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First Niagara Bank (NY) Reviews

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Based on 34 reviews

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First Niagara...A Nightmare!!!

Posted by: dave9354 | Sep 23, 2011

After receiving a flyer in the mail, I opened an e-checking account with the promise of a 100.00 bonus. It has been a week since they ACH transfered my initial funding to open the account. The funds were withdrawn from my external account the next day but they were never deposited into the new account. After repeated calls to the bank, no one seems to know where the money went!!! The csr tells me she will check on the problem and call me back. No one returns my call. I have wasted a great deal of my time calling the bank and no one can find my money!! When I call the bank they just pass me on to another csr with no results!! This bank has the worst customer service I have ever seen in my life!!

You'll Get Better Service Burying A Tin Can In The Back-Yard

Posted by: js | Dec 9, 2011

Hands down the worst bank I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with. The down fall was immediate when First Niagra bought my old bank (Harleysville National)... First Niagra "automatically changed accounts to different types" started charging monthy service fees, and minimum balance fees on account that previously had none... the service at the branch level was poor too, tellers and managers just shrug and rol their eyes "that's just how it is" this bank changed my accounts started charging fees and when confronted about it... they kept the fees and threatened to turn me over to collections for the negative balance on one of my accounts (YES they charged enough in "new" fees to run my account into the negative. There Idea of customer service was to keep the money and offer to forget about the negative balance.... I would not ever consider doing business with this bank again... EVER

If I could have given a 1/2 star I would have

If You Like Overdraft Fees Then This Is The Bank For You...

Posted by: niko2626 | May 27, 2016

I use paypal a lot and they pull the funds from my Bank.... Long story short there where 10 charges 1 for 500+ 1 for 200+ and 8 for under $50 each...There was 800 in the account...Could have put all in and charged me 1 overdraft fee for the 500 charge....Nope...they put in the 2 Big Charges then hit me for 7 overdraft fees....Got to love the way they manipulate the System....But reading the reviews here I see I am not the only one....I never seen more negative reviews on a business that still has their doors open. Doesnt anyone in corporate read these...Stay away from this Bank!!!
But if you enjoy paying overdraft fees then you will love this bank....

I Have Never Been More Unhappy With A Bank In My Entire Life

Posted by: mikehunt | May 26, 2012

Months ago I was told that my bank account was to be sold to them. I wrote a letter to my bank and to niagara telling them not to do it. After filling out multiple forms that stated this I was told it was to be transfered. I called up HSBc and begged them not to transfer it and they told me it had already been sold. I call the government department that oversaw the transfer and they said they couldnt reverse it unless Niagara agreed to. I called Naigara up and they refused to.


I explained to them that I lived over 300 miles from the nearest location and they didnt care

I explained to them that i needed to renew my license and couldnt do it without a checking account and they didnt care

I explained to them that I had a child support check due and could literally go to jail if I didnt have a working checking account and they didnt care.

Hours and hours (literally hours I called at 3 pm and was on the phone to 7 pm) I begged, pleeded, threatened, said everything I could think of asking them to not do this until after I wrote out the child support check and renewed my license. They still refused. I had to use relatives to western union my ex-wife up the money, I was fined by my credit cards for not being able to send them a check, was almost evicted, I spent 200 dollars in cab fees because I couldnt access my account to get my license renewed. I had 5000 dollars in my bank account but could only use the money I had on me for a week because of them.

All in all they costed me about 400 dollars. No apology they dont care. I closed the account the moment it was opened and went to chase. Never in my entire life have i treated a customer with such rudeness.


My only plan now is to continually write letters to the Fed overseers and my congressional reps until I am refunded the money they cost me.

Fee Happy And Horrible Transition From HSBC

Posted by: phishboy | Aug 1, 2012

I was an account holder at HSBC for many years and recently had my accounts moved to First Niagara. The process has left a lot to be desired. Almost months after the transition, they have yet to send my wife her ATM card for her personal checking account. The fee schedule is vastly different (and not well communicated) so we've started to get fees on accounts we've never been charged for in the past. We tried closing the offending accounts but have to do it in person--they will not process it over the phone or via their secure e-mail system. Their online banking web site only supports older versions of insecure web browsers--like Internet Explore 7 and 8 and Firefox 3.5 (Firefox is up to version 14 now!). And their customer service reps are rude and difficult to deal with and are more than happy to blame the customer for their foul ups. AVOID THIS BANK AT ALL COSTS... I'm moving my money out as fast as I can.

