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Fools,

I mentioned I was thinking about openning a Netbank account to garner their $50 sign on bonus last weekend. Well, my plans were delayed and I was only now reading the terms for the account in detail. Turns out there's a $25 termination fee if you keep the account open less than 6 months. That would eat up half the bonus, considering I have a deadline for return of the funds.

What's more, there's actually a $5/month bill-pay inactivity fee. I'm unclear as to whether there has to be billpay tied to a money market account; but if so, I would either have to start routing other funds through the account just so I can pay bills, or I'd actually loose $5 when I had to take the $5K back to pay off MBNA -- where I borrowed the cash from at 0% to start with.

Considering that NetBank's Money Market account is only paying 2.75%, I'm now considering it a bad deal. If I had the $5K for a little longer and I was sure I wouldn't have to use their billpay and/or pay some inactivity fee, it might be worth the hassle. As it is I'm scratching NetBank off my list.

NetBank customers! Please tell me why I'm wrong.

- Joel
Cross-posted to the CC Board
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I don't know how old you are, but if you are 40 or older, consider Bank of Internet USA's Boomer Checking account. Here are some of the benefits:

** 3.00% APY
** No minimum or average balance requirements
** No monthly fees
** Free Bank of Internet basic checks for the life of the account
** Up to $8.00 in ATM surcharge rebates
** 20 free bill payments per month ($.10 each over 20)
** VISA Check Card or ATM card
** Real-time processing
** Online images of cancelled checks and deposit slips
** No early closing fee
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I don't know how old you are, but if you are 40 or older, consider Bank of Internet USA's Boomer Checking account. Here are some of the benefits:

http://www.bankofinternet.com/open/boomerchecking.asp

The BofI.com boomer Checking Account is available to anyone who is at least 45 years old.

Dagnabit.

Jeff
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The website says that the Boomer account is available to anyone who is 45 or older.

However, Gary Evans, the bank CEO, has said that they will soon lower the age to 40, and in fact are already approving accounts for people 40 and older.

I am 40, and I was approved last week.
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I am 40, and I was approved last week.

Nice to know, thanks. I may join you.

Jeff
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I am just a bit over 40 and opened an account with Bank of Internet in early May, after Gary Evans responded to an e-mail inquiry indicating that the age threshold is being reduced.

Bank of Internet offers great online banking convenience along with unbeatable high interest and account perks. Don't waste your time with NetBank unless you want to spend a lot of time avoiding fees.
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A clear case of age descrimination !
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As a former customer of NetBank, my advice is to avoid them. They are constantly coming up with new ways to fee you to death.
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GoCowboys,

You wrote, I don't know how old you are, but if you are 40 or older, consider Bank of Internet USA's Boomer Checking account.

Sorry, I'm only 37.

I was interested in NetBank because I've borrowed a large chunk of change ($23,500) from MBNA at a 0% APR until November. I was hoping to take advantage of the $50 signup bonus. Unfortunately, the fine print nixed the deal.

Right now, the majority of these funds are sitting in an ING account earning 2.75% APY.

I'm still considering Ford Financial, where I can earn 3.25% APY on $15,000; but that requires I send in an application and the initial funding by mail. Since that may be a slow process (and I still haven't finished reading their prospectus), I've decided not to fully fund that account until I can do an ACH transfer to and from the account.

I've also decided to shift some of my personal efunds into a short-term bond fund at Vanguard. I'm still wading through the fund descriptions there trying to understand the data and figure out how likely their returns will persist; but I think this is the right decision, at least until the Fed reverses it's interest rate policies.

The only other signup bonus offer I've found is for a GEFN (GE Interest Plus) account. All transactions on that account must be by mail or phone, which almost makes it unsuitable for a short-term investment. But given the size of the bonus in relation to the investment -- $25 for a $500 deposit -- it's too good to pass up. I'll eventually sign up and fund that account when time permits, even if I have to do it out of my personal efunds.

Both the Ford and GEFN accounts are managed by Northern Trust (which I've used before btw) -- which makes me wonder why access to the accounts seem so different. Also, a large deposit at Ford seems unwise, given that these two money market accounts are really no more than an ultra short bond fund (stable price) with a portfolio concentrated into one company's bonds (relatively high risk). Given the need to invest so much into the Ford account to make it yield an attractive rate, I'm worried that it too is an inappropriate investment for these funds.

- Joel
Frustrated that he can't earn much better than 2.75% APY on other people's money.
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NetBank customers! Please tell me why I'm wrong.

Joel,

I've had a Netbank MMA for 18 months and have never had to pay a single cent in fees. No bill pay inactivity fees (hint: don't sign up for it, not sure it's even offered on an MMA), no "just because it's Tuesday" fees, no "It's raining in Atlanta", none of the myriad of fees that others say you might get stuck with. Maybe I'm the only Netbank customer who hasn't paid a fee, but I doubt it.

If you're going to stick the money there and leave it there, the only fee that you have to consider is the six month termination fee.

Air
satisfied Netbank customer
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Yeah I never paid any fees with my NetBank account.

Basically NetBank charges fees when you have inactivity. If you use the account then fees are no worry.

