Finances & Money

eTrade Bank really wants to keep your CD money

I just wanted to complain about e*Trade Bank. I opened a 6 month CD 1 year ago. Six months went by and the CD matured. I never had a Certificate of Deposit before, so I wasn’t sure what to do to get the money out.

First Maturity Date

e*Trade mailed me a little letter stating that I had 7 days to withdraw the money or it would be renewed at the new rate. I was in the midst of a job change, and I’m rather lazy, so I waited until about day 5 to call e*Trade. I called the number they listed on the letter, but kept getting a busy signal. It was late at night so I decided to wait and call the next day.

I called the next day after work and got a busy signal again, so I searched through their site to see if I could withdraw the CD electronically. Nothing. I searched through their help screens. Nothing. I tried the number again and again. Nothing and Nothing. By day 7 I gave up entirely and let the CD renew for another 6 months.

Second Maturity Date

This time, I didn’t wait to call, sort of. The CD was up on Saturday the 26th, so I waited until the first business day to call (today). I called the number listed on the letter and got a stupid voice-prompt system (I HATE those systems!!! Who in the world likes them???). Anyway, it gave me the option of “brokerage” or “banking”, so I said “banking”. It prompted me for a password. I tried my online password, and a pin number I usually use. Nothing. I hang up and call back. I try 2 more PIN numbers. Nothing.

I log into my online account and see that I can “reset my banking PIN”. I do so and call back. I try the new PIN and guess what…NOTHING. The system asks if I want to reset my PIN through the phone and I say “yes”. It tells me it can’t access my account and tries to send me to a rep. Busy signal. I try this 2 more times. Busy, Busy.

I call back one more time (after pitching a few dollars into the swear jar) and say “brokerage”. I get a live human and explain my predicament. They tell me they’ll transfer me to Banking, but not before I get their direct number. After a couple minutes, I get a live human over at banking and explain how much I dislike their system. She asks what she could do for me and my CD and I explain I wanted to cash out 6 months ago but couldn’t get through to a live person. She apologizes (she seemed sincere) and we proceed to cash out the CD.

Why did I cash out the CD?

You may know by reading my site that I really dislike clutter (that’s one reason I try to keep my sidebars clean). I tried chasing rates and opened a number of online accounts, but decided I really don’t like trying to keep track of my money across 7 accounts.

e*Trade had a decent CD rate at about 5.30% (APY, I forget). However, now they only have a 5.10% APY. I get 5.05% in my HSBC account, where I have direct access to the money if we needed it (which we hopefully never will), so why lock up my money in yet another account for 6 months just to get an extra 0.05%?

Some people will say I’m stupid for giving up any interest that I could easily be getting. However, I say to you “YOU open a stupid e*Trade CD and then try to get the money back without wasting 2+ hours of your time!“. I think my 2 hours (or even 20 minutes) is more valuable than the .05% I would get on that CD.

Whew, my rant is over. Anyone else have an experience with e*Trade Bank? How about another online (or offline) bank? You may have read the really stupid thing I did with HSBC and Bank of America a couple months ago. (that one was MY fault).

About the author

Clever Dude


  • Post the direct access number for banking they gave you (if you still have it wriiten down) to help other CD holders.

  • […] cashed out our eTrade CD late last month, and I was dragging my feet on moving the money to our savings. My logical side said “move it […]

  • Little update on selling E*Trade CDs:
    I have a rotisserie of $2K 2 year CD’s coming due, and with the new interest rates at a 0.70% (fixed rate) or 0.08 (prime link, yes, that is $1.60/year interest) i figured is should get them out of there. In the past i’ve had them transfered to my E*Trade brokerage account, and that went smooth (and avoided fees). This last time they indicated i couldn’t because the CD was in my and my wifes name, so they could only wire it to my external bank. Down side is that there is a $15 dollar fee on thier side, and $10 fee on my bank side, so it seems i’ve erased a percent off my previous yield. In addition, because of how they stucture each CD as an “Account”, when i cashed in 3 CD’s on the same day, i got 3 sets of wire transfers and 3 sets of fees.

    Overall, for an online bank, it has always seemed strange you had to use thier telephone system to do anything, and yes, it is one of the poorest and confused system there is. It always seemed strange that for what would appear to be an easy thing like a transfer it would take 15 minutes of operator time to set it up, whereas online it would be a couple of clicks away.

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