TD Bank: America’s Most Inconvenient Bank

Do not bank at TD Bank. Don’t even think about it.

I became a customer via TD having acquired Commerce Bank, a 400 plus branch bank headquartered in New Jersey whose motto was “No Stupid Fees, No Stupid Hours”. Branches were open till midnight. If you kept a not-that-high balance, there were no ATM fees. And speaking of ATM cards, Commerce gave you them at the time of account opening.

Since being acquired by TD Bank, the service has worsened and fees are higher. It isn’t just that TD Bank gradually cut branch hours to being open only till 6:30 PM on weekdays and adding lots of fees. It also is far less careful about customer security and has technology shortcomings. The old Commerce ATM cards could be used to make purchases at stores but were PIN protected. TD Bank eliminated this feature and required customers to have insecure non-PIN protected debit cards if they wanted to make purchases. Why this is acceptable is beyond me, since if you lose your wallet or have it stolen, someone could drain your account. So I have insisted on having an ATM card, since I am not willing to have a non-PIN protected card connected to my checking account. But you can use this card only at ATMs and not to make purchases.

Under TD Bank, I have never had a wire transfer go correctly. I have done wire transfers from other banks (Citibank, US Trust, Commerce, and ANZ in Australia), both domestic and international, without a hitch. Not TD Bank. Each and every transfer has taken multiple attempts. The whole point of paying the premium for a transfer is to move money quickly, and to charge fees for a service they can’t deliver is a ripoff.

I do not use their online banking directly but I’ve had trouble with that too.I’m not willing to risk someone being able to get access to the account if my machine went astray. Recall I lost my laptop, plus laptops are sometimes stolen at airport screening and I use that same machine at my desk.

But I have had TD Bank set up my online banking account for my accountant to be able to download transaction information. I’ve had to go to the branch at least five times over this, both because like the transfer, it seemed the branch staff weren’t able to execute correctly, and then later, the system for some reason started rejecting the passwords my accountant had created, forcing me to go back to the branch to repeat the exercise (the arbitrary wiping of the passwords happened twice; the staff actually confessed to it one of the two times).

The latest incident involved my aforementioned ATM card. I was making a deposit at an ATM, something I have done a zillion times, but fed a check in not squarely aligned. The machine spit it out and told me to do it again. But the touch screen became unresponsive, with message kept repeating and the machine beeping. I hit the “Enter” key first to try to break the loop in which it was clearly stuck, then “Cancel”. The ATM then announced it was retaining my card for security reasons. Pray tell, how does making a check deposit constitute a security hazard?

Of course, this happened right before I was scheduled to go out of town. I called the customer service number and was told I could get a new card right away in the branch. But as we’ll see, that was not correct.

I went to the 85th and 3rd Street branch and made sure to get there before 4:30 PM (this was on a weekday). But there were six people waiting for service and the one person who had been handling non-teller customers left his desk after he finished the customer he was working with when I came into the branch.

In the meantime, there was a woman seated in a glassed-in corner office, with two branch employees in suits standing talking to her. This already looked odd, since if a manager comes in to help a customer service rep, they usually either work on the computer or get on the phone to sort the problem out. But this was all conversation, no forms in evidence, and no interaction with screens or phones. I then saw a third suit person walk in to talk to seated woman. I heard the word “disrespected” from the seated woman. In the meantime, two more people came into the branch to join the scrum in the seating area (I had been sitting on a table because all the seats were filled when I came in).

Seated woman finally got up and left the room. She has a pin with a name on it! She was a TD Bank employee and went back into the teller area. So what appears to have been some sort of interpersonal issue had tied up three, then four branch employees for 25 minutes while customers are piling up and the after-work rush hasn’t even started.

The three non-teller employees stayed in the corner office and continued talking, with one taking the seat and the other two standing. There was no sign this was going to let up.

