Ante Up! Table Stakes are Rising

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Not only am I going all traditional and changing my name, my new groom and I are completely merging finances. You may remember from previous posts that I’m a bit obsessive about tracking finances. I’m not that into following a budget, but I really like to know where I’m spending money. I think this is going to work great because my new husband has no interest in doing this and never has but absolutely loves the reports I can give him on our spending. And since he’s a financial planner, he handles all the long-term investments and taxes and hard stuff. We’re both giddy about this new arrangement.

But there’s trouble in paradise. After the mint.com debacle last year (which they still haven’t fixed), I moved back onto Quicken. Everything is set up and working great with all my accounts and I just need to get my husband integrated. We are keeping our separate credit cards for ease of tracking business expenses but want to move into one merged checking account.

I’ve had a Chase checking account for years, but I have no real attachment to them other than the automatic bill pay I have set up which is mostly all changing now that I’ve moved into my husband’s house. He uses a small community bank literally right next door to his office and is actually quite attached, not only because of the convenience but because the ladies who work there know him so well they just walk over to see HIM if there are any issues.

So, after 15 seconds of discussion, we concluded we’d work with his bank. And I got his account information to start getting everything set up in Quicken. You probably know where this is going. They don’t have integrated downloads! Are you kidding me? All my credit cards and bank accounts have been fully integrated with Quicken for years. So he goes to talk to the ladies next door to ask about this and they explain to him that I just need to log into the account and press the Quicken button to get a download of transactions. Again, are you kidding me?

Lucky for his bank, I’m not making this decision alone. As it turns out, I’m still coming out ahead because he’s happy to deposit all checks and provide me with cash, two errands I’m grateful to have off my list. The 3 minutes it will take me once or twice a month to go log in, press the button, and drag the file onto Quicken is worth spending for never having to deal with a bank in person again. But it made me realize there is no way I would consider interacting with a bank without Quicken downloads if I didn’t have the husband benefit. At least 90% of my banking decision is based on how easy it is to work with them online – paying bills, transferring money, and integrating with Quicken. Since I don’t want to interact with them in person, less than 10% of my decision has to do with convenience of branches or customer service.

The funny thing is that just 10 years ago, I used to save every single receipt and ENTER every receipt by hand into Quicken. I also wrote checks and stamped envelopes and went to the bank to deposit checks. That was just the way it was. And now I’m put out that I have to go to their website to, press the download button, and drag the file over.

I don’t think I’m the only one. Companies need to realize that technology like this is not a competitive advantage anymore. It is table stakes, a commodity, a basic expectation.

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