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E*Trade Bank Let Customers Leave Too Easily

Contributed by mm | January 27, 2005 1:15 PM PST

Seven months ago, I blogged about the $175 bonus promotion from E*Trade Bank. The offer does require some little patience and a couple of hours of work, but it hands you $75 for opening a checking account, $25 for setting up bill payment, and $75 for direct depositing for three months, for a total of $175.

In the last several months, I completed the offer requirements for both my own account and another account under the name for my wife. $350 received with no surprise, and it contribute almost 20% of my 2004 smart savings of $1,545.

To E*Trade's credit, their checking account is great -- except for the $10/month charge if you cannot maintain the $1,000 minimal balance after the six-month grace period for new customers. Especially, its online ETF transfer is faster than most other services I used. I also love the neat design of its web site.

To be honest, I was not diligent in closing accounts so I did pay out $20 as banking charges. As I hate any recurring charges whatsoever, I closed both accounts between December and January. To my surprise, it is very easy to close an account. All it takes is a phone call to 1-800-ETRADE1 (1-800-387-2331), a 8-15 minutes wait on the line until you can talk to a CSR, and a 1-minute talk in which she verifies where to send your remaining balance as a check.

Why it surprises me is because there seems to be no retention mechanism in E*Trade. In both calls, CSRs from E*Trade asked no question about why I want to leave and made no efforts to keep me as a customer.

E*Trade is paying big money incentives for people to open accounts, and it just lets existing customers leave so easily. For many businesses, it is much easier to retain current customers than to recruit new ones (one recent PFBlog example: $240 discount from Comcast). Will E*Trade learn this?

Bonus: if you haven't taken advantage of E*Trade yet, the $175 offer is still available. Apply today at http://www.etrade.com/175. (Disclosure: I don't personally benefit from this recommendation, but you can reward me by coming back to PFBlog.com frequently.)

This Post Has Received 13 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


segfault Commented on January 27, 2005

Good for E*Trade for not giving you a hassle about closing the account. Try that with AOL.


regim Commented on February 1, 2005

The minimum is now $2000 to avoid a fee.


Jim Commented on February 3, 2005

I've never used ETrade as a bank, or as a broker -- but here's the deal. ETrade bank exists only to lend money to ETrade customers to buy stock on margin. The current call money rate is 4% and the interest rate on a checking account is <1%. Now, any bank willing to lend to investors can make that spread of course, but ETrade has a captive market of traders who it can direct to itself. As long as deposits never go above borrowing, they're psyched.


Dan Lanserdet Commented on March 29, 2005

I closed my etrade account today because I am fed up with all of their rising and multiplying fees. They total eat up and gains to your portfolio if you don't actively buy or sell every month. Even after I sold my stocks, they tried to pull another $40 quarterly fee out of the proceeds before charging me a $10 fee to send me my money. I will never use any online service to buy or sell anything again. I personally think etrade sucks unless your some nerd that wants to "play pretend" broker every day. Ask yourself, just what do "you" get for all of the fees that they collect? Financial advise? good customer service? A solid bank? NOT!


beatrice Commented on March 13, 2006

my e*trade credit card is missing .I cant get them on phone please ask them to phone me at 760-340-4807 tks/


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