After five more minutes, I got up tapped on the glass door with my trusty shooting stick, opened it, stuck my head in, and said something like:

I have been in financial services for over 30 years. Your sign over there [pointing] says “America’s Most Convenient Bank.” People have been waiting for over a half an hour and no one has been served while you have been talking. I have a website with a heavy New York readership that gets 1.5 million page views a month. I don’t think you want me writing about this.

That broke up the meeting.

After maybe 15 more minutes to clear the queue ahead of me, I finally saw a branch staffer. I learned what I had been told was incorrect. The employee could give me one of those insecure, non-PIN protected debit cards in the branch, but TD Bank evidently got rid of the ability that Commerce Bank had, to hand out and PIN-protect ATM cards in the branch. They have to send me one in the mail. That takes seven to ten business days.

I got back from my trip and the card was here. It had both a sticker on it and an enclosure that said I can activate the card by calling a number provided or by using it at an ATM and entering my pre-existing PIN.

I try calling the phone number and provided the card number. I was very careful to input it correctly.

The system said it does not recognize the number.

The next day, I went to an ATM, inserted the card, and put in my PIN.

At first, things seem to be OK. I got a familiar screen giving me options of what to do next, like Deposit. I pressed “Balance Inquiry”.

It then asked me to input my PIN. This is not normal behavior. I typed my PIN again.

It said the PIN is invalid.

I tried again a couple of more times, and I got the same response. I then hit “Cancel”.

Curiously, the ATM did not eat my card, when you would think multiple PIN entries would do that.

When I get back to my apartment, I called TD Bank and told them what happened. The rep looked up my card number and said it hasn’t been authorized for use because I provided an invalid PIN.

I told her I was certain the PIN I entered was correct, because not only is it easy to remember but it is also the same one as on my other TD Bank card, and I haven’t had any problem with that one.

She said all she could do was either send me a new card or a PIN reminder letter.

I told her to do the latter. I asked “What happens when you send me the PIN that the system says is invalid?”

She didn’t have an answer.

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60 comments

  1. John Zelnicker

    Yves – That is an incredible horror show. You don’t mention switching to another bank so the cost of doing so must be prohibitive.

    Reply
    1. JEHR

      Welcome to the full-blown crapification of Canadian banking!. When TD banks first set up shop in Canada, they were happy to put small banks in small towns for the convenience of rural customers. When TD started to look for better profits, it closed down those rural banks. Banks in Canada were once not allowed to have insurance companies attached to their names–now they have insurance as a way to make more profit. Canadian banks used to separate commercial banking from investment banking but now they can use some of their depositer’s money to invest to make greater profits. TD used to give its pensioner customers accounts with no fees–not any more because profit comes first. TD began charging fees for any kind of transfers of RRSPs or TFSAs to other banks.

      I have been watching this deterioration of our banking system for some time now and I am not impressed. I use an online credit union for most of my important accounts and only hang onto my TD account because the no-fee thing was grandfathered in (grandmothered?)

      Sorry to hear about your experience but maybe all banks are going the same route–all profit all the time and no customer service. TD makes billions of dollars quarterly.

      Reply
  2. Geo

    I was a Conmerce customer and stayed with after the TD switch and can second just about everything you stated here. Constant fraud on my accounts, even had a check stolen that the thief forged a new name on it and was still able to deposite despite the obvious forgery and never was able to get the $600 back from that. Same experience with wire transfers.

    A total nightmare. Had a business account and personal one with them. Closed both and left TD two years ago (also a chore just to do that) and none of those problems since.

    Reply
  3. RMO

    I would be interested in hearing from any of my fellow Canadians about what the TD is like to deal with here – I’ve never had an account with them and I was wondering if maybe the US subsidiary is substantially worse. Possibly poor integration or management of the recently acquired Commerce Bank leading to these horrible problems? The only large bank here in Canada I ever dealt with was Bank Of Montreal. For years I had a credit card through them as at the time my credit union didn’t offer a particularly good deal on one. Going in once per month to pay the bill was enough to convince me there was no way I would ever want to use them as my bank.

