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Online Transfer Features Vary Greatly at Top Banks

Study finds that beyond basic functions, no standard exists for online account transfers.

Money moves in many ways. According to Corporate Insight (New York), which examined the online money transfer capabilities of the top 16 U.S. financial institutions, there is significant variation in terms of the design, options and activity records offered by the banks, providing an area for competitive differentiation. Beyond basic internal transfers -- a feature offered on all the banks' sites -- firms offer a wide array of transfer capabilities, from bank-to-bank and customer-to-customer fund movements to fee-based wire transfers, the study found.

"Fifty percent of the firms we follow allow clients to transfer money to linked accounts at other banks, while only three firms allow their customers to transfer funds to other customers within their bank," said Corporate Insight senior analyst Douglas Miller, author of the report, in a release. "We were surprised that only one bank allows customers to transfer funds to external accounts they do not own."

Included in the study are Bank of America (Charlotte, N.C.), Chase (New York), Citibank (New York), Citizens Bank (Boston), Commerce Bank (Cherry Hill, N.J.), E*Trade Bank (Arlington, Va.), Fifth Third (Cincinnati), HSBC (New York), ING Direct (Wilmington, D.E.), KeyBank (Cleveland), National City (Cleveland), NetBank (Alpharetta, Ga.), U.S. Bank (Cincinnati), Wachovia (Charlotte), Washington Mutual (Seattle) and Wells Fargo (San Francisco). Corporate Insight graded the banks on their performance based on availability, design, fees and execution of provided transfer options.

Source: Corporate Insight, "Online Transfer Functions: Moving Money at the Click of a Button"

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