wanna go paperless?
March 12, 2022 7:44 AM   Subscribe

1.0 A short conversation with, and about, a bank. In which the author, in need of a digital statement, faces our current broken reality.
posted by swift (73 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
I had to stop reading. Part way through this I was reminded of the reasons that I only bank locally.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 7:48 AM on March 12, 2022 [6 favorites]

Metafilter: also a chat app
posted by genpfault at 8:00 AM on March 12, 2022 [4 favorites]

a place in which you will never find a more wretched hive of disruption and innovation, but also called hacker news

posted by fiercekitten at 8:01 AM on March 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

Write it down

“you, doing a keynote, when we do keynotes again: so this is a story about how applying digital to a broken process results in a broken digital process–“
posted by some chick at 8:18 AM on March 12, 2022 [7 favorites]

chat app is the new version of the 90s everything evolves into an email client. Worse and simultaneously disproportionately more annoying too.
posted by bonehead at 8:29 AM on March 12, 2022 [3 favorites]

...applying digital to a broken process results in a broken digital process

So often, though, it seems like our tech overlords are applying digital to unbroken processes in order to break them.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:33 AM on March 12, 2022 [4 favorites]

I had to stop reading. Part way through this I was reminded of the reasons that I only bank locally.

I can understand that. At the same time, my national bank (while thoroughly evil) did once help out in an enemy-of-my-enemy sort of way.

I don’t know how widespread this is around the planet, but where I live it is universal that when you rent living quarters, you pay the first and last month’s rent up front. I lived in another city for five years before moving to my current location, and the building where I rented an apartment was bought by a numbered corporation whose conduct led me to dub the two principals The Shady Brothers.

A year or two after they bought the place, I give my notice that I was moving out. Of course, my payment for my final month was already in place from when I had moved in five years earlier. Five or six days into the final month, I got a call from The Shady Brothers asking why I had not paid; I replied that I had given my notice (which they acknowledged) and my final month’s rent was paid years earlier. This, they claimed, they had no record of. Ah, so the mechanism that every rental unit works by, you are unfamiliar with? Yes.

As it happened, a school friend of mine worked for the head office of my bank. I asked him if there was any chance the bank would be able to provide a record of a cheque of mine that had been cashed most of a decade earlier. Quoth he, “We keep everything.” He asked me for the amount and the approximate date, which I supplied. Three days later, I had a scan of the cheque.

Note that the flip side of the first-and-last arrangement is far because the landlord has nominally held onto the tenant’s money for umpteen years before applying it to that final month, the tenant is technically owed the interest on that month’s payment. Never in thirty years of renting have I bothered to ask for that interest at the end, and I know of no one else who has, either.

But by god, I did so with the Shady Brothers. It was some pittance — six dollars or something — but I enjoyed that someone on their office had to spend some time totting up the amount and mailing me a cheque after all that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:47 AM on March 12, 2022 [51 favorites]

another disruptor, replying: but did you write it in rust

you, suffering a laughter-induced aneurysm: ...
posted by HillbillyInBC at 8:56 AM on March 12, 2022 [5 favorites]

Me: formally requesting three times over the past three years, through appropriate channels, that my HOA switch me to digital/paperless statements

My HOA: continues to send paper statements through the mail

Me: shrugging, and filing the monthly paper statements

My HOA this month: sends a passive aggressive nastygram whining about how important it is for us all to shift to digital/paperless statements to save money and why won’t some of us switch to paperless, and if we don’t the fees will have to increase again to cover the printing and mailing costs.

Me: FFFFFFFFFffffffffffff…
posted by darkstar at 9:09 AM on March 12, 2022 [10 favorites]

That was everything I think about modern banking and "innovation", and *also* funny. I am impressed.
posted by Vatnesine at 9:10 AM on March 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

Part way through this I was reminded of the reasons that I only bank locally.

I started with a local bank, but they were bought out by a national bank with unbelievably bad customer service.

I hope your local bank stays local.
posted by FencingGal at 9:15 AM on March 12, 2022 [17 favorites]

sends a passive aggressive nastygram whining about how important it is for us all to shift to digital/paperless statements

I successfully switched to paperless statements with Citi a long time ago. However, for about five years, every two months or so they would mail me a letter asking me to switch to paperless statements. It was eventually resolved but during that time nothing I or the customer service reps tried managed to stop it.
posted by Candleman at 9:18 AM on March 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

By MeFi's own Dan Hon!
posted by adrianhon at 9:23 AM on March 12, 2022 [8 favorites]

another disruptor, replying: but did you write it in rust

Sadly, n-gate.com seems to have stopped updating. Who will call out the Rust Evangelism Strike Force now?
posted by SunSnork at 9:24 AM on March 12, 2022 [8 favorites]

Dan Hon: I am speechlessly nodding, sadly, at the summary you have written. It's terrible and true.
posted by brainwane at 9:37 AM on March 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

My conversation with a pharmacy a few weeks ago for a prescription I fill there with unfailing regularity:

Pharmacy: "We show no prescription for that under your account. Call the doctor."

Me, standing in the pharmacy: "Yes, hello? The pharmacy doesn't have the prescription that was sent over this morning."

Receptionist: I don't see it in the notes. Hold for a nurse."

15 mins later, nurse: "The computer says it was sent at 9:30 a.m., six hours ago." Her tone is harsh. One of the prescriptions is a controlled substance and she clearly suspects skulduggery.

I wait another 15 minutes in a long pharmacy line: "The nurse says it was sent over hours earlier."

Several pharmacy employees consult: "Ok, we found it. We didn't see it because it was sent over electronically and we have to print those out before we can fill them and there are several hundred people in front of you. We won't get to it today ".

Me: "But tomorrow is a holiday. I have an infection. I really need the refill in that one at least. Can you send it to another pharmacy?"

Pharmacy: "No, one of your prescriptions is a controlled substance. Call your doctor and get them to send it to another pharmacy."

Calling the hospital: "Sorry, doctor is gone for the day now. Give us a few days."

Defeatedly, fine I'll just wait a few days.

A few days later I still haven't gotten a notification that it's ready so I call to make sure before I drive there.

After 15 mins on hold the system kicks me out. Repeat 2x more. Then the employee comes on: "Sorry, we have no record of any prescriptions filled or in process for you."

