Dollar Savings Direct Review

dollar savings direct review

Everyone wants to earn more interest on their savings. After all, it’s basically free money just for maintaining your account balance. If you already have money saved up for emergencies or future planned expenses, it makes sense to try and earn some interest while your money sits there.

However, many banks only offer interest rates of 0.01%, which isn’t going to add up any time soon, no matter how much money you have socked away. This is why it’s a good idea to shop around for an online bank that offers higher interest rates on savings accounts.

If you’ve done your research, you might have heard of DollarSavingsDirect, an online division of Emigrant Bank located in New York. But, before you agree to open a savings account with its current high interest rate of 1.60% APY, make sure you understand what you’d be getting into.

Opening an account

You can open a Dollar Savings Account™ online by providing your basic information, like your tax identification number and your address. Customers have to be age 18 or older, and you have to have a personal checking account with a U.S. bank that you can link to your new Dollar Savings Account™.

If your online application is approved, you will be able to login and see your information immediately. However, if more information is needed, Dollar Savings Direct will contact you in two to three business days, according to its website.

Funding your account

Your linked checking account can be used to fund your new Dollar Savings Account™; however, you can also choose to fund your account with a physical check by mail.

When you apply, you must select this option and then you will receive instructions about where to mail your check. Your check must be written from the same linked checking account. Checks are only accepted for your initial deposit. You must make any future deposits or withdrawals via electronic transfer.

There is no minimum deposit required to start your Dollar Savings Account™, nor is there a minimum balance required after the account has been established.

Accessing your money

After you’ve opened and funded your Dollar Savings Account™, you can transfer funds electronically in or out of your account by logging in online. Online access is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

However, you may feel disappointed by the digital experience offered by Emigrant Bank and its subsidiaries, including Dollar Savings Direct. There is no mobile app you can use to access your account easily while on-the-go, and the website itself has a dated look and feel.

Keep in mind that your Dollar Savings Account™ is subject to the Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation D, which allows a maximum of six transfers or withdrawals per statement period. If you make more than six transfers or withdrawals per statement period, your bank can charge you a fee, convert your account to a checking account or close it. This is not unique to your Dollar Savings Account™. It applies to all savings accounts and money market accounts at any bank.

If you funded your account with a check, there is a 10-business-day hold before you may withdraw your funds. All electronic transfers, or ACH deposits, have a five-business-day hold, no matter if it’s your initial deposit or a future deposit.

After you initiate your withdrawal online, it can take between two and four business days to appear in your connected external checking account. It will also take the same amount of time to transfer money into your Dollar Savings Account™.

Why Dollar Savings Direct may not be the best choice for your savings

Dollar Savings Direct offers the Dollar Savings Account™ with no minimum deposit required and no fees or service charges. This, combined with “America’s Highest Rate” at 1.60% APY (annual percentage yield) makes it seem like an attractive option to new customers.

However, even though a 1.60% APY on your savings account is hard to beat, Emigrant Bank, the parent of Dollar Savings Direct, has a habit of using high interest rates to attract new customers and deposits to its sub-brands before lowering the rates significantly once they’ve achieved their goals.

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Dollar Savings Direct and Emigrant Bank, along with any other bank, are fully within their legal right to change the APY on savings accounts at any time. But, this bait-and-switch tactic is not in the best interest of their customers.

In general, a more stable APY will generate more interest on savings over time.

If you do decide to open a Dollar Savings Account™ to take advantage of their 1.60% APY, keep an eye on the rate over time. You may want to withdraw your funds and store them elsewhere if rates drop significantly, as they have done historically.

Competitors to consider

Luckily, there are plenty of other high yield online savings accounts to consider that tend to have more stable interest rates over time. Here are a couple to consider.

Synchrony Bank, a direct competitor to Dollar Savings Direct, has a savings account interest rate of 1.30% APY and also offers their account without a minimum balance or monthly fees. Plus, you can also get an ATM card to access your funds. Synchrony Bank also has a mobile app.

Another top competitor is Ally Bank. Ally offers a 1.25% APY with no minimum balance. It also offers a free checking account (also with no minimum balance required), which makes it even easier to manage your money all in one place.

Bottom line

Again, it’s tough to beat a 1.60% APY on a savings account. However, sticking with an account that offers a slightly lower APY but is more consistent with their rate would make it easier to manage getting the best return on the money you store in a savings account.

If you open a Dollar Savings Account™, you’ll want to keep a constant eye on the rate, knowing that it may drop significantly in a few months, based on Emigrant Bank’s past practices. If you don’t transfer your funds out of your Dollar Savings Account™ when the rate drops, the advantages of opening a high yield savings account will be lost.

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