I recently dumped Wells Fargo as my primary bank and I wanted to share my story as to why. I actually promised my Wells Fargo personal banker I was going to blog about my experience as well as post it on Facebook and Twitter. So, here is the blog and I will link to it on FB and Twitter when I finish posting. Hopefully it will enlighten some of you as well.
I was a member of a local bank in Fayetteville, Georgia for a number of years before it was bought out by Wachovia. After adjusting to Wachovia and using them for several years, they were purchased by Wells Fargo. I have to say, once the transition was made to Wells Fargo, I was immediately unhappy with their level of service and product offerings, specifically their online banking. Having already related my story to family, friends and co-workers, I am finding many of you have been very unhappy with Wells Fargo as well. However, it wasn’t until my recent experience that I was finally pushed over the edge with Wells Fargo and was motivated to dump them completely.
Already unhappy with Wells Fargo
I was already not pleased with Wells Fargo due to their inadequacies in online banking. The Wachovia online banking experience was, in my opinion, far superior to that of Wells Fargo. The Wells Fargo interface is far more bloated, busy and confusing. My biggest concern however, was the way their online payments were scheduled. Instead of selecting a pay date for the bill, you are required to back out the date and determine a send date and schedule your payment there. Even though the calendar app will show you the dates to choose from, it is still an additional and somewhat confusing step. The problem with this is… Wells Fargo will deduct the funds from your account on the send date, not the date the payment is actually made. For instance, if you send a check to an individual, the funds are removed from your account on the send date, regardless of when the check is received or cashed! While I considered this unacceptable, I still was not fully motivated to dump Wells Fargo… yet. It wasn’t until they revealed themselves to be totally and utterly uninterested in me as a customer that I finally dumped them and moved to the Delta Community Credit Union.
Our embarrassing experience… thanks Wells Fargo!
This past December, Beth and I went shopping for Christmas gifts for each other. For anyone who knows us at all, this led us to the Apple Store. We had decided to purchase the new iPad Mini for both of us… one in white for Beth, and one in black for me. Of course we wanted the 64 GB LTE versions, top of the line for both. We had checked at the Lenox Apple Store and they were not available, but we were fortunate to find them in stock at the Perimeter Mall Apple Store. We were excited to find them and decided to buy them immediately on the spot… or so we thought!
We selected our two iPads and our salesman ran Beth’s Wells Fargo debit card. You guessed it I’m sure, the card was declined. Declined! Even though Beth had significantly more than enough in her account to cover the approximately $1,300 bill. No worries, our supportive salesman said, it sometimes happens with purchases like this, so you might want to call the bank. Embarrassed, we had to step out of the holiday line and make a call to Wells Fargo to straighten it out. Now I am sure you are thinking like we did, that a simple phone call would resolve this and we would be on our way with two shiny new iPads. Not so fast. Beth called the number on the card, and after a series of prompts was finally connected to a real person. She explained the situation to her, and was met with a surprise. Wells Fargo has a $1,500 per day limit on their debit card, and Beth had made a $500 purchase online earlier in the day. Fair enough. So, we are calling to verify Beth’s identity and have the purchase approved, right? Nope. The voice on the line said… Wells Fargo won’t raise the limit and authorize the purchase even with verified identity. The limit is $1,500… period. That can’t be right you are thinking… so read on…
By now our iPads have been set to the side, and our salesman is helping others (who are looking at us wondering why we are blocking the line). So, we decide to pay by check and inquire if Apple will take a check. Yes, they will take a check, but we are told they will verify funds using the same method as the debit card. Hmmmmmm. Ok, so we then decide we will put one iPad on Beth’s debit card and one iPad on my debit card. This will reduce the charge on her card to about $700 plus the $500 she ordered online earlier in the day, putting her well under the $1,500 daily limit. Declined again! So now, because we had tried to access the full charge and had it run, we are unable to access any funds in the account! Totally embarrassed, we assure our salesman we do have the money to make our purchase, and to his credit he is very supportive. We finally use a totally different card on another account to make Beth’s purchase, and we are able to complete the transaction for our iPads. Humiliated, we take what should have been a joyous purchase of our Christmas gifts and we excuse ourselves from the other customers who were held up because of us.
