Reallocating Bank Accounts

I have two checking accounts and one savings account at Wells Fargo.  The first checking account was opened many years ago, maybe even as long as twenty years ago, and I use it mostly for our personal finances.

When Mr. A started his business, we decided to open an account to use for his business.  He was only working for a couple of family members to start out and we weren’t advertising or actively promoting his business to the public, so we thought having a regular account would work out. We could get the account free, if we opened a savings account, and made a transfer to savings once a month. Otherwise they charge $12/month for the accounts. Also at this time we were having to get money orders and they are free with this particular plan.

It worked out pretty good and then business started picking up and Wells Fargo started fussing at us, realizing one day that we were depositing a check with a business name written on it (something we’d done many times before and they never said one word)  that this wasn’t an official business account, and then started trying to talk us into getting a business account every time we went into the branch, and also by phone. Mr. A wanted to have an account with a credit union so we finally went and did that in April 2009. I was so glad when we opened the official accounts because then I could order checks with the company name.

We stopped using his Wells Fargo account then, and it just sat kind of dormant. Until one day I noticed we’d been charged $12 service fee.  I called my personal banker to find out why and she said when she set up the accounts she set it so that the service fee would be waived for the first year. I told her I thought it was waived because of the savings transfer, which I’d set one up automatically, on purpose, to avoid the service fee. Well, it turns out that the savings transfer I’d set up was from my old personal checking and that doesn’t count. Bummer.

So there’s this weird shuffle I have to do every month. Move some money into the checking account we aren’t using, so that the automatic transfer can occur and go into savings, to prevent being charged $12/month.  If I have the extra money to let it go into savings, I just leave it. But sometimes I don’t have the extra money, so I have to move it from savings back to personal checking.

In order to stop this extra hassle, I’ve been thinking about reallocating those accounts.

Additionally, I need an account where I can put the income I earn for side jobs. It would make things a lot easier if I stop commingling the money.

What I’m thinking about doing is making the second checking account the main checking account. That way all the savings transfers I’m already making for personal upcoming bills will take care of waiving the account fees.  Then I can use my original checking account to manage my side jobs income.

I am also thinking about opening a separate PayPal account to accept payment for side jobs which pay online, and I can then connect that account to the original checking account.

This won’t be too difficult to do, I will need to get Mr. A and AJ debit cards for the other account, since they both have cards for the original one.  I have a few automatic payments coming out of that account, as well as some automatic savings transfers.  I guess I need to make a list of what needs to be done.

Finally, I am planning to use the savings attached to the checking account as our emergency fund, which I have slowly been building. I want to move the excess funds (over the emergency fund amount) to ING Direct sub-accounts. I am reluctant to put all the money over at ING Direct, even though the interest is better than Wells Fargo I want to make sure I have immediate access to at least $1000 at all times.  I know it takes a couple of days for the money to move sometimes, and I don’t want to make the mistake of say forgetting to pay the auto insurance until the last minute and then bam, no access to any money because I also forgot to move money over.

Have you ever reallocated accounts?

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16 comments to Reallocating Bank Accounts

  • I have our main checking and a “secret” account at my bank. My savings accounts are all with ING online. Do you have ING? I would make it easier on you. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Mrs. Money: I do have ING. Here is my one question about ING. How do I get money into ING directly? I mean, do I always have to put money into a brick and mortar bank, then transfer over to ING electronically?

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  • It just seems wrong to have to pay a service charge . . .not today! I hope you find a way around that.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Simple in France: As long as I make that monthly savings transfer, everything is okay. Having written that post, I was thinking that I do have several savings transfers happening already, just from different accounts. I could select one of those transfers to go into this checking first, instead of directly into savings. Maybe I’ll do that in the meantime until I get everything situated.

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  • Pretty sticky situation you are in with the transferring of money in, out, into savings, etc.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about ING. When I need to retrieve my money from those accounts, it goes threw flawlessly.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    My Financial Objectives: But doesn’t it take 2-3 days?

    [Reply]

  • Wow, my head is spinning just trying to keep up with your accounts! Sounds like you need to consolidate.

    With ING you can open up one of their Electic Orange checking accounts. they give you a debit card and they have bill/pay features. If you need money from your savings you can transfer it to the checking, which is instant, and them pay bills or take it out of an ATM.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Craig: Okay so I know I can get money OUT of ING. But is there a way to put money directly into the account without doing it electronically? For example, my paycheck still comes as a paper check and electronic payroll deposits aren’t happening in the foreseeable future. Would I still need a brick and mortar checking account to deposit that money? I mean, would the ATMs take deposits? Do you know? Thanks, Mrs. Accountability

    [Reply]

    Craig/FFB Reply:

    @Mrs. Accountability, I don’t think you can deposit checks. You can check the site or give them a call to see.

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Craig: Thanks for stopping by and letting me know. I’ll give them a call and see. Thanks!

  • I also have a Wells account that they “made” me open and they transfer my $75 from the personal checking to the personal savings once a month. This is the second post I’ve heard about how banks waive the fee for a year, then begin charging a monthly bank fee. I’m thinking I might have to eventually close my personal checking and savings account since I don’t use it very much and open one at a credit union. Thanks for this post. It’s motivating me to look into a credit union!

    [Reply]

    Mrs. Accountability Reply:

    Hi Little House: I am pretty sure the $75 is their suggested amount of transfer. I have stuck with that, too. But my son has the same kind of account and he has a lower amount transferred over automatically each month. Don’t most educational systems have their own credit union? Maybe the one associated with your district will work for you.

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  • I closed a checking account a couple of years ago when the monthly fees were too much of a hassle to keep. They couldn’t be consistent with their bill pay rules. I used it 3x or more a month and yet I had to call a few time to have the fee waived. I consolidated some accounts and noticed my finances going much smoothly.

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  • I am beginning to hate banks. My main bank is becoming PNC. I wonder how soon some nasty changes will happen. I have had this account for 20 years. I got it because my employer at the time to save them money told us to get a free checking account with the bank or we would not be paid. It was a good deal for us. Since then the bank has been acquired 4 times.

    [Reply]

  • Melissa

    I took a leap of faith this year and closed seven checking/savings/line of credit/credit card accounts and consolidated everything into three accounts at the same financial institution. You wouldn’t believe how much less stress it is to know that everything is in one place and you don’t have to do maintenance transfers, etc. It was a pain in the neck getting everything to transfer, but now I know exactly where all of my money is and my chosen financial institution charges absolutely zero fees. All of the reasons I gave myself before for keeping all of the different accounts open just weren’t very important.

    [Reply]

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