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Wachovia's New Way-2-Save Account Program

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Wachovia Bank
Update 1/12/08: Wachovia now has a Way2Save webpage.

Wachovia has just started a new savings program called Way-2-Save that's similar to Bank of America's Keep The Change program and WaMu's Savings for Success program (see post). It's so new that it's not yet advertised or listed on their website. I just spoke with a Wachovia service rep who said she just received training in this program yesterday. In a few weeks, we should start seeing this be advertised nationwide. Like Keep the Change program, it's intended to help the average person save. It's not much of a deal for those with large savings.

Here are the details of this new Way-2-Save savings account:
  • Current yield is 5.00% APY
  • At the end of the first year, there's a 5% bonus on the balance (up to $300)
  • At the end of the second and third year, there's a 2% bonus
  • Maximum $100 per month transfer is allowed into the account
  • Additional $1 deposits into the account happen for every debit card purchase, online bill pay or automated debit transaction
  • Only available for personal accounts, not business accounts

So let's say you do 20 of these debit card and online bill payments a month and you do the maximum $100 per month transfer, you'll have $1440 in the account at the end of the year ($240 + $1200). So the first year bonus will be $72. This would be on top of the 5% APY that you would be earning during this time.

I was told that their Free Checking does qualify for this account, and you don't have to open a new one to sign up for this Way-2-Save program. If you don't already have this checking account, don't forget about their $50 sign-up bonus (see post). That bonus ends 1/31/08. Some things to keep in mind regarding Wachovia's Free Checking:
  • No monthly fees or minimum balance requirements
  • Readers have reported a hard credit pull during the application
  • Wachovia also does a ChexSystem verification
  • Checks are not free but are optional. Prices vary by state.
  • Overdraft fee is $35
  • A savings account (including Way-2-Save) can be used for overdraft protection

Thanks to the reader Cyclone for mentioning this new program in the finding-the-best-rates post and for posting more info in this FW thread.

Edit 5:14pm: Corrections and additions made to overdraft protections details.
  Tags: Wachovia Bank, savings account

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Comments
34 comments.
Comment #1 by Cyclone (anonymous) posted on
Cyclone
BankingGuy,

My Wachovia rep did confirm that the Way-2-Save account ** can ** be used as an overdraft protection source. However, he did not recommend it as it is very easy to remove the funds but time-consuming to replenish the account.

However, it is available (and it is a no-fee xfer too). My Crown acct gets no-fee xfers, but the Free checking typically carries a $5-$10 overdraft xfer fee.

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Comment #2 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks. My CSR was a little unsure of some of the details. I've updated the post. Overdrafts would certainly defeat the savings from this account.

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Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
How is "automated debit transaction" exactly defined in "Additional $1 deposits into the account happen for every debit card purchase, online bill pay or automated debit transaction"

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Comment #4 by Jimbo (anonymous) posted on
Jimbo
Beware Wachovia. I had a CD (from World Savings that was acquired by Wachovia) that matured on Dec 11. On Dec 4, I phoned Wachovia, gave the account information and asked what was needed to close the account. I was told 'just a phone call on day of maturity'. On day of maturity, I called to redeem and was told, oh, since that is over 20K we need the request in writing. Well, I faxed them the request, as agreed, at my expense, of course. Later that day I called to make sure the fax was received and they said it took 24 hours to check. I then had a supervisor check and she asked, was it notarized? Since you were with World we have no way of comparing signatures. I argued and said that should be their problem, not mine. She finally agreed to 'accept' my letter of instruction without the previously unrequested notary. A week went by and no check. I called back to verify the account was indeed closed, yes it was closed on Dec 17, 6 days after maturity, I asked about the lost interest and was advised that 4 days of interest was added to the balance. UPS finally delivered the check dated Dec 20, on Dec 21, a full 10 days after the account was closed WITHOUT any additional interest.. not even the $19 that was shown in the balance on Dec 17.
I have another one maturing Mar 1. I guess I'd better get the request written, notarized, signature guaranteed, and sent certified mail so I can get MY money.