Speaking with a supervisor later: "Well I don't know who told you that. I didn't tell you that. We have the prescriptions, but they're not ready.

Several hours later: "Insurance doesn't cover the 2nd one, that total will be '$icantafford'."

Me: "But insurance has always covered it before and my insurance hasn't changed."

Pharmacy: "Call your insurer."

I call my insurer and I get an Indian call center and a woman I cannot understand at first, who does nothing other than robotically repeat the same phrases that she clearly doesn't understand. I ask to speak to a supervisor and she ahngs up on me. I re-enter the queue for another half hour hold.

And this is nothing. I got a doctor at a major hospital to prescribe a medical device, and before I had a chance to do so much as google it, I started getting calls from indians, 3-4 times a day, claiming to be from Medicare, trying to get information out of me/sell me $medicaldevice. They could have been from Medicare, because my prescription plan is indian-only, I've never talked to an American on the many, many times I've had to call them. This continues for a year, long after I no longer needed device, until I had to change my number. I never talked about it on social media or googled devic--they literally got the info from the doctor/hospital and used it to harass me. At first I answered calls and told them to stop calling me, that I was going to handle it. I asked for supervisors. I never got one.

Anyway, somehow my pharmacy portal account got screwed up some months ago and none of the prescriptions I get sent show up in my online portal. I can no longer request refills online or check to see if I have refills and I no longer get alerts when prescriptions are ready. I'm told to call tech support. I've never made it through the hold.

Repeat this dystopian nightmare for each of the 7-8 doctors/specialists I see. Nothing is simple, every week I spend at least an hour on average dealing with complications. It takes me six months to get an appointment if I'm very, very, very lucky, and I've had the same doctor cancel on my multiples times in a row, which means I have to get angry and act like a dick (trust me, nothing else works) to see her in two months after she cancels instead of six. Layer upon layer upon layer of dystopian nightmare.

The same with banks, or payment services. I had roommates who used Venmo, and I never made it work two months in a row without having to call or having it refused three or four times in a row with nonspecific errors, and the housemates really didn't want to use PayPal, which always worked for me.

Extra layers of shit for me because I have an extremely sweet deal from my bank, but I've never lived in a city where they have a branch, so I can't go deposit/withdraw/get a check in person.

The exhaustion from this is that it's not just banking. It's everything. EVERYTHING.

I signed up for internet at a new place recently. I qualify for reduced cost internet, but my application wasn't going through and said to call to finish. I call and get a foreign call center. They tell me I have to sign up at full price first and THEN apply for reduced cost. The fine print says I can only get reduced cost if I haven't had an account with them for six months, so I'm suspicious, but I'm trying to take classes that are online because of the pandemic and I need this internet. I need it more than I need food right now. Foreign call centers are notorious for lying to me, either because they don't understand or they don't care.

Then don't even get me started on the paperwork for food assistance. I get hosed there too occasionally, because half the social workers don't know the rules for persons with disabilities and you literally cannot argue with them. They don't allow you to. Sometimes you get lucky and get someone who knows the rules. I haven't had food assistance for several years because in addition to the embarrassment, the paperwork is exhausting. It's easier to go to a food pantry where you're forced to pray with them for odds and ends of shit you'd never normally eat, and produce and meat that stores give them because it's almost rotten.

My level is extra-shitty, but almost everyone has to deal with shit like this in the last ten years, just at different levels. For example, an elderly person I know got two covid shots (I made the appointments online when I was visiting.) She never got the booster because Walgreens won't let you up make an appointment in person or on the phone and she's not internet savvy. When I visited again I tried to help her make an appointment and the online system was messed up. I called and they wouldn't make the appointment another way. I asked her who else nearby was offering vaccinations and she didn't know, and had no idea how to find out, in this extremely rural area . If I hadn't been there to make the appointment and drive her, she never would have been able to get a booster, because the only pharmacy in town required you to make an appt online and wouldn't make an exception. It required googling, calls and driving, and for an elderly person already suffering beginning dementia that's not going to happen. How many people are falling completely through the cracks in the modern world because this mechanized, globalized,capitalistic hellhole system fails at every turn.
posted by liminal_shadows at 10:04 AM on March 12, 2022 [77 favorites]

I am so sick to death of f’ing apps - you have to use an airline app to check in, a hotel app to get an accurate picture of points/rewards/etc, and my bank wants me to use their app, when the online system works jsu great, thankyouverymuch. It doesn’t have to be an app to do the job.
posted by dbmcd at 10:08 AM on March 12, 2022 [8 favorites]

Oh liminal_shadows so much hugs from this internet stranger. There are no words.
posted by evilmomlady at 10:24 AM on March 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

It doesn’t have to be an app to do the job

At least not the job customers want it to do.
posted by howfar at 10:29 AM on March 12, 2022 [5 favorites]

Literally two days ago, my 26 year old child, one who works as a coder in the tech world, said to me, "I now understand and appreciate why you always use cash Pops."

Paperless statements? Why? Then I have to print them out using my paper and my ink when I need to submit something. Why should I save this bank or this company money when all they do is fuck with me?

My kids also make fun of me because I will do everything in my power, including waiting an extra 5 minutes, to avoid the self checkout at a store. Why am I doing the work of the employee they fired to save money?

As for the apps, why am I asked to be a beta tester? Not literally, but these apps are released half baked and they wait for customers to call in and suggest fixes or point out glitches. Meh.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:30 AM on March 12, 2022 [22 favorites]

Omg, you have no idea how sadly relevant this is to me right now.

My mother recently passed away and as the executor of her estate I have to deal with two different banks, multiple credit cards and a brokerage account. What I've realized is this: They are all wildly broken in completely random and different ways!

For example, one of the banks recently redesigned their checking statements with a new "user-friendly" look. Yeah, well, your old statements had this actual user-friendly feature which was to display the photocopied front of all the cashed checks for that month at the very bottom of the statement. This made it really easy to look in one place and visually scan through the check numbers, plus the person who deposited it, and the amount cashed.

The re-design removed the photocopies and just puts the check numbers in a chronological list (in plain text). Wow, great, now the checks are no longer organized in one place and I have to hunt for them among the debits, EFTS, etc. But even better is that due to the random character limit, the information as to who deposited the check is almost always cut off or it's just not there due to OCR errors or whatever.

The end result is that a task that formerly took 30 seconds, now takes 4x longer if I'm lucky, because without the depositors name, the task isn't actually complete and I have to go online and do a search.

