Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Hassle of Opening an Account With GE Capital Bank

I attempted to open a long term CD, and I did some research on what bank to use on BankRate. I found that GE Capital bank was offering 2.30% APY on a 6 year term. I found this acceptable. 

I called the customer service, and I spoke to them about early withdrawal etc., and after learning about the terms, I filled out the online application form. The application process was simple enough, and it even says on the website that opening an account usually takes 10 minutes - it doesn't say that filling out the form usually takes less than 10 minutes. 

Having filled out all the information, I hit submit and only to be greeted by this message. 

Now, I understand that the federal law requires banks to verify identity and such, so I wasn't concerned about it. I figured I might have to submit some additional information, such as a copy of my visa etc.*

It should be noted that at this point, there was no email confirmation or anything of that sort. Had I  not saved a screenshot, I wouldn't know what my application ID was, in case I ever needed to follow up. 

I waited for over 2 days, and I got no calls or emails from the bank. My patience ran out, and I called them. I spoke to a customer service representative, and I gave her my application ID (which I got from a screenshot - still no email confirmation), and requested for the status. 

After putting me on hold briefly, she informed me that my application has failed validation, and that she couldn't tell me specifically what the problem was for security reasons. I did not know how to respond to that because she didn't offer me any other options, so wished her a good evening, and ended the call. 

I went back to, and I began searching again, and then I noticed that there are two GE banks - GE Capital Bank & GE Capital Retail Bank (I will refer to this as Optimizer Plus Bank from now on). 

So I decided to check their terms, and I found that they have a much better CD, offering 2.30% APY on a 5 year term. 

I decided to open an account here. It turned out an extremely easy process. 

I filled out the application, and I as a proof of identity, I entered my driver’s license information, and in about 10 minutes, my account was open, and I was ready to transfer money into it**.

I sent a note to GE Capital Bank about this on Twitter, and they responded quickly, and asked me to send them my phone number. I gave them my number, and a convenient time to reach me. 

Two days later, I got a call from a customer care representative. She told me she was going to take care of the situation as best as she can, and explained to me that the account department re-reviewed my application and were comfortable with letting me open an account. However, I would have to go through the process of opening the account again. I asked her what has changed between now and then, she told me that the system went through an upgrade, and it was the system that had rejected my application. 

She was very kind, and apologetic, and gave me her name & direct work number, and asked me to contact her if I needed any assistance. 

This would have been good enough for me, had I not discovered that Optimizer Plus Bank is offering the same APY for a lesser term. 

In the end, I decided to go with Optimizer Plus Bank. 

* I am not a US citizen - I am here on a work visa. 
** I received an email reminder from Optimizer Plus Bank after opening my account about funding my account. However, I had to call the customer care to get my account number, and the routing number of the bank because they were not mentioned anywhere on the website that I could find. I don't know if this is standard practice. 

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