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Fidelity Investments - Linking External Accounts

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It used to be easy. You just entered the routing & account numbers online then the system had you enter your UserID and Pass of the account you want to link. Lately though, this procedure does not work and you are told to download an application form pdf and return by snail mail. And guess what, you are required to attach a voided check of the account you want to link. But here is the problem, if you external account is a savings account, there are no checks issued. To get around this annoying problem, I now do all linking of external account's on their website rather than using Fidelity. They simply send a small money amount less than $1 to Fidelity. Then you return to your external Bank or Credit Union account and enter the cents amount sent for each account being linked. Very simple, very easy. The link is verified and ready to use instantly.

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rated:
I'm curious when you first saw this happen.  I don't push from my Fidelity accounts often, but just 2 months ago I pushed a small dollar amount to a credit union that was "new" to my Fidelity accounts. (Meaning, I'd not yet set up any links to that credit union nor transferred funds to it in any way from Fidelity.) The Fidelity website presented me with 2 options:  1) Give Fidelity my credit union login and password, but no trial deposits required and no form required, or 2) what looked to be the common "2 automated trial deposits" method, but with the twist of some type of PDF form that had to be downloaded, filled out and returned (as OP stated.)  I choose option 1, and it worked fine.

OP, are you saying you weren't offered Option 1 at all?

Also, on that same day I pushed from Fidelity another small amount to a different financial institution, but this time one where I'd already set up a link in the past.  This worked fine too. 

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I have a lot of external accounts set up for transfers in/out of my Fidelity account, but I set them up years ago. I just recently tried to add PurePoint, and had the same problem you had, asking me to fill out a form, etc etc. I assumed this was just a problem with PurePoint because it's relatively new, but are you having this problem with other institutions?

I called Fidelity and the CSR said that PurePoint was not on their approved list of institutions. I asked her to send along a problem report but it hasn't been fixed yet.

Personally, I like having links set up on both sides between institutions, just in case.

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fw9999 said:   I'm curious when you first saw this happen.  I don't push from my Fidelity accounts often, but just 2 months ago I pushed a small dollar amount to a credit union that was "new" to my Fidelity accounts. (Meaning, I'd not yet set up any links to that credit union nor transferred funds to it in any way from Fidelity.) The Fidelity website presented me with 2 options:  1) Give Fidelity my credit union login and password, but no trial deposits required and no form required, or 2) what looked to be the common "2 automated trial deposits" method, but with the twist of some type of PDF form that had to be downloaded, filled out and returned (as OP stated.)  I choose option 1, and it worked fine.

OP, are you saying you weren't offered Option 1 at all?

Also, on that same day I pushed from Fidelity another small amount to a different financial institution, but this time one where I'd already set up a link in the past.  This worked fine too. 

  I was not offered Option 1 when I tried to link my PurePoint account, and my most recent attempt was 2 minutes ago.

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I have had a Fidelity Investment account for many years, but not set up such transfers plus a few bill pays until more recently. When I get a bank bonus sign up, I do as you tried for each one. Over the past few months, most of them have been accepted automatically as you prefer. Only a couple had trial balance situations. I have only had one that required paper processing. I am blessed to have a Fidelity Investments center (office) in my area. That office handled the paperwork for me when I went there. The process was fairly easy and only took a few minutes. Like you, I was surprised that was a necessary method.
Since successfully setting up, all has been well.

Separately, I have had one electronic glitch on Fidelity Bill Pay. The CC company accepted my word that funds were showing paid by Fidelity and adjusted the CC bad payment charge since the payment was showing properly processed on the second effort by the CC company.

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I have this problem with nearly every account I try to link to Fidelity, so instead, I just move the money from my brokerage account to a (free) Fidelity CMA (instant), then pull the funds from the other institution, no problem. I have no clue why Fidelity is so backwards and difficult about this.

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Security has definitely been tightened. I gave up trying to link an account recently, they've made it so difficult.

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WTH are you talking about? I just added an external bank account for EFT.

Click on Transfer -> Add a bank account -> Select a Fidelity account -> Choose Checking or Savings.
Enter routing number and account number.
Check the box to link your external account with the selected Fidelity account.
Click continue to Confirm Ownership and then click one more button to finish the process.

Fidelity sent me a one-time security code for verification prior to "enter routing number and account number". They did not ask for user id and password for the external bank account.

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gergles said:   I have this problem with nearly every account I try to link to Fidelity, so instead, I just move the money from my brokerage account to a (free) Fidelity CMA (instant), then pull the funds from the other institution, no problem. I have no clue why Fidelity is so backwards and difficult about this.
  
This is what I'm have happening.  It just started in the past 3 months, prior I had no issues with just adding an account and routing number.

My assumption was that Fidelity is trying to compete against the lower cost brokers with lower fees... and lower fees usually mean lower quality service?

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slappycakes said:   
gergles said:   I have this problem with nearly every account I try to link to Fidelity, so instead, I just move the money from my brokerage account to a (free) Fidelity CMA (instant), then pull the funds from the other institution, no problem. I have no clue why Fidelity is so backwards and difficult about this.
  
This is what I'm have happening.  It just started in the past 3 months, prior I had no issues with just adding an account and routing number.

My assumption was that Fidelity is trying to compete against the lower cost brokers with lower fees... and lower fees usually mean lower quality service?
 

  It's been longer then 3 months for me, well over a year I'd say.  I tried to link a new supplemental savings account at Alliant and they wanted my login data to Alliant to confirm, this was to make an IRA contribution back in late 2015 or early 2016.  Of course it didn't work right.  At the time I was able to "chat" with their customer service and get them to do the trial deposit method so I could link the account, but they said then it was a "one time" thing.  Honestly now, I just link on the bank side and push to Fidelity, their ACH clearing time is pretty bad anyway (3-5 days as I recall).

I don't think it's about lower quality service, I think they are trying to "make it simple" and more secure by using login data to confirm account ownership.  If it can verify your login data then the account is active immediately.  It just doesn't work correctly all of the time.  I've generally found that true about Fidelity, when whatever systems it is works it's incredibly convenient, when it doesn't it fails spectacularly to the point of being unusable.

The disappointing thing is, they stopped offering the old school tried and tested process of verification deposits, at least on my account so when it fails you have no choice but to snail mail in a form or take it to one of their retail locations.

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The terms of agreement for my credit union requires me to not share my password with anyone. And why would I want to share my login details or account history and full details with Fidelity? I've used the verification deposits in the past, but now I have to call them to initiate the process manually.

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Maybe it's just me, but in many years of linking accounts, despite numerous efforts wherever it's been offered, I have *never* been able to get the "enter the login information for your external account" to work.  Never.  I've always assumed it was because the Target bank would see this as a login from an unknown machine and issue challenge questions or require some other verification method which the other bank could not navigate.

The trial deposit method seems to have been a tried-and-true one.  Sad that Fidelity is making it more difficult.

Chris.

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Such a hassle. They even require a void check now. wtf is this, 2001? What's next? Require me to fax this? Oh wait, they actually do.

Just signed up for CapitalOne 1% savings with $200 bonus deal and needed to add external account. Won't even bother with this crap. Will route money through other banks.

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