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6 Things We Wish Banks Would Do Differently

No bank is perfect but making some changes to certain policies and practices could go a long way towards keeping customers happier.

Everybody has a pet peeve or two when it comes to their bank and there are certain things we all wish our banks would either stop or start doing. Today, MyBankTracker is rounding up some of the top changes banking customers would like to see.

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1. Stop charging non-customers check-cashing fees

Fees are one of the biggest complaint people have when it comes to banks and some of them are more annoying than others. Having to pay a fee to cash a check when you're getting the money at a bank that you don't have an account with is right at the top of the list. At top banks, the check-cashing fee for non-customers ranges from $6 to $10.

One MyBankTracker reader who was determined to avoid the $6 fee from Chase went as far as opening a new account to deposit a check. He then had the bank cash the check (without paying the fee of course) and then immediately closed the account. That's a pretty extreme step to take to get around a fee but it shows just how fed up customers are with being nickel and dimed.

2. Be able to make instant money transfers to a different bank

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If you've got accounts at multiple banks, moving money back and forth usually means playing a waiting game for the deposits to clear. While internal transfers typically take place the same day, you may end up waiting three or four days for funds to transfer from your Chase account to your Ally account, for example.

You can get the money faster by initiating a wire transfer instead of an ACH transfer but then you're looking at a big fee. The banks get you twice since you'll have to pay a fee to send a wire transfer and another one to receive it. For domestic transfers, the fees range from $15 to $20 going out and $24 to $30 coming in, which is a huge premium to pay for the convenience of a same-day transfer.

3. Streamline customer service

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Some banks offer great customer service in-person, but trying to get someone to answer a question over the phone is near impossible. I know first-hand how frustrating it is to call a local branch and be rerouted through an automated customer service system. I prefer to call the branch so I'm not sitting on hold all day but at a lot of the bigger banks, it's becoming more difficult to get through to a person on the first try.

A few of the big banks offer live chat customer service, which I personally love and wish was available at every bank. It's not necessarily any faster than calling a branch but the advantage is that once I've got the information I need, I can thank the rep and disconnect without having to listen to a sales pitch.

After I've navigated the automated system and waited on hold for 5 minutes, the last thing I want to hear is a spiel about opening a new account.

4. Increase daily withdrawal limits

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Banks cap the amount of money you can withdraw at the ATM to minimize fraud, which is a responsible move but they have some leeway when it comes to what the limit is. Typically, it ranges from $300 to $1,000, depending on the bank and what kind of account you have.

That seems like a decent amount of money but if you need to make a big cash purchase and you can't get to a branch to make a withdrawal it becomes problematic. Some banks will allow you to make a cash advance using your debit card even if you're not a customer but of course, there's usually a fee for this service.

The other alternative is to go to a store and get cash back when you make a purchase but you're still having to pay extra money since you have to buy something. Upping the ATM withdrawal limit seems like an easy solution but it's not a move that banks seem eager to make.

5. Eliminate the hassles of switching banks

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Given a choice between switching banks and getting a root canal, a trip to the dentist wins every time for me at least. I had to switch banks about a year ago and the logistics of moving money over, waiting for the initial deposit to clear, changing over my PayPal and updating all of my bill payment information was a big headache.

My accounts are at First Citizens, which is a smaller community bank and despite seeing some nice promotional offers out there from bigger banks, I'm inclined to stay put just because I don't want to have to jump through all those hoops again. Many banks offer switch kits to make the transition easier, but they don't necessarily save you anything in terms of time or effort.

With a switch kit, you fill out your bank account and bill payment information online but then you still have to print out the forms and mail them. Being able to do all of that instantly with the push of a button would certainly make moving to a new bank more enticing.

6. Stop requiring deposit slips for teller deposits

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U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo now feature ATMS that don't require an envelope to make a check or cash deposit. You just put in your card, insert the money and boom -- your deposit is done, with no deposit slips or envelopes to fill out. It's fast and easy so why don't banks offer that same option when you're making deposits at the branch?

If you've only got one check, writing out a deposit slip isn't that big of a deal but it's a different story when you've got 20 or 30 checks you need to put into a business account. Then you're having to fill out multiple slips, which makes a trip to the bank even more burdensome. Employing the same kind of system at the teller window that's used at the ATM would eliminate the extra paperwork so it's easier to give the bank your money to begin with.

Is there a service you wish your bank would offer or something you think they could be doing better? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments.