    Reply
    1. divadab

      I suspect Yves’ problems are mostly related to acquisition hickups. In Canada, TD historically has been in the forefront of expanding services – back in the day, banks closed at 3 pm and TD was the first Canadian bank to offer longer opening hours. They also have a superior on-line brokerage product. But in general Canadian banks are much less customer-service oriented than US banks. Probably because there are only 6 or 7 big banks in Canada and a multitude in the USA – thanks to the New Deal bank regulations which protect local and regional banks. Resulting in more local competition.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        It’s not “acquisition hiccups”. See Clive below on how the ATM eating my card for a transaction that could in no way be considered a security threat is a sign of cutting costs too far, to the point where they threaten basic IT functions.

        Moreover, the acquisition took place in March 2008. It’s been more than a decade. Any problems now cannot be attributed to the integration.

        Reply
    2. The Geege

      I’ve been banking and investing in Canada through TD since 2006. They hold the mortgage for our house as well. The level of their customer service depends somewhat on the branch, but is generally poor (often similar to Yves’ experience). So far, none of the other difficulties experienced by Yves have occurred to my partner or I. I suspect Canadian TD banks are run differently than their US counterparts. My debit card has a PIN. At age 60, I was entitled to a senior discount on my chequing account fees but had to tell them a year later. In their defense, they provided a refund for the missed period. Having said that, Canadian banking offers poorer service, more regulations and higher fees than in the US, so the banking experience yardstick is lower here.

      Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    Gaachhh! That’s bringing back bad memories. When we moved to this State, we joined a bank that had a good reputation and was majority owned by the State government. A few years after they were amalgamated with other entities and flogged off to the private market by the government who saw a quick buck.
    Before long, the services deteriorated and the fees started stacking up. The interest rates offered dropped and I sometimes wonder if it was so that the heads of the bank could give themselves hefty pay raises. When I woke up to the fact that I was paying $70 a year just to have my main account and the interest rates were lower than the inflation rate, I pulled the plug and moved to another bank.
    All I can say is the next time Yves has to say that she has a website that gets 1.5 million page views a month to show that she is a serious player, she should also tell them in they are unsure, that to tell them to give CalPERS a ring to confirm it. Tell them to say ‘Yves sent you’.

    Reply
  5. griffen

    Interesting and unfortunate for their customers. They have a large campus in the upstate region of SC, just off I 85 is a fairly large campus. I have zero connection or use for them, actually.

    As said here often, because free markets.

    Reply
  6. Tomonthebeach

    Yves offers so many examples of reasons why Federal Credit Unions are the best places to bank. My answer to the question, “What’s in your wallet?” is “Same as what is in your wallet – I just pay less for it.”

    I joined Navy Federal CU in 1972. NFCU has branches internationally. I can bicycle up A1A to the nearest one 3 miles away here in Central Florida. I have always paid no fees for any services including checking and auto-billpay, foreign transactions, and online banking. I get top interest on checking and savings & CDs, and enjoyed below-market mortgages, auto loans, credit card interest rates, free fiduciary investment advice and discount brokerage fees. ATM access globally is free, and 24/7 access via phone. Branches close around 6, but I rarely need to visit one.

    If you spend the time, you can always find an FCU that will let you join as an employment or professional membership perk, or for making a charitable donation to a local foundation. They are all FDIC safe.
    Granted NFCU is the gold-standard for FCUs, but because they are all nonprofit, they tend to be low-fee & high-interest on savings.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      Similar experiences with my credit union. I can use an ATM anywhere and pay no fees to my credit union. I have a PIN-protected VISA debit card linked to my checking account which is also linked to an overdraft line of credit (aka ODLOC) which alleviates the need for a credit card. We got a mortgage through them which they kept in house and serviced.

      The only issue I ever had was in trying to refinance the mortgage. It was a cash-out refi to do some home improvement and the credit union had appraised the house at far less than the going market rate for comparables which threw off the loan-to-value ratio, so they asked us to pay a premium since the LTV was too high. IMO, the market rates were inflated so the credit union was merely doing their due diligence which, although it adversely affected me, seemed to be the correct thing to do from a risk standpoint since home prices had already cratered once in recent history after a rapid run-up.

