Best Bank in NYC?

What bank do you use, and do you find it convenient? I use Chase, and I'm not a huge fan - there's not enough ATMs in my area, so I always end up paying a fee. What's your experience on the matter?
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hhusted 2yrs+
I use Chase. I like Chase because they have a lot of ATMs around. You can find ATMs in Duane Reade.
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
Since the financial crisis I admit I feel yucky about the Big Banks, and just last fall switched over to a small, NYC local bank. It doesn't have many branches, admittedly, but it has one in my neighborhood and that's all I really need. Also, since living in Europe, I've become so used to using debit cards, that I rarely need cash from an ATM, and in the last few years more and more stores have started accepting debit cards. Dont know if it actually makes a difference in the big picture, but I'm trying to support the smaller local businesses wherever I can, and this particular switch seemed easy enough to do. Oh, and it happenes that my local branch is in one of those big, beautiful beaux-arts classic buildings, so I just enjoy the aesthetics whenever I walk in the there.
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
I love the convenience TD bank offers in the way of extended banking hours. They also have a wonderful product in the form of a gift card which is free for account holders and can be bought in denominations from $25 to $500. These gift cards are debit cards which can also be used for online shopping which I think is absolutely brilliant as it helps you limit your risk only to the amount for which is loaded on the card. I know Bank of America also has a similair product called Shop safe which issues you with a temporary credit card number for the amount if you buy something online. Like Uraniumfish T too seem to use debit cards extensively I find that its a much easier way to control your spending since your account is debited almost immediately.
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Going local sounds like a great idea, @uraniumfish. I too only use debit - what branch are you with, Uraniumfish?
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hhusted 2yrs+
I understand about using the smaller banks. Some smaller banks will provider better rates and other benefits big banks don't. Plus, many smaller banks are more highly rated than the bigger banks.
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
I am with Uraniumfish when it comes to hating big banks... but so far have been too lazy to do anything about it. I'm with BofA and have been for a long time. They have branches everywhere - including close by in Williamsburg, so I haven't given much thought to switching.

A lot of places in my neighborhood only take cash, however, so unlike other posters it's something I sometimes need.
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hhusted 2yrs+
Although, I agree with you about big banks, and you should be leary of them, I have had Chase for a long time and never had a problem with them. I do not plan on pulling out now. I love the bank because I can go to any ATM in the city that is backed by Chase, and there are a ton of them.
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
I got a total of $150 for switching to my bank, for using my bank card and making a certain number of deposits within the first two months. That seemed like a good motivator for switching.
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
@that's great Uraniumfish everyone could do with some extra cash nowadays. My bank TD currently has a promotion going on wherein in you spend $100 on groceries on your Debit card you get back $10. My husband couldnt believe it when I told him this as he seemed to think the bank wouldn't be able to afford the pay out but just checked TD Bank's website yet again for the rules and they state the same. I usually pay cash for my groceries maybe this month I will use my debit card..
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
@uptowngirl Yeah, I couldn't believe my bank would just hand me $150 and kept checking for the catch. But it really did show up in my account, just as they promised.
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hhusted 2yrs+
Chase bank keeps contacting me about opening a business checking account. They claim that if I do, they will throw in $200 just to get me started. I already have a personal checking account. Maybe when I incorporate my writing business I'll think about it.
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
I'm still trying to figure out why getting people to make a lot of transactions is profitable enough for the banks to want to throw money at you as an incentive. Since I'm careful not to go below my minimum and incur fines, they're not directly making any money off of my transactions.
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
That was an interesting read, BroadwayBK. So my bank is assuming that they'll eventually make money off me by pitching a lot of their other products and services at me in the long term. But if I have an extremely good ability to just say NO, then they still gave me $150 for nothing.
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
They will still make money from every transaction you make with your debit card - apparently they make a lot more for a signature debit than one where you just enter your pin, but they profit all the same. http://thefinancebuff.com/2007/12/why-banks-push-debit-cards.html

They don't make much off each transaction, but I'm sure it adds up as you gain more customers.
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
The minute I find out I'm being charged to use my card as a debit card, I'm gone from that bank. So far as I know, my bank hasn't done that to me. Still not sure how they make inter-charge fees, though. Am I just not understanding something? My debit transactions show up as the amounts that I had at the time of purchase, without any transaction fees attached. So where is the bank making money from for each transaction?
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Wow, Uraniumfish, thanks for the tip! I could use an extra $150 any day of the week!
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
Count on it taking about two months, but yeah, ajadeidelaist, it's been a decent deal for me so far.
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
No, banks don't charge YOU to use your debit... they profit from the transaction. I believe stores have to pay a fee when someone uses a debit or credit to buy something. This is one of the reasons why stores push for PIN debits rather than signature debits...they pay less for the former. So you are making money for the bank every time you use your card. Capeesh?

