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I’m sure I’m not the only one who was disappointed to learn that their bank was funding the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s not surprising — it’s hard to find a bank who hasn’t done loads of shady shit in the name of capitalism. But we can be more conscious about our consumption. That is, if we’re going to participate in this system, we must also make an effort to put our money where our values are. We can force corporations to be better “people” by refusing to let our dollars sustain an unsustainable or downright reprehensible practice.
One of the reasons I enjoy my current bank is how easy it is to interact with it online and on my phone. There are a couple things I can’t really do without in a bank because I’m a freelancer; the ability to make mobile deposits, for instance, is the major one. The ability to locate a fee-free ATM is a close second. Touch ID on my iPhone is important, but not that important to me. For a while, I’ve been researching banks and credit unions that aren’t funding the Dakota Access Pipeline with the intent to switch. It’s as important now as ever, as President Trump is trying to push it ahead. Because my must-have list is so app-heavy, I suspected my research might be valuable to those techy queers among us as well. So without further ado, here’s what I’ve found out so far. It’s by no means comprehensive; please feel free to share what you’ve learned in the comments below.
OneUnited is the largest Black-owned bank in the US, and it’s not funding DAPL. While it only has branches in California, Massachusetts and Florida, its online game and app game is so good that you can open an account anywhere. It’s a certified community development institution, which means you’re banking with a purpose. They have a checking account wherein your monthly fee is waived every month you receive a direct deposit, and is otherwise a $500 minimum to avoid the fee, so that’s not bad. Once you open an account, you can download their app for iOS or Android, or use their online portal.
First Republic is a fairly mainstream bank with branches in multiple cities across the US. They’ve got an app that people seem to love, and it’s available on iOS, Android and Kindle Fire (though that last one, you’ll have a hard time cashing checks if your device doesn’t have a camera). And you can totally use their online portal as well. The catch with this one, though, is the high balance required to avoid the monthly fee.
This was a special request from Laneia, because Ally has a pretty great interest checking account (and with no monthly fee to boot!). I can’t find one single reliable source linking Ally to the Dakota Access Pipeline, so putting this here is almost a challenge — maybe I’ve missed something? Do you know something I don’t? If not, Ally’s interest checking can yield you .10% interest just on money you’ve got in your checking account—and that’s with a low balance. If you’ve got a higher balance, you might get more for your money. Because they’re not a brick and mortar bank, their apps and online tools are pretty rad. Once again, their app is available for iOS and Android.
What it comes down to is that credit unions are the best option. There are a ton of credit unions out there, and you should do research on your local ones. But in case you don’t qualify for any, Alliant lets you apply if you make a $10 or more donation to Foster Care to Succes, an organization that helps foster kids attend college, find mentors and more. Don’t get me wrong, there are a bunch more ways to qualify, like if you’re a member of the freelancer’s union — this form takes you all the way through checking it out, with the FCS donation being the last thing. If you can join Alliant, checking is free. Like, free free. Free of charges free. And their high rate checking? You’ve gotta have one transfer into the account per month and use eStatements and then THAT’S free. And it has a better rate than Ally. And they’ve got those sweet, sweet apps — both iOS and Android.
None Of These?
If none of these work for you, that’s okay! Check out SWICH, a database full of 30,000 plus businesses that share your values. You can get your SWICH score and the service will help you not only switch to a local bank, but may help locate ways you can be spending more of your money at businesses that aren’t trying to make the world burn.