-1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Jimbo, It sounds as though you have a valid gripe with Wachovia, but your comment has nothing to do with this post.

On another note. I emailed a CSR and they added the Way-2-Save account without me needing to speak to anyone.

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Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Jimbo's post has plenty to do with the thread topic. You need to take incidents like these into account before you decide to take up offers like the one described. It doesn't do you much good to get a few tenth's of a percent more interest if it takes many hours of your time and aggravation to get your principal back.

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Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Let me add to jimbo's post about my experience with a Wachovia CD (also transferred from WSB). I fortunately had a checking a/c with Wachovia and asked them through their secure email to close my CD and transfer the balance upon maturity to my checking a/c (this was three weeks before maturity). They promptly replied that they cannot take instructions prior to maturity and that I need to call them after the CD matures (even little CUs have not responded like this in similar situation). Anyway, on the maturity date I sent another email, still no transfer to checking. Finally called to have them close the CD and transfer to checking. I promptly closed the checking a/c as well after ACHing out the checking balance.

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Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Visitors here will ignore Wachovia being a cloaked version of First Union at their peril. If Wachovia, aka First Union, were the only bank in the world, my money would be kept beneath my mattress. First Union became notorious for their ****ups. That's why when they took over the smaller Wachovia Bank they shed the First Union name. Don't be fooled. The signage says "Wachovia", but First Union continues to lurk behind the facade. And only complete fools do business with First Union.

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Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
We've been customers of Dominion/First Union/Wachovia for years (since the 70's). Yes, there have been errors. They have always done "the right thing", corrected the problem, and compensated us. We, too, had a cd mature. Gave verbal instrux to move the funds to checking. It didn't happen. Called them the next day, they apologized, immediately moved the funds, and comped us. I also think they are best dealt with one-on-one, face-to-face, if at all possible. Our branch CSRs (there are three branches within a 10 minute drive of us)seem empowered and really want to make the customer happy. Of course, YMMV.

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Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
No, Jimbo's post is irrelevant. And he is a bonor.

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Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Information is now online.

Home > Personal Finance > Banking > Savings & CDs > Way2Save

Also look under Related Links on that page.

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Comment #12 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks. I've updated the post with a direct link.

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Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I think world savings customers are super spoiled. they think because they have money they should be treated like gods. the owners of world savings picked the bank they wanted to merge with, and they felt wachovia was the closest match for their customers. point being I think the way 2 save account is really cool for the person who wants to save, but just cant do it willingly.the bonus at the end of the year and the high yield is great as well

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Comment #14 by tu (anonymous) posted on
tu
WSJ article about this product:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120045002586993261-email.html

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Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
We opened our accounts on Monday. We handed our rep $1500 cash, and he completed all the account set ups (3 people, 15 W2Saves(10 rev trust accounts),13 new free checking accounts (9 rev trust accounts). He deposited the funds, set up the transfers. Done. We were even able to automate the $100 monthly transfer to checking linked to W2Save accounts. Easy $900+ bonus next year.

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Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
A trojan horse offer if ever there were one ...

First - do a google search on "Wachovia" & "overdraft charges" to see a litany of complaints about how Wachovia charges excessive fees to checking account holders and manipulates transactions to maximize their fee income. The use of Wachovia check cards exacerbates the problem GREATLY which has been documented "ad infinitum" on various blogs and complaint website.

In that context, a really innovative and seemingly "helpful" new savings account that ENCOURAGES check card transactions that are known to be linked to the assessment of excessive overdraft charges is not necessarily in your best interest unless you have the foresight to NOT use your debit card OR maintain a significant CASH buffer - on the order of $500 - in your checking account.

Even though this new savings account would be linked to your checking account to provide overdraft protection, you are going to pay $10 each time you "lend money to yourself". (Better than $35 OD or NSF fees but still expensive.)

