Bank Drive-Thru Services, Paper Checks & Other Things I Don’t Miss About “Traditional” Banking!

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I don’t go to the bank.

Like, ever.

At least not anymore.

I used to, though.

It was an almost daily chore for me at my last CPA firm.

Every day or so I’d take the deposit to the bank.

Sometimes I would have to deposit a paper check if the boss forgot to run payroll on time.

Before that, when I was a free spender, I’d be at the ATM 3-4 times a week.

Going back even further, I was a regular customer.

Back in my youth (yeah, I’m dating myself hahaha) there weren’t many ATMs.

And if you did have access to one, you could only withdraw money, not deposit it.

There wasn’t a thing called direct deposit.

I had to take my paycheck to the bank to physically cash or deposit it.

If I wanted to put money into savings or take it out, I had to bring my passbook to the banks to make the transaction.

Talk about an easy way to be the victim of identity theft or just regular theft for that matter!

And there weren’t drive-up services either.

It was definitely the dark ages…just like dial-up internet service without cell phones.

But now, I can say:

I’m Done With “Traditional” Banking

Technically speaking, of course.

I still maintain an account with Wells Fargo for myself and my business because it’s free (for me at least).

The way I use them, however, is the opposite of traditional, and that’s what I mean when I say I’m done with “traditional” banking–not that I use an app-only bank–although I do love my Ally savings account–but rather the method by which I approach banking.

I don’t visit a branch more than maybe 2-3 times a year.

I don’t even remember the last time I went into a branch (since July 15, 2015, which was my last day as an employee of someone else’s business).

I don’t even do snail mail, opting to receive my bank and credit card statements, disclosures, etc. via email or the bank website.

It really does make things much easier!

That all being said, there are a few things I say I don’t miss at all.

Goodbye Cash & Checks

I don’t use cash.

No joke.

I keep a little bit of cash in my wallet in case of emergency but other than that I don’t use the stuff.

If you’re interested you can read all about why I don’t like cash and my various thoughts on the subject.

I only write one check every 4-5 weeks because my barber buddy is still old school and likes cash–or checks in my case.

Trust me, I’ve been trying to get him to change his ways for years.

I always tell him that every small business should accept credit cards regardless of the nature of the business but no one else asks him so he doesn’t bother.

For me, however, I’m super happy to be cashless.

It’s just so much easier for me personally:

I Can Collect Fees In My Sleep

I remember as a kid there were businesses that would accept checks or cash in the mail.

Back then, there was no internet (I got my first PC in 1995 at 18 years old) or even many places that would accept credit cards via the phone.

Heck, even the firm I worked for last still mailed out invoices and received payments via check.

For my business, I say screw that!

I send out invoices via email automatically at the beginning of the month and every one of my clients pays online.

Tax season is a little different since I can’t do the invoicing automatically, but I still get everything paid without walking to the mailbox or driving to the bank.

I don’t even have to lift my phone for those who will say “But now there’s mobile banking” hahaha.

Don’t get me wrong, I won’t turn down cash or check payments, but technology makes it so that I don’t have to even worry about that.

I don’t even have to be open for business like some that accept credit and debit cards but have to process them by hand–why they insist on doing it that way I’ll never know!

“See Ya” To Pushy Salespeople

Not sure what I mean about that?

Think about it…

How many times have you gone into the bank and had the teller or anyone else ask you if you wanted to open up an account that you didn’t yet have?

Or another account that you do have?

Or a credit card?

Or obtain a loan or line of credit?

Now you get it.

Bank employees aren’t there for your benefit.

They aren’t there to “provide outstanding customer service” as you are often led to believe.

The fact is that the employees are simply salespeople.

Trust me, I know…I worked at a bank and know the drill.

We were supposed to sell bank products.

It didn’t matter if the customer already had an account we were to get them to open up a different one, or even sell them on the benefits of an upgraded or second account.

It didn’t even matter if the people had trouble managing even one account, our job was to sell.

We received commissions on certain products.

There were even competitions for bonuses based on sales volume.

Heck, our performance reviews were even partially based on sales.

To outline just how money-hungry some of these financial institutions are–I was fired from the bank in which I worked because of my low sales numbers.

It didn’t matter to management or anyone else that the bank was located in an area surrounded by lower-income people and retirees (and not the fancy retirement communities, mind you).

It also didn’t matter that many of the customers came in needing assistance with the balancing of their checkbooks or solely because they wanted someone to talk to because they were lonely.

