Going Hybrid: Banking Alternatives

By Alisha Bennett


Dealing with banking issues can be frustrating. And when you have a Check Book IRA or a Solo 401(k), it can stop a deal in its tracks. Not to mention the scandals that have rocked the banking world in the last decade (and it looks like Wells Fargo has been at it again with their auto-lending department…).

However, you should know that there are other options besides your standard national bank. The giant bank behemoths have never been one to embrace technology, but the following types of accounts have a fresher outlook.

Hybrid Accounts – This combines a brokerage account with a checking account, which makes delving in the stock market a breeze. E*Trade, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade and Morgan Stanley are all good options and most can easily be set up online.

Online Bank – It seems like our entire lives can be run online; your banking shouldn’t be any different. Although banks now offer various online services, using a bank that caters specifically to online users rather than outdated branches is the wave of the future. Check out Solera Bank.

Credit Unions & Community Banks – They may not have an ATM on every corner, but chances are you’ll receive better rates and friendlier service by keeping it local.

PayPal – By offering accessible payments, international transfers and more, PayPal may be a perfect fit if you find yourself tired of the hassle of wiring funds from your bank.

BitCoin & Cryptocurrencies – Of course, we can’t not mention one of the most interesting and controversial options. If you choose to invest in BitCoin or other cryptocurrencies, make sure you do your research first.

A decade or two ago, some of these alternatives didn’t even exist (PayPal was founded in 1998, BitCoin in 2008) but as the advent of ever cheaper technology combines with a global outlook, you can certainly expect more banking-type options to be a closer reality.

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    1. Mike McKeough

      Thanks for another informative article. So far I have had luck with Chase for my IRA-owned LLC’s. However, I’m planning to set up a Solo 401(k), and I’m concerned my luck will run out with Chase. I frequently purchase properties at Courthouse auctions and have 15 or 20 minutes to leave and return with a cashiers check. Do you have any thoughts on the best way to address this? Thanks!

      • Jordan Sheppherd

        Hi Mike,

        A bank account opened for a Solo 401(k) should be opened as a Trust account, given that a 401(k) is a Trust. We have clients that bank with Chase for their Solo 401(k), so it shouldn’t be a problem for them to open the account.

        You can also bank with any other bank that offers Trust checking accounts.

        Given your need for funds quickly and in the form of cashiers checks, I would suggest sticking to a brick and mortar bank, and not open up some sort of brokerage/checking account with Fidelity, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, etc. With those hybrid brokerage/checking accounts, your only access to the funds is by way of an ordinary check, so you wouldn’t be able to do anything like a cashier’s check.