And if you think they compensated for this reduction of convenience by making it easier to do the same thing online, well I have a bridge to sell you.
posted by jeremias at 10:38 AM on March 12, 2022 [7 favorites]

I started with a local bank, but they were bought out by a national bank with unbelievably bad customer service.

I've had this happen three times.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:41 AM on March 12, 2022 [8 favorites]

A few months ago, my wife got a text message from an unknown number, alerting her that her debit card has suspicious activity on it, and could she please call [unknown 800 number]. She actually did call the 800 number and was connected to a CSR who quite obviously was brand new to speaking english, immediately sending up a ton of red flags. Immediately, my wife hung up and called the bank's customer service line to report the quite obvious phishing attempt.

However, upon speaking with the actual bank's CSR, she discovered that the text message was legit (there was suspicious activity on her card) and the 800 number that she called was the legitimate number for the service MasterCard contracts with to handle security issues. The CSR also added that they get a lot of customers with the same story (suspicious message, unknown number, unclear english speaker) and added they would have been suspicious, too.

Thankfully, the bank's CSR was able to do everything to fix the issue there and then, and all was well.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:51 AM on March 12, 2022 [9 favorites]

This hit way too close to home - the call I had with my former 401k provider yesterday:

Me: I just got a default notice on a loan I took out on my 401k. When I called last month you told me that you'd automatically take the funds from the bank account attached to my account via ACH. I asked this specifically before making the decision to leave the company I worked for and did so based on your response that I'd be able to continue to pay my loan.

CS Rep: Looking at the terms of your loan, the only available options are to fully pay it off via ACH or to send a Cashiers Cheque or Money Order on a monthly basis for the next two years. Also, you need to write your social security number on the cheque or we will reject the payment.

Me: So to pay my loan I need to go to a bank or gas station and pay money to get you a cheque and I have to write on the cheque my SSN because in 2022 you don't understand the concept of account numbers or online payments?

CS Rep: Sorry that we told you different, but there's nothing we will do to remedy this.

90 minutes of my life on hold and arguing with them that I'll never get back...
posted by mincus at 10:56 AM on March 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

I liked the part where HackerNews disruptors want to re-invent banking from first principles, and by god they've got an idea and some venture capital and they're riding this train to billionaire town. Nowhere in this process does anyone wonder, even for a moment, why in the year of our lord 2022, we're still held hostage by 40-year-old banking software running on a VAX-11/780 housed in the basement of HQ. It's a disruptable problem, we're here to disrupt stuff and chew bubblegum, and we're all outta bubblegum!

Five years and $100 million later, someone grudgingly admits that yep, it's turtles all the way down. Meanwhile, three banking mega-corps continue to make a squillion dollars, while offering the shittiest features known to man. Plus ça change...
posted by Mayor West at 11:32 AM on March 12, 2022 [4 favorites]

OK… here is my recent experience to contribute…

My credit union of 36 years just changed over to a “new and improved online banking experience”. On the plus side, my multiple accounts can now be accessed with one login. However; I was only getting a statement from one account. After emailing, calling (and getting accidentally hung up on) and online chatting for the last week and a half, I was told that I needed to make a separate login for the other accounts in order to get those statements. They said it was because there was a different primary on the account (Mrs Jabo). All of our accounts are joint. I pointed out that with the original login, I was able to transfer and withdraw from any account. It was nonsensical to have another login just to get statements. That’s how it was set up they replied.

Oh… and now I have an additional monthly fee if I don’t keep the balance above $500. It pays for all the marvelous new features that I have no intention of ever using. I’ve thought about transferring to another credit union but I think they all operate this way now. One benefit is that the new mobile app check deposit feature will make it easier for me to avoid having to ever set foot in their wretched bank.
posted by jabo at 11:41 AM on March 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

15 years ago, everyone in Spain had an account manager in their local bank branch who knew them by name and helped them with any problems they might have. After a few rounds of mergers and cost-cutting, most of those branches have now closed and changed over to insisting that you manage everything at the ATM or online. Old people were especially affected, with stories of some banks telling them that they couldn't provide personal assistance anymore, and instead they should get their grandchildren to help them use the new, broken systems.

In January a 78-year-old man got so fed up that he started a mass movement called "Soy mayor, no idiota" ("I'm old, not stupid"). By February, he delivered a petition to the Spanish central bank regulator with over 600,000 signatures. Now some of the banks have announced new measures to provide more in-person customer service, and the government is working on legislation to require banks, utilities, and public administrations to provide alternatives to doing everything digitally.
posted by fuzz at 11:53 AM on March 12, 2022 [38 favorites]

I started with a local bank, but they were bought out by a national bank with unbelievably bad customer service.

Yeah, it's not like I want to bank with Bank of America for fuck's sake, but they won't leave me alone. Every time I start an account with some other bank, they go and buy it. Bank of America has literally been stalking me for years now.
posted by Naberius at 12:44 PM on March 12, 2022 [15 favorites]

When I first moved to where I am now, it was paper check only. And then a few months into the lease they offered ACH. So I set that up. But it didn't take and I didn't find out until 4 days after rent was due and there was a sheriff's notice on my door saying I had 5 days ( 1 day left ) to pay my rent or be evicted. I went to the office, paid by credit card and every month since I check my bank account 3 or 4 times at the first of the month. How about a call if rent is late? Isn't it easier and cheaper to try that before getting the sheriff and the courts involved?

I am moving this month. I had to pay the first month with a money order but every month after that personal check is okay. ( you can't trust me 1 month but can the next? ) I've also set up ACH payment and will be anxious every month because of the previous.

I found out a few weeks ago that for some reason OptumRX was sending me my meds every 30 days even though I was getting 90-day supplies. The only thing I can think of is a few years ago I didn't get an order and had to have them rush send me a refill, and I think with the pandemic they just assumed that I want 90 day supplies refilled every 30 days.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 1:00 PM on March 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

you: wait. is there anything I can help you with…

bank customer service agent: …

you: like, say, unionization?

bank: sir this conversation is recorded but I blinked my eyes very slowly twice

you: I understand you

posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:02 PM on March 12, 2022 [9 favorites]

*waves* hi, friends!
posted by danhon at 1:05 PM on March 12, 2022 [42 favorites]

Naberius, what the hell did you do to Bank of America?! It's screwing with the rest of us when they acquire those banks. All for establishing the Bank of Naberius so we can be left alone?
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 1:08 PM on March 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

After a local bank being bought out brought me down, I switched to a local credit union. yay, no national bank taking them over! boo, I moved and well they're no longer local.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 1:11 PM on March 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

Spoilers: my bank is a local credit union!
posted by danhon at 1:13 PM on March 12, 2022 [13 favorites]

As for the apps, why am I asked to be a beta tester? Not literally, but these apps are released half baked and they wait for customers to call in and suggest fixes or point out glitches. Meh.