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Wednesday, 13 May 2015 5:50 PM
<p>PersonalBanker, thank you for your insight! To echo Simon's sentiment, it IS helpful when bank practices and policies are explained in detail - especially when it comes to fees the banks are charging.</p>
Monday, 11 May 2015 2:47 PM
<p>It's always nice to get an insider look at how and why banks do certain things. I've come to learn that banks often have to enforce tough rules -- that annoy customers -- because they have to protect themselves. It's hard to everyone else to see things from that perspective.</p>
Sunday, 10 May 2015 4:29 AM
<p>I would like to help enlighten this topic. As a consumer I felt the same way. Working in the banking industry, I understand why those policies are in place.</p><p>1. It is a common misperception that the bank charges non customers to cash a check. However that is not the case. Ever notice you try to cash a personal check and the bank did not charge you? You can cash a business check and it may or may not charge you. Let me explain. Personal checks are free to cash. That said business elects to pay extra for non customers or not. It is not a bank originated fee. It is that said businesses third party merchant services that charges the fee. The business owner decides if they want to pay for that service or not. If the business owner decides to pay for the service, you as the non customer does not get charged a fee. Another option that is free, is to take said check to your bank to have it cashed ensuring your not charged.</p><p>2. When you have multiple accounts and you are juggling money to and from accounts, I agree it is a bit of a waiting game. Online bill pay and writing a check are both free. Wires as mentioned previously in the article do charge a fee. Even in this day and age banks are not able to check other institutions to guarantee funds are available. Best option would be online bill pay as an automatic transfer. If you are on a time limit, best course of action would to be withdrawing cash from one bank institution and depositing into the other- so it is a same day item (available immediately).</p><p>3. I know calling customer service and trying to get a person is a pain, and no one has time to wait. In this day and age we are all on the go, and when it comes to our money that we work so hard for, I completely understand wanting to talk to a person at a branch and not a call center agent who could be halfway across the world. Giving out sensitive material such as an account number, account balance, or recent transactions is convenient for the customer. However in the wrong hands it opens that customer up to potential fraud, or an account levee. Calling customer service will be the best way if you are unable to come into the branch, or going online to get account information. The bank wants to ensure your privacy, identity and money are safe. Another trick for customer service is dialing #0#0#0# which confuses the system and kicks you to an agent. There are policies and procedures in place for a reason. Not to make your life difficult but to protect you from any potential risk. If banks gave customer information over the phone think how easy it would be for a fraudster that knew some of your information to get your account number. If your concern is to not be hassled for sales you can update your private policy for solicitation purposes. Most of the time consumers view it as a sale however it's more about educating and taking advantage of the promotions. If we assumed said consumer knew about the credit card promotion giving them zero interest for a year and never mentioned it to said consumer. How would said consumer feel if consumer was actually needing it to pay off high interest cards and we never gave them the option to consolidate and save money?</p><p>4. There are 2 different things in play for this one. There is daily ATM limit and daily POS limit also known as point of sale limit. As said previously in the article these limits are set low due to debit card theft. However what was not mentioned was POS limit which is much higher than the ATM limit. POS limit is usually $1500 and can be temporarily increased for larger purchases by calling the 1-800 number on the back of your debit card. You can also use a credit card for large purchases, earn the rewards points and pay off the credit card with your debit card online or in the branch for free.</p><p>5. Switching banks is sometimes a necessity. I moved, and my bank was an hour away. So I moved to a bigger bank instead of another credit union. Switching was easy for me. I wrote a check from the old account into the new account. It was available the next day. Online bill pay made it easy due it's smart update. It filled in most of the information for me I just needed the account number once. Set and done. If you have direct deposit they print you out the form there and you just hand it to your work. Very simple.</p><p>6. The deposit slips were necessary to ensure they go into the correct account. There has been software updates now to go paperless. If you have a deposit for your account, whether it's business or personal you do not need a deposit slip. No matter how many checks. Just swipe your debit card and confirm the deposit. However if you are depositing into anything other than your account, they still need the deposit slip, again to ensure it gets credited to the correct account. <br> </p>
Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 6:21 PM
<p>The branch manager was actually the one who sent me to M - L.<br>I agree they lost me on that one.</p>
Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 6:11 PM
<p>Was there no branch manager when you went to Bank of America? It's ridiculous that they sent a customer to a Merrill Lynch broker to get a signature guarantee.</p>
Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 4:57 PM
<p>That's a definite hassle for BofA customers. Thanks for sharing!</p>
Thursday, 23 Apr 2015 4:18 PM
<p>BOA requires you to go to a broker( Merrill Lynch ) to get a signature guarantee. They used to do it in the bank.</p>
Tuesday, 21 Apr 2015 9:18 PM
<p>Thanks for letting us know!</p>
Tuesday, 21 Apr 2015 8:43 AM
<p>WF has deposit/withdrawal(up to $2500) slip free transactions with the tellers. All you need is your debit card (and ID for taking out).</p>
Monday, 20 Apr 2015 2:51 PM
<p>the "envelope free" deposits are also available at Chase and PNC ATM's too.</p>

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