      Can’t really blame the credit union for acting responsibly, and we didn’t want to pay the higher rate, so we just paid down the loan some more and refinanced a little later.

      Reply
  7. everydayjoe

    I use TD Ameritrade as a online broker and have been happy with them. I wonder if they are related.?

    Reply
  8. Wyndtunnel

    I have been a TD CanadaTrust customer for almost 30 years. Never had an issue with them. Debit cards have been PIN protected in Canada since the very beginning of debit card payments in the mid 80s. Lost a card? No problem. Go to any branch across Canada with ID and you’ll walk out with a temporary PIN protected card until the replacement comes in the mail.

    You have to go to a branch in person to make bank transfers and you will be thoroughly interrogated if the amount is 10K or more but once accepted I have never had a transfer fail.

    Same name different management?

    Reply
  9. Seligne

    I opened several TD (formerly Toronto Dominion) accounts when I worked in Montreal more than ten years ago. Now, I am retired, with a permanent west coast Canada address, but now live in Asia full-time.

    TD is a total failure for customers outside North America. To withdraw funds from my accounts I have two options: a) use a TD debit card in a local ATM and pay an exorbitant fee for a capped maximum withdrawal, or b) visit a TD branch. My nearest TD branch is in Vancouver. I don’t fly for environmental reasons.

    I would like to sever my relationship with TD, but closing my accounts would result in a hefty tax bite. Having checked into my Canadian banking options, it appears that the only one that is geared to doing business globally is HSBC, which I refuse to use as I find them ethically challenged.

    My hatred for TD is only stoked when I learn that its CEO received an eight percent bump in his FY2018 compensation (to CAD15.3 million),

    Reply
    1. cyclist

      Even if HSBC wasn’t ethically challenged I’m not sure that they would be any better. Back when they were the “World’s Favorite Bank” I had a checking and savings account linked to the US branch (which was a legacy holdover from their takeover of Marine Midland of Buffalo). While traveling in the UK, I tried to withdraw some cash from a HSBC ATM and it ate my card. Since this happened on a Saturday, I had to wait to Monday to go into the branch to see if the card could be recovered. I was told basically “no, you will need to get a new card when you get back to the US – we really have no connection the the US operation”. Good thing I had backup credit cards and friends who could loan me cash.

      BTW, many years ago, when my parents were in decline and I had to take care of their business, I often needed to get documents notarized. Commerce Bank was glad to do this for free, even for non-customers. Wonder if TD still provides this service?

      Reply
  10. Butterfly

    I manage a college bookstore. Occasionally the credit card machine cannot read the chip on a card that’s been inserted. Those failed cards are almost all issued by TD Bank.

    Reply
    1. Phillip Allen

      Courtesy of Dictionary dot com:

      “shooting stick. noun. a device that resembles a walking stick, having a spike at one end and a folding seat at the other.”

      Reply
        1. Svante Arrhenius

          I’d bought a telescoping trecking pole, nice alloy, cork “cane” style handle for my partner, to keep her on her feet, jumping the inviting icy pools at every intersection (she seems not to believe WL Gore’s claims). This worked so well, I’d gifter a fellow cantankerous curmudgeon, decidedly Proletarian, bum knees and Black. You can guess my warning? 7005 alloy or graphiteffiber sticks, terminating in pointy carbide tips are deemed lethal weapons in our rough, doughty paws?

          Reply
  11. Jesper

    Might be a side-effect of the easy and cheap access of central bank funds. Why bother with costly deposit customers if you can get funds cheaper from the central bank?
    I do not have access to what the costs are relating to deposit customers, I’d expect that someone might have run a cost benefit analysis (accurate or not, probably the outcome was decided before the analysis even began) and from that come to the conclusion that for business reasons it makes sense to charge higher fees for the provided services and cut back on the customer service.