So yeah, I’m definitely not going to miss that with each and every visit!

No More Idiots Ruining Bank Drive-Up Services

** This was my biggest problem with retail banking and is the thing I miss the least! So be warned, this is a long section and definitely reached into “rant” status! ? **

Going to the bank is a required errand for many people.

Before you say anything, yes people still do that.

It seems strange considering how technology makes banking easier:

  • More businesses are equipped to accept payments via credit and debit cards.
  • Individuals can send money with PayPal and Popmoney.
  • Most banks even allow you to deposit checks electronically via smartphones and tablets.

Yet some people still insist on going to a retail branch.

If you are one of them, you need to be aware of the rules of the bank.

Especially when you use the drive-up service.

It may not seem like a big deal, but it really is.

The drive-thru is supposed to speed up the banking process.

It keeps people from having to wait in line inside for the full-service tellers.

It’s also a way for banks to provide a better customer experience.

It begins, however, with the customers themselves, meaning YOU!

Your ability to follow the rules that are in place allows the banks to offer the experience they wish to provide to your fellow banking customers.

Drive-up is only for customers

If you aren’t a customer of the bank, don’t bother going to the drive-up.

All you will accomplish is wasting your time as well as that of the teller and the people around you.

It doesn’t matter that the check you are trying to cash is drawn on an account held there, it just isn’t going to happen.

When cashing a check that is presented by anyone other than the account holder, the signature needs to be verified, which takes time and defeats the purpose of having express lanes if that needs to be done.

It’s common for many people to be “unbanked”–to not have a relationship with any financial institution–and go to their employers’ banks to cash their checks.

If you are part of this group, don’t even bother driving around, just go park the car and right inside.

Have Your Stupid Transaction Ready

This is another major rule for keeping the drive-up lanes flowing smoothly.

After all, it is called “drive-up” and “park here while gathering your transaction and filling out a check” banking.

It’s also not called “send us an empty canister and ask for deposit slips because you aren’t prepared” banking.

When you show up at the bank, you need to already have all of your stuff done and ready to go.

The teller may not be permitted to tell you “no” when you ask for something to prepare the transaction or make you go leave if you are sitting there unprepared, but the customers behind you most certainly will!

So if you are taking money back from transactions, send your identification with everything the first time.

If you are withdrawing money, make sure the form is signed.

If you are depositing money, make sure the slip is filled out completely and that the totals are accurately calculated.

And, if you are unsure if your transaction can be done there, don’t even waste anyone’s time, to begin with–go inside from the beginning.

Only Basic Transactions Can Be Done

Don’t drive up to the bank looking to purchase a cashier’s check, traveler’s checks, open or close an account, or do anything more than a simple deposit or withdrawal.

The reason certain transactions are not permitted in the drive-up is the time it takes to process them.

Most banks don’t provide much more than a cash drawer to the drive-up tellers, which means that they would have to start leaving their post in order to get certain transactions done, which is not what they are supposed to do.

And please, please, please don’t argue with the teller about how you have a kid in the car with you, or how you need to get back to work, or whatever else you want to try to get them to break the rules for you.

In the time you spent waiting to get to the front of the line, then arguing you probably could have gone inside, done what you needed to, and been on your way already.

Limit Your Transactions Please

Sure, banks are more technologically advanced these days, and the time it takes to process a transaction is much shorter than in days gone by.

Does that mean you should carpool to the bank and send over transactions for the five people inside the car?

Heck no!

There is a purpose behind the limit to the number of transactions.

Simply because the processing time is shorter, the teller has to be able to move between the lanes efficiently, and if they are stuck handling your five transactions, that means the other lanes are idling while the traffic builds up behind them.

Again, if you need to transact on several accounts, or for different customers, head directly inside.

Don’t think that you are so special that the rules don’t apply to you because you have a self-inflated ego, or because you may have a certain amount of money in the bank, or whatever other cockamamie excuse you can come with.

Even if there isn’t a lot of traffic at that particular point in time, you never know what the next moment will bring.

Remember, speed and volume are the main objectives of the drive-up lanes.

If you can’t abide by the rules of this area, then just go inside.

Nobody wants to sit in their car, delaying the rest of their plans while you fumble around looking for a pen or trying to calculate the deposit amount on your ticket.

Not only is it annoying, but it’s also really discourteous to your fellow bank patrons, and you never know who you may piss off in the process.

Your turn

What do you hate most about banking? Are you done with “traditional” banking and if so what will not miss? If you’ve spent time as a bank employee how does any of this match with your experience?

