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I've recently become fed-up with Bank of America (When they charged me a $10 overdraft fee the one time in 2 years I used the wrong card at the wrong time and all they did for that $10 was transfer money from my savings because I had overdraft "protection"). Anyway. In the course of looking up replacements, I discovered Fidelity reimburses ATM fees and seems to have no such overdraft charges for in-account transfers.

I already use Fidelity for my 401k and individual brokerage account so I'm pretty attracted to this idea of using Fidelity and dropping any standard "bank" account. I need routing/bank account numbers for a few bill payments and electronic payment deposits so I checked and they seem to support numbers which map to your brokerage account (https://www.fidelity.com/cash-management/deposit-money/determine-routing-and-account-number).

So at this point I like the idea - drop bank accounts use my brokerage account like one. One place for everything; free ATM withdrawls, no overdraft craps.

My question is...am I missing something? is there a drawback? And can I really use the account number (see link) in all places i can use a bank account?

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    I can't answer the question, but I will say that you might want to look into a Credit Union. I love mine. – Aaron D. Marasco Oct 4 '15 at 23:06
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Yes, you can do everything that Fidelity promises with the cash management account. Your benefits are:

  • Free checks
  • ATM fees reimbursed
  • Free bill pay
  • Free account
  • Relatively easy to set up direct deposit or ACH transfers.
  • Free debit card

The downsides? They don't have branches everywhere, so if you do need to see a person, you may not be able to do so. Likewise, you won't be able to do cash deposits.

Before anyone says it's too good to be true, brokerages like Schwab and Fidelity offer this because the hope is that you'll end up establishing or using other services they offer, so they do have ways to profit from this. Still, compared to the joke that is many other banks, it's a good deal provide you're aware of the two downsides listed above this.

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My wife and I have two Schwab brokerage accounts, one for retirement and one for non-retirement investments. The latter also has a checking/savings account which we use as our main account. Schwab is very happy with us, as we are cheapskates and save a lot of money. The checking account, which seems to act like any ordinary checking account, gives us all the things listed above. They pay the ATM fees, which is not a lot of money, but seems like a nice thing to me. We can also do cash deposits and we can go to any Schwab branch to talk to someone face to face. We've only had to do the latter once in 10 or so years, and the former maybe once or twice.

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