This is why I pretty much never buy any technology, hardware or software, when it first comes out. If I wait at least a year, it will not only be cheaper (e.g., a flagship smartphone may cost as much as 50% less after the next year's model drops), but a whole bunch of other schmos will have already done battle with all the bugs in the original release, so I'll be getting a better product.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:14 PM on March 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

I live in the USA, and five years ago we almost couldn't get an apartment, because I had no credit score, because I had had no debt for over seven years (I know and acknowledge that there was a lot of luck involved in that). I had to ask immigrant friends how to build a credit score so that wouldn't happen again.

I worked for Dell for one whole week back in, like, 2005, answering phone calls to the specialized server-support number. It was just over minimum wage. Nearly everyone who called was good at their job and would try to tell me their problem at the start of the call, and around day three I started saying, "Sorry about these questions. They aren't remotely related to your problem, but I have to use this software and it makes me start from the beginning every time." Miserable. For everyone involved. And I had a Computer Dad and taught software to people and worked for a dial-up; I grew up with them and knew what I knew and what I didn't. It was clear that there was an easy way to fix how to do stuff, but it wasn't the Way That It Was Done. It was my lil' salad days, so I volunteered to take home the little phone book they gave us and translate it, in my off-hours, into something that made sense to temp hires. My supervisor was scandalized. I resigned a couple days later in a state of full resignation and got escorted out of the building.

It's that scene from Brazil all the way down, and this time the errors are buried in even weirder, more obscure systems. I still fight them.
posted by lauranesson at 1:18 PM on March 12, 2022 [5 favorites]

> So often, though, it seems like our tech overlords are applying digital to unbroken processes in order to break them.

Sometimes it's done to sell software and hardware bundles. The university I used to work at had in-house solutions on our own servers for payroll, HR and purchasing. Then slick Oracle salesmen got hold of our admin VPs, and suddenly we're an Oracle shop, with huge hardware outlays, shocking cash grabs for training, and annual software licensing costs in the millions. Never mind that each one of these disparate systems were built to match our unique business and academic processes; this was going to be a one-stop shop that solved all our problems.

Of course deployment went way past schedule as these canned solutions had to be at least somewhat adapted to our current forms, records and data. Staff saw the potential gaps in the processes early on and were vocal in asking for changes, but only some were approved as the rollout steamed on. Training, though costly, was inadequate and frontline people felt incapable of handling all the little edge cases that come up when dealing with HR matters. But hey, we're running late, so we're gonna settle for what is easily fixed right now.

The difference between the old processes and the new were so onerous that admin assistants all over campus got stressed out learning so many new systems at once. It led to countless pay SNAFUs, fouled-up purchases, and (eventually) a wave of early retirements. So well done, central admin, for choosing progress for progress' sake and ignoring the people on the ground who knew your systems.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 1:19 PM on March 12, 2022 [6 favorites]

Okay, so here's my strategy for adulting:

Bank: Would you like to go paperless?
Me: NO

Then all the paper statements I get in the mail go into a cardboard magazine folder from IKEA, repurposed as my inbox. At the end of every month, I import* and data enter into GNUCash (this is fairly easy due to autocomplete and scheduled transactions) and reconcile.

The papers get filed away as a paper backup, and GNUCash is backed by a postgresql database that has regular backups to my NAS.

By and large, I consult the ledger for things looking 90d out, and this is just to confirm what I expected to happen did and nothing extra happened. This has caught fraudulent charges before, and helps me optimize cash on hand vs investing / saving / spending.
posted by pwnguin at 2:17 PM on March 12, 2022 [6 favorites]

But yea, the bureaucracy is real. I tried closing out my old 403b last December and.... holy shit that's fucked up.

New 401k provider: thanks for filling out our form online, Im calling today to offer you our "white glove" treatment for rollovers
me: uh... okay?
new 401k: lets get your old bank on a conf call and confirm your social security number with both lines recording
me: that seems bad but I guess you both already know it so i dont see how it gets worse
old bank: well unfortunately we dont do electronic delivery for your old employer, so we'll mail you a check you can mail the new retirement plan
me: that seems slow and bad but im sure i wont fuck up sending the only gigantic check ill ever hold
new bank: please make the check out to our trust company youve never heard of from five mergers ago, not the name we do business as
old bank: sure thing, look out for a check in 4-6 weeks

1 week later:
me: where the hell is my check
old bank: your employer is refusing to let us send the money out without a rollover Certificate of approval from sendwithease.com. go online, download it from them, and upload it to us and then we'll send your check
me: okay, i knew the "white glove service" was too good to be true

planwithease: please login
me: with what username and password?
them: the one we sent you in the mail last year
me, now on a phone call with tem: i never got that, but my 403b has the right address, what gives?
them: we can verify your identity if you give us your start date.
me: here's the starting date as written down on signed letterheads from the university
them: thats not what we have on file, sorry
me: then when is my start date? i was a grad student for a bit before later accepting full time work. and technically i quit a different Board of Regents job to start this one with the 403b
them: that is not what we have on file, and i cant change your address, i dont even have the power to edit that field. talk with your hr department, they handle address changes
me: i havent thought about this HR dept in a decade

the following day
old hr department: that lady was wrong, the entire point of planwithease is that they verify IDs so we dont have handle this call.
me: well she said she doesn't even have the power to change it
hr: that guidance is wrong, tell them to look up the process for our specific plan

one phone call later
planwithease: whats your start date
me: jesus christ. i looked it up and the company that owns you already manages my 457b. how do you not already have my address on file?
me: i have like seven start dates depending on who's counting. lets try the least useful first -- here's the day KPERS says I started.
them: there you go!
me: but this was the day my job automatically converted from a "temp part time" appointment to a "full time appointment". it was not the start of my employment
them: ill send a username and password to you in the mail. anything else I can help you with?
me: im really hoping no

one week later
me: finally able to log in and download... a PDF
me: now to upload this to the new bank and forget this ever happened
new bank website: Sorry, our website is down for maintenance for the next three days for a DB upgrade.
me: I get chewed out by execs for 30minute partial outages, how the fuck are you allowed 3 day global outages
posted by pwnguin at 2:17 PM on March 12, 2022 [21 favorites]