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    1. Yeah, tell me about it.  But, your rule is a common sense one, and that is something many people are not brought up with it would seem.

  1. Haha that sucks. I would be irritated too. I use Chase and we have drive-up ATMs so live teller is not there. I haven’t had any problems and usually there is no one in front of me or in back of me. I also deposit most of my checks through my phone so it makes life a lot easier.
    When I have questions I actually park my car and get my ass down (does anyone do that anymore?)

    1. Unfortunately, my job banks at Wells Fargo, and they don’t offer depositing of checks through imaging.  And, my bosses don’t want to pay the fee for the desktop check scanning service, so I’m kind of stuck.  For my own business, and me personally, I use electronic payments as much as possible or run to the ATM for check deposits.

  2. Sounds like a lot of people mess up this system.  Here in Canada, banks just don’t have drive up services.  In this city I think there is only 1 or 2 banks that even have a drive up ATM.  I’d be choked though if I was in a rush and everyone using the express lane was causing all kinds of problems.  It’s like people who use the express lane at the grocery store and then spend 5 minutes digging through their purchase to get the exact change or ask all kinds of questions.

    1. The sad thing is that many banks have similar, if not the same set, and they are generally posted too.  Most have the drive-up ATM, but those are never a problem.  The grocery store is another one.  The employees aren’t allowed to tell those people to go to a regular lane either.  It’s like there are rules to help speed things along, but if people ignore them “oh well”.

    1. For my own business or personal stuff, I don’t need to deal with a teller (for the most part).  
      I honestly don’t even remember the last time I had to go inside.   For my job, I have to use the commercial lane but still have to deal with the idiocy that some people seem to live by.

    2. Agreed! In the midst of COVID-19 most all banks are encouraging ATM or Drive-Thru services. I certainly prefer face to face banking.

  3. I always wonder why it takes some people that are in front of me at the drive through so much time to do what they have to do.  Then I try to time myself afterwards to make sure I’m not going crazy.  I also feel the same way about self checkout at the supermarket.  If you cannot handle it, move out the way.

    1. Usually the first thing I look at is whether the transporter door is open or closed.  If it’s closed then I usually chalk any delays up to the teller.  If the door is open, then I assume the customer is sitting in the car writing up the transaction.  The self-checkout I only experience at home depot, but that’s not normally an issue when I happen to be there.  guess I can consider myself lucky to that end.

  4. The drive up window USED to be for speed, now it’s more about people not wanting to get out of their cars.  The transactions have become more complex as a result.  It’s often faster to go inside and do it old school.

    This is happening across the board–fast food drive ups, ATM machines, even in supermarket check outs and on the roads and highways.  Everyone is on their cell phone and other electronic gadgetry, and when combined with the “it’s all about me” mindset, anyone behind in line will wait longer than ever.

    1. That’s precisely why I like having all of my stuff set up to be done electronically Kevin.  This way, I don’t waste my personal time waiting for the ill-prepared or self-involved.  I don’t carry cash, so the ATM thing doesn’t affect me as much, although I do use it to deposit money if it isn’t an electronic payment. 

      The complexities I can deal with without much effort–that’s just the way things are nowadays.  It’s the self-centered attitudes and ignorance of rules that get to me more than anything.  That and the fact that bank and store employees aren’t really supposed to say anything to those types of customers, even if it is called for.

    2. If the drive through service is only limited to perfect people, then I don’t think the drive through option should remain open past the time of the inside bank hours, as is often the case at various banks.

    3. It has nothing to do with “perfect people” but common sense and courtesy. Just like the express checkout lane at the grocery store–if the limit is 10 items don’t try to justify 12 just go to the correct lane and respect the other people.

      But thanks for stopping by!

    4. No. It’s the banks way to save money. What about people with disabilities trying to cash a check?

  5. Ha! I could not agree more — “It’s also not called “send us an empty canister and ask for deposit slips because you aren’t prepared” banking.” Many of these points are my pet peeves as well. I always have my checks and transactions ready. One of the local banks here, won’t do more than 3 transactions per car, which makes it much quicker than normal drive-thru banks.

  6. Even when you have your transactions prepared and there is immediate contact with the teller it takes longer to complete. It’s like they have to leave and go to the vault and get your money. Why is this?

  7. I m in the opposite side. LOL…
    I m old fashion and traditional.

    Because I trusted WF for only one time doing everything on line, they CREATED additional account which they claimed ID theft except their fault. I m SUING them sweetheart.