Oh, You Use Quicken Or Microsoft Money? That'll be $5.95 Per Month

Wachovia is charging customers a $5.95 monthly fee to access their accounts through Quicken or Microsoft Money. The fee, which took effect April 1, aligns Wachovia with the 27% of banks that penalize consumers who access their accounts through money management software.

A Wachovia spokesman explained the change by saying, “This helps us offset some of the costs to our business for managing the access to the account information through the account software.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution rightly responds that the fee “underscores what has been a continual sore point for bank customers: seemingly being charged fees and surcharges for almost every little thing.”

To avoid the monthly fee, either download your records directly from Wachovia’s website, maintain a combined balance of more than $5,000, or take your business to one of the 73% of banks that doesn’t penalize the use of money management software. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Banks charge to download info through Quicken, Microsoft Money [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution] (Thanks to Matt!)
(Photo: Maulleigh)

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  1. homerjay says:

    Who needs this shit, really?? Cred-diddly-edit union!

  2. ptkdude says:

    Of course… it costs them $5.95 to enable you to access your account via Quicken or M$ Money, but God forbid they waive that charge if you agree to accept your statements electronically!

  3. Chase charges $9.95/mo for this service. I rather enjoyed using Money until the fee. Even though I’ve been a customer for 10 years, have a ‘premium’ checking account, 3 credit cards, and I share an account with my girlfriend who is a Chase employee, they wouldn’t bend on the 9.95 charge.

    Lame.

  4. hoffy7 says:

    I actually had this happen to me. I have a joint account with my mom and a joint account with my dad, and both accounts got hit with 5.95 fees on May 7. I called their customer service and they returned the fee when I said I was willing to stop downloading via quicken.

  5. TPK says:

    They probably figure that users of Quicken are accustomed to getting ripped off anyway, who would even notice the extra charge?

  6. ReverseCarpetbagging says:

    Anyone know if Credit Card companies are going to do this? That could put a serious hurting on the old arbitrage game.

    Wachovia doesn’t charge you if you have online banking and want to download the statement to Quicken. It’s just a matter of using Quicken’s online feature. This could hurt Quicken as much as it ticks off Wachovia customers.

  7. larfus says:

    I have issues with Wachovia even with out them doing this. for instance going up on a senior citizens credit card interest for know known reason. I will try and get a more detailed story about that later., but as homerjay mention credit unions are the place to be I guess with all the big banks greed.

  8. ReverseCarpetbagging says:

    Ok, so I completely zoomed by the last paragraph of the post. My bad.

    I agree about the electronic statement angle. It’s just like Ticketmaster charging you $2.95 to print out tickets from your house. When you save them an administrative expense or overhead costs, they still find a way to shift that savings to themselves by shifting other costs to you. Brilliant!

    Maybe South Park needs to do another version of the “Underpants Gnome” episode, and the could insert “Charing excessive bank fees” into them missing step between Stealing Underpants and Making Profit.

  9. add_robinson says:

    They do this, but Wachovia is still ranked #1 in customer service. Just shows you how bad the rest of they are.

  10. Zain says:

    @add_robinson: Who ranks Wachovia #1? In terms of customer service among banks it’s probably USAA that ranks first, then WaMu.

  11. acceptablerisk says:

    Perhaps someone could shed some light for me since I’m not that financially educated: What advantages does a bank that charges you all kinds of fees like this afford you as opposed to a credit union?

    I’ve had an account with my local credit union since I was sixteen and I’ve never run into this kind of bullshit. There must be something attractive about a bank if people are still willing to put up with this crap.

  12. oeolycus says:

    Bank of the West does the same thing w/ auto updated statements (from within Quicken). Just downloading the QIF file is free, but requires you to login, select a statement date, d/l, etc. I saw the $8 charge and called customer service.

    The rep told me it was a charge Quicken applied to them! I went in 5 days later and withdrew the entire sum and moved to ING.

    Banks really are skeezes. Remember when they were “hurting” financially because they had to staff so many tellers? Then the advent of ATMs! It wasn’t long before banks convinced us an ATM is really a convenience to US, not them. When I have to bank at the brick-and-mortar WaMu, I make sure to use the teller and not the ATM. ;)

  13. LTS! says:

    Intuit actually does charge a licensing fee to banks to use .QFX format files… so that’s not BS. The cost of that fee I cannot say. Some banks pass it on and some banks don’t.

