different answers every time I call! When they said to put me on hold for a minute, that means at least Five minutes, then put on hold again, anohter many minutes. Basically, whenever they dont know anything, they will let you wait. In the end, nothing is solved, and they say "sorry, maam, there is nothing I can do" after put me on hold on and off for 30 minutes! If you wonder the issue, Wells Fargo blocked my business credit card randomly WITHOUT letting me know and cannot unblock it!</p>
disqus_URaiP2MbQ6
Sunday, 01 Oct 2017 5:11 PM
<p>I think nothing short of mass exodus of business customers all citing long call times will get them to do anything. They have priority call number for people having $25k, $50k, $100k constantly in checking accounts, but I can tell you, for $50,000 you can't get them to pick up the phone and that's their premium support.</p>
disqus_URaiP2MbQ6
Sunday, 01 Oct 2017 5:06 PM
<p>Bank of America, no stretch, usually takes 30 to 40 minutes on a regular basis.</p>
Monday, 19 Jun 2017 3:57 PM
<p>Bank of America has the longest wait times in the history of the telephone. I've been trying to get them for weeks and give up because I don't have time to wait on hold for 30 minutes to an hour + every time. I am using their business contact information and clearly they don't care about their business customers. Worst customer service I've experienced from any bank in 15 years of business.</p>
Monday, 05 Jun 2017 5:59 PM
<p>To get a BOA customer service on line is a night mare. Each time it's taking more than an hour. Awful service. I can say "Worst bank of america". I really do not know they care for survey. They sent a survey each time, and I always mention in the survey that they need to improve a lot on wait time, but, I seriously doubt if they really look at the survey response!!!<br>I'm seriously thinking of moving from this bank</p>
Tuesday, 18 Apr 2017 10:53 PM
<p>BOA small business banking used to be great when I needed assistance over the phone. The last few months however, hold times have been unacceptable. We had to call about two week ago and waited on hold for an HOUR!! Then finally got on the phone and had to wait another 20 minutes when the representative couldn't help. Today I've been on hold for 25 minutes so far and still haven't spoken with a rep. This will end up being a deal breaker for us! If we could get these items completed online, we would, but you HAVE to call to do them! So annoying!!</p>
Monday, 06 Mar 2017 2:41 PM
<p>Bank of America has the worst service in America, on hold for 30+ minutes each time I've called. Overall rated F-</p>
Thursday, 09 Feb 2017 11:37 PM
<p>Just saw that my account was emptied. Calling support phone line. 24+ minutes on hold, waiting for someone to take my call. THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS. ***F YOU B of A***!!!</p>
scottwomer
Saturday, 07 Jan 2017 9:31 PM
<p>Been on hold with B of A for 20+ minutes, just hung up after a second day in a row of not reaching someone. I will be switching soon, they are the worst.</p>
b0bhooper
Thursday, 05 Jan 2017 12:23 AM
<p>Ray, I guess I got lucky, I only had to wait 30 minutes. Waiting for 30 minutes to talk to a customer service representative is BS. I'm changing banks.</p>
b0bhooper
Thursday, 05 Jan 2017 12:12 AM
<p>Mike, I'm with you on the long wait. I'm switching banks too!</p>
Monday, 14 Nov 2016 11:14 PM
<p>Capital One has incredibly fast hold times, friendly customer service agents, and gives me a consistent experience every time without attempting to upsale things or talk about issues that I don't care about.</p>
disqus_AHs9PXAlnL
Saturday, 12 Nov 2016 4:48 PM
<p>Bank of America - ONLY 8 minutes. Initially a 45 minute wait to talk to Fraud Services. Oops they connected me to a regular representative who explained that because my bank account was emptied by someone with a Bank of America account that it could not possibly be fraud. Convinced the regular representative that I still needed to log a fraudulent activity report, back in the queue - current wait time 1 hour 45 minutes. Think it is past time to make a change.</p>
chimfish
Sunday, 06 Nov 2016 2:02 AM
<p>"Bank of America.....8 minutes" Hahaha! Good one.</p>
disqus_amRoGx4gyr
Saturday, 05 Nov 2016 7:25 PM
<p>Been on hold for over 2 hours waiting to speak with a rep at Bank of America. This is unreal. Finally hung up.</p>
disqus_amRoGx4gyr
Saturday, 05 Nov 2016 6:26 PM
<p>Been waiting on hold for BOA Spirit Airlines card for over an hour now... still waiting.</p>
disqus_jIgcmrWEUR
Thursday, 03 Nov 2016 9:51 PM
<p>24+ minutes and counting for a question regarding my business account</p>
Wednesday, 06 Jul 2016 5:24 PM
<p>Same here; 30 minutes with BoA. Awful..</p>
Saturday, 04 Jun 2016 11:25 PM
<p>This is is is exactly what I'm going through. 30 minutes and counting. I don't remember it being this bad. Im switching banks. This is unacceptable!!!</p>
ctmcphee
Sunday, 22 May 2016 6:33 AM
<p>I'm currently sitting on hold with Bank of America. 21 minutes and counting. If I hear "a representative will be with you momentarily" one more time... 31 minutes total- call plus hold time. I called today because I got tired of waiting on hold yesterday. Frustrating and a waste of my time. Maybe it's time for me to switch banks. The agent was perfectly pleasant- just took a long time to get to her.</p>

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