Vestigial Bank Accounts

I’m sure if you’ve been managing your own money for long enough you’ve come to this point: your banking structure makes no sense.  You can’t justify with any current logical reasoning why you still have certain accounts.  You know why you opened those accounts, but you probably wouldn’t again given what you know now or how the situation has changed.  Inertia has played a big role in their continued ties to your name.


Kyle and I have two banking relationships that have long since become non-functional/redundant.  One is a credit card from Merrill Lynch (now Bank of America) and the other is a checking account and a bunch of savings accounts with ING.  We each came to our marriage with checking (I had two), savings, and credit card accounts.  We have since opened one new account and closed one old one, but we’re really not sure what to do with the rest!




Internet vs. Brick-and-Mortar:


I strongly advocated for using ING or another internet bank as our primary checking account, but Kyle insisted that we needed a brick-and-mortar bank because he didn’t like ING’s system for mailing paper checks on your behalf.  After months of standstill (and un-merged finances) he came up with a compromise: Ally.  An internet-only bank (I win!) that provides free paper checks (he wins!).  We have switched both our direct deposits and all of our automatic withdrawals over and we have been extremely satisfied with Ally.  However, I still have several targeted savings accounts with ING.  While I could completely close them and move the money to a parallel structure with Ally, I hate to think of ending my relationship with ING because I have been so pleased with their service over the years.  So for now I’m stuck in a limbo of unnecessary and time-consuming transfers between our Ally checking and ING savings accounts.


The Bank of America Debate:


Kyle and I both had Bank of America checking accounts starting in college.  He has always been pleased with their service but after college I became extremely dissatisfied and am now a complete hater.  I only kept my checking account there because I didn’t want to completely sever ties to the brick-and-mortar banking world.  While I couldn’t convince Kyle to move to a different brick-and-mortar bank, I closed my account as quick as I could after we were married and we added me to his account.


Credit cards


My responsible choice in credit cards after college was to sign up for a low-interest rate, non-flashy card and to hardly ever use it.  Kyle’s responsible choice was to sign up for the best rewards card he could find and use it as much as possible.  (These were both legitimate approaches because we both paid off our balances in full every month.)  By the time we got married, though, I knew I had trained myself with my debit card sufficiently so that I could trust myself with putting all my purchases on Kyle’s (now our) rewards card.  That has worked out very well and we have even added another rewards card to the mix.  But we still have my old boring responsible low-interest rate card.  I don’t think we’ve used it once since we got married.


After some reflection, I have decided to close my ING accounts and re-create them in Ally.  I will keep my credit card open, though, because it is my oldest credit account and closing it would likely lower my credit score.  We’ll see how effective inertia will be in putting off the implementation, though!


Do you have any vestigial banking accounts as a result of combining finances, a move, expired promotional deals, etc.?  Have you lopped off any useless accounts?


photo by Travis S.


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Filed under: checking, marriage, savings, transitions

6 Responses to "Vestigial Bank Accounts"

  1. […] the moment, we keep our finances completely joint.  We still have some leftover separate accounts, but all of our functioning money is joint.  And while we keep track of our purchases, we […]

  2. […] the moment, we keep our finances completely joint.  We still have some leftover separate accounts, but all of our functioning money is joint.  And while we keep track of our purchases, we […]

  3. […] been a customer of online banks for over five years now, first with ING and now with Ally, and I have to say I’ve had a wonderful experience.  Not only are online banks cheaper than […]

  4. […] the time Kyle and I got married, I had switched to using ING almost exclusively.  He had a few other requirements out of a bank so we chose to open our joint checking account with Ally.  We’ve used Ally as our primary bank […]

  5. […] irregular expenses, and we share our base credit card.  We even added each other’s names to our vestigial accounts from before we were married.  The only accounts that are not in both of our names are our IRAs (not possible, but we think of […]

  6. […] We also delayed properly combining all our accounts after our wedding for about six months because we couldn’t agree on what bank to use!  I’m not sure what conversation would have helped me understand that this aspect of Kyle’s […]

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