What’s The Ultimate Banking Solution?

We reviewed three of the top direct banking solutions, HSBC, ING Direct and Citibank ESavings. HSBC trumped for having the most features and fewest restrictions. There’s no minimum balance and doesn’t need to be linked to a second account.

For the ultimate in banking solutions, link your HSBC account to a Fidelity one. You can buy and short stocks, place balances in money market accounts, in addition to access to AMEX, debit card and a checkbook.

A downside is that you’ll have to juggle a Fidelity debit/credit card and an HSBC Direct ATM card, but we think you’re up to the challenge.


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  1. Ben Popken says:

    Octavia writes:

    “Is there a reason people can’t just use their local credit union as their “banking solution”? As non-profit entities, credit unions have no motivation to charge you outrageous fees for everything, and you can get all the usual banking services through them, including nationally accepted credit cards like Visa.”

  2. Sure, there’s a reason, Octavia. Banks that do most of their business on-line are a hell of a lot better deal. I’m in the process of switching from my local credit union’s puny .6% savings account to Citibank’s 5%. It would take a lot of outrageous fees to make up that difference.

    The same thing goes for checking. I’m getting $200 for switching to Citibank’s checking account. I average about 2k in my checking account, and I’ll look for another deal in a year. That’s a 10% return on a checking account. And there’s very little fine print- use direct deposit, and the whole thing is free- no outrageous fees.

    The straw that broke the camel’s back was my local credit union’s website inability to export Quicken files. Add that on top of the other Luddite tendencies they have, and it was an easy switch for me.

  3. thrillhouse says:

    Your local credit union usually does not offer these kinds of rates on a simple money market account. They’re fine to use as your main checking/savings account, but this is a step beyond that to keep your money safe and liquid, yet earn a respectable rate of return.

    Anywho – this is a good comparison. I like ING as they are not one of the great satans of debt like Citi Group and HSBC, but this does make the case for HSBC. I guess you have to determine you plan to use the account and what type of access you’ll need.

  4. Drinker Nisti says:

    We have lots of warm-fuzzy feelings for our credit union (Kintecta, in SoCal) and will always keep up a membership for their very competitve loan rates. Their interest rates for savings accounts and CDs are better than the local banks (Wells Fargo, BofA), but pale in comparison to the online options. We’re happy ING customers– it’s a great place to park emergency cash/rotating CDs.

  5. Flexo says:

    The online banks used to make it easy to link to each other, making online transfers a cinch. The banks must have grown wise to the rate-hoppers as with many you now need to supply a voided check (rather than just rentering the routing and account number) to link accounts, and most online banks won’t supply checks.