Terrible, Just Terrible.....

It's all been said already in the low scoring reviews that have already been written, but I'll add to them since First Niagara is JUST TERRIBLE!  I was with my small, local bank (East Penn Bank) for around 13 years and never had a single issue.  They were bought out by Harleysville National a few years ago.  They instituted very few changes, so my banking experience remained the same, positive.  

Then First Niagara took over..... oh man :(  Nothing but problems from the start.

- All of my local wonderful longtime employees, gone.
- Transactions were messed up immediately after takeover.
- My checking account type, was changed without authorization.
- They raised all existing fees.
- They added MORE fees for things that never had fees before.
- When I moved, I had to give them my new address 3 times before it was actually in correctly.
- Today I got a letter stating that they're raising their fees AGAIN, & now charging for my account type.
- Their online banking, when compared to other large banks, is definitely not up to par.
- They're a major financial institution, yet no smartphone banking apps.

I could go on & on.  First Niagara as a whole is just terrible, a large financial bank with absolutely NONE of the perks of being with a large Bank.

STAY FAR FAR AWAY of First Niagara!

A Truly Evil Bank With Unreasonable Fee's

Posted by: JamieM | Jul 9, 2015

First Niagra Bank is more of a criminal enterprise than bank. They use every trick imaginable in order to collect as many overdraft fees as possible. They hold deposits longer if you account is low. They always process large payments before the smaller ones so that if you do go negative, they get more fees. If you have a lot of money in your account, payments take forever to clear but if you only have a few dollars, they process immediately.

On a separate issue... I tried to set up a transfer. (We needed $220 to be routed from our First Niagra account to another bank automatically, every week.) I had to go in three different Saturdays over the course of two months and even then, IT WASN'T SET UP CORRECTLY! Every time we would get a mail, weeks after I went in saying they needed a different form. The third time I went I went to a different branch because I was convinced that the people at the Pittsburgh Street were intellectually impaired. Although the branch I went to wasn't dirty like Pittsburgh Street Branch always is, the woman working there said, and I quote, "We aren't trained to do this.". So, apparently the workers and managers are not trained to set up automatic transfers. (I bet they have extensive, college level, in-depth, week-long seminars on overdraft fee collection theory and practice.)

Needless to say, we closed this account. When I went in, I wasn't asked why I was closing it. I was expecting the manager to ask me why I was closing and try to see if he could salvage the relationship. Not only did that NOT happen, the woman who closed the account didn't bother to ask either. They got their final $109 dollars from me, that is all they cared about. So remember, at First Niagra - you are worth less than $109 dollars. If they can get that from you, they'll be happy to see you go.

In closing, I would like to warn anyone considering using this bank, especially senior citizens, people on fixed incomes, single moms and everyone who struggles from paycheck to paycheck to avoid this bank completely. They would slowly torture and kill a basket full of kittens and puppies for just one overdraft fee. They are truly evil, in every sense of the word. May God have mercy on their souls.

HSBC Handover

Posted by: dmac123 | May 29, 2012

Absolutely dreadful online and telephone service with no-one knowing how or what to do.  Extremely disappointed that we have had to move from HSBC to First Niagara as have banked with HSBC for the last 10 years in the UK, Hong Kong and Jersey.  I'm moving all my money out from First NIagara to another bank as soon as possible - and as soon as they are able to get my online account up and running - which my recent experience tells me will be around 6 months from now.  Such a shame - the staff in the Ridgefield branch who were former HSBC people are excelllent.  I see someone has posted a 5 star review 'MaryJo'- clearly someone from the bank or their PR company.  Nobody is 'excited about the future of their banking' - clearly corporate speak and a false positive plant from first niagara's marketing team which just infuriates me more.  INstead of focusing on cynical pointless online marketing to dupe consumers, they should actually deliver a far better product and service.  Style over substance is clearly their mantra.