One of the things you might have expected to get from paperless bank and credit card statements is searchable statements. Big folder of statements, do a text search on a company name: should be able to find all the matching statements/transactions easy, right?

bank: ha ha no

My first online banking experience in Canada produced statements that were a mosaic of little image scraps, with no searchable text at all. A current credit card manages to to turn text that looks like this:
when you select and copy the text. You have to convert the pages to images and OCR them to have any hope of finding anything in the files.

display the photocopied front of all the cashed checks for that month at the very bottom of the statement

This is a very only-in-America problem. I haven't seen my chequebook in years.
posted by scruss at 3:09 PM on March 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

Every metafilter thread about technology and modern life is full of people saying stuff like “I’ve never downloaded a record, I only listen to music I own on pure vinyl”, and this thread was exactly the same. I love it! If there’s another 50 comments I expect somebody to say that they only bank using Yap rai stones and a handcrafted unix system that converts receipts into compatible formats
posted by The River Ivel at 3:20 PM on March 12, 2022 [12 favorites]

>another person in that same thread: no seriously this is a legit product opportunity and also if banks had open APIs then this would create competitive pressure for financial institutions
We've got regulators out here and retail banking is basically a drag on corporate profits -- people aren't yet asking for banking among universal services but Central Bank Digital Currencies for tax purposes may as well be.

We also have Open Banking API's and their existence has not added features you could consider competitive discriminators. "Sorry champ, we can't all be winners at hn," you reply.
posted by k3ninho at 3:21 PM on March 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

Okay, so here's my strategy for adulting:

I am with you on never getting paperless statements, but where we differ is that rather than scanning them in, I put my paper-ful statements in the "don't lose it" box and on New Year's I go through the box and shred them if they're not relevant any more. If they're still relevant they go in the "really don't lose it" box which is smaller. This system has not failed me yet.

(I would love to read the article but the site is flagged as malware so I can't.)
posted by blnkfrnk at 3:24 PM on March 12, 2022 [4 favorites]

I work in banking software and came looking for this classic comment but didn't find it, so...

posted by swift

Eponysterical? (I'll see myself out.)
posted by sockshaveholes at 3:53 PM on March 12, 2022 [8 favorites]


The funny thing is: I have written banking software.
posted by swift at 3:58 PM on March 12, 2022 [13 favorites]

I cannot go into too many details because of the nature of my job, but part of what I do involves acting as the middleman between the military branches and financial centers. In one particular case, a process has been in place for over twenty years by which certain foreign governments deposit money into specific accounts with a specific bank that we then release and handle the accounting of. It's part of the whole "civilian oversight regarding military expenditures" deal, and it is not incredibly complicated but it is very visible to Congress and involves hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Anyway, that bank was recently bought by a larger bank. (Think Big Five US banks.) Everything immediately went directly to shit. First, they could not figure out where the money was coming from. (These are wire transfers, everything is right there in the transfer.) Then they decided that the USPS is not safe enough to use as a carrier for physical checks. (The US government always uses the USPS as a baseline because it is part of the USG. Also, I send billions of dollars a year via USPS and rarely have issues with it.) Then after six months of this, Army basically told them that if they couldn't figure out how to get the money to me that they would terminate the arrangement. (Mind you, the bank is just a pass-through and only has to receive the wire transfers and issue the checks. Easy money.) So I had to drive to a local branch to sign for $60M in checks, then come back a week later to physically courier an envelope with said checks from the branch to my vault. (Let me tell you how fun that 15-minute drive was!)

Fast forward to now, where the bank is saying that the arrangement may be impossible to implement because they cannot interpret the original bank's documentation that set up the accounts. So they have frozen the accounts until they can figure out what needs to be done. I have sat in hours and hours of meetings on this, where my only role is to mention to Army how much interest is being accrued in the account and how far behind the funds are putting their related funding obligations while Army officials tell this major US bank to get their shit together. All this, the bank wants us to go digital because issuing paper checks is too much of a hassle. 1
posted by gwydapllew at 4:46 PM on March 12, 2022 [19 favorites]

An elderly family member has just gone through this, as a result of Truist eating SunTrust. Example: They sent her a paper mailing that her old ATM card would stop working on $date and the new one could be activated on that date. She is housebound and depends on having someone to go to the ATM for her. I went the day before the specified date, and the machine declined the old card, and couldn't activate the new card. Literally no way for her to access her account. She spent probably ten hours on the phone in the subsequent week trying to get the new thing set up and they still won't give her access to her old statements and cancelled checks in the way she needs for filing her taxes.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:07 PM on March 12, 2022 [2 favorites]

I don't know where this person banks but my accounts are with a big bank and I've never had any of these problems. I can get statements from 2015 when I opened the account right now, check and deposit slip images going back seven years, I've never had a problem paying bills through bill pay, and on the rare occasion I've had to call customer service (or they've called/texted me) the CSR has been competent, efficient, and pleasant.

Full disclosure, I'm also an employee of this bank but my experience as a customer has only made me more loyal as an employee. I've also been treated well as an employee and find the work culture to be very healthy.
posted by VTX at 5:18 PM on March 12, 2022 [1 favorite]

Does it make any difference whether you were with the original big bank or a smaller bank they took over and tried with varying success to integrate?
posted by clawsoon at 5:24 PM on March 12, 2022

Send me a bill in the mail, I will send you a check in the mail. I don't see what's so hard about this. But I am sympathetic to not needing to kill trees when electronic things work just as well. So, I could live with send me a bill in the mail, I will pay you via a website, same as like Amazon or something. But I can't live with send me a bill in email, and definitely not a dynamically-generated web page that you can change, alter, or delete at any time. I want something in my control you can't deny later.

