It’s been almost 40 years since Paul Simon taught us how to leave a lover, but many of us still seem to be stuck to a ball and chain of another kind.
Nearly 90 per cent of Americans 15 and older have bank accounts, according to the World Bank, but does this mean nine-in-10 Americans are satisfied with their relationship with the bank?
If not, why aren’t you heading out the door?
If you’re ready to hit the road, but finding it hard to go, the problem may, in fact, be all inside your head, so we can help you—in a logical way—find ways to leave your bank.
Without harnessing the same creative force that Simon could, we are a tad short of 50, but here are a few ways to leave your bank.
If you’re looking for a rebound that’s not too far from the comfort zone:
You might consider getting yourself set-up on Simple, an online company that touts itself as a replacement to the bank. Through Simple, you can do many of the same things you can do with your bank account, such as make purchases using a Simple Visa, deposit checks (via smartphone), set up direct deposit, earn interest, pay bills, and withdraw cash from Allpoint ATMs. Plus, if you’re not ready to cut all ties, Simple might be the right way to go as you aren’t totally bankless—your funds are held in an FDIC-insured account with their partner bank, The Bancorp Bank.
If you like the ease of dealing in cash:
Look at the online alternatives. By sending the bank a Dear John letter you’re not writing away your currency options. Instead, you can turn to Bitcoins, which are digital currency bought and sold via online exchanges. With Bitcoins you can make instant peer-to-peer transactions and worldwide payments, often with low processing fees, if any. There is no central authority managing transactions and issuing money, rather, this is carried out collectively by the network.
On the downside, prices can be volatile, and there is no guarantee how their value will hold or change over the long-term. However, that hasn’t stopped an eclectic range of merchants from accepting them, including, among other examples, a variety of Etsy vendors, Domino’s Pizza (through a third-party), and at least one NYC bar.
Check out the alternatives. Prosper or Lending Club are the leaders in this space, though more and more competitors, such as Loanio, have been popping up. These online lenders connects borrowers and lenders through online platform, cutting out banks from the lending cycle, which facilitates lower-cost loans between the parties.
If it’s a student loan you’re specifically in need of, SoFi might be the right fit. SoFi connects students and alumni through a dedicated lending pool that allows alumni, specifically those that qualify as accredited investors, to provide educational funding for students from a specific school and borrowers access to a lower fixed loan rate than they’d receive from other loaning institutions.
If you need a mortgage:
Money360 might be what you’re looking for. Borrowers are matched directly with private lenders pre-screened lenders that meet your specific criteria. Lenders will compete for your business, and you can choose the lender that makes you the best loan offer.
So perhaps getting yourself free from the bank is not as difficult as you thought? But hey, we’re not trying to twist your arm (it’s really not our habit to intrude!), all we’re suggesting is that you sleep on it tonight.