    You can’t use .QIF files in versions of Quicken after 2005 and newer, so people get screwed there as well.

    I switched banks specifically because I needed automated access and my former bank charged while the credit union (whose system isn’t QUITE perfect does not).

  14. homerjay says:

    @acceptablerisk: Usually the answer given is this: Lots of easily accessable and fee-free ATM’s. Although, my credit union pays be up to $5 back each month in other banks ATM fees.

    People also seem to think that they can’t get an account at a credit union due to various membership requirements but from what I’ve seen the membership requirements are so loose at some CU’s that you need only be breathing to be a member.

    Also, my credit union’s closest branch is two towns away for me but they are also members of the Credit Union Service Center Network where I can go to a different credit union right down the street from me for teller transactions.

    In my opinion, there is NO reason for people to choose a bank over a CU. Prove me wrong- consumerists! Prove me wrong!

  15. mmartinphd says:

    I am a Walk-Over-Ya customer (but not for long) and we just noticed this fee a few days ago. We were notified ahead of time only by a message sent through Microsoft Money (who reads those???).

    The only reason we went with Wach in the first place is that they have ATMs all over Atlanta. Now I am thinking of going with an online checking account at ING or looking into WaMu… Any suggestions??

    One thing is for sure… Wachovia has lost a long-time customer (two if you count my wife) over this!

  16. mwshook says:

    I got my statement this week, complete with a $5.95 fee. Except I don’t use the software. I’ve been waiting until monday (my day off), in case I’m transferred 4 times and on hold six hours.

  17. OwenCatherwood says:

    @homerjay: CUs cannot offer certain types of loans (e.g. student loans) so they don’t force banks out of business; maybe members of banks get lower rates on these bank-exclusive loans?

  18. bjcolby15 says:

    I’ll take option #3 (move elsewhere). I use Quicken, but I don’t use the software service to download the records – I could, but I have my own system to sort everything out and it works just fine.

    Keep $5,000 in my accounts to avoid the $5.95 surcharge? No wonder the big banks are clueless when customers show up first thing in the morning to close their accounts – they’re tired of paying every little fee imaginable! No PR flak can justify that!

  19. homerjay says:

    @OwenCatherwood: But holding a student loan at a bank doesn’t require you do all your banking there.

  20. hereshow says:

    Customers will not be charged who access Wachovia Online Banking directly through personal financial management software and have an active Crown Access Banking, Crown Banking, Crown Classic Banking, Crown Select Banking or Command Asset Program.

    I use financial software on my PC and on a PDA with Direct Connect technology. I will incur no charge for this. I’ll bet many of the above posters don’t even use the services being discussed, nor have they taken the time to find out the facts. Wachovia is very progressive and has good customer service.

  21. Charles Duffy says:

    The post above indicating that Intuit charges the bank to offer this integration is right on the money.

    Personally, I think that Quicken’s attempt to double-charge their customers (once buying the software, another time relayed via charges levied against that customer’s bank) borders on immoral. Open standards, open formats, people! No single software vendor should have that kind of leverage.

    From Intuit’s FAQ:

    Q: Why does Intuit charge financial institutions a fee to connect to Quicken?
    A: Intuit charges a fee to financial institutions to connect to Quicken via Open Financial Exchange (OFX) because Intuit products, like Quicken, are uniquely positioned to provide financial institutions with a better way to attract, retain and serve their customers by offering a more valuable service. This small fee enables Intuit to offset costs, offer connectivity to more financial institutions, and continue to develop better products and services using the faster, easier and more accurate OFX method.

    Q: Does Intuit charge all financial institutions the same fee to connect Quicken?
    A: Intuit offers various pricing options for connectivity based on the size of institutions customer base. Smaller banks pay less than larger banks.

  22. humphrmi says:

    I’m wavering on this topic. I use Citibank, and they charge me $9.95/mo, non-waive able regardless of your balance. But it includes an huge number of free electronic payments via Checkfree. As a matter of fact, the whole service is via Checkfree. And here’s the kicker, before this I did business with Checkfree directly, and paid somewhere in the range of $20/Month, and still couldn’t download my transactions and balance directly – had to download a Q?? whatever file and import it myself.

    So now I’m paying 1/2 as much for more service.

    Dunno. I guess I wish it was free. I’m glad I’m paying $10 to do the same thing I used to do for $20. Whatever.