Educate yourself about the ways that Wachovia manipulate transactions to maximize fees and then consider if you want to continue your affiliation with them.

If you do, I strongly suggest that you

1. Do not use your check card OR

2. Use your check card but maintain a $500 balance in your checking account to remove opportunities for them to assess fees.

If you follow that advice, by all means take advantage of their Way-2-Save account but ONLY if you keep a $500 balance in your checking account to remove the opportunity for them to earn "overdraft", "unavailable funds" and "insufficient funds" fees. If you don't and you use your check card often to earn more rewards for your new "Way-2-Save" account, you are likely (even if you are VERY conscientious) going to rack up hundreds of dollars in overdraft fees at some point.

That doesn't seem like a good way to save after all does it ?

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Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Everyone needs to keep in mind that the Way2Save offer was created by Wachovia to help those that are having a problem saving money. It was not created for gamers, although gamers will look for a way to take advantage. Also, Wachovia and all banks are in the business of making money. They are not a public service. It seems everyone wants a high yield return but complains when they overdraw their acct and get charged an od fee. I think this is their attempt at trying to help their customers saving. If you are saving, then you are less likely to be overdrawn.
A long time ago, spending more $ than what you actually had available was illegal. In most cases, Wachovia will cover the amount overdrawn and save you the embarrasement of the returned check going back to the merchant.
When you overdraw, you are taking money from the bank that does not belong to you.

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Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Don't even be tempted. Wachovia is not a desirable banking establishment. I am currently in process of removing my several accounts from their so called 'business'. Perhaps I am ignorant to the fact but did everyone know Wachovia was authorizing the deposit of unsigned checks in a telemarketing scam that targeted the elderly? Shameful. Definitely not the kind of place I want to represent my business.

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Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It is not Wachovia's responsibility to make sure a person has money in his account before using his check card to avoid fees. I admit that there fees are high for my taste which is why I make sure I have money in the account to cover what I am charging for. I have been with Wachovia for the longest and they have had errors about twice and corrected them. I think this way 2 save thing is going to be great for me to force me to save.

1
Comment #20 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
There seems to be a problem establishing a $100-once-a-month transfers from Wachovia checking acct to Way-2-Save.

I opened Way-2-Save on Jan 22, 2008 and immediately called the Wachovia customer service to start 100-once-a-month transfer.-nothing happened.

Sent a secure e-mail through Wachovia website on Jan 31-no responce!


Feb.01 called again, asked for the same thing-nothing happened!!!

Called again on Feb.05, the lady said there seems to be a problem with the department handling these requests, that it's not getting the requests, and it might be a computer problem, and they're looking into it?!!!!

Is it that Wachovia realized they can't pay 5% on deposits for a year and then another 5% as a bonus?

1
Comment #21 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I switched to Wachovia last year and they just started charging almost $100/year to use Quicken or Money! I called to close my accounts and was told that they would charge me $25 each ($50 total) to close them because they had not been open long enough!
What a scam!

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Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
READING THE POSTED COMMENTS AND HAVING BEEN A WACHOVIA-FIRST UNION CUSTOMER FOR OVER 20 YEARS,I WOULD LIKE TO SAY MOST IF NOT ALL OF THE PROBLEMS I HAVE READ COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED BY A TRIP TO THE LOCAL BANK BRANCH.NOTHING DOES THE TRICK LIKE TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS IN PERSON............E-MAILS PHONES CALLS ECT ARE JUST A MISTAKE WAITING TO HAPPEN............YES I HAVE HAD SOME PROBLEMS WITH WACHOVIA BUT ALL HAVE BEEN RESOLVED THE FIRST TRIP TO THE BANK IN PERSON....

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Comment #23 by Brennan (anonymous) posted on
Brennan
Cool, I'm trying it out. Maybe I can save some $$$$$.