    Reply
  12. Jessica

    Checked with Canadian friends. A few have accounts with TD in Canada. No problems.
    Seems to be something about their operations in the US.

    Reply
  13. Clive

    When an ATM tells you anything is to do with “security reasons”, it’s probably lying to disguise some mess up in its hardware or software. What probably happened was the document reader concked out (motor, pulleys and belts, scanner etc.) or the card reader failed. This caused the software stack or microcode to tall over in a heap. Hence the hanging you saw on screen.

    As there could then be a document pile up or card pile up in the card reader, the machine will shut down and retain everything to prevent the wrong costumer being given the wrong card back.

    Root cause: poor maintenance of the ATM or an ATM being in service long past its intended service life. Either is a clear signal to give the operating bank a wide berth. If they are penny pinching on those things, you shudder to think what else they are skimping on.

    As for the PIN, they probably reset it accidentally when your card was retained. It’ll be interesting to see if your PIN reminder is a genuine reminder of your old PIN or a new PIN TD have generated. But, it it was indeed the latter, it’s obviously just plain stupid to reset a customer’s PIN and not send a new PIN letter.

    Reply
  14. Peter

    I was a TD bank customer for five years or so, private and business, clean accounts and credit rating tops.
    Needed a car loan for less than 5000$, was approved no problem by loans department and within hours the approval was countermanded by the manager without any explanations.
    Left for Scotiabank, got the loan the same day and never looked back.

    Reply
  15. Chuck T

    This article sounds like TD in the US is a bizzaro universe version of how they operate here in Canada. Here they are have the best customer service of any of our major banks. I’d dump them immediately if they treated me like the US bank has treated you.

    Reply
  16. Joshua

    As a long-time Canadian TD Bank customer, I can say that I’ve never experienced anything like this article. The ATMs always work, cards and online banking are high on security with pins and two factor authentication (plus TD has always called immediately after any suspicious activity with either), and customer service has always been swift and helpful (and never had to wait long in person or on the phone). Like other commentators have said, this appears to be a problem with the US division of TD.

    Reply
  17. marieann

    We are in Canada
    We had a TD account for years, it was a requirement of getting our mortgage 40 years ago. We had good service. About 10 years ago they lost us as customers.

    We are not at all happy with service charges, at that time if you kept $1000 in your account there were no service charges. That changed about 10 years ago when they raised the thousand to 25,000. We switched banks though we still have our VISA accounts with them.

    I had never heard of having a PIN number on a VISA until a couple of years ago. We mainly use a debit card, which uses a PIN.

    Reply
  18. Svante Arrhenius

    But, look at it this way. Their financing of, speculating-up (and support of Hillary Clinton to promote) Tar Sands light bitumen extraction, transport and refining will sho’nuff innundate New York’s Financial District with salty water, shorting out all their… oh, they’re from WHERE? Nevermind!

    Reply
  19. Mike

    Unfortunately, I was an employee of TD Bank for 2 years (an office no longer there), and was happy to retire from the work world after that experience. While offering “perks” to employees such as reduced prices on items that bore the TD logo, there was the inability of the Bank to coordinate their various softwares (often in conflict with each other), and the difficulty of in-house “audits” due to such conflicts, which often turned up irreconcilable items not fixed but written off. The major problem with the bank was its bottom-line attitude that looked to cheapen processes while working staff long hours to improve customer services – a scissor effect that always came to a head in needed fixes (fixes that were not “affordable”). Did not open an account with them in spite of the convenient hours mainly because it was obvious this would go the way of other such services – able to be jettisoned when justifiable due to cost.

    Reply
  20. Ook

    Canadian TD customer here (banking and securities), living overseas. No problems at all over the last 40 years. Probably helps that I know many of the people at the home-town branch personally. On the other hand, your story reads a lot like my experience with HSBC in SE Asia, which is very different from the HSBC of 20 years ago.

