E*Trade gives with one hand and takes back with the other. Poor web design, bad interfaces and maddening customer service leads me to defect, complain publicly and encourage others to escape from these clowns.
They come on with relatively high interest rates on savings accounts to get you in the door. Then you're trapped in their evil clutches. I had a small windfall in January and parked it with them. Now a need for quick cash arose so I go to the site to transfer money quickly to my checking account. They present a "Quick Transfer" feature so I click. I so fell for this.
I start the process, the site crashes. I enter the data nothing happens. I do it several times. Then I figure out I need to create and verify an external account to receive the transfer. I enter the data -- zap. On the third try it verifies my external account. I'm annoyed but still hopeful.
Then I try to transfer the cash and --- nada. I hit the same page again and again in a weird loop. I keep ending up in the same place. Nowhere does it explain I need to get a passcode, wait a while and then hop on one foot.
I dial the 800 number and work my way through the phone tree and --zap. I'm hung up on. Swearing a blue streak, veins pulsing in my neck, I try again and connect to Mary Lyn Pena in Manila. She takes my information, bit by bit thanking me and apologizing, thanking and apologizing. This might be even more maddening than the technical glitches.
I feel my blood pressure rising. At first she doesn't have the web site up. Then she does but doesn't really know how to direct me. I'm reading her the screen and we're like two blind people in a blizzard. Then she lets on that since my external account is verified in the computer, I can wire in money instantly but I can't wire my money out for 24 hours.
Now I know things have been tough for online banks, but if they need another day's interest on my little boodle, they are really in trouble. Mary Lin asks to put me on hold. She apologizes and thanks one more time for good measure. Meantime the passcode finally shows up in my e-mail. By now I have a full head of steam. But wait there's more -- I missed the daily wire transfer deadline. They'll send me my money 24 hours from now. Maybe they do need my cash for the overnight sweep to keep the doors open.
Bottom line -- rather than transfer a small amount to cover my immediate need I clean out the account and digitally flea from my relationship with E*Trade.
Who are these guys kidding? We live in a 24/7/365 digital world where billions are transfered electronically every minute. There's no excuse to screw around with customer's funds. And if you can't keep a website up and give customers a quick, painless, clear, intuitive process flow, don't be an Internet bank.