Washington Mutual Adds Some Fees… And Freebies Too

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As of May 1, 2007, WaMu is rearranging their fee schedule slightly. American Express Traveler’s Checks, ATM Mini-Statements, Money Orders, and Notary signatures will be free. However, it appears that using a non-WaMu ATM will now incur a $2 fee on their end. This works out great for me as I never use non-WaMu ATMs, but getting free money orders and notary signatures will save me a few bucks here and there. Look for a flyer in your most recent bank statement.

Also see: WaMu Free Checking and 5% APY Savings Account Review

My Money Blog has partnered with CardRatings and may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on this site are from advertisers and may impact how and where card products appear on the site. MyMoneyBlog.com does not include all card companies or all available card offers. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and has not been provided nor approved by any of the companies mentioned.

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  1. One thing that I just saw was a banner ad for the 5.00% savings acct…I have that account but it looks like my 4.85% is not going up to 5% because its for new customers only. Have not been able to verify, but just thought I would post this for others who might be in the same boat.

  2. You do need to open up a new checking account with the new savings account to get the 5% rate, but you don’t need to be new overall customer. I was already a customer myself and got the 5% fine. You must have a lot of money if you’re already earning 4.85% in one of their other savings accounts?

    Here are step-by-step instructions for existing WaMu customers

  3. And although they will now charge for non WaMu ATMs, I have found that virtually every Walgreens in my area, now has a WaMu ATM.

  4. I went in to the local WaMu branch after receiving the revised Schedule of Fees last month. The customer service rep told me that the fee for non-WaMu ATM usage applied only to transactions from the savings account, not the checking account (as long as you have Free Checking). I have not had a chance to verify this yet, but it would be a huge disappointment if untrue. I banked with Compass Bank in Colorado before moving – they refund ALL ATM fees charged – and to switch to a bank that charges me to use another ATM would be unforgivable!

  5. That’s true if you have the new WaMu Free Checking, all other checkings and savings you will get charged the non-wamu atm fee.

  6. I have a WaMu account in the Chicago area. They do not do any medallion signature guarantees at any of their local branches.

  7. Robert Klein says

    I am a longtime WAMU customer and, despite occasionally spotty customer service have been generally satisfied with the experience. But when I was about to open an online savings account I got the rude surprise mentioned in this article.

    I found out that on July 22 WAMU now charges $2 for the use of an international ATM, or any non-WAMU ATM. These were some of the fees WAMU so loudly touted that it didn’t have and they recently instituted.

    I try to follow these things pretty closely, and I had no idea! I get my statements online and yet I did not get an online email indicating this was the case. I only found out because I actually read the terms when beginning to open a new savings account. I called and confirmed this was, indeed, the case. See for yourself: http://www.wamu.com/NR/rdonlyres/7CB6D5AC-D35A-41BB-8065-6D81E6B6B36F/0/SOF_CA_0707.pdf

    What to do:

    If you are a WAMU customer, please call the WAMU customer service line at 800-788-7000 and ask to make a complaint about these new fees (I am personally most concerned by the international fee because since WAMU is an entirely domestic bank there is no choice for those abroad.) Tell them you are much less likely to open new accounts or take out loans with WAMU as a result of the new fee(s) and that you’re more likely to other banks without such fees or with branches or preferential deals abroad. And if you’re as upset as me, tell them you’re actually going to take your loyal business somewhere else.

    Why will they listen:

    WAMU, if you don’t know, is going through financial trouble due to the recent subprime mortgage collapse…if we call them now they might be nervous enough about losing deposits they will listen.

    In the meantime:

    For students like me who study abroad, WAMU became my bank of choice because they didn’t try and screw students with high percentage transaction fees (above the 1% mastercard charges) and didn’t charge a per-transaction fee. This gave WAMU a competetive advantage over Citibank, HSBC and B of A which have branches or no-fee affiliates abroad.

    I’m now switching my primary banking over to my credit union, Patelco, which waves foreign ATM fees if you notify them ahead of time you are moving/studying abroad (and charges only $1.25 to use non-co-op network ATMs otherwise). I will be also moving most of my money into a capital one direct money market account, which not only doesn’t charge any fees on a foreign currency transaction, but refunds the 1% visa/mastercard charge (and gives me 5% APY). I’m not recommending Capital One yet because I haven’t tried them yet (it’s fyi), but Patelco and credit unions, in general, I can recommend wholehartedly. Patelco also offers another bonus for students studying abroad: $30 international wire transfers you can execute from abroad (WAMU makes you come into a branch).

  8. During my Korean tour 2003 I experienced this $30 international fee just on checking my balance. I would check it 4 or 5 times just to be shocked to see that it changed drasticly every time. My friends just watched from behind while trying to convince me that my account had been hacked. Well I wasn’t hacked, I was conned by my own bank. Thanks Wamu, even though I moved on a loooong time ago, I still can’t wait to hear when WSJ announces you guys are the “Big bank” that hit ground bottom, and for doing shady business for years. BTW “Wamu” sounds like something my 3 year old daughter would name her stuffed monkey.

  9. Louis Testa says

    The big boys at Chase are spending millions on TV and ads in the newspaper, and on the backs of former WaMu customers like myself. JpMorgan Chase has failed to assure the former WaMu that they are for the customer. They upped ATM charges on out of their network, and since I am unable to find a Walgreens close to me with a Chase ATM machine (the Walgreens in my town of Mesquite NV has NSB not Chase I have to pay a premium when I need extra cash This stinks) The only trouble is that all the banks that took handouts from the FED or us taxpayers are no better then Chase. Figure that out. I’ve written enough, and I know no one at Chase will give a damn as long as they collect their big bonuses. Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight

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