Most Fee Unethical Bank I Have Ever Dealt With

Posted by: apk2366 | Jan 7, 2013

I deposited a check and they "held it" for days, even though the money was in my account they said they were holding the money before it cleared and still charged me fees. Everytime I use an ATM, i have an average of $6.00 in fees. Terrible customer service and the biggest fee rip of bank I have ever dealt with.

Nightmare @ First Niagara

Posted by: grifo | Jan 4, 2013

I am sick because of my relationship with this bank. There are so many bad reviews about this bank I wonder what are bank authorities doing letting them stay open.

Bank Somewhere Else!

Posted by: bmhxs1 | May 8, 2013

My account with HSBC (who I was very happy with) was bought out by First Niagara and it has been non-stop problems and fees ever since. I'd advise anyone not to do business with First Niagara, and if you are a member, consider switching... believe me the grass is greener. 


Posted by: sukichiba | Jun 4, 2012

As a 'courtesy' they extended overdraft protection for my account (after I had declined it).   For the pleasure of that 'courtesy', they also extended a $70 fee to me.  Guess they need the $70 more than I do - hopefully they enjoy their $70 worth of lousy reviews that I am now writing along with my closed account.   AVOID

Totally A Nightmare- If You Have Money In This Bank- Remove It And Close Accounts ASAP!!

Posted by: sidekiksar | Jun 1, 2012

DO NOT use First Niagara Bank- if you have money in that bank- move it somewhere else immediately. We have lived in 3 states now and have never experienced such horrible customer service or ineptitude from a financial institution. They don't have account records for those who had HSBC accounts, you can't close out an account without going in in person, they lost our credit and debit cards, our new address was never transferred so things are being sent all over the US... the list goes on- over 6 hours wasted talking to people and being put on hold over a 3 day period.

Please, please, please heed mine and others warnings.  This place is terrible.

First Niagara A NIGHTMARE

Since they took over HSBC it has been a nightmare trying to get all accounts transferred and  everything settled. cCutomer service is abhorrent. I was put on hold three days in a row and disconnected each time. After four days, I finally got a real person to talk to. The branch office was absolutely no help with my problem. I will be leaving this bank ASAP!!!

Horrible Bank

Posted by: Morganna | Jan 14, 2013

I had a business checking with HSBC that was sold to First Niagara. They screwed up the change over, charged me fees on what was supposed to be a free checking account and then terminated the acount with out giving me any notice. I will not be banking with them again.

Stay Away....Far, Far Away

sadly, this monopoly has taken over hsbc and selling some of those leftover branches to keybank.   I am a former customer of first niagara and can attest that their bank tellers have no social skills whatsoever and act as if you are bothering them.  I also tried registering my companies insurance with them on the 4th floor downtown Syracuse (First Niagara Risk Management).  That was a complete waste of my time and a real eye opener.  These people have no idea what they are doing.  I saw the so called "manager" outside smoking with 2 other of the employees.  There was a larger woman in charge of marketing for my account who was unbearably loud and complete low class.  I also spoke to a woman who had so much perfume and makeup on I almost choked.  The agency has been downsized dramatically and probably will not be open much longer.  These are not the type of people you want representing you or your company.  Do yourself a favor and take your business elsewhere. 

Worst Bank To Ever Deal With!!!!!

Posted by: TimWrate | Dec 10, 2012

My businesses had a line of credit threw First Niagara never missed a payment. Changed the name of are company for marketing reasons then First Niagara called the note due. Tried to set up another loan but they refused long story short they forced me in to bankruptcy and ruined my businesses!

Closing My Account Harrassment Experience

Posted by: customer9 | Oct 29, 2012

Today I went to close my checking account at my local First Niagara branch (upstate NY, north of Albany).   I closed it because I found Citizen's to be much easier to deal with and just more "user friendly".  Besides that, Citizen's (as well as TDBank) has an iPhone app to check balances, make transfers, etc.  First Niag hasnt joined the 21st century yet and seems in no hurry to do so.

