Emigrant Direct

Currently, I use ING for my savings account.  Their interest rates are at 3.8%, but I’ve always been tempted to sign up with Emigrant Direct, since their rates are always higher (currently 4%).  A month ago, I decided to take the plunge and sign up.

To begin with, their signup is a lot more complicated with ING.  Good or bad, it just takes a lot longer to actually start making money.  Anyways, you can open an account with no initial deposit.  Being that you can’t demo the system before you sign up, I figured this would be a good way to make sure I actually liked what they do, and that I wasn’t jumping into something I didn’t want to be in. 

After signing up, you have to attach it to an account so you can get money in and out, and they can authorize the account.  Not a problem.  Since I was going to transfer money out of my ING account to begin with, I put in the account and routing details for it.  I then waited 3 or 4 days until two deposits were done, and then I signed back in to Emigrant to authorize the account.  Unfortunately, that’s not the last step.  Turns out to be able to sign into the account online, you need to wait for your first billing statement to arrive.

So, I wait.

On the 22nd or so, I finally get a statement from them, so I proceed to sign in.  I get a strange error message while signing in, but figure it’s just a glitch since it refreshed on its own, and was gone.  So, after I finally get signed in, I get a “General Error” when I attempt to view my account.  They have a message center, so I fire off an email to figure out what’s going on.  The reply follows.

Dear Customer,
Thank you for your Inquiry.
According to our records, your American Dream savings Account has been closed effective 12/15/2005 due to an initial deposit of “0.00”. After 10 business days of the account at a “0.00” balance, the account will be closed.
However, In order to reopen the account please mail in a check to the following address.
Mail in a check made out to EmigrantDirect for at least one dollar with your EmigrantDirect account number

Please mail the check to the following address:
EmigrantDirect
ATTN: Communication Department
13 Croton Avenue
Ossining, New York 10562
Thank you for banking with EmigrantDirect
-Shahara H.

Let’s point out what’s wrong with this email, shall we?

  1. My name is not “Customer.”  Is your system so archaic that you can’t retrieve my name from my login ID?
  2. How was I supposed to fund the account when it took > 10 days to receive my mailed bank statement?
  3. Why does your sign up process inform you that you don’t have to fund the account, when you, in actuality, do?

Ok, so those last two weren’t actually part of the email, but it’s implied based on what was offered to me during signup.  And don’t you worry faithful readers, I emailed back Shahara and let her know how assinine this policy is.

I haven’t yet sent off an check to them, because after looking over the interface, it leaves a lot to be desired.  I can’t even add additional accounts to automatically fund an account.  Or at least, I can’t do that from any of the menu’s I currently have available.  Maybe someone who has a functioning account can instill a little bit more confidence, but as it stands, I think I may not do anything with Emigrant. 

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