  23. mwshook says:

    Owen, homerjay,
    Credit Unions seem less inclined to lend money than banks. Also, they often offer less services.

    I tried to take everyone’s advice before buying a car, but my credit union denied my loan application. Three banks offered me car loans.

    Also, I use Wachovia strictly for online bill-pay because my CU’s online features suck. Of course, now see my above post. Wachovia’s charging me for a feature I don’t use.

  24. jaewon223 says:

    If anybody signed up for Money trial like I did back in Feb. I saw this strange charge which turned out to be this… If you call Wachovia they are more than willing to unenroll you in this and they will even refund you your money back.

    They were very polite and helpful. I did not even think I could get a refund but they were the ones that just did it for me.

  25. FLConsumer says:

    @acceptablerisk: Quite simply, Wachovia does an excellent job for those in the higher income brackets. Need a cashier’s check at 6am on a Sunday morning? Done. Need to make a transaction and don’t have everything you need in front of you? No problem, your banker will make it happen. Need a quick loan? Your banker will make it happen.

    My credit union gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look when I was asking about some of the transactions I was doing. Also, my credit union nickels & dimes me with fees. Need more checks? That’ll be $15. Lost an ATM card, $10. Want to wire money? That’ll be $12-$40 depending on where you’re wiring money to. Want to withdraw more than $200 a day from your ATM card? Nope, not allowed. Wachovia doesn’t charge me a single cent for any of those things. Also, Wachovia’s available to answer the phone 24/7. My credit union’s only available 9a-6pm.

    I’m also with mwshook, my credit union’s online BillPay sucks. 7 days is the fastest they’ve been able to mail a check. Wachovia’s via CheckFree is about 2 days, or overnight if I call my banker.

    I keep some money at the credit union, as I have instant access to my money there and still earn moderate interest levels. Long-term savings are over at ING Direct, and my operating accounts and credit cards run through Wachovia. Almost forgot that one — my Wachovia Visa has far superior rewards, rates, and features than that offered by my credit union. For some strange reason, my credit union really pushes their Visa debit card. They don’t even have any printed literature on their credit card. Doesn’t exactly seem consumer-friendly to me.

  26. Buran says:

    @1337 4 L: You did close your account and go to another bank that doesn’t charge that fee, if you want to use the software, right? Complaining here won’t help, sadly.

  27. mac-phisto says:

    @FLConsumer: the fees at credit unions are generally “a la carte”. if you utilize something you pay for it. conversely, if you are receiving the services you refer to for free at the bank, it means someone else is paying twice for it. which, of course, is in your best interest, but not everybody’s.


    regarding intuit’s fees, let’s just say that your bank, credit union, whatever gets to pony up a whole buttload of money annually to make sure you can download your info. still, i think charging is bad practice. what wachovia is losing in providing this service, it’s gaining in customers.

    i wouldn’t be entirely surprised if they were planning on unveiling their own money management software that will be free for customers in the near future.

  28. FLConsumer says:

    @mac-phisto: It’s not my fault other people aren’t using what they paid for. Just like at a hotel with a pool and exercise room — ALL of the guests are paying for these items to be there; it’s totally up to them as to if they’re going to use it.

    I’m thinking Intuit needs to get their crap together. The later versions of Quicken suck. The 16-bit core is still there, but now they’ve tried bolting on all sorts of things to a 10 year old core. It’s time for a re-write…and time to listen to what users really want. I DON’T want little Quicken advertisements everywhere. Chances are, if I’m using the full premium version of Quicken, I’m not going to be using Quicken’s loans or their BillPay service, especially when every linked account I have on Quicken has BillPay set up through their respective banks.

  29. wfpman says:

    As a former employee of Wachovia (lowly bank teller) there is a lot I dislike about their sales practices. But its all the big banks in general that are guilty of charging ridiculous fees and engaging in aggressive sales practices and predatory lending in some shape or form.

    If you read the book Maxed Out by James Scurlock there is a former banker by the name of Jon who says it best “With each merger Jon gained a new title and lost a little authority until, just before he quit banking altogether, Jon was nothing more than a cheerleader for mortgages, car loans, credit insurance, credit cards, and all of the other financial products that banks package.”

    That’s the main reason I left. It’s not about the people it’s about the sales and nothing more. It’s about getting people into debt.

    “but twenty-first century banking is as much about building relationships as Wal-Mart is about building communities.”