    Reply
  21. notabanktoadie

    All that just to deal with mere liabilities for fiat while the 7000 or so depository institutions with accounts at the FED, apparently the only real citizens in the US, get to deal with real fiat in account form.

    The current two-tier banking model is a relic of the Gold Standard when fiat was too expensive/scarce for the general population to use but largely only the banks – or so is the excuse. Why then, with inexpensive fiat, must we cling to a model that is inherently discriminatory, historically unstable and obsolete to boot?

    Reply
  22. edmondo

    I lived in New Jersey and was a loyal Commerce Bank fanatic. I urged literally hundreds of people to move their accounts to Commerce Bank. The difference in customer service and attitudes were amazing once TD Bank acquired them. I finally stopped using TD Bank when they charged me an “international credit card fee” for using my TD Bank credit card for an internet purchase with a Canadian company, even though TD Bank is headquartered in Canada.

    By the way – the founders of the old Commerce Bank have just opened up a new venture, called Republic Bank. They are amazing. I went into a couple of banks to decide where I was going to open a business account. I told one bank that I was considering him along with Republic Bank. He told me to go with Republic because they couldn’t compete with them. I did.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Um, thanks for the tip but you need to be more specific.

      There is Republic New York, which looks to be a reconstitution of Edmond Safta’s Republic Bank. There’s one very close to me, but it’s a private bank, as in for very high net worth individuals.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_New_York

      It operates as First Republic:

      https://www.firstrepublic.com/locations/new-york

      There are two Republic Banks that I see in addition to that, one based in Pennsylvania, the other in Kentucky.

      The PA Republic sounds like Commerce. They flag their free coin counting for everyone, one of the Commerce services:

      https://www.myrepublicbank.com/

      Reply
  23. Louis Fyne

    Everyone might want to think of exclusively using a credit card or cash and leaving the debit card at home. Or two checking accounts with the debit card of the bigger account rarely leaving home.

    (Yes, i absolutely agree with the reasons why people want to avoid credit cards)

    But the tail risk of losing/getting a debit card cloned by crooks is nit worth it (for me). And credit cards give you much more legal protections.

    It’s a feature, not a bug. Sigh

    Reply
  24. Joe Well

    Is there a service that will help switch over your small business banking to a new bank for you?

    I hate my bank but I can’t be bothered, either.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, the problem is with post 9/11 know your customer standards, you have to provide at least your certificate of incorporation and often your articles of incorporation. The lawyer who set me up hasn’t been my lawyer for over a decade. My old accountant had the info too but I’m now on to accountant #2 after that, so that appears to have gotten lost in the transfers too.

      I presume I can get the info from NY State again……

      Plus if you have any auto payments or clients who pay you by ACH, you have to make sure you get them all moved over to the new bank account.

      Reply
  25. David in Santa Cruz

    Only a New Yorker would complain about their bank no longer being open until midnight! Of course, here in California they hang the ATM machines outside on the exterior walls near a curb or parking lot, allowing customers to be the victims of stick-ups 24/7…

    During the GFC I had the pleasure of my account being involuntarily handed-off between four different banks as the dominoes fell. I wound up with a subsidiary of BNP-Paribas, and I’ve been quite happy with their service. Admittedly, I have rather low expectations of consumer banking…

    Reply
  26. Dan

    Non-pin protected ATM card? Sounds like a Visa gift card attached to your bank account. Nice gift card indeed if anyone gets a hold of it. I didn’t even know such a thing existed and I can’t fathom the corporate process that led TD to force such a thing on their customers.

    I’m also a lifelong credit union user, though we also have accounts with USAA, which has spectacular customer service, especially for Americans living overseas (most customers are military or their families, so they know the deal). When I lived in Italy I could reach a live customer service person within five minutes on Skype, in the middle of the night US time. It doesn’t have to be this bad, the bankers make it so on purpose.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, it’s a debit card that is also your ATM card. I don’t have it but I assume you use a PIN at ATMs but no PIN for purchases. I really do not like using a debit card that is not PIN protected….and that is the ONLY sort of card you can get for a business checking account!!! This is utterly nuts.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        My debit card requires a PIN, except at gas stations and certain other high-volume sites, esp. by phone. A thief would have to know where they could use it. In this respect, it’s more secure than cash, but not self-limited like cash.

