It seems that most banks are stupid. However, you usually at least have to look for the stupidity. The “Bank of the West Online and Mobile Service Agreement” is stupid and out in the open for all to see.

Some things still flabbergast me. Tonight, I wanted to deposit a check into my Bank of the West account, and the mobile app forced me to accept some updated agreements. No problem, I thought, I’ll just skim through them and be done lickety-split. The first one was tedious enough, but then I got to the “Bank of the West Online and Mobile Banking Agreement”, I was presented with a book that only a lawyer could love. I mean, it went through definitions, acceptable use, disputes and more. I downloaded the PDF, and it literally is 59 pages!

But that’s not all.

Under their acceptable use, they mention that you cannot live or do business with certain countries. OK. Communications must not be filled with hate, violence, racial intolerance and such. OK. No copyright or trademark violations. Makes sense. No worms and such. OK. Then, they mention that no payments through the service can contain these. Um, not sure what that means exactly. Cannot violate the law. That makes sense.

Payments cannot be related to tobacco. Huh? No prescription drugs. Say, what? No ammunition or firearms. Is that even legal online? No sexually oriented material. So, I cannot buy pr0n online? I mean, most of these things, if certain stipulations exist, are legal, except maybe the firearms (I looked up the tobacco and prescriptions, and in and of themselves they are not illegal. Prescription drugs means you have to have a prescription by a doctor, in person, which means some of these online operations really are illegal).

To tell the truth, I’m not likely to run afoul of the terms so far, though.

But that’s not all.

It then goes on to say no transactions which “support pyramid or Ponzi schemes”. It then says, “Tax payments and court ordered payments.” OK, I do see a connection between Ponzi schemes and taxes, but really? I cannot authorize a tax payment online? What is this crap?

OK, I gave up reading the rest. I realized right then and there I was dealing with idiots. It took me three readings to admit that what I was reading was what I thought I was reading.

It took me no time at all to immediately change the two automatic payments I have coming out of all Bank of the West accounts, as well as automatic transfers into them. This was the last straw.

I intended to change banks anyhow, because:

  1. I figured out that there really is no way to avoid a monthly fee on my business checking. There are plenty of banks out there that provide free business checking. -1
  2. Transfers into the accounts seem to take forever, and there still is a wait before they get fully credited. -1
  3. When I first signed up for a business checking account, they did not submit the paperwork for my debit card. I had to go back to the bank and ask for it again. -1
  4. Their mobile app crashes way too often, and it almost always is when I’m trying to make a deposit. IOW, when I need it the most. -1

Next week, I’m going to check out Ent Credit Union. It seems that they are one of the few banks and credit unions that rate above 2 stars in online reviews.

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