Cash transactions are the bank's enemy, if you want to do battle. :)
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
Okay, BroadwayBK, capeesh. I will continue to do battle against the Big Banks with my small debit ways...
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How do the banks make money off us using debit cards, @BroadwayBK? It sounds utterly bizarre, but then again, so does much of the labyrinthine world of banks...
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
@Uraniumfish Touche.

@ajadedidealist When you make a purchase with a credit card or a debit with a credit card logo, the store or restaurant or whatever where you are making the purchase must pay a fee on the transaction. PIN transactions cost less for the store than signature transactions. I am assuming that stores and restaurants factor in this fee when they are creating prices, so we are probably the ones really paying for it.
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hhusted 2yrs+
When I go to stores they give me a choice between using a debit card or credit card. I talked to my bank and they said that if I use my debit card as a credit card, I'll get money back. So I use my debit card or check card as it is also referred to as a credit card. When I use the card and build up so much use, I get $250 for my using it. I was told I would get that money when I use the card up to 10 times. I did and noticed the funds appeared in my account the next month. So my bank gives me incentives to use my check card as a credit card.
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
Here's a survey of customer trust, which many of the big banks have apparently failed in the last few years:

http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/108801/the-least-trusted-banks-in-america?mod=bb-checking_savings

I'm actually in the market for a decent credit union in the city, if anyone knows of a good one...
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
@thanks Uraniumfish what an interesting article ! I wish I had a suggestion about a credit union you could join but I am afraid I dont have much knowledge of the same.
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hhusted 2yrs+
A lot of banks are failing these days when it comes to customer service and trust. I guess hearing about so many banks failing, people begin losing trust in banks. I don't blame them. I think that may be one reason when I walk into Chase bank, I am surrounded by reps trying to get me to open accounts in their bank. Yet, I read that J. P. Morgan Case made a huge profit last quarter. So they are making money.
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
@uraniumfish actually Ariana Huffington actually advocated a boycott of the Big banks and a shift to local banks and credit unions as one of her suggestions to save NYC's finances in an article that I read yesterday and have quoted in another post on this site.
http://www.avenuemagazine-digital.com/avenuemagazine/201002/?pg=50#pg52
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
Cool, uptowngirl! That's a good article, and I like Ariana Huffington and her populist sensibilities. I remember whne she started out as a blogger and everyone was citing her and her popularity as indicators of The End of Newpapers and Quality Journalism. Puh-lease.
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hhusted 2yrs+
Thanks for the link, uptowngirl. Much appreciated. I'll read it when I get a chance.
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
@uptowngirl I really like that link as well - I'm kind of inspired to switch banks now...

@Uraniumfish Do you have to keep a minimum balance in your checking at all times?
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
@BroadwayBK For the first year no, and we'll see what kind of commotion I make in a year when they try to enforce a minimum balance rule. There's nothing keeping from walkign away at that point and going to a different bank, so I may be able to talk this rule away...
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
@uraniumfish Like you, I also seem to extensively use debit cards however was watching a program yesterday which advocated the use of credit cards over debit cards for stuff like booking a hotel room( no can do with a debit card), airline tickets( never use your debit card for if the airline goes belly up you will not be entitled to a refund) and of course to build credit history. Made me stop and think, presently I only use my credit card to refill /buy my metro card for most other things I use debit cards.
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
@uptowngirl But as we've heard from BroadwayBK, it's to a bank's advantage to try to encourage people to use credit cards as opposed to debit cards. Debit is used all over Europe, and very routinely, for most everything you want to buy, from airline tickets to the check at a restaurant. And it makes so much sense, since the charges show up immediately, and you always know what you have in the bank. With credit cards, it's easy to lose track and over-spend, which is how banks make money. Just would wonder who's making the program you watched, you know?
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
of course Uraniumfish the thought did cross my mind but since like you I almost exclusively rely on debit cards it just got me wondering ...though I must tell you when the Canadian low cost airline Zoom went belly up my husband and I got our refunds only because we had bought our tickets on our credit cards. However we had to really battle with the card's issuer to get our money back!
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
@uptowngirl @Uraniumfish You can actually use your debit card as a credit card if it has a CC logo on it - Visa, Mastercard, whatever - and get the same protection you would get using a credit card. You just select "credit" when prompted, or you tell whoever is running the card to run it as credit.