Also, I prefer to intentionally pay when billed, not automatically anything they decide to charge me. My health insurance company wanted me to switch to auto-pay so bad they refused to accept checks and deliberately broke the website where you could pay by credit card, over and over, in different ways every time. And then the person I called at the pay-by-phone number took all my information and then told me they couldn't make the payment because the website wouldn't let them. Yes, the only thing that person did was enter the information into the same website instead of me. They had no ability to do anything else.
posted by ctmf at 6:49 PM on March 12, 2022 [6 favorites]

When I first went to get my Real ID, it turned out that I am not a person who exists, because when we moved, my husband moved first to set up the house and I stayed with the kids to finish school and close up the old house. So all our joint accounts (bank, utility) in the NEW location with our NEW address had him listed first and me listed second. And it turns out that Real ID is very shirty about only wanting the first name on joint accounts. They said I could get a special thing from my bank about my personal actual existence even though I was only the joint account holder (since I still had to be run through the bank not-a-terrorist verification process), and my bank was like, "Oh, yeah, we don't do that." "Why not?" "Well, you can open an account where you're the primary account holder and we can do that." "........."

(Anyway we had to change the electric bill -- it was the only one we could change without MASSIVE DRAMA and notarized forms -- to have my name first, and they accepted my electric bill + an IRS mailpiece.)

ANYWAY, PROTIP, if you are married, make sure you're the first or only name on at least one utility bill. Becoming an unperson in the 21st century totally sucks, and it takes MONTHS to become a person again.

(I do most of my banking with a local credit union for a lot of reasons people talk about above, but I also have a small account with a national bank behemoth, because sometimes the behemoth is easier. Also, once you get used to banking with a credit union, banking with a for-profit national bank is kinda horrifying because credit unions are so much more customer-friendly! The rates are so much better! The loan terms are more advantageous! The customer service wants to help me do things! They have subsidized fee-only financial advisors! They help me fuck over car sales places!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:11 PM on March 12, 2022 [4 favorites]

I bank in the UK, my app from a big 4 bank does everything I need it to, including providing 2FA for high value on-line transactions, and searching any transaction for any key word. I haven't needed to write a cheque ("check") for 10 years. America needs to move to the future LOL
posted by el_presidente at 11:50 PM on March 12, 2022 [4 favorites]

How about a call if rent is late? Isn't it easier and cheaper to try that before getting the sheriff and the courts involved?

This varies by jurisdiction of course but here if you don't serve on the first day possible a tenant that won't pay de facto gets to stay an additional month (which they also won't pay for). The cost of serving is way, way less than a month's rent.
posted by Mitheral at 9:14 AM on March 13, 2022

How about a call if rent is late? Isn't it easier and cheaper to try that before getting the sheriff and the courts involved?

In my jurisdiction, it's extremely difficult to qualify for emergency rental assistance or housing stability assistance until your landlord has sent you a "Notice to Quit" (a terrifying form letter indicating they haven't gotten your rent and may file for eviction in court in fourteen days).

Eviction through the courts takes weeks to months, though, so sending the notice promptly even if the landlord doesn't want to evict for non-payment and you don't want to be evicted is in everyone's best interest (because it lets tenants get formal help faster).
posted by All Might Be Well at 9:53 AM on March 13, 2022

America needs to move to the future LOL

My American bank does all the things you listed. Just because ALL American banks don't doesn't mean NO American banks don't. (and no, it's not a credit union or a local bank. it's nation-wide.)
posted by cooker girl at 10:28 AM on March 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

So my takeaway from this thread is that perhaps my “never look at a piece of mail before it gets recycled, never look at a cc statement, never save any financial documents of any kind ever including about my retirement from working >25 years at a university but yes I file taxes on time” approach might not be ideal. Hmmm.
posted by tristeza at 12:34 PM on March 13, 2022 [2 favorites]

Part way through this I was reminded of the reasons that I only bank locally.

When we moved to our present home, we set up a checking account at the local bank serving our town of ten thousand people. Everything was fine and we enjoyed being recognized by the tellers. Ten years later it was purchased by a regional bank based in the closest metropolis, which served a catchment area with about 250,000 people.

It's the worst. Now the bank is too large to be personal and too small to be efficient or attract talent. Some functions are only staffed at the regional headquarters and so paperwork is couriered back and forth; this bank still doesn't accommodate electronic signatures or, seemingly, email "for customers' protection." Moreover, they attempt to program their web site and app themselves, but I think I would prefer it if they just signed with some big provider because oddball things are always going wrong, e.g.,:

  • I was the President of a local organization that used the same bank for its various accounts. The bank required my SSN since I had check signing privileges and could tap the line of credit: fine. But then the bank's "upgraded" its "security" system and began associating log-in access with SSNs. Setting aside how this actually made matters less secure for its customers, the bank's crack programmers only contemplated a single account associated with any SSN. Consequently, I was locked out of my personal account entirely since my SSN had already been associated with the organization's financial holdings; business accounts were switched over first. It took weeks to "fix," but now the organization's log-in brought up my account info and vice-versa. Another month drifted by before they finally solved the problem. Bank staff were surprised that I was not reassured when told that there were many other folks in my same boat. And speaking of boat...

  • Further complicating matters, around the same time I took out a loan for a boat purchase from a seller in another state. In this area, probably 25 percent of households own boats, but it's as if the bank never handled such a transaction before; they had no idea how to deal with the title, registration, sales taxes, etc. and no checklists to follow, so they kept screwing things up. I paid off the loan after six months when an expected windfall materialized, and the bank officer was unable to figure out how to remove the lien, request a reissued title, etc. let alone keep it straight that the trailer is registered with the DMV while the boat is registered with the Department of Natural Resources. Now the bank is struggling to provide a Form 1098 showing the interest paid because the system didn't contemplate a loan being issued and closed within a single calendar year.

  • When I completed the loan paperwork, I foolishly accepted the bank's offer of a credit card. It cannot be paid electronically through the bank's own system, though allegedly other customers have no problem. No one knows why, but the current theory is it somehow linked to the first SSN-related problem, since that was going on at the same time: something something can't associate a personal card with a business account something something. So every month I have to use a paper check or another bank's bill payment function and then field the "helpful" call offering to teach me how to use the online system and recommending that I use the automatic payment function "for my convenience." When I insist that I tried to invoke automatic payment, which did not work, and point out that I use the online system to pay approximately eleventy hundred other bills every month (including some paid automatically), and hence clearly do not need remedial education, they just speak more slowly, as though to a feeble-minded child, about how it will work exactly the same way for the credit card. The other day my "personal banker" offered to remote into my computer and walk me through it since it's "sooooo easy." She believes me now, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.