So I step up to a teller's window (young, chubby brunette) and ask to close my account.  She checks my balance to figure out what to give me (not much, I had let it run down for a while) and while processing my request asks me why I was closing my account.  I dont give free advice.  People only take you seriously when they have to pay for it.  If the bank truly wants my consultative services to improve operations, they can pay for it.  Anyway I told her that, so she again asked me for "personal" reasons? What the blank is that? It's none of her "personal" business) and then she asked me again at which point it became harrassment (believe me, if you worked with her and asked her out on a date more than twice and she said no each time, you would be fired for harrassment)  so I asked her to please stop asking me and to finish the transaction.  I told her that her suddenly hostile attitude (she just couldn't take NO for an answer) was exactly the reason I was leaving First Niagara.  But that was only the icing on the cake.

She then told me (remember, I'm the customer - she seemed to forget that) that I couldnt talk to her like that and that she would no longer take care of me and that neither would any of the other tellers.  Keep in mind I'm old enough to be her father.  She was just another mindless twit trying so hard to act like a grownup but failing miserably.  I reminded her that she was the one who was harrassing me but that didn't penetrate her dulled senses (it's so hard to find good help these days) so she continued to tell me to "go sit down" (Go sit down? And wait for what? What are we, in high school?), and again, that she wouldnt help me because she didnt help people who spoke like I did.

So I left the window and was planning to leave the bank to go to another branch when the branch manager, Jim Sin..tt came out, asked me what had happened and then proceeded to complete the paperwork.  He was very pleasant, got me my money, and I left.

Just a word to the wise.  And I am feeling better now...



Posted by: Anonymous | Oct 11, 2012

Put your money elsewhere!!!!

Consider Other Banks Before First Niagara

Posted by: Tzyl | Mar 30, 2013

Be aware of how First Niagara Bank sweeps your transactions-  They post service charges early, and if you do online transfers between accounts they  may not show up for 24 or 48 hours later - They also paid out on a lost debit card of mine that was cancelled 6 months before the transaction occured- so much for fraud protection!  You have to watch your accounts like a hawk. There are better banks out there- skip over this one or move out as quickly as you can.

Rip-Off Overdraft Policy

This bank ripped me off multiple times due to overdraft issues. First overdraft is the default option when you first open your account - and their overdraft fee is $37! So I called them to have my overdraft authorization revoked. Soon I stopped using my card, and it's been that way a few years.
Surprise - a couple of years later I was charged with $140 for overdraft - which I revoked! When I called, they told me it's at the bank's discretion... Even though the bank didn't give me a single cent - the transaction was canceled - they charged me with $140!!! Also, there is an additional $35 fee if transaction is attempted more than once in a week. Most online stores keep trying to withdraw if the first attempt is unsuccessful, so with every attempt the charge accumulates. And I never once received a notice that this was going on!
I am VERY UPSET with the way that they handle their overdraft policy. They are very rude on the phone too! If you can, never bank with First Niagara.

Just A Tease!

Posted by: Anonymous | Aug 17, 2012

Started small business loan process with them several months ago. Was led to believe that they were going to approve the loan at all stages of the process. Just found out two days ago that they aren't what a joke. They Will make you jump through hoops and tell them everything and every minute detail about your life and then turn around and deny your loan request don't waste your time. Choose a local bank if you can. Terrible communication and customer service, zero stars.

Awful Customer Service

Posted by: Anonymous | Jul 2, 2012

I was recently just switched over from HSBC to First Niagara, and it has been an awful transaction. Every interaction I've had with customer service has been completely unhelpful. While trying to set up my online account for the second time, I was transferred at least 3 times until I finally figured it out myself and had to tell the customer service rep how to fix the problem. The second time I had called them I was connected to someone who had no idea what he was talking about as well. I was assured a check had cleared, but instead I got charged for NSF. Avoid this bank if you can.

First Niagara Sucks.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 2, 2012

I was a customer of HSBC for more than 10 years. Never had a problem. I've been a customer of First Niagara for less than a month, and I'm switching banks. Every time I call their customer service, no one helps. "I'll transfer you to someone that can help you". Every single time? I still haven't received business credit card, business checks, business deposit slips or a letter from First Niagara stating that my bank has changed with the new routing number. I asked and asked but I get the same line: "It will be there next week, in 7-10 business days". Thanks. Plus when I go to the old HSBC branch and use my old HSBC checks or deposit slips (which they told me that I could do, over the phone!), they tell me that I can't do that. Then I have to argue with them that customer service told me that I could, then it becomes a half hour visit to deposit my business checks.