http://banking.about.com/b/2008/12/30/visa-talks-about-using-debit-cards-as-credit-cards.htm

http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/2008/12/22/visas-take-on-debit-cards/
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hhusted 2yrs+
It seems harder to get your money back if you use your debit card than if you use your credit card. If you use your debit card, you would need to contact your bank and report the transaction as fraud or unauthorized. The bank would give you provisional credit until the case is resolved. With a credit card company, you have to request to dispute the charge, which could take up to two billing cycles to show up.
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I've had no issue booking airplane tickets and hotel rooms with a Debit - maybe I'm just lucky. I have a US debit with Chase and a UK with HSBC and both work fine, although the HSBC less so in the USA.
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hhusted 2yrs+
Yeah, ajadedidealist, I had no problems using my debit card either. I just gave them my number and they processed it like a credit card.
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
@ajadedidealist just prior to the whole Zoom airlines fiasco I had bought airline tickets at ba.com using my debit card but when Zoom airlines went bankrupt we were told that we would have no chance of getting a refund if we had used a debit card. Ever since that incident I have been a bit cautious with the use of my debit card. Also in the UK because of their chip and pin technology I always have to tell the cashier to process my US debit card as a credit card. Sometimes they agree at other times they create a song and dance because they dont want to deal with it and then I have to pay cash.
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Uraniumfish 2yrs+
@uptowngirl I do my banking online mostly. My European card lets you wipe out debit purchases you don't agree with one button. Then it's up to the vendor to pursue the matter if he really feels you owe him the money. The last time I booked a flight with that card, the charge came up twice on my account because I booked through the internet and there was a glitch. It took only a day to challenge the charge and get my money back. The logic to that incident was: no one can charge me anything unless they provide a product in return. How would that logic not apply to the case of an airline going under? If they haven't provided you with a product, then shouldn't they not have the right to charge you. Anyway, my debit card made getting my money back incredibly easy. (Of course, I've never seen anything that makes this much sense in the States)
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
@Uraniumfish That Zoom incident was a real fiasco. My husband actually wrote to the CEO of Bank of America to get the charges reversed as the airline had gone bankrupt. Until then the bank wanted the charges to hold and would reverse them at the next billing cycle when the service was denied to us. Much arguing and debating later they agreed to void the charges as there was no way that we were going to get service as the airline had declared bankruptcy and ceased operations. I seem to recall that many of Zoom's English clients who had bought their tickets with debit cards were not as lucky save those who were stranded in the US/Canada who were ferried back to England on BA/Virgin. My husband and I used to be big fans of the low cost all business trans -Atlantic carriers who unfortunately all went best as soon as the recession got underway. Believe it or not we also were affected by the MaxJet bankruptcy but that story has happy ending as we came back to NYC on EOS which used to a discount first class airline.
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DBlack 2yrs+
After reading all this through, I'm considering making the move away from my big bank!
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hhusted 2yrs+
I deal with Chase bank and so far haven't had a problem. If someone charges to my card without my authorization, I call my bank, file a complaint and the next thing I know, the charges were reversed.
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
@Everyone we have discussed various issues about the city's banks and have somehow arrived at the conclusion that small,independent banks are much better in the city. However I recently came across two news items which illustrate that even these small banks are not without reproach. The first news item describes the first failure of a small independent bank in NYC in 11 years- the Liberty Pointe Bank due to bad real estate loans.
http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20100312/FREE/100319964

While the second item talks about the take over of Park Avenue Bank by Regulators after its former president tried to falsely claim TARP funds to fund a lavish lifestyle.
http://gothamist.com/2010/03/16/park_avenue_bank_head_charged_with.php
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hhusted 2yrs+
@Everybody: If you do a bit of digging, I think you will find that the majority of bank failures has been because of bad mortgage loans.
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DBlack 2yrs+
By the way, I just noticed today that Citibank is offering $100 cash as an incentive to open a bank account, similar to what Uraniumfish was describing. Looks like the big banks are following suit.
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JenMac 2yrs+
I'm a little behind on this post but I gotta say I'm all about the big bank. I'm with Chase and I've never had a problem, there are ATM's literally on every corner, and Chase is everywhere. So, whenever I go out of town I don't have to worry about not having a bank somewhere near me. I get the notion of supporting a local bank, but if you travel a lot, it is just such a pain in the ass.
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Fair point, @JenMac. My boyfriend uses a cooperative bank - it might be ethical, but he has tons of problems using his credit card to order online, etc.
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hhusted 2yrs+
@JenMac: I am with you. As I stated earlier in this forum, I do use Chase and never had a problem.
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
@JenMac @ajadedidealist Good points. I'm with BofA (which I probably already mentioned) and have never had a problem locating an ATM or using my card abroad.
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hhusted 2yrs+
@BroadwayBK: I hear a lot about Bank of America. They did have financial trouble last year but got bailed out by the Federal Government. I believe they are more stable now.
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
@BroadwayBK I too have a BofA credit card and so far so good. I do like their Shop Safe facility which allows you to generate a temporary credit card number just for online purchases. Better security that way.
hhusted I dont know about their retail bank but BofA's investment bank absorbed many of Merill's star brokers when it took it over last year and is now going great guns I believe.
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hhusted 2yrs+
@Uptowngirl: That is good to know. Hopefully the trend continues and BofA continues to grow as Chase has been doing.
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I've luckily got an account that recognizes that I'm always abroad (even this break, where I didn't intend to travel at all, work/etc is taking me to seven countries...) Otherwise I'd have such a hassle every time I wanted to take a trip...
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
@everyone I sometimes use my overseas bank cards in NYC and recently I was pleasantly surprised when I swiped one of those cards at a machine an Ann Taylor Loft Store. The machine gave the $ to Indian rupee exchange rate for that day and even told me the amount I would be charged . As most banks charge an additional 3% to 4% when you use a card overseas this was extremely useful. Wish all stores have this reader soon. It would make life easier for tourists in NYC as well.
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JenMac 2yrs+
ajadedidealist: what a boring / horrible life you have!! I get excited going to the park . . .
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uptowngirl 2yrs+
@JenMac LOL
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hhusted 2yrs+
@JenMac: Hey, don't pick on my friend, ajadedidealist. She's cool. :) :)
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
@JenMac seriously... I don't envy ajadedidealist whatsoever.
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Oren 2yrs+
I have Chase, only because they have tons of ATMs in NYC and also have a pretty large presence in my parent's hometown too. They haven't been terrible, haven't been great either.
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BroadwayBK 2yrs+
I think it's fair to say that all banks are evil. This guy seems to agree: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-raymond/the-evil-of-banks_b_129971.html
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DBlack 2yrs+
@BroadwayBK I would have phrased it differently and used less curse words, but my sentiments are pretty similar to that guy's.
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Peter Howitz Feb 10, 2017
Pretty much all of the major guys have free checking if you get direct deposit. Other than that you've got to check out their website and look around at who has ATMs in areas you frequent. I use Chase and it doesn't cost me anything as long as I pay attention to what I am doing. https://www.bankbranchlocator.com/banks-in-new-york-city-ny.html is a good list to start..

Credit unions are generally small and member owned. In my experience, the customer service has been incredible. My CU also does credit cards and loans, and they have really good rates.
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Peter Howitz Feb 10, 2017
Pretty much all of the major guys have free checking if you get direct deposit. Other than that you've got to check out their website and look around at who has ATMs in areas you frequent. I use Chase and it doesn't cost me anything as long as I pay attention to what I am doing. https://www.bankbranchlocator.com/banks-in-new-york-city-ny.html is a good list to start..

Credit unions are generally small and member owned. In my experience, the customer service has been incredible. My CU also does credit cards and loans, and they have really good rates.
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