    I am very glad I held on to my account at the ginormous national bank so that I have another option when needed.

  • posted by carmicha at 3:15 PM on March 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

    never save any financial documents of any kind ever including about my retirement from working >25 years at a university but yes I file taxes on time” approach might not be ideal.

    It's a funny story and definitely indicative of the intricacies of modern life, but I'm not sure I agree. I mean I keep that stuff, it has a real space cost in the number of shoeboxes, and the number of times I have had to go through it is pretty low. So there are upsides and downsides.

    Also the number of times you will need a statement from 2016 is probably low but unknowable, but your bank holding all your financial info from your inception to the end of time is also so problematic that there is now a law called the California Data Privacy Act that exists to limit their use of that data. You may have well been a different person financially then (or in 1996) so what right is it of theirs to remember when you defaulted on that loan then?

    So yeah, the world exists in a constant flux of convenience and inconvenience and sometimes inconvenience is better.
    posted by The_Vegetables at 9:01 PM on March 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

    I’m reminded of the struggle I went through to schedule my Orchiectomy last year. Getting gender affirming surgery is a hassle and a half, even if everything goes right, and your insurance covers it. It was a slow process, but I managed to get a consultation with an in-network surgeon who does trans-affirming surgery at a major New York City hospital. Great. I get charged my in-network specialist co-pay of $40. Then, I’m told they will need to run the approval for the surgery by my insurer, and that I’ll hear back in a week to confirm the surgery date.

    A week passes. I hear nothing. I call the hospital. The insurance has not approved the surgery, as the surgeon is out-of-network.


    I call my insurer. They say the surgeon is in-network.

    I call back the hospital. Tell them the surgeon is in-network. They say they’ll try again. The insurance claims the surgeon is out of network.

    This goes on for a couple weeks. I reach out to my HR department. I call several different departments at the hospital and the insurance company. I genuinely debate whether I could buy a scalpel, some surgical thread, and remove my own goddamned testicles. I tell this to both staff at the hospital and the insurance company. My planned surgery date comes, and my planned surgery date goes.

    Eventually, it is discovered by the hospital, in coordination with the insurance company, that the surgeon is in-network after all… just at a different office. I am incredulous, as I had my surgical consultation at the same office that the surgery would be performed at. The hospital assures me that they will get the surgeon in-network with the insurance company, and I will hear back in a week.

    I do not hear back in a week. The insurance is holding up getting the surgeon in-network at the location I had the in-network consultation.

    Another week passes. A phone call from the hospital. At last, nearly two months after my final consultation, I have a surgery date. It is approved, in-network, and covered, five days before Christmas. I take it. I’d waited long enough.

    In the end, I wasn’t charged a single penny for the operation, at least. Not even a co-pay. Insurance covered the whole thing. Small blessing. Still, if I could have avoided all this hassle and paid the $100 I had expected, I would have done so. Happily.
    posted by SansPoint at 9:31 PM on March 13, 2022 [3 favorites]

    I mean I keep that stuff, it has a real space cost in the number of shoeboxes

    The way I handle this is pretty simple: every year I remove bank statements and tax filings older than 7y. As I write this, it occurs to me I might be able to streamline this by emptying out folders for 'this year' into one big folder for the year. I already to rotate out annually and it's a lot faster to just dump it all into a single folder per year.

    Paper backups saved me after a random pgsql screwup on my end. It's not common but I've had a few places charge a fee for statement retrieval more than a few years back. I assume they can get away with that because people who need it are dealing with lawyers / estates and Not Their Money. But it can be a double edged sword where until you agree to paperless, they won't give you any digital statements.

    Anyways, about half the pain here seems to be that, because we don't have a federal ID plan, everyone is trying to outsource the work to someone else. We have seem to have built a system with a cyclic dependency: prove your identity by password sent to an address HR had on file ➡️ prove your address by providing a drivers license with your address ➡️ get a drivers license by showing a bank statement with your address on it 🔁. Fundamentally, the mathematical construct we want, which you might call "identity verification" doesn't exist; the universe has no natural key for the database we run, and there is no intrinsically "you" data your theoretical identical twin won't already know.

    The best we can really hope for is "persistence of identity": is this person the same person we've seen before or an imposter? And even then, you need protocols for dealing with the facts of life like losing a Yubikey, or forgetting a password.
    posted by pwnguin at 9:54 PM on March 13, 2022 [1 favorite]

    Stay in your lane

    I died when I read that because that is something I say in my mind to major corporations all the time.
    posted by hypnogogue at 10:33 PM on March 13, 2022

    Citibank: You can go to my website to log in to access your store-branded Visa credit card which also says Citibank across it
    Me: Can I use the Citibank Android app to access the account?
    Citibank: Haha, no.

    Oh, also Citibank's website: I see you're trying to fill out the fields for a payment on your phone, but I bet you're too stupid to do it right so I'm going to pop up a "Need help?" chat window over the screen so you accidentally click it instead of what you were trying to click on, but if you exit the chat app you have to log back into the website again.

    Me to Target Website: I have a credit card RedCard, and a debit card RedCard
    Target Website: no, that's impossible
    Me: I set them up about a year apart, both times when offered at the checkout in Target
    Target Website: no, I don't think so
    Me: Well, I can go on the Target website and pay my RedCard credit card
    Target Website: yes, would you like to go paperless?
    Me: I already am, but, um, and I'd like to also see the transaction information for the RedCard debit card I also have
    Target Website: no, it doesn't work that way

    When it comes to ACH anywhere, and my credit union savings account number: that can't possibly actually be your account number, it's only eight digits long, and it has a dash in it?
    Me: I can take out the dash, but do I have to pad zeroes or something?
    ACH thing: I have no idea
    posted by AzraelBrown at 6:59 AM on March 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

    SansPoint: Eventually, it is discovered by the hospital, in coordination with the insurance company, that the surgeon is in-network after all… just at a different office. I am incredulous, as I had my surgical consultation at the same office that the surgery would be performed at.

    Kafka was supposed to be writing fiction, but instead he wrote America's healthcare system.

