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It seems to be a very American thing to not have banking as a basic right (or at least assumed right).

Here in New Zealand, there's pretty much no restriction on getting bank accounts. It's almost unheard of to not have a bank account.

Transaction fees aren't really a thing either. Most people only have to pay to withdraw money from other banks ATMs. There's no fees for bank transfers (regardless of whether it's to the same bank or a different one). Bank transfers are within the hour in the same bank, and either within the day or overnight for between different banks.

One thing that definitely has helped in this situation (somewhat counter intuitively) is that we have an oligopoly of banks, so standardisation and cooperation is simple. That's why we have chip and pin cards as standard here (and contactless cards). It's also meant that almost everywhere accepts EFTPOS.

Hell, I had to cash my first check ever today. I don't even carry cash, unless I have a specific reason to need to carry it.




We certainly have a long way to go here. I found it endlessly frustrating trying to get an expense card for my nanny. I wanted her to have access to a set limit of my money to pay for things for the kids but not an endless supply. I wanted it to just be there. I never found any banks that had anything even remotely like that. I ended up just getting a reloadable debit card that I have to keep topping off for her. And the biggest kicker... it takes 5 business days for the money to show up on it. How does it take 5 days to move some 1s and 0s from this account to that account? And why "business days?" Do their computers not work on the weekends? Crazy and frustrating.


Thats part of the debit card providers business model. They are making money on the float between the accounts. They are incentivized by this to make it slow.


These are pretty small amounts. I suspecdt they make more money on the overdraft fees, which puts it in the "not merely lazy or incompetent, but evil" category for me. Payday loan companies are the worst offenders in this category, I'd love to see an "uber" for that.


> Payday loan companies are the worst offenders in this category, I'd love to see an "uber" for that.

Me too, but it's very unlikely to happen. Payday loans (according to http://thehill.com/regulation/237538-borrowers-default-on-ne... and the study linked there) have a default rate of about 46% in the first two years, making them risky plays; to compensate for that, they have to increase interest rates and fees, which is a huge part of what makes them evil in the first place. Of course, the fact that 80% of payday loans are due to loan churn itself (paying off a payday loan with another) contributes to that in a big way, so maybe it could be done somehow.

I'd be interested in seeing a saner way of handling payday loans than exists right now, but I'm skeptical that it could be done in a way that isn't -- in some way -- predatory.


That's my vision and not only mine [3] - i've wrote about this [1]

Building the credit lines economy from the ground up on social networks based in trust.

Each user is assigns trust level to another users and sum of trust is calculated with decentralized algorithm [1]

[1] http://earlbarr.com/publications/trustdavis.pdf [2] https://medium.com/@kacperwikiel/social-lending-alternative-... [3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTqgiF4HmgQ [4] http://rachelbotsman.com/work/collaborative-finance-by-the-p... [5] Landing page for this project: https://getline.in/p/landing

Edit: I am giving 10% of service revenue to users as a basic income prototype.

Edit 2: maximum depth reached.


Why can't I reply to kwikiel?


In this era of near-zero interest rates, there is no motive to do this.


Did you ask any of your existing credit card issuers if they will allow additional cardholders on your account? Several of mine outright invited me to add other cards (under other names, not just dupes in my name) at no charge. It's trivial to set spending limits on such alternate cards.


That is crazy.

I have no idea if you can get expense cards here, but it's easy to just get another card and connect it to another account, and then load funds onto it as you need.

Several of my friends have their cards attached to an account that's usually empty, and transfer funds when needed to the card. It takes literally seconds to transfer the money, you can do it on your mobile phone in the store.


Get an AmEx. I can add cards under anyone's name to my account, and set a spending cap of my choosing on a per-card basis.


You might want to check out True Link Financial (https://www.truelinkfinancial.com/). Not sure what the current state of the agreements are but you can use it technically for this sort of thing.


Thanks for the link. I looked at them. They even have one targeted specifically for Caregivers. (https://www.truelinkfinancial.com/caregiver-card) While it sounds like a decent option, I'm turned off by a $10 monthly fee. I know they have to make money somehow but I have never been keen to pay fees for my money. :/


American banks seem unable or unwilling to follow the simple algorithm "process the transaction immediately, if the sender does not have enough money to complete it, decline it."

Instead we depend on forms of payment which have latency measured in days (checks, direct deposit) and we process debit card transactions on a delay of hours to days. If you are playing close to $0 it's very easy to make a mistake and then fall below $0. The bank has effectively trusted you not to do this, and you did it, so they charge you a fee as punishment. Except you have less than $0, you can't pay the fee.

If you do this, then your bank might close your account and put you on the ChexSystems blacklist, which will prevent you from getting any new accounts for a few years.

AFAIK ChexSystems blacklisting is pretty much the only reason to be unbanked (except by choice as a form of protest, I guess?) Simply doing proper OLTP would eliminate the weird artifact that is overdraft and entirely sidestep the problem of unbanked people.