This bank cannot deal with the large number of customers that HSBC had. They don't have the infrastructure. It's a small-time bank that's know realizing that they're in disarray. I would strongly encourage you NOT to continue with First Niagara or start a First Niagara account.


Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 16, 2011

Where all the other banks are trying to offer some breaks to remain competitive this one is just buying up all the other banks through the fees they are charging their newly acqquried customers, needless to say since being with my old bank for 15 years, I am now switching banks.

Horrible Fees...Shortened Hours!

Recently this bank started processing transactions throughout the day out of the blue we got charged 4 over limit fees of $37...over the past 6 months all my transactions processed overnight, now that they shortened their hours from being open til 7:30p.m to 4:00pm and started processing transactions during the day because insider information they are losing money get your money out of this bank and go to another bank they are trying to recover their losses via the customer this is horrible!

The Worst Bank Ever

Applied for a line of credit up to 30$ back in August, was told ON THE SPOT I was accepted...thought this was a little weird but shrugged it off after the teller told me a second time. Here I am in November and I recently had to spread my finances very thin. I had the decision on whether or not to make a payment on my student loan now, or after my next paycheck. I chose now remembering I had that $30 dollar window, so I thought. Next thing I know I have a 37$ overdraft fee. Called customer service, its something I have to take up with my branch. I was told my branch would reach out to me...waited hours and finally called my branch. Talked to a gentleman who was familiar with the situation! Why wouldn't you call though? Long story short they said they would only cover half and that because credit isn't usually approved the same day then he doesn't know what happened but he knows they wouldn't do that. So indirectly got called a liar. Dropping those fools after my next check...disappointed. There were several times before that where I wanted to leave but I gave them the benefit of the doubt, wasted my time.

The Worst Bank Ever

Applied for a line of credit up to 30$ back in August, was told ON THE SPOT I was accepted...thought this was a little weird but shrugged it off after the teller told me a second time. Here I am in November and I recently had to spread my finances very thin. I had the decision on whether or not to make a payment on my student loan now, or after my next paycheck. I chose now remembering I had that $30 dollar window, so I thought. Next thing I know I have a 37$ overdraft fee. Called customer service, its something I have to take up with my branch. I was told my branch would reach out to me...waited hours and finally called my branch. Talked to a gentleman who was familiar with the situation! Why wouldn't you call though? Long story short they said they would only cover half and that because credit isn't usually approved the same day then he doesn't know what happened but he knows they wouldn't do that. So indirectly got called a liar. Dropping those fools after my next check...disappointed. There were several times before that where I wanted to leave but I gave them the benefit of the doubt, wasted my time.

The Worst Experience

Posted by: hao | Sep 2, 2014

I opened a new checking account of First Niagara Bank online on 08/07/2014 due to $250 bonus promotion from the Hustlemoneyblog.com. During that time, it mentioned this bank bonus is available nationwide. (See attached ad as below) But After I signed up and transferred some money as the initial deposit into the new account, they told me that I was not qualified the promotion because I do not live in the four states (CT, MA, PA or NY).

I felt I was cheated by the untruthful promotion advertisement from the bank. I told them I want to close my account without any early termination fee. But I was told that I would be charged $25 if I closed my account within 6 months since it was opened.I am very disappointed with their decision.

First Niagara Bank Checking Review: $250 Bonus
First Niagara Bank is only located in New York and Pennsylvania. However, this bank bonus is available nationwide! A new Choice, Pinnacle or PinnaclePlus checking account must be opened online through FirstNiagara.com and you can earn up to $250 when you meet the requirements below. Take advantage of First Niagara Bank’s $250 Bonus offer today! Easy to earn since anyone can join with no hard pull on your credit!

Okay At Best

Posted by: Jason Kay | Aug 1, 2014

There customer service seems pretty good. What really irks me about First Niagara is their ATM's. I cannot tell you how frequently they are unavailable, making after business hour withdraws a nightmare. Also, other banks offer hours available on the weekend and the First Niagara branches I have gone to are not available on the weekend.