    I'm sure you know this already, but what you described is not normal. You don't deserve to go through that. You are living in a dystopia.
    posted by clawsoon at 7:25 AM on March 14, 2022 [3 favorites]

    Nowhere in this process does anyone wonder, even for a moment, why in the year of our lord 2022, we're still held hostage by 40-year-old banking software running on a VAX-11/780 housed in the basement of HQ.

    They don't need to wonder. They know the answer, and it strikes fear in the soul of any dev younger than 50 or so.

    posted by Thorzdad at 8:53 AM on March 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

    clawsoon: I am well aware that this is a dystopian hellscape. I also strongly suspect that if I wasn’t getting my balls removed explicitly for transgender purposes, my insurance and the hospital would have felt a little more urgency to sort this shit out.
    posted by SansPoint at 11:00 AM on March 14, 2022 [2 favorites]

    I mostly love my Credit Union (BECU), but one thing that drives me absolutely nuts is that the security department for their credit cards will call to leave a voicemail about suspicious activity on the card, and then leave a callback number that is completely different from the number on the back of the card. It absolutely screams phishing attempt, but no, that's just the way they've chosen to run this. Oh, and the number changes sometimes, too. So even though I added that number to my phone contacts, I will still get other, random unknown numbers (that, it turns out are legit) asking for my financial information. Just, why?
    posted by xedrik at 3:03 PM on March 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

    Probably went to the same security school as my local IT department, who send out harangues to never click on links in email and to make sure every received email is digitally signed. These 'reminders' usually also contain a link to some public service announcement or another, and are not digitally signed. I reported one to the "possible phishing attempt" mail address they have set up, and I got back an automatic un-signed acknowledgement with a link in it. call stack exceeded
    posted by ctmf at 7:01 PM on March 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

    >They know [why we're still held hostage by 40-year-old banking software running on a VAX-11/780 housed in the basement of HQ], and it strikes fear in the soul of any dev younger than 50 or so: COBOL.

    Any dev older than 50 or so knows you're confusing a technical problem for a social problem. Customer service is one of their core competencies as a retail bank: don't lose people's money, help them manage and keep track of payments. The social problem is that the business doesn't value the technical infrastructure as part-and-parcel of the activities it enables, and definitely not adequately to pay for ongoing maintenance. They didn't value the social benefit of good documentation of the COBOL system (or training new engineers to read the code and understand the business rules it encodes) and now there's Many Internets griping at this poor customer service.
    posted by k3ninho at 1:19 AM on March 15, 2022

    Okay, so here's my strategy for adulting:
    Bank: Would you like to go paperless?
    Me: NO

    This. We reject all offers to go paperless. Why? Because every offer to go paperless requires us to agree to having the amount due automatically debited from our bank account pretty much at the random whim of the biller.

    That is to say, at some unknown, and irregular, point within a two-week span of time, and no we cannot let you know ahead of time when that will be exactly, and we really hope you have that amount available when we try to debit it, ‘cause, if you don’t, hoo-boy the fees and service charges from both us and your bank are really gonna add up.

    Unless you have a nice, comfy pile of cash in the bank, automatic debiting could easily result in overdrafts, especially when you have multiple billers descending on your account like vultures. When we get a paper bill, we go online and make the payment according to when we have funds available. Works like a charm.

    And, yeah, american banking, pretty much like american almost anything, is a total clusterfug. And, I have always found it odd that, in the US anyway, as a corporation gets larger, it’s ability to provide adequate, responsive, customer service decreases.
    posted by Thorzdad at 4:44 AM on March 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

    I just checked and I can pull statements from as far back as 2015. (For an account opened in 1992.) Text statements, searchable, option to view as HTML or download as PDF. Check images are viewable if I want them.

    My credit union is based 4 states away and has no branches near me. I have exactly 2 ATMs in the vicinity I can use without getting charged a fee (one just happens to be in the building where I work, lucky me.) Despite this we have had surprisingly few issues with the digital banking app and website. Check deposit, PIN change for cards, inter-account transfer to push a few bucks into our kid’s account… it works and is hassle-free. There is a damn good reason I’ve stuck with this credit union since college. Banks suck. Credit unions at least are not openly trying to screw you over.
    posted by caution live frogs at 6:28 AM on March 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

    My bank kept asking me if I wanted my current account to go paperless, when I logged in on the computer. And I kept saying no.

    Then I stopped logging in on the computer, because they improved the capabilities of the phone app and I could do everything I needed to from it. So they stopped asking me if I wanted to go paperless... and just switched the account over without my say-so.

    Things it turns out you can't do from the app:

    - Switch your account back to paper
    - View a statement (they keep statements for seven years, but you can't access them from the app; you can only see a transaction log, going back a max of about two years)
    - Request a copy of a statement
    - Provide feedback.

    And I can't remember my credentials for online banking, which are of course different from my credentials for the app, because I haven't used it in so long.

    ... and it's just dawned on me that it's been well over three months since they last sent me a quarterly statement for my savings account, so I guess they've pulled the same trick there.

    At this point, given that my passport has expired during the pandemic and I don't have a driving licence, the only things I've got left that might serve to prove my identity are credit card statements, water bills and the annual council tax statement. Everything else is digital. I do sort of get why the UK is dead set against identity cards, but dear god I wish we had identity cards instead of this mess.
    posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:06 AM on March 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

    Another vote for Credit Unions. They may have some of the same problems as banks, but I've experienced both, and I will never go back to a bank.
    posted by ambulocetus at 5:53 PM on March 24, 2022 [1 favorite]

    Honestly, I've never been particularly impressed by any credit union I've ever been a member of. All of them seem to lean real hard on the idea that since you're just dealing with ma and pa's credit union you won't mind their incredibly inconvenient branch locations and hours or their shitty website that they're constantly changing whatever crappy 3rd party software it runs on that for some reason won't ever register your computer when logging on so you constantly have to do 2FA or the fact that while you think you're getting great loan rates they are actually only kinda mediocre at best, etc etc etc. Most credit unions have been "fine, okay I guess" in my experience but none of them, even the once locally renowned credit union that everyone raves about here, has been anything other than just mediocre and majorly inconvenient in some way (but with a smile and obligatory small talk!). I've had much better luck with online banks that aren't necessarily one of the big top 5 national banks. They have the resources and incentives to actually provide decent services while not being total outright thieving predators like Wells Fargo or BofA.
    posted by flamk at 12:26 AM on March 31, 2022

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