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As an E*Trade Bank customer, I attempted to set up a transfer from my E*Trade checking account to my account at another bank.

I went through E*Trade's external account verification process, and then activated outgoing transfers. The more serious problems with their process weren't apparent until after I had initiated the transfer process.

Here's the information that was available on their "Quick Transfer" help page:

For This Type of Transfer Funds Are Available for Withdrawal
External account to E*TRADE Securities account In three business days
External account to E*TRADE Bank deposit account In three business days
E*TRADE Bank account to E*TRADE Securities account Immediately
E*TRADE Bank deposit account to E*TRADE Bank deposit account Immediately
E*TRADE Securities account to E*TRADE Bank deposit account Immediately
E*TRADE Securities account to E*TRADE Securities IRA account Immediately
E*TRADE Bank Home Equity Line of Credit to
E*TRADE Bank deposit or E*TRADE Securities account
Next business day, if transfer requested before 4 p.m. ET weekdays
second business day, if transfer requested after 4 p.m. ET or on weekends

My transfer was "E*Trade Bank deposit account" to external account, and as you can see, their chart doesn't cover that case.

In spite of the lack of this information, I initiated a transfer on Sunday morning, realizing that this request would just sit in their queue until Monday.

At the time I did this, I was provided with the following information:

Here was my take on this:

Over the course of the day on Monday, I checked several times to see if this transaction had been processed. Eventually I received the following email from them

Your request to transfer funds from your E*Trade checking account to your other bank was successfully submitted at 17:57:17 ET for processing.

It wasn't clear what they meant when they said the request was "submitted". In fact, I had submitted the request to them on Sunday. I was expecting them to tell me they had processed the request. I had no idea (and still don't) what they were trying to tell me when they said it had been submitted

I had also had no idea that they were batching the requests, holding them until just before 6 p.m. to process the transfer, but the delay until 5:57 p.m. seemed to suggest just that.

I called customer service, and discovered that this was in fact the case.

Of course, a transfer made at 5:57 p.m. on Monday is too late for most banks to credit until the following day. But E*Trade's customer service seemed to be explaining to me that, since this was not a wire transfer, it hadn't actually been transferred... or at least, they knew that the other bank wasn't going to give me access to these funds for 3 business days. Though it was never clear exactly how they were counting the days.

After this transfer has been "submitted", the amount has been deducted from my E*Trade balance. However, the transaction history does not reflect the transfer. Furthermore, the transfer is neither shown under "pending transfers" nor "transfer history". In effect, the money has seemingly disappeared from account with nothing to account for it.

What I really wanted to know was how long it would take for these funds to show up in my account, because I knew that the other bank did not actually impose a 3-day delay on providing me with access to funds.

So here's what I interpret is really happening, assuming the receiving bank has a cutoff time earlier than 6 p.m.:

funds deposited: will be debited from E*Trade Bank will be credited to other bank
before 2 p.m. (ET) on a business day 6 p.m. on same business day following business day
2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (ET) on a business day 6 p.m. on next business day 2nd following business day
after 4 p.m. (ET) on a business day 6 p.m. on next business day 2nd following business day

Now here's what's wrong with this:

Although they call this "Quick Transfer", I could mail a deposit to my other bank, and it will most likely be received within 2 days, and credited the same day received. I could also walk into a bank branch, write a check from my E*Trade account, and have it credited the same day.

So to call this a "quick" transfer is very misleading, because the funds transfer does not occur quickly. Nor is it really "quick" in terms of the time I must spend on the transaction, because it's very much a multi-step transaction that (at least until I would reach a certain level of comfort with their procedures) I would need to monitor each step of the way.

But I'm never going to reach that level of comfort. This isn't the only problem I've encountered with E*Trade. I've had enough of their failures to set up sensible procedures and make those procedures clear, and I won't be dealing with them any more.

Topic EtradeBankDemonstratesQuickTransferIncompetence . { Edit | Ref-By | Attach | Diffs | r1.2 | > | r1.1 }
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Revision r1.2 - 29 Aug 2006 - 14:22 by EliMantel web search for EliMantel
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