Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scottrade and Bank of America Wouldn't Give Me My Money! Grrrr!

I recently decided to sell some stocks in a regular Scottrade account to pay some expenses as part of the financial restructuring after my loan payback last month.  I had never cashed out stock from an online brokerage before, and I assumed that, after the stock transaction cleared, it would be like any online account - 3 business days to transfer funds electronically.  I needed the money to pay a cheque that I expected to hit my bank account on January 15th, so I thought I was in good time when I sold the stocks on January 3rd.  I was wrong, wrong, wrong.  Here is the actual timeline:

Day 1 - Monday - Stocks sold.
Day 4 - Thursday - Stocks clear.  I call Scottrade before noon to order my cheque.  They say it will be sent out that day.
Day 8 - Monday - My cheque arrives.  Scottrade has an office less than 30 miles away from me, and it took them 4 days to get me my cheque? WTF?
Day 9 - Tuesday - My cheque goes out in the mail to my bank, which has no branches in my state.
Day 16 - Tuesday - My bank acknowledges receipt of my cheque, but won't free funds until the next business day. It should not take a week to send a cheque from LA to FL; my post office is usually very good, so I am guessing that the problem is somewhere in FL.
Day 17 - Wednesday -My cheque clears at my bank and I have actual possession of my money.

Luckily for me, the cheque I thought was going to hit on Day 13 (Saturday) hit on Day 18 instead, so I wasn't overdrawn, but that was the closest to an overdraft on my checking account I have been since before I graduated high school.  Not where I like my finances to be!

Lessons I learned from this:
(1) EF money cannot all be kept in brokerage accounts in case I should need cash quickly.  I'm not sure what my ratio of brokerage accounts to savings needs to be, but the 100 to 0 ratio that I am rocking this month is obviously not a good idea.
(2) I need a new bank.  If I'm going to have all the inconvenience of an internet bank, I might as well have some of the advantages.  I bank with Bank of America because it made sense when we were moving every few years all over the country and I was traveling all over the world.  Now that our only foreseeable moves are within the United States, and our travel is strictly recreational, it's time to get a grown-up bank account.  Do you have an online bank that you would recommend?


  1. If you're going online bank I recommend ING. I have both a BofA and an ING and they work pretty well in combo. What I love about ING:
    *No fees for overdraft, they just change a % APR rate like a credit card would and you have to apply to get more than $25 overdraft
    *No fees for transferring to/from other accounts - so it is super simple to transfer money from BofA to ING
    *Interest. They give modest interest on the checking account. It isn't a lot, but something is better than nothing.
    *No minimum balance, no fees.

    If I could be in love with a bank and marry them, I would chose ING.

    If you want a referral code for ING for an extra $25 let me know. I can hook you up. ;)

  2. Hey LG,
    We fired BofA some time ago when they raised their fees for a safety deposit box 45%. Fail!

    With Scottrade, we've only withdrawn once, but we went and picked up the check from the nearest branch. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience.

  3. I second smallstepsforbigchange. I've used ING for my emergency savings account for several years now and have never waited very long for money :)

  4. Got rid of BofA a very long time back and couldn't be happier! I actually have a very good opinion of Scottrade even though I don't use them much.

    Why were you physically moving checks - why not an ACH?

    On ING, I don't like their wait times when you do an ACH - they received the money, but you have a wait a few more days to access it! Doesn't cut it. Ally is better in that aspect.

  5. Scottrade charges $20 for an ACH; having a cheque cut was the only way to get my money out for free.

  6. Wow, lesson learned. I don't have any investment accounts, only ING. They are pretty straightforward and easy. It does take them a couple of days to make a deposit and then a couple more days to get the cash. As long as you know ahead of time what the timeframe is, it's no problem.

  7. Lost Goat: I'm pretty certain there are no fees for ACH. There is a fee for wire, but not for ACH. I covered Scottrade in the past and I still have an account there, I've never paid a penny for ACH transfers.

    I checked the site to make sure and I don't see ACH fees listed! (I regularly cover online brokers and I *HAD* to know! ) :)