    That is the absolute truth. And here is the main goal.

    “The game is delivering credit (the enabler) as efficiently as possible to the maximum number of consumers and converting that credit into debt (the product). What’s really important, then, is being the low-cost provider. And to do that, you must maximize your economies of scale: You must get bigger and bigger and you must become ruthlessly efficient at every level of the company. This is why Wal-Mart is trying so hard to build a bank, and why the big banks are so zealously lobbying against it.”

    http://www.jasongooljar.com

  30. timmus says:

    You did close your account and go to another bank that doesn’t charge that fee, if you want to use the software, right?

    Agree with that sentiment. The only way the bank-fee racket will go away is if people stop giving these companies their business.

  31. raindog says:

    Since I’m pretty sure 73% of banks aren’t paying Intuit’s extortion fees to be included in their users’ dropdown lists of acceptable banks in Quicken, I just don’t think this is a big deal. Users should be forced to pay more to use Quicken, because maybe someday enough users will get upset enough to switch to a less awful program.

    Of course, they’re charging the same fee to download into MS Money and as far as I know, Microsoft doesn’t have the same extortion racket going on. Not that I trust them any more than I trust Intuit.

  32. Walkallovaya says:

    I stopped using my Quicken direct connect after getting the new fee notice in March.

    Nevertheless, the fee was charged to my account for April on 5/7.

    I called right away and explained that I had no interest in paying the $5.95 and therefore had completely stopped using the feature. The CSR got *touchy* with me and told me that the letter had notified me that I needed to “de-enroll” from direct connect to avoid the fee. I replied that I had no idea there was an enrollment in the first place; she contended that I “must have” enrolled last year. Fine. Whatever.

    At that point, she was nice enough to walk me through the “de-enrollment” process and she put through a fee refund also. Apparently, to avoid the fee, if you used direct connect in the past, you need to adjust the account setup in your program, and then call the bank and have them do something on their end.

    I didn’t need the attitude (“It *told* you in the letter that you need to de-enroll and call..”) but all is well that ends well. I’ll keep my account because they’ve got branches all around but the real money sits in my high-yield at an internet bank.

    TO AVOID THE FEE, you may need to do more than just stop using the feature.

  33. elforesto says:

    US Bank charges the same amount for the “privilege” of having Money directly download the statements. It seems that “free” online banking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anymore.

  34. aparsons says:

    What I do is pay for everything on my Citi Mastercard, which doesn’t charge for downloading transactions online through Quicken. Then, at the end of the month, I write 1 check which covers everything on my Mastercard. So, every month, I only have to manually input 1 transaction into quicken.

    Also, with respect to the question “Why would people want a big banking institution as opposed to a Credit Union”….

    I used a credit union (Belco, in Harrisburg, PA), and found that it was behind on technology. I had to pretty much drive a wire transfer process a few weeks ago (they had no idea how to wire money to Chase Manhattan). Then, I needed a car title adjusted, for which they held the lien, and they had no idea how to do that either. Well, they didn’t know how to do it until I asked how to close out my account, then they all of a sudden found someone who could help me, by saying “Call AAA. Here is their number.” I bank at Bank of America now and keep just enough money in the Belco Credit Union to cover my car payment.

  35. mwshook says:

    I called Wachovia today about the fee. They refunded it promptly, and I was on the phone only 6 minutes. Better than I expected.

  36. Elvisisdead says:

    SmithBarney charges $125/year for the privilege, but getting it waived depends on the willingness of your adviser to eat the fee. That’s why I had my holdings and cash account transferred to USAA. Can’t remember why in the hell I thought it was a good idea to use SmithBarney in the first place. SB tapped my account for a $90 transfer fee in the process. It took a buddy of mine calling internally to get that one reinstated and transferred, as well.

  37. dwneylonsr says:

    Wells Fargo wants $3 per month for using MS Money or Quicken to automatically download transaction data, plus another $6.95 if you want to use Bill Pay from MS Money.
    from the wellsfargo website:
    “Online Banking through Quicken or Microsoft Money is $3.00 per month. Bill Pay through Quicken or Money is free for the first two months to all newly enrolled customers and $6.95 per month thereafter. The monthly service fee includes up to 25 bill payments per month. Each additional bill payment is $0.40.”

    USAA charges me nothing but doesn’t have a MS Money Billpay option, however, I can use their online Billpay interface for free.

  38. I really have to start reading my mail…