        The debit card costs the merchant less, so I prefer it for places I want to support, like the Co-op – or, for that matter, the two large worker-owned stores in town. But that does mean I’m carrying it.

        I don’t live in NYC, so theft is less of a concern. Still I’ll have to think about that risk.

        Reply
    2. fajensen

      I didn’t even know such a thing existed and I can’t fathom the corporate process that led TD to force such a thing on their customers.

      It eliminates fraud. With no pin on the card, there is no discussion possible: Any fraud is always the fault of, the responsibility to remedy and the full expense of, the cardholder!

      I notice that in former times, credit cards were thrown at us and now they are getting scarcer, concentrated on fewer providers too. I think there is an ongoing process to move everyone onto debit cards in order to push the cost of card fraud onto consumers rather than businesses, it slots in well with the revolutionary thinking behind “cashless society”, which is that everything should only be cheap, convenient, accessible and secure for businesses.

      In Sweden they have ‘credit cards’ which are really debit cards linked to an account with an overdraft facility. One can spot these by the requirement to repay in full after 2 or 3 months. These are really bad because the customer is on the hook for getting the money refunded in case of fraud (Hahahaha) or repayment and the credit limit, where the fraud supposedly stops, but the banks won’t promise that(!) may be at 5-10000 EUR.

      Good Luck going to Sicily with that kind of card (I have had my credit cards ripped each and every time there, it’s traditional)!

      I keep my “stash” in accounts not linked to any cards, the debit cards are linked to accounts that only carry a small balance for things that don’t take credit cards and cash. I generally use real credit cards for most things.

      Reply
  27. TimH

    @Louis: Seconded about not using debit cards. Ignoring the legal protection differences between DC and CC, with a DC incorrect withdrawal *you don’t have the funds while the dispute is undergoing*, unlike with a CC.

    I simply asked for an ATM-only card when opening my last account, and it was no problem.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      IMHO the risk is not disputes but theft. If someone steals your wallet and uses your cards, your exposure is $50 max per credit card and hopefully they don’t guess your ATM PIN on the three attempts allowed before a card is cancelled.

      With a debit card with no PIN required for purchases, they can spend on it till your account is drained and you are on the hook for the spending.

      Reply
  28. Cal2

    Don’t forget to give them a bad Yelp review.
    Lots of people rely on that when choosing a new service provider.

    No matter how much they spend on advertising, multiple negative reviews and a low “star” count can dissuade more new customers than their ads can attract.

    Reply
  29. Anna

    I had to get another bank because I really needed to make a wire transfer when I was on the west coast 3.5 years ago and TD Bank wouldn’t let me. Said it could only be done in person at a branch. I also had a fraud charge on my account and I’d never used the ATM card.

    Reply
  30. Mike

    Like Yves, I am also a Commerce Bank customer gobbled up by TD. Fees, service, etc. have all become remarkably worse.

    I moved across the country and have yet to switch my bank, so I am relying on the TD website and app for my banking and bill paying. It is adequate, but fragile. Online banking goes down about once every two months. They changed the rules on usernames twice, so I had to change my username to something that was basically incomprehensible to meet their character requirements, then change it again when they decided my username was now too long. Both times involved getting locked out of my account and having to speak to a representative.

    I really should switch banks but I am afraid of jumping into something that might be worse.

    Reply
  31. Big River Bandido

    I, too, am a legacy customer of Commerce Bank, which was awesome. I, too, can attest to the collapse in the quality of service since they were bought out by TD Bank. The only reasons I have not changed banks are because they have a very conveniently-located branch only 2 blocks from my apartment; changing banks is a hassle; and even when you do change…”wherever you go, there you are”.

