Friday, January 08, 2010

Chase ATMs

I'm sick, so I stayed home from work today. Since I rarely get sick, I wasn't really stocked up on sickie supplies like cough drops and vaporizers, so I needed to make a drugstore run. The bank is right across the street from the drugstore, and I had a check to deposit, so I stopped to save myself a trip later.

First some history, and then I'll finish today's story. I've had a Washington Mutual account since I was 14 or 15, and I've always been happy with their service—until they became the largest bank failure in U.S. history, that is. Late last year JP Morgan Chase purchased Washington Mutual Bank (with some facilitation from the government), and so after more than 10 years, I suddenly—and involuntarily—had a new bank.

Not long after the switch, I went to a branch to make an ATM deposit, and I discovered a problem: there was no "deposit" button on the ATM anymore. I could withdraw money, but deposits were apparently no longer accepted.

I went inside to talk to a teller, and after waiting in line for a few minutes, I explained my situation. The teller had no idea what was going on, but helped me with my deposit. I was annoyed that what should have taken 45 seconds took over 10 minutes, and decided that I didn't like this new Chase thing very much.

(As a side note, I've never understood why I can't just hand my deposit to a teller, perhaps after swiping my debit card, and leave. Why in the world do I have to wait for them? One time I even asked the teller if I could just pretend that she was an ATM and walk away, but she wasn't allowed to make the deposit if I left.)

The next time I needed to deposit money, I again asked the teller why the deposit button was gone. He said that while the bank branches had been switched immediately to Chase, the accounts would not be switched until October 2009, and ATM deposits would not be available until then. Great. A whole year of waiting around in line to deposit checks.

Since I hate waiting in line, I made as few deposits as possible until October. In mid-October I had collected a few checks, and decided to try my luck again. Doh! It turns out that I was one day too early, and I still had to wait in line.

That brings us to my drugstore trip today. I figured that deposits should work by now, so I made another attempt. Thankfully, there was a deposit button today. Even better, they had a new no-envelope ATM that directly accepted my check! No envelope, no deposit slip. I didn't even have to enter the amount on the screen. I just stuck the check in a slot, the machine read the amount, I pushed "finish transaction", and I walked away. The receipt even had an image of the check printed on it.

I'm not sure what to think of Chase now. I was really irked that I had to deposit checks with a teller for a year (and I'm still irked about Chase's higher fees), but I really like that I don't have to futz around with envelopes or deposit slips anymore. Now if only they had the ability to deposit a check by snapping a photo with my iPhone like USAA....