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Q: find the best checking account in chicago ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: find the best checking account in chicago
Category: Business and Money > Finance
Asked by: krautland-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 25 Jul 2006 22:33 PDT
Expires: 24 Aug 2006 22:33 PDT
Question ID: 749592
I am looking to change banks and I just can't seem to find the right
one. I have two requests if you are considering answering this
question: please be familiar with the financial industry in chicago
and please be precise in which one you recommend.

why I am changing:
I currently have a checking account with washington mutual. without me
having lost my debit card, the information has been compromised.
someone has gone through stores in new york state and spent about
$3,800 this past weekend. which is forcing me to live off ramen
noodles until my next payday. given that I had planned on buying a car
and using this money as a downpayment this week, I am extremely
frustrated at the lack of effort on washington mutuals part. upon
complaining, they told me it would take five to seven business days
until the funds would be back in my account and that I would have to
pay overdraft charges. considering that I neither spent this money nor
am willing to claim responsibility for the compromised data (I do not
enter sweepstakes or use this card online and haven't in fact used it
at all in three months), I feel wronged. thus my relations with
washington mutual are coming to an end.

my financial situation: 
I make $75,000 per annum yet am prone to going into the reds. it's not
that I spend all that much, I'm just the eternal artist who is
completely incapable of bringing his checks to the bank on time. my
credit reflects that. I am allergic to hidden fees and minimum

what I desire:
a checking account with a bank that will just work. I am impatient. it
bothers me that washington mutual is so inflexible. there is a rule
for everything here. I opened this account in los angeles years ago
and in spite of being the same company, simple maintenance requests
(like a certified check) are impossible for the local branches in
chicago to fulfill. I am looking for a bank that will pick up the
phone right away, that cares about getting me out of their branches in
as little time as possible and that gives me excellent online banking.

your task
is, should you accept it, to find the ideal bank for the chaotic,
demanding yet highly functional sociopath that is me. I want you to
consider my situation, compare available banks for a resident of
chicago, illinois and make a recommendation. which checking account at
which bank would make me the happiest? you do not have to go into
great details here. make one recommendation, if you like, and I will
go with it if I understand your reasoning. credit unions are okay as
are commercial banks. you do not have to prove to me that you did the
research. only the result matters to me.

bonus: I have a record here of being a good tipper. while the original
bid for this question is low, I will offer a $50 tip in three months
if I am happy with what you recommended. make sure to let me know how
to contact you at that point.

thank you,

Clarification of Question by krautland-ga on 25 Jul 2006 22:38 PDT
post scriptum: feel free to let me know if you have an amazon-wishlist
or something equally simple to use for the tip.
Subject: Re: find the best checking account in chicago
Answered By: gregaw-ga on 26 Jul 2006 08:18 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Finding the right balance of available services and good customer
service is often very difficult.  I believe that my recommendation
will satisfy both.

Bank of America's My Access Checking

After comparing checking accounts with numerous banks I like the "My
Access" checking account from Bank of America.

Cons: Monthly Fee of $5.95  -  Waived if you have a monthly direct
deposit to the account. - You didn't say that a fee was out of the
question.  I believe the $6 dollars a month is worth the benefits.

No minimum balance required 
Free Online Banking service
Free Bill Pay - I thought this was a big plus.  All free accounts
charge for this.  If you've never used it you should give it a try!
Free Bank of America Visa® Check Card with Total Security Protection®
and Photo Security®
Unlimited check writing 
Easy access to funds either online, by phone or using one of over
16,000 ATMs all with no fee
Open an account with just $25 

Another big plus is the number of facilities in and around the Chicago
area.  Here are a few:

2332 W. Cermak Rd. 
Chicago, IL 60608 

231 S. La Salle St. 
Chicago, IL 60604 

205 West Monroe Street 
Chicago, IL 60606 

2 North Riverside Plaza 
Chicago, IL 60606 

105 W. Madison St., Ste. 101 
Chicago, IL 60602 

You can find additional locations outside of Chicago "proper" using this page:

I called each of the locations listed above.  They all do have an
automated attendant answering the phone at all locations, but after
selecting the customer service option my call was always answered with
delay.  I did not spend any time on hold.

You criteria for "excellent online banking" is definitely met.  In my
opinion you get what you pay for, and considering your demands, the
monthly fee is very reasonable.

I look forward to getting your feedback.
krautland-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: find the best checking account in chicago
From: probonopublico-ga on 26 Jul 2006 02:02 PDT
I very much doubt if any other bank will perform any better in the
same circumstances.

What I recommend is that you get two credit cards from other issuers
and scrap your bank-related one.

This way you partly protect yourself if one of your cards gets compromised.
Subject: Re: find the best checking account in chicago
From: markvmd-ga on 26 Jul 2006 05:46 PDT
I'd look for a credit union you can join. I've been with the same one
for 20 years and never have had a gripe. To this day, they still cover
my occasional overdraft (sloppy checkbook balancing) without a charge
and even send a polite "Hey, Dummy!" note.
Subject: Re: find the best checking account in chicago
From: krautland-ga on 27 Jul 2006 08:51 PDT
thank you for the answer, I will try them out.

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