    Fraud is definitely a problem with this company. In one 6-month period (last June through December), my PIN-protected debit card was hacked 4 times. I was not left on the hook for any of the amounts; but it was a major hassle every time. In the most recent case, the amounts of the hacking exceeded my balance, rendering me essentially without access to my own money for 7-10 days.

    Reply
  32. Keith Newman

    Sorry to hear of your bad experience with TD. I live in Canada and have a US dollar account and three modest-sized online investment accounts with them. I don’t use TD much. My main bank is CIBC. I own some shares in TD as I believe it has been the most conservative of the Canadian banks, i.e hasn’t been involved in weird derivatives, etc, or other scams and semi-scams. And of course it is highly profitable as are all the Canadian banks. I’ll send your complaint to top management and let you know if they give anything other than a perfunctory answer.

    Reply
  33. Pinhead

    These problems are everyday occurances at French banks. Retail banking is cartelised in France. You can chose from a small number of national brands, a couple of them operating regonal brands, but all are as bad as the others. I strongly recommend Transferwise.

    Reply
    1. Charles 2

      Huh !?
      All French debit card are pin protected, except for contactless transactions and some specific exceptions (motorway toll booth) and card not present transactions where you can opt out. Personally I don’t, because I am notified immediately by messaging of every transaction that takes place (most internet transaction require TFA anyway). It is good enough for me to detect fraud early. PIN is stored in a microchip, so cannot be duplicated.
      Internet banking is two factors secured (with sms) and is designed in such a way that keyloggers don’t give access to passwords. All the wire transfer I initiated and received went smoothly, even international ones.
      Such a setup would be a dream for Yves compared to the horror show she describes…
      I don’t think my bank is especially good. Other banks offer similar service. It is due to the fact that most services rely on a common architecture (either a cooperative across all French banks or the ECB). In my experience across several countries (France, UK, Singapore, Malaysia), it is not competition that makes the difference in the overall quality of banking services, but a good common infrastructure promoted by the central bank. As for airports, US seems to be a laggard and Asia at the forefront…

      As Transferwise is concerned, it may be good for international transfers, but I wouldn’t use it for banking :
      A) it is not a bank, so no deposit protection,
      B) it does not provide the full gamut of banking services (no Giro, no checking, etc…)
      C) it uses Well Fargo as its USD correspondent bank. Pouah !

      Reply
  34. Chastised

    Thank you for this!

    I was roped into setting up a TD Credit Card because of the cashback redemption opportunities through TD Ameritrade (which is a great provider) and had a similar experience to yours.

    Reply
  35. fnx

    Almost stopped reading halfway thru because I was so horrified at your experience! I bank with a local, non-nationwide bank and they replaced my debit card for no reason a few years ago. I stopped in to discuss it and was told that they didn’t really know why, but it was done by the national VISA people and a lot of their customers were affected. I also can’t use the card at a particular grocery store because it triggers a fraud alert every single time, so now if I’m going there I make sure to take cash.

    As a suggestion, a reloadable debit card solves some of the problems of losing money if it’s stolen. My elderly father’s bank suggested that when we discovered his caregiver had convinced him to add them as a signatory on his account, then spent a year and a half on a wild spending spree with his money (he’s blind and not as mentally sharp with a max income of about $925 a month thru social security, so this was a huge loss that the local sheriff declined to pursue, as did adult protective services with the excuse of “well, he gave the card to her”). While there’s a monthly fee on the card, at least if it’s stolen the only amount lost is whatever was loaded onto the card, and the thief doesn’t have access to his bank account thru it.

    Reply
  36. DonCoyote

    I use Opera, with built-in ad-blocker definitely on. Had finished reading the article and comments, then had a half-hour talk with my boss.

    Got back and the site was “complaining” gently about my ad-blocker being on (never gotten this before despite viewing NC >100 times on this computer with this browser). Turned it off and immediately saw multiple TD Ameritrade ads.

    It’s the Trump model–all publicity is good publicity.

    Reply

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