And bring back "ReggieRiches" (I think I got the name right) - The Netbank fan.
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Vulstock,

You wrote, Yeah I never paid any fees with my NetBank account.

Basically NetBank charges fees when you have inactivity. If you use the account then fees are no worry.


As I've said in previous posts, I only have the funds to open the account through November. I would be forced to pay the $25 termination fee.

I'm not willing to jump through hoops just to avoid inactivities fees during that time. If I can open the account today, make a good profit and close the account around 11/1, then I'm game. But given my requirements, the profit looks small and I would have to work for it.

- Joel
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You only have to have $250 in a money market with NetBank to avoid fees. If you have that much of your own money, put it and the free loan in, then in November pay back the free loan. After 6 months you can take the $250 out.

You really only need $200 of your own money, because their $50 will count towards min balance.

And there aren't inactivity fees on a money market unless you sign up for the bill pay and then don't use it.

I have a checking and money market with them. I use the bill pay on the checking, but just put my $250 in the money market, and have let that plus their $50 grow. Haven't touched the account, and have had no fees.
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velvet74,

You wrote, You only have to have $250 in a money market with NetBank to avoid fees. If you have that much of your own money, put it and the free loan in, then in November pay back the free loan. After 6 months you can take the $250 out.

That's a good point. I have to maintain a minimum balance of $5,000 for a while in the money market account to get the $50; but I think the term is 3 months or less.

Let me re-read the fine print this weekend. Maybe I'll sign up after all.

BTW: I'm reluctant to move my checking account there. I wonder if your checking account activity is why you have no inactivity fees. Again, let me re-read the fine print.

- Joel
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That's a good point. I have to maintain a minimum balance of $5,000 for a while in the money market account to get the $50; but I think the term is 3 months or less.

Let me re-read the fine print this weekend. Maybe I'll sign up after all.

BTW: I'm reluctant to move my checking account there. I wonder if your checking account activity is why you have no inactivity fees. Again, let me re-read the fine print.



I think part of the problem is that Netbank is quite aware of the "open an account the get the opening bonus then close it immediately" mentality. They seem to have fees that are structured to try to discourage people who are looking for quick cash for free as opposed to people who are actually looking for a checking account or MMA with good rates.

So far I am being charged NO fees with netbank. (as opposed to keybank who had the nerve to ding me $2.00 for a balance INQUIRY that wasn't from a keybank ATM... grrr... did I mention they expect me to pay $5.95 a month for billpay?) Oh yeah, gotta call and get that account closed... (grin)

Ed
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What fees?

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I've been a NetBank customer for over 2 years now. I'm a service member stationed overseas, so it can take up to two weeks for a check mailed from here to get to there. For those few companies that don't offer the option to pay online, I was constantly dealing with the hassle of fighting late fees and explaining my situation. Toll free numbers from overseas are not free, so I began to weigh the option of just paying the late fees....

Anywho, with NetBank Bill Pay I could have NetBank cut them a check from my account and mail it to the creditor from the States so it got to them in 5 days or less. No more late fees. Once the creditors were paid off, I simply removed them from Bill Pay. You only pay the $5 inactivity fee if you have creditors set up for Bill Pay and do not pay them for 3 months. I don't know about you, but if I fail to pay my creditors for 90 days or more, the last thing I'm worried about is a $5 inactivity fee!

There was one time that NetBank charged me a $5 fee by mistake. I used the secure BankMail to let them know of the error and it was immediately corrected. In fact, their customer service has been outstanding since I became a customer.

It seems to me that the 3 biggest gripes about NetBank just don't make sense:

1. $25 closure fee if you close your account before 6 months.
2. Charges for inactivity.
3. ATM Fees

The $25 closure fee just makes sense. First off, you've just received $50 to open the account. That's $25 they can't get back. Secondly, it costs NetBank $$ to open and close an account. It's man-hours, paper, free checks, possibly a debit card, postage and what have you. That's money they're not going to get back. So it's easy to see that they'd like to "discourage" people from just taking the money and running.

The inactivity charges make sense. This company is able to offer higher interest rates than B&M's and tries to make their operation run as efficiently as possible. Again the best way to do that is to "discourage" those practices that are wasteful of the companies resources. That makes sense to me. It's not like they're trying to trick their customers either. Every opportunity is given to customers to understand the new fees with a reasonable timeline to adapt.

As far as ATM fees go, what ATM fees? I've never had a problem getting money out of an ATM and the only time I had to pay a fee was at an airport in NYC. That fee went to the owner or bank of the ATM I used, not NetBank. Furthermore, I had to agree to the charge before I could get the cash. Not being a native of NYC, I didn't think it wise to drag my luggage all over in search of a "no-fee" ATM. I opted to pay the couple of bucks. NetBank is a member of many ATM networks. I'm sure people can find some place to make a "no-fee" ATM withdrawal. I know I'm not having this problem.

It just seems strange to me. Most of the NetBank posts I read is more bashing than useful information. How is it that I (and my wife) are having such a good experience banking with them. Are we just easily pleased?

Fool on...

PRMADM
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I wonder if your checking account activity is why you have no inactivity fees.

Double check me on this, but my understanding is the the inactivity fees are if you sign up for bill pay and don't use it. So if you don't plan on using it, just don't sign up for it.
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