I've often wondered about the reasons someone might be unbanked. I've only ever considered the lack of immigration status or proof of address, as most unbanked people I've come in contact with were Latin American immigrants to the United States. I've never considered the "playing close to $0" and the effect it could have if your account was closed and you were placed on a blacklist. That would seem to underline the parent commenter's assertion that money transfer should be treated as a right.


An anecdotal example of my own: I was 'playing close to $0' and my bank (BofA) was clearly manipulating the order of my transactions to maximize overdraft fees [1].

After fruitlessly disputing the fees, I simply opened an account elsewhere and changed my direct deposit through my employer, leaving my BofA account in the red. After about two months without issue, my new bank informed me that they would be closing my account because I'd been reported to ChexSystems by BofA and blacklisted. They wouldn't tell me the reason for the blacklisting (though I obviously knew what it was). I was not even allowed to withdraw my existing funds and had to wait for a check to be sent to my home in 7-10 business days.

I ended up getting a TD Ameritrade debit card through a pseudo-checking/brokerage account they offer and have been getting direct deposits there ever since. It was an infuriating and dehumanizing process overall.

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/halahtouryalai/2013/06/11/yes-ba...


Please note I'm not trying to belittle your answer, but New Zealand is a very small place. In the US there are Credit Unions (the smaller, less popular non-profit bank alternatives in the US) that have more members than the entire population of NZ.

If you were to only bank amongst one Credit Union here in the states you'd see similar levels of service to what you mention (other than chip & pin which is only recently deployed).


For another side, UK here.

Pretty much the same but:

1. Loads of free ATMs, the ones that charge are privately owned/run typically and in shops. While banks may run them and slap their logo all over it, it's effectively just advertising, it doesn't matter which one I go to. The idea that it would matter seems really weird.

2. No fees for bank transfers, most will complete within the hour I think and are generally immediate.

3. Chip & pin has been required for quite a while now, contactless cards are extremely common.

4. Pretty much everyone has some kind of bank account, I'm not sure how it works if you're homeless or have absolutely no proof of identity/address, but there might still be things that can be done there.

Most accounts are also free, though sometimes with usage requirements (deposit at least £X + have two direct debits is common), and many will pay you ~£100 to switch to them.


> 3. Chip & pin has been required for quite a while now, contactless cards are extremely common.

Due to the way this was implemented in Europe and the fraud it enabled[1][2], I wouldn't consider it any sort of plus.

1: http://www.wired.com/2015/10/x-ray-scans-expose-an-ingenious...

2: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10414375


To be honest, that doesn't seem any less secure than requiring a signature.

It's a lot more effort to make a spoof card like that, more effort than the 5 minutes of practice required to vaguely copy someones signature and get it past a disinterested, minimum wage store clerk.


Implanting a second chip successfully into the card seems a bit above the regular "found the card and made a squiggle like the signature on the back". And that vulnerability at least was fixed.

It's not like the magnetic stripe is particularly secure either, you could pretty easily clone someone's card and then even use your own signature.

Even then, if someone is required to take the card, put it in a reader and type in the correct pin it's a bit harder to 'skim' a bit extra at the till.

The question should not be "is chip and pin entirely secure" but "is it better than a magnetic stripe and a pen marking".

> The UK, for example, has seen a nearly 70 percent decline in counterfeit card transactions since adopting chip cards, according to Barclays.

https://squareup.com/townsquare/why-is-the-u-s-the-last-mark...


Generally, if the bank thinks your PIN was used you're liable for all the fraudulent transactions rather than them. That's bad.


Yup, it's not about security, it's about liability. With chip&pin you're virtually guaranteed that the bank will say "too bad" if your PIN gets stolen. But then again with the (possibly) lower fraud levels it may be worth it? And yet again, do you see the banks passing on those savings to consumers? ;)


Australia's a bit bigger, but with similar forward-looking banking systems.

I was floored when I had to sign my name (on a brand new touchscreen) in the US but EMV wasn't deployed.

Contactless payments were brand new too (I couldn't use Android pay at that point), but we'd had "tap and pay" in Australia for two years at least. In Canada, someone took a carbon copy imprint of my card. An imprint, in 2015!

I can't find the exact dates, but EMV has been in Australia for at least a decade, signatures were "deprecated" at the end of 2014 and cheques are pretty much gone now.

https://www.commbank.com.au/about-us/news/media-releases/200... says that NFC payments started in 2006, but they took a few years to really take off. Last year I could finally use my Android phone to pay pretty much everywhere (and it's more secure than an NFC credit card, because I need to unlock my phone and enter a PIN to make a payment)

Also, what's the deal with interbank money transfers in the US? All I need to send money to someone in Australia is the BSB (Bank-State-Branch) and an account number. It takes about 2 days for the payment to clear.


I read this a few days ago and learnt a lot. It might shed some light on why some countries' banking systems are slower than others https://getmondo.co.uk/blog/2016/01/20/how-do-bank-payments-...


Everyone should be allowed to secure a bank account, but fees is a separate story. You have a right to freedom of movement (as in speech), but you don't have a right to free (as in beer) movement.

Transfers are generally free in the USA, too.




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