Posted 02 October 2004 - 11:04 AM
A good review of FirstIB was recently posted on Epinions.com.
I have been a First Internet Bank of Indiana customer since about Summer 2001. This is the first online bank I have used, and in fact the first bank account i've really had. Prior to that I used mainly credit unions for my banking needs. Since 2001, I've had an Interest Checking account since then, I've also opened CDs on three occasions. Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of First Internet Bank's service.
ATM Surcharge Reimbursement
First Internet Bank offers account holders a monthly ATM surcharge refund, they currently reimburse up to U$ 6. It will vary by locality but this generally covers 4-5 ATM withdrawals per month. This offsets the absence of a network of First Internet bank ATMs. This is a nice arrangement ... but there is some folly in using an ATM card attached to your main bank account
Fees and Charges
First Internet Bank does charge fees, and it does have minimum balance requirements. There is a U$5 monthly maintenance fee if your balance is below U$500, over that interest is paid. The current rate is 1.06%. These are reasonable, and I have never had the misfortune of having to pay the maintenance fee.
Online Bill Pay
First Internet Bank also offers online bill payment - free online bill payment. This is one of the most convenient services available on the internet - online bill pay in general. First Internet Bank's bill payment service is simple to use. The information required to setup a new payee is generally included on most bills. Setting up a recurring payment is a bit more involved, but this is quite flexible as it allows you to set a stop date and schedule non monthly payments. The bill payment system also supports E-Bills, which allow you to make payments electronically. The selling point of E-Bills is that they are quick, this may or may not be an advantage. First Internet Bank also offers some recourse if the payments are late, so far I have never had to use this facility. This is impressive as I have probably paid 10 bills by hand since opening this account.
Online ACH transfers
First Internet Bank supports ACH transfers, this basically allows you to deposit electronic checks. Given the account details, you can withdraw cash from another account. As a security measure, you are required to provide a signed document authorizing these deposits. First Internet Bank also allows your checking account to function as the source of the funds. This is convenient as substantially speeds the process of transferring funds.
On three or four occasions, I've had my check card fraudulently used by persons unknown. I've never misplaced the card, rather someone stole my number. On each occasion I've had my funds replaced by First Internet bank, after contacting them and filling out the necessary paperwork. As a result of these thefts I no longer use or carry my First Internet Bank check card.
I've also had a problem with a payee complaining about a payment, in this instance customer service quickly provided the payee with the information to properly credit the payment. I've also been bailed out when I made duplicate ACH transfers.
First Internet Bank is a virtual bank, it does not have any local branches. This is a problem when it is necessary to have access to a bank teller, and it precludes them from offering certain services. This makes acquiring cashier's checks a more involved process.
First Internet Bank wiped out more than a years worth of banking records, this was due to switching the Bill Payment software or software provider. First Internet Bank's records are not as extensive as I would like, I would like them to be permanent but they seem to age them out. First Internet Bank does not provide a mechanism for checking the status of pending operations. So if you make an ACH transfer, you have no way of knowing that the transfer is pending.
First Internet Bank of Indiana is a very good bank. They provide adequate interest rates, but the fees are quite low. The customer service is excellent, especially compared to the complaints you hear about other banks. In all Online Bill Payment is best feature, in fact Bill Pay is one of the best services provided on the web.