The plot thickens…
As you can imagine, I was not happy with Wells Fargo. So, on the following Saturday, I made a trip to my local bank to complain about how we were handled… and to hopefully find out it was all a mistake, get an apology and correction, and move on. Boy, was I wrong.
I finally sat down with my personal banker after an extended wait in the lobby. I let them know I was an unhappy and unsatisfied customer, but I wanted to give them the opportunity to shed some light on what happened and to make the situation right. I then proceeded to tell my story. Once I finished, I was in for more surprises from Wells Fargo.
My personal banker verified again the spending limit on the debit card was $1,500 per day, and there would be no exceptions, even with verified identity… in other words, the voice on the phone had been correct in denying our purchase. Further, the personal banker assured me the $1,500 would not and could not be raised, even if I requested it from the bank (which I was doing in person). My biggest shock, however, came when the personal banker told me she herself did not bank with Wells Fargo for this very reason, and kept her money at another financial institution.
Now, if you know me, I am likely to walk into the Apple Store and make a purchase over $1,500 at any time… iPads, MacBooks, Thunderbolts… in fact, I purchased our two MacBook Airs at the same time, as well as our two Thunderbolt displays. But there are many purchases that can exceed $1,500… big screen TVs, auto repairs and more. So, exactly how does one make such a purchase with Wells Fargo? Well, I asked that exact question. The answer was surprising to me again. Put it on a credit card. Yes, that is exactly what I was told. For those purchases, I will have to put them on a credit card and then pay them off (if I choose to), even though I have the money in my account. Seriously? That, or I was told I could come by the bank and get cash. However, calling the bank and authorizing the amount on my debit card is not an option. And here is the kicker, I was told this was for my protection! To this I said, that’s bull***t, and you know it, it is for your protection, not mine. After mumbling a bit, my personal banker finally admitted it was not for my protection but for the bank.
At this point I told my personal banker I would be closing my account. I could not and would not keep my money in a financial institution that denied me the basic and fundamental ability to use my own money. Based on the lack of interest they are paying on my money, I told her I would be better off keeping my money in my mattress where I would always have access to it and would not have to have their permission to use it. I told her I would be blogging about this, and posting it on FB and Twitter, to which she replied, let me check on the $1,500 limit for you and get back to you. I gave her my business card with my phone and email and said she better check quick. That was in December. It is now February. I guess that shows how Wells Fargo follows up with customers.
Delta Community Credit Union… the Chick-fil-a of banks
I have since moved all my money and accounts over to the Delta Community Credit Union. As a retired Delta employee I have had my DCCU account for over 15 years, but only used it as a secondary account. Now, it is my primary and only account.
The customer experience at DCCU is awesome, and I consider them the Chick-fil-a of banks. Their employees are friendly and knowledgeable, and more importantly, they are extremely helpful and courteous. However, I rarely need to speak with an employee because I use their awesome online banking.
Online banking is once again a pleasure to use with DCCU. The interface is the simplest I have ever seen and is completely intuitive and straightforward. AND they schedule payments on the pay date! No more taking money out of my account early! I simply select the date I want the bill paid and I’m done. Imagine that!
Debit card limits? The debit card limit is $2,500 for debit and $2,500 for credit in the same day = $5,000 per day if you split how it is charged. AND if you need more, just call and they will adjust your spending for that day to enable you to complete your purchase. After all, it is my money and I should be able to spend it the way I want to.
The moral of the story…
This Saturday, I needed work done on my truck and the bill came out to $1,562.40. I reached into my wallet and pulled out my DCCU debit card and smiled as they ran it. Approved! How simple was that?
You, of course, are free to choose your own banking experience to meet your needs. However, if you bank at Wells Fargo, you might want to check into their practices and see exactly whose money is in your account… yours… or theirs…