Fidelity – Bank Linking

I’ve been a Robinhood fan and user for almost five years. I do all my research outside of the app, and just use the app to buy small amounts and hold. I love how they were on the forefront of free trades, and then fractional shares, and think we can all thank Robinhood for raising the bar when it comes to brokerage services to individual investors.

I’ve been following the Gamestop saga like everyone else, although I didn’t buy any GME shares. Robinhood’s actions really disappointed me. I wasn’t affected, and unlikely ever will be if another GME arises, but I can’t agree with how Robinhood conducted themselves (even if it was in their own defense).

I decided it may finally be the time to switch to a big broker. I’m a fan of Vanguard, but they don’t offer the free fractional trades I would like in my taxable account. Fidelity seemed like the obvious choice.

I took the plunge and linked my bank account with my Fidelity individual account. I already had a Fidelity account from some past employer-related accounts, so I didn’t have to set up a new account. Fidelity said it would take around 4-10 days to complete my request.

This seems like a long time versus similar requests I’ve made with Vanguard and Robinhood in the past. It’s fine though, I am in no big hurry. I did try to follow Fidelity’s instructions to view my request status, and that’s where my annoyance started.

You don’t currently have accounts that are eligible to receive this transfer

First off, the Fidelity desktop app is very different from its phone app. I have heard that fractional trades can only be made on the mobile app (which is weird). Tracking request statuses is also different in mobile versus desktop. After a bit of aimless wandering and not being able to navigate according to their email instructions, I tried the desktop app and realized the menus are different – even the menu labels.

Email instructions directing me to Accounts & Trade > Portfolio > Activities & Orders > Your Transactions

A little time wasted – no biggie. But, following their instructions now just led me to a dead end. The page section the email instructions pointed me to simply didn’t exist (and still doesn’t 14 days later as I write this).

Nothing about ‘Your Transactions” in Activities & Orders

I hate calling customer service. I’ve had two times in five years in Robinhood where I had a question. I emailed them through the app and had a response usually later the same day with a resolution. The best customer service is when you never need to even get on the phone.

Calling into Fidelity’s customer service number was easy. I got to the correct extension with only two prompts. For all I’ve heard about the wonderful customer service, I was really disappointed when the recording addressed my exact question with something like “If you want to know the status of your bank account link with your brokerage account, we have heavy volumes and will contact you when it is complete.”

I hear lots of great things about Fidelity, but I’m now on day 14 (which was originally supposed to be 4-10 days). The mobile app just gives me an error saying no accounts are eligible to receive transfers, and the desktop app literally takes me to a dead end. Customer service says they will let me know when they get around to it. In the meantime, I don’t know if I should expect an email, call, text, or a notification message within their app – and whether that message will appear on their mobile or desktop version of their app. I also don’t know if there is any further action required on my end, but I assume not.

For a company with Fidelity’s reputation, I expected this to be a smoother experience. Does anyone see that I’m missing something obvious? I’d love to be proven wrong. I’ve heard from multiple people having this experience, any others?

I’ll still most likely switch away from Robinhood, but I have to say I’m not excited. Writing this article was mostly to vent, but I think I may abandon my efforts with Fidelity and move on to Vanguard or Schwab.

One thought on “Fidelity – Bank Linking

  1. Hi DD,
    I get the frustration when it is your money involved so vent away.

    I personally have had no issues with Fidelity linking to an account or long wait periods for the bank connection to be established. Is there a Fidelity branch near you that you can just pop in and ask? Their physical branches are one of the reasons I keep them even though I have only visited it twice in the last 10 years it’s nice to know I can. Schwab is another with decent physical locations and if they were close to me I probably would have chosen them as an alternate.

    In regards to fractional trading, initially it started out on their mobile app only but the function has moved to their website but it was kinda weird how they did it. Its not available in the quick trade window and you have to go the “Accounts & Trade” menu and then select “Trade”. From their a new screen pops up asking if you want to buy/sell in shares or dollars.

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