A reader asked me what bank I thought was the best for online banking if “Wells Fargo is so antiquated.” Wells Fargo may be America’s biggest bank by size but their online platform, credit card approval process, and commercials make them look like they are a local credit union, except for the customer service of course, for which they are dreadful.
Here are the following banks/credit card companies that TPOL uses to get down and dirty in the points game: Chase, Bank of America, American Express, Barclays, Discover, and US Bank. I use Chuck for international checking because there are no ATM fees but that’s not part of this discussion because I do not have a credit card through them.
This list focuses on ease of use for paying bills and navigating the website. It is not about the actual credit cards that are offered.
Here is the list from worst to best banks for online banking:
7. Bank of America: BOA sucks from top to bottom. Most of us only use BOA because we love the state of Palin or because they offer insane balance transfer options where the cost of capital is virtually nonexistent. But, once you do use your Alaska points to fly from Anchorage to Russia which you can see from your house, you will rarely visit the BOA website. That’s a good thing because setting up bill pay is a pain and the online chat always leads to the same advice, “You’ll have to call our customer care for that.” The reason I hate BOA the most is because they won’t let me change my bill due date to the 28th. This magical day that I set all my bills to be paid is not allowed as the statement date for some silly reason. As a result, I have to keep an extra red tab in my Excel spreadsheet so I don’t miss a payment.
6. US Bank: Luckily post Club Carlson devaluation, I don’t have to go to US Bank’s website either. Why do I hate US Bank too? Because they list my business card balance under accounts but this amount is not always accurate. I have to log in separately to my business account to find that balance. By the way, where the hell are my anniversary points? I updated AwardWallet the other day and I still only received them for one of my CC accounts. I wanna talk to the President! I know that most banks have a separate login for business cards but this is the only one I know of that posts the right card with the wrong balance.
5. Citi: Citi’s website is a piece of poop. I’m not sure if it is a cache issue but more often than not I have to log into my Citi account by using private browsing otherwise I will get an error. Even after I am logged in, there is still error after error for ‘Forbidden behavior’ and not the kind that one stumbles upon in a private browser forum.
The good thing about Citi is that you can change your due date very easily online, the chat is decently helpful, and the option to refund a credit balance can be requested via secure message.
The bad thing about Citi beyond errors is the need for three accounts: one for normal Citi cards, one for Hilton Citi cards, and one for business Citi. To make life ‘easier’ I even had a fourth Citi account when I botched the Citi Gold checking account. This turned out to be a wise move because closing Ms TPOL’s Citi gold account which was linked to her personal account led to all of her online accounts being deleted.
Don’t even get me started on the No ThankYou program page which has nothing on Chase’s UR portal.
4. Barclays: Barclays has a great secure message system and a bright display that shows you when your bill is due. In the glory days of the Arrival plus card, redeeming points was also very easy. I do not like how I have to click off of one card to get the last 4 digits of the card that I am not viewing.
3. Discover: Discover is number three because it takes up the least amount of my time. I log in, I see a zero balance, and I leave. If somehow I have a balance and I forget to pay it, Discover treats me like me and waives the late fee.
2. Chase: I love Chase. All of my accounts including my checking account are available on one page for which I enjoy scrolling endlessly and seeing the list of cards and the pretty logos next to them. All of my due dates are the 28th and the UR balance is easily accessible. When I pay my credit card bill, the checking account balance is automatically updated to reflect this even if the payment has not gone through. To that end, if there is a mistake and I need to cancel a payment, Chase readily allows me to do so while Citi often results in an error.
I do not like how long it takes for my Ink card to update from one cycle to the next. The new points balances usually come out around the 3rd of the month but the Ink which has the same due date as the other takes until the 6th or 7th. Chase should have a chat but I forgive them because of the promptness and helpfulness of their secure message center.
1. American Express: If the world was run by Amex, life would be better. The website is as close to perfect as perfect gets. The menu of the cards is crisp and clear. I see right away my balance due and they spare me the math of trying to figure out how much my statement balance is by showing that I still have X amount left to pay this cycle in the event that I made a prior payment .
The online chat is also very helpful and the MR portal is easy to use. One thing that is annoying is transferring a credit balance from one card to another. This literally takes days to do and many times I have to request it to be done again. In terms of disputing bad charges, Amex makes it easy as well. Thank you Amex for making paying and managing bills enjoyable.
There you have it, the best platforms for online banking.
And now this: