Chase/Bank One Merger Super Fun for Customers

This week, Chase and Bank One merged their on-line systems. Birds shivered with glee. Stroboscopic dew drops danced on kittens claws in exultation. And Bank One customers got jacked like a cheap trick on Colfax Ave.

Read more, oh mein schadenfreudes, after the jump…

Sharon writes:

    “I have been a Bank One customer of long standing — actually, first an NBD customer, then a First Chicago customer, then a Bank One customer, and now a Chase customer. Remarkably, until now, none of the mergers really caused me any problem. Until now.

    A little over a year ago, I started using Quicken. I hooked it up to the Bank One site, and was able to automatically download all of my transactions every time I started Quicken, in one step. I was also able to interface with Bank One’s bill payment service from within Quicken, which was particularly convenient, as it meant that I didn’t have to pay the bill online and then enter the payment into my Quicken register — I could do it all at once. Bank One never charged a penny for any of this.

    Cue the merger …

    The week that merged into, Quicken stopped downloading my transactions. This was to be expected. However, the fact that a thorough search of the Chase site did not reveal how to fix this was a bit surprising. All I could find was a link to “activate Quicken or Money” for the low, low charge of $9.95 per month. $120 per year? For something that was previously free? I continued to investigate. Some Google searches led me to other customer dissatisfaction, a note that Chase takes the money out of your account for online bill payments earlier than Bank One did, and some online instructions from Chase on how to use Quicken for free … if I wanted to (1) go to Chase’s site, (2) download my transactions individually for each account, and (3) push them through to Quicken, one account at a time. This would not permit any interaction with the online bill payment system. This is also a pain in the ass. Note that in addition to the $120 increase for a service that probably costs them, on the margin, $0, to provide, they work the float even more shamelessly. Obviously, working the float in online bill payments makes banks MILLIONS of dollars. That’s why most banks encourage their customers to use it, and don’t charge their customers for the privilege of giving them some free money. For some accounts, Chase apparently charges for that service even without the use of Quicken. This is extortionate.

    So, I called the number on Chase’s instructions. I told them that I had previously been downloading my transactions from within Quicken and using Quicken to access the bill payment service. The response from the outsourced, offshore customer service agent: “Yes, can you tell me ma’am, did you connect by going to the Bank One site, or directly from within Quicken?” Then they gave me a different phone number to call. Repeat three times. Yes, three more times, I told them how I previously used Quicken and that it didn’t work that way anymore, three more times I was asked to tell them EXACTLY what I had just told them, and three more times, I was given another phone number to another outsourced, offshore customer service agent.

    At the fourth number, I found someone who told me that I needed to go through the “Activate Quicken or Money link” which requires your electronic signature on an agreement to pay $9.95/month and your choice of which account you want them to take the money out of. Not to worry, I was told. Chase charges its historical customers for this service, but since Bank One customers had never been charged, it would be free for me. Even though I was agreeing online that they could charge me. Their systems should know automatically not to charge me, but she’ll put a permanent record on my account, so that if I should accidentally be charged, I can just call them and they will reverse the charges. Right.

    I’ve had my oldest account with them for 14 years. I’m sure that changing banks is a logistical nightmare. But, this charging legacy Chase customers and not charging legacy Bank One customers obviously can’t last. If they charge for this service, I will seriously take my money and run.


    -Sharon in Chicago”


Edit Your Comment

  1. AcidReign says:

    …..I’ve had a Chase Visa for years. It’s a good, no annual fee card with a few perks. The interest rate isn’t competitive, but what do I care? I pay it off completely every month, and never pay interest. Their Chase online site can best be described as “byzantine.” Years ago, they wanted a monthly fee from you just to pay your bill online. And the kicker was the login screen with no encryption. That’s been fixed, these days, of course.

    …..Chase doesn’t want you to pay online. They’d rather send you a fat pack of ads in your snail-mail bill, along with some “free” Chase Rewards you actually have to pay for, if you read the fine print. Procedure: open bill, extract statement and return envelope, drop the rest in the shredder.

    …..At least they haven’t yet starting putting offers in the bill that you must respond to or start getting charged…

  2. It’s very disappointing to see the old Web site replaced by the inferior site. wasn’t perfect (using a POST to submit links, etc), but the minimalistic information design was very good. *sigh*

  3. Jeff says:

    I don’t know, Scott. Have you seen the account activity page now? It actually lists end of day balances and pending purchases. I used to hate to do the math and try to remember what I’ve done since the last set of debits posted. At first blush it seems to be a pretty accurate look at my balance, which is what I usually go to the site for. The online bill pay is a little different, but I haven’t found it to be inferior. I may change my tune as I use it more, but so far I’m liking the changes.

  4. drsmith says:

    My account has been Wachovia then First USA then BankOne, and now it’s chase. Don’t worry. It won’t be long until you’re sold to an even worse bank with even more problems. I’ve seriously considered closing this account every time it’s changed hands.

  5. ben says:

    I have a much simpler financial situation (one basic checking account w/direct deposit from work, so basically no fees other than ATM), and I haven’t had much trouble.

    I agree that the new Chase site is less simple and organized, but the ability to view pending transactions and end-of-day balances was something I really could have used a few times with BankOne. I’m glad it’s been added.

  6. RowdyRoddyPiper says:

    The Consumerist word of the day calendar has taken a decidedly german tilt.

  7. Timbojones says:

    I have only this advice: switch to a credit union. I don’t understand why anyone uses a bank when credit unions offer better rates, better service, fewer fees, lower minimum balances, more perks, less hassle.

  8. Nate says:

    Credit unions are no panacea. I was with my credit union for more than 10 years when they merged with another, larger credit union. The larger credit union’s computer truncated my address – and since I lived in a huge condo complex, the last part of my address was the unit #. I never got a single piece of mail from them. They would call me and say that, for some reason the mail was returned. Could I come into the branch and pick it up? Each time I would show them that the address was truncated, explain the situation, and they would claim they fixed it.

    So I decided to switch credit unions. Unfortunately, I discovered that most (all?) of the credit unions in my area had a very similar on-line banking system. Usually it would look different, due to fonts/graphics/etc., but they all used the same backend software. Not wanting to risk the same problem again, I switched to a local bank that is known for good customer service, and which uses a different computer system. With my luck, now that I’m happy, they’ll probably be taken over by Chase…

  9. Anonymous says:

    We have been with WAMU for nearly 10 years now. We have been very happy…until Chase took over. Now we cant access any of our California accounts to make a deposit. They are putting EVERY check on hold, even if it’s a paycheck. Nothing with CHASE is easy like it was with WAMU. I am looking for another bank.