1
Comment #24 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have to say the Way 2 Save program is awesome. It empowers people to save with far less fear of being charged a fee for balance requirements, or even overdraft occurences. If used correctly and with discipline a person who normally spends every dime before their next payday will be able to start a path torwards success and financial independence. People who didn't have the minimum $1000 to start a CD may find that with the Way 2 Save that they now do have the money to open a CD. Oh and their is a limit as to how many Way 2 Save accounts you can have. Whoever stated they have 13 must have more than just themselves on those accounts. Limit is 5 Way 2 Save accounts per person and their must be a checking account and debit card for each.

I work for Wachovia and some of your complaints are valid. But Wachovia and other banks are required to provide you with documentation that stipulates the workings of your account and relationship with the bank. You can play the victim card, but the accountability ultimately comes down to did you spend more than you had in your account prior to making a deposit into your account to cover the amount you knew would overdraft you if you didn't make that deposit. If the answer to that is yes, well then you are at fault for not adhering to the cutoff times that are disclosed in your deposit agreement. You are not a victim if you allow yourself to be attacked in an avoidable situation. And if it's avoidable but you ignored the red light and drive through the redlight camera anyways well it's your fault for not stopping. Do you call your auto manufacturer when you get a ticket for running a redlight, or to Nike because your shoe was on the brake pedal at the time? Spend the money first, then make the deposit get a fee. Some people beat the system, but if you flirt with the devil expect to get burned. Try that with cash and you'll get arrested. A police officer hauling you off to jail, or the bank charging you a fee. Somehow the bank seems quite heavenly in comparison to the other option.

First Union bought out the smaller bank Wachovia because the systems in place for customer service reps, the automated and online systems for customers were far more advanced than that of the paper and filing cabinet method that First Union was using. If the service of First Union was bad, then the acquisition/merger of Wachovia was a step in the right direction to repair a tarnished reputation that First Union built for itself. Just like people change their names and learn from their experiences so do businesses. As far as World Savings customers are concerned. They are spoiled. World Savings used to serve coffee and cookies to their customers, a policy Wachovia ended because the cost to implement this across the board would be greater than the financial gains in acquiring World Savings. A bank that prides itself on diversity can't spoil the rich with coffee and cookies and hold out on the rest of the nation which is fairing far less well than that of the wealthy World Savings customers.

Every bank has it's quirks, being familiar with them is what works. The way businesses work is the same way that mother nature/god designed the wild to work. Survival of the fittest, and only the strong will survive. That's life, and that's business.

Oh and If you habitually overdraft and continue to pay the fee, then it's customer like you that cause that fee to get higher as the years pass. The bank want's it to be unaffordable so you don't do it anymore - but as a business it is projected that you will pay the fee and since those fees are income for the bank they actually go back into the bank for product development and 24 hour customer service, and call centers in the US where English for the most part is the first language, and customer referral programs that pay you for the business you bring to Wachovia.

Oh and you don't have to keep $500 in your account to avoid overdraft fees. If you run your debit card as debit or use it at the atm then the transaction will post that day or the next business night guaranteed. If you run it as credit then it is assumed that you are more familiar with the card holder agreement that came with your debit card. And that's where consumers get into trouble they bank on assumption instead of reality. If I could educate every customer about the way everything worked well there would be no reason for me after that.

For Quicken or Microsoft Money their is a $4.95 /month charge if you download the transaction via the software. The monthly service fee is not charged to Crown account customers. Get a Way2Save save up to meet the balance requirement and the service is free if you switch your free checking to a Crown Account. Oh and you can download the transaction into Quicken or Microsoft money for free if you log into Wachovia.com's online banking and download the file manually.

The bottomline is that what banks and businesses look after is the bottom line, and the interest of their shareholders. Everything else keeps the boat afloat.

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Comment #25 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I agree that if you spend money you don't have it is your own fault and you must pay the fees. However, banks have been known to do things like posting larger transactions before smaller ones even if they occurred after; that way they charge the fee for all of the small transactions and not just once on the large one; even if the large one is the only one to overdraw the account.

