Banks in Seattle
Seattle life -> Banks in Seattle
The following banks have offices and ATMs near/on UW campus. Where possible, links into bank web sites are directly to WA state services information, but you know...dynamic pages happen.
- Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking is a good deal. FDIC insured, interest bearing and no ATM fees.
- US Bank (ATM/branch locator) - US Bank is "The Only Bank on Campus" having a full service branch location in the Husky Union Building as well as 10 UW ATM locations. Student Checking accounts are no minimum balance/service fee accounts with free checks and free non-US Bank ATM transactions. See the branch for details or call/e-mail Tom Powell, Branch Manager @ 206.543.2407 Tom Powell
- Bank of America (ATM/branch locator) - There is an ATM in the HUB - near the Subway. There is a branch on the Ave. at 47th, ATMs on Ave. and at U. Village shopping center (Note: The ATMs listed which have "University Village" as their location did not map properly on the Bank of America site as of 8 Sep 2001. U. Village is located down the hill northeast of campus.)
- Key Bank (ATM/branch locator) - branch just west of the Ave. on 45th, ATMs there and at U. Village
- United Savings & Loan Bank - branch two blocks west of the Ave. on 45th
- Washington Mutual (ATM/branch locations) - branch on Brooklyn Ave. (one street west of the Ave.) at 43rd, ATMs there and at U. Village
- Washington State Employees Credit Union (branch and ATMs) - Free access to any Credit Union's ATMs. (4 ATMs <1 mile from campus and ~100 downtown) - U. District branch, ATM, and drive-through on NE 45th St at 11th Ave NE (Intel Research Seattle building), ATM at the HUB near the etc. convenience store, see GoogleMapsATMs or ATMs for a complete list & map of free credit union ATMs. Students are eligible to join WSECU, plus most grad students are TAs or RAs, so technically we're state employees, too.
- Wells Fargo Bank (ATM/branch locator) - branch on Ave. at 45th, ATMs there and lower on the Ave. at 41st
- Boeing Employees Credit Union - All students are eligible. There's a branch on the Ave and as of 8 / 09 there's one Coming Soon! on 25th Avenue just above Blakeley.
Banks not quite right near campus:
- HomeStreet Bank - There's a branch at 35th and 82nd NE. I ended up closing my account because I wanted to transfer in and out electronically for free, and they told me I could and then it turned out there was a fee. So I'm not impressed. But if that doesn't matter to you, you could feel good about supporting a local bank that claims to do lots of community service. -- eherbst
Some feedback from a recent conversation on cs-grads:
Anybody has tips on which bank is the best to open a new bank account for international students? I don't really have a previous account in the US, so I am fresh and shiny. Every banker's wet dream ;)
I've had experience with Chase (former Washington Mutual), Bank of America, and Wells Fargo:
- Chase seems fine, except they don't have that many ATMs. - Bank of America was OK too. They tend to screw up somewhat more than Chase more on simple operations but have more ATMs. - Wells Fargo -- can't say much positive about it. They don't seem to be better in any way than Bank of America or Chase and have some ridiculous rules (e.g., they'll keep transferring $75 from your checking to your savings account every month "to bring up your savings habits" -- this is literally how they explained it to me; if you don't want this "upbringing" you need to pay a $12/month charge).
These are just my personal impressions though; others may tell a different story.
Don't know about the other banks, but I have been happy with BOA. They offer students FirstChoice Gold checking account with no fee, and some cash bonus to both you and the referrer. (Chase is offering $100 bonus for opening a new checking account and setting up direct deposit).
BOA is great for travel too. At least in Germany, and in China you can get money out of local banks with a BOA account without being charged. Not a first hand experience though, I'm with Chase :-(
I've had accounts with BOA for many years, mainly because their ATM network is great.
However, I also had a series of bad experiences with BOA; although you can get an account without a monthly charge, they are extremely clever in charging you for things you don't want.
One example: They frequently send you letters about silly services that cost extra, and sometimes they send you letters saying things like that they've changed their account offerings and as a result your account has been converted to a "Gold" account. Later, you'll realize that the "Gold" account has a monthly charge. Also: should your balance ever go below $0, they will charge you a very high fee. I believe that they are also more expensive in sending money abroad or receiving money from abroad than many other banks.
My recommendation: open an account with BOA to get access to their ATM network, but be very careful with hidden fees.
One recommendation I haven't seen mentioned yet are credit unions. Since credit unions are non-profit, they're less likely to play various hidden fee games that commercial banks do.
BECU and WSECU seem like top contenders, and anyone in Washington can join. They both have branches in the U-District, ATMs on campus, etc. The BECU ATMs even scan checks instantly and accept cash deposits. I believe you can use any Co-Op ATM for free, but I almost always find myself getting cash back whenever I make a debit card purchase instead of going to ATMs.
Or you could consider a credit union. Personally, I've been very happy with the Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union (www.smcu.com). Few fees, good rates, convenient services (e.g., overdraft protection, free online banking and billpay, etc.). I find that credit unions in general tend to be less evil and a better value than banks. YMMV.
agreed with raphael. i just switched from boa because of all the tricky fees. i'm with charles schwab and they are much friendlier -- they also waive all atm fees.
credit unions are also great, but might not have all the features one would like in a bank (say mint.com support).
I'm a recent convert to credit unions -
I was with Wells Fargo forever, but then my wife started working at Watermark CU in Seattle (watermarkcu.org). They have basically no fees, and lower fees when they have them. For example, everyone will charge you something if you go negative but credit unions often just put it on your credit card for free if you have one registered with them.
The biggest downside people cite is the late of ATMs compared to the national chains. I've recently moved (how sad!) and have had no shortage of ATMs in the CO-OP network - I've taken out cash at the MIT Credit Union, 2 CUs in Rochester, a random ATM in the Denver airport, at the University of Maryland, etc. I've also deposited checks and got cashier's checks at a non-Watermark CUs for free. Seems like every CU belongs to this CO-OP network because I've never actually had to go online and look for one, although they have a decent web interface for finding ones near you.