Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I was surprised to find out something that I guess everyone else knew but me. I had all along been planning on taking my time to set up our banking here in Raleigh. I figured that almost all of my transactions took place online anyway, what was the big deal in having the brick and mortar 500 miles away?

My bank was Falls Savings. That bank doesn't exist anymore, it was bought out by Fifth Third Bank (don't ask me about the name) around 1996 and so it became our bank by default. We just left it the way it was and things were fine.

I knew before we moved that 5/3 didn't have a bank branch anywhere in NC. That was ok, I thought, I'll just conduct all of my business through the ATM and the internet. I even discussed it with a teller at the Arlington St. branch and she agreed that ATM or USPS would be a great way to handle my transactions. (I later reflected that sending a signed check through the mail may not be a great idea after all).

So, one day last week I needed to deposit a couple of checks. I went to the Wachovia ATM next door and put in my card. My options were 1) Check Balance 2) Fast Cash $50 withdrawal 3) Cash withdrawal 4) Cancel. Where's the deposit button? I had filled out the envelope and everything, signed the checks, did the math, I was ready to go!

So the deal is that if you want to take money out, you can access your account from just about any ATM in the world, and of course, along with that, they're happy to charge you a little fee for their trouble. My logic was that if they can make a withdrawal, they oughta be able to do the opposite. Right? I was even prepared to pay a small fee. Didn't happen.

So I decided to go into the branch and ask what was wrong with their ATM! OK, I didn't know that....sorry. So, I opened a checking account right there on the spot.

Fortunately, the little research I had already done led me to the conclusion that Wachovia was the bank I wanted to use anyway. I just wasn't ready to start using it this soon. I spent last weekend going to all my linked accounts online (because I'm such a day trader) and changing or adding the new routing and account number.

So, for future reference, I guess one can only make ATM deposits at the bank associated with the ATM. Otherwise, you're stuck.