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Comment #26 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
With the Way2Save from Wachovia, can you transfer the money back out of the savings acct and then just receive the 5% bonus on the transferred amount at the end of the year, or must you leave it there.

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Comment #27 by Dan - surfboards sale (anonymous) posted on
Dan - surfboards sale
Im on way to save. Its ok. Its funny I set up smaller payments more times to get more in there. IE $500 credit card bill. I will do 5 x $100 payments..

Thanks, Surfer Dan

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Comment #28 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I do the same thing..... I go to a gas station, and do multiple $1 fillups of gas. A little bit of a pain in the but, but for %5 interest, i don't mind one bit.

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Comment #29 by Christina (anonymous) posted on
Christina
2 things.
My problem with the Way-2-Save program versus save the change is that save the change is logical, it keeps your checking account in even dollars. Way-2-Save takes out a dollar for ever purchase, which can be more difficult to think of when making sure you don't overdraft. What I mean is it's not hard to just round up to the nearest dollar, that's what people normally do anyways, but taking 1 dollar for any purchase can add up much quicker.
The other thing is for the guy who choose to defend Wachovia in all caps. My mom is on my account because I got it when I was 15 or 16 and when I was 18(just recently after I'd turned 18) my account got frozen. She called in to ask what was wrong and they said they couldn't tell her because she wasn't me, even though her name is also on the account. I went in to talk to them and they told me they couldn't tell me what was wrong with my account because I wasn't her. Eventually we got stuff worked out, but they were adamant to not tell me and I believe it was via phone call that we finally got things worked out

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Comment #30 by gfgg g (anonymous) posted on
gfgg g
put 1,200 into the checking and set it up to automatically deposit 100 a month(1,200 a year),, i also put in another 3,800(thats all i have to work with) into the checking for a total of 5,000. i then went into bill pay and put my own name as a biller. this is the crazy part... you cant make the same monetary amount payment on the same day.. in other words you cant make 10 $1.00 payments,, but you can do like i did,, take an hour and do this. make the first payment $1.00, then next $1.01, $1.02, $1.04 etc... the point i am making is your sending money to yourself and every payment moves $1 from checking into way2save, hard part is you will receive hundreds of checks in the mail all for increment amounts starting at 1.00 then 1.01.... go to bank, cash all the checks, then deposit cash back into wachovia checking,, in my first month i moved $1,100 from checking to way2save plus the $100 automatic deposit. so far wacovia hasnt caught on.. good luck

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Comment #31 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Sounds like Jimbo needs prepaid legal...

 

-josiasa_21@prepaidlegal.com

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Comment #32 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
beare the 2nd or 3rd w-t-s accts can only receive interest on the past year and does not compound!! I found this out the hard way....

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Comment #33 by Crystal (anonymous) posted on
Crystal
I am very happy with my Way2Save account.  In fact, I did not even realize that it would cover my overdrawn checks that hit my checking account (miscalcuations happen, but not often for me).  This is a great service, even if they do charge a $10 fee.  But I was NOT charged anything.  The appropriate amount of money was just moved from the Way2Save to the checking account.  No extra fees.  Only drawback is that my Way2Save balance is a few dollars short of what it was - and therefore less interest will be earned.  But the interest rate is excellent in any event and I did not have the embarrassment of facing those to whom I had written checks that I mistakenly could not cover.

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Comment #34 by Crystal (anonymous) posted on
Crystal
And gfgg g will end up messing it all up for the rest of us...being greedy.  If you do not have real payment to put out there, then just run with their maximum of $100/month.  Or.... just pay more bills on line.  Don't go through the trouble of sending yourself $1.00, $1.01, $1.04, etc, just to take advantage of the program.  You'll be the one that makes them change the terms.

Bad karma - watch out. 

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