The yield on Merchants' Money Market, recently lowered from 1% APY, remains (at least for now) at .75% APY.
But they have suddenly -- very suddenly, without any warning -- discontinued originating eternal transactions. In practice, they have just deleted ALL my ACH links on their site!
Could this be a way to retain cash, by attempting to stem the tide of outflow? Who knows, but here's Merchants' story, via email to me, within the past hour:
Policy and procedures with the Money Market Accounts are being changed, since this is a regulated "Savings Account", we no longer can offer external transfers, bill pay, debit cards or ACH origination. I can get you checks if you would like, and we will wire funds without a charge when you need to move funds to another financial institution. But we can only receive funds into the account if you either do a wire or initiate an ACH transfer from the other financial institution.
I repeated the online application using different browsers, guided by the bank representative, etc., but only wasted time, yet disclosed personal information which is caught by many scammers these days. In the end, the bank representative suggested me to come personally to one of their branchs, 1000+ miles far from me. I've opened online accounts in profoundly strict banks without such problems.
I am still trying but it is looking hopeless. The support people have been excellent but they cannot do anything when the online application rejects you for lack of verification. All my info. is correct so should be no problem. Have spent hours on this but at least the people have indeed been helpful. Also, you can get locked out for 48 hours pretty easily. They can unblock you if you speak to the right people. However, if there is some big glitch the online application will reject you and there is nothing anyone can do.
I had the same initial experience abc71m describes- application fail - including 48 hour lock out of further application processing.
As Ken Tumin stated in his blog on Merchants, the website is light on documentation. When I clicked on their "contact us"' drop down, all that appears is a list of branches. I too called the Carmel Midtown branch, since it was listed first and I assume it might be the main branch since the Deposit website indicates it is headquartered in Carmel.
I informed the person who answered that I was having difficulty with the online application -from there on my experience was entirely different from that described by abc71m- I was was told that for those issues I needed to call a different number, which turned out to be the Richmond branch.
They were able to immediately access my blocked application and after some consultation with back office staff, indicated that the problem was with my driver's license number. But all they could tell me was information from the error codes in their system, they could not actually see what information was on the application. Of course like what is too often the case with computer support experiences, they first indicated I must have input my # incorrectly. Not likely, as their system indicated there was an error on the application page, (but not which data item) so I reviewed every item and the clicked on "continue". Third try locks you out for 48 hours (but they don't tell you that online). Then they said my state must have identified a problem with my license status that their system picked up. The representative then gave me her work email so I could send them a screen shot from my state's online license account showing all was in good order. There was no effort/offer to provide a work around to their application system, even though I had provided my license status. Just wait 48 hours and try again.
Apparently your experience may vary.
I don't think this is the bank for me
If their accounts portal is as bad as the application, your money will disappear into an internet void, like my application did 3 or more times.
Update 11/30/2020 After much back & forth with the bank, I was able to complete the process. The online application is confusing but not impossible is where I'm at with that. However, only after opening the account do I learn there is an incoming & outgoing limit of transfers capped at 5000. If you want to do more than that, you have to call or email them and then they set it back to 5k. That's not going to work for me.
Should they have solvency problems, I could see a situation where you can't get someone on the phone. Their balance sheet is solid right now; but the with the current economic climate in a severe state of flux, that could be an issue at some point.
Also, the person answering the phone is a newish hire and she guesses at answers to questions. I asked 'do you have bill pay with this account'. No was the response. When I actually got into the account there was indeed bill pay. That's more of a reflection of poor training than anything else.
They should tell their employees if they don't know an answer to not 'guess' if they're not sure. This is financial services not your hair stylist. She was a very nice young lady though. They just wasted my time with this given the limits on moving money in and out. I suppose one can push or pull money out from another account however if you're ok w/ these strange quirks that leave one feeling uneasy.
Also I went through the process of giving them external account info to set up the account, wait for trail deposits etc only to find the account had to be linked again once my online access was set up. Who set up this online portal for them? Additionally, many of the employees who answer the phones there were hired this year. High turnover isn't good in banking either.
Feel like I'm getting dumber when I waste time like this. Too old, but rates let's admit, have been criminally low for a long time.
The user agreement says they can charge you 2 dollars for each transfer in or out. They said 'we don't charge that tho'. lolz Everything that could possibly be sketchy This type of nonsense by a mid sized bank is NOT a good sign, in the sense of recent events.