Considering their reputation for sneaky fees, poor customer service and paying you next to diddly-squat on your deposits, the nation’s biggest banks are a thorny topic on Clark.com.
In fact, money expert Clark Howard’s preferred banking option is for you to switch away from what he calls “the giant monster mega-banks” and take your business to a credit union, a small locally owned bank or perhaps an online bank.
Firing your big, bad bank is a key part of the #clarkyourbank movement and it was the whole thrust of the recent Switch.Ditch.Save campaign here at Clark.com.
That said, we call it as we see it when it comes to banks, and we’re willing to give the big banks a tip of the hat when they deserve it.
And that’s what seems to be the case with Wells Fargo’s forthcoming new app called Greenhouse.
Introducing the new Greenhouseâ„ by Wells Fargo app
Beginning in first quarter of 2018, Wells Fargo will roll out a limited national pilot of a new app called Greenhouse.
The Greenhouse app is similar to the Mint.com budgeting app, with the stated goals of helping consumers make timely bill payments, bringing more insight to spending patterns, and helping users build some savings.
Greenhouse caters to those who have more than one income source coupled with an unpredictable pay schedule because of freelance gigs.
In a word, it caters to millennials!
Greenhouse offers double accounts, P2P payments and more
One of the main features of Greenhouse is the use of two separate accounts that work together.
One account is tied to a debit card and is used for weekly spending. The other account is dedicated to savings and specific expenses like recurring bills.
Both bank accounts are brought together in Greenhouse and benefit from spending trend visualizations; artificial intelligence-based financial insights based on your specific financial behavior; and key reminders to keep you on track to reach your financial goals.
(Editor’s note: Hmm, the dual accounts thing sounds suspiciously like one of our Clark.com staffer’s strategies for using multiple accounts to save more money!)
When you need to grab a quick $20 at the ATM, you can use the mobile wallet feature of Greenhouse to access your cash at more than 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs or any of the bank’s 5,900 branches.
Also included in Greenhouse is a built-in peer-to-peer payment network called Zelle that’s been adopted by most major banks. With Zelle, you can receive money from or send money to almost anyone with a U.S. bank account.
But here’s what might be the best feature of all
When the app launches in 2018, Wells Fargo says Greenhouse users will be protected from overdraft fees — because the app simply won’t let charges go through if you don’t have the funds available.
In rare instances where a charge does go into overdraft, the bank has vowed not to levy a fee on Greenhouse users.
“For example, if a customer has $50 in their account, and they use their debit card to pay for a $45 restaurant bill, the transaction would be approved by the bank. If the customer then adds a $10 tip to their check, the transaction would post for $55 a day or two later, bringing the account into overdraft,” Kris Dahl, Wells Fargo spokesperson for deposit products, tells Clark.com.
“However, most importantly, even in these relatively rare circumstances, we do not charge Greenhouse customers an overdraft fee.”
The idea that by using a bank’s own app you could avoid overdraft fees — well, that’s a first, to our knowledge, among the big banks.
And, it’s a step in the right direction of consumer protection!
Following initial user feedback after the Q1 2018 trial of Greenhouse, Wells Fargo plans a full-scale app launch for iPhone users sometime during the first six months of the new year.
An Android app will come at a later date to be determined.