Citizens Bank Review: CDs, Checking, Savings, Money Market, and IRA Accounts

Citizens Bank
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Although Citizens Bank is one of the largest banks in the nation, it only got its start relatively recently, in 2005. Since then, it has become the largest bank in Rhode Island (where it’s headquartered) and opened over 1,200 local branches along the East Coast and in the Midwest.

We wanted to know: How do the deposit accounts at Citizens Bank stack up with the competition? What are the hidden “gotchas” and what do you need to know before opening an account?

The interest rates that Citizens Bank offers on its deposit accounts vary according to where you live. So, to make things simple, we’ll compare their rates across accounts in the 02903 zip code (Providence, R.I.) where its headquarters is located. To find out the rates in your area, click on the link “Specify Your Location” on their homepage.

All rates are current as of Jan. 2, 2018.

Citizens Bank CD Rates

Citizens Bank offers limited options for CDs and very low rates unless you also have an existing premium account with them.

 

12-Month Breakable CD

14-Month CD

48-Month CD

Standard APY

0.05%

0.10%

0.10%

APY with Platinum Checking

0.10%

1.15%

1.55%

APY with Platinum Plus Checking

0.20%

1.40%

1.70%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 for the 14 and 48 month CDs and $10,000 for the 12 month CD
  • How interest is compounded: Interest is calculated based off of your daily balance, then tallied up and deposited into your account monthly.
  • Early withdrawal penalties: $50 plus whichever of the following two options is less:
        1. 180 days’ worth of interest on the withdrawn amount
        2. Half of the remaining interest you would have earned
  • Grace period: Your CD will automatically roll over to another CD with the same term. However, you have a 10-day grace period to withdraw or add funds without paying an early withdrawal penalty.

12-Month Breakable CD

The bar for opening this CD is set very high: You’ll need to come to the table with at least $10,000. In return, you will earn interest, but at very low rates even if you qualify for a higher rate by also holding a platinum-level checking account.

One of the benefits of this account is that you’re allowed to make one full or partial withdrawal of your cash during its 12-month term without paying an early-withdrawal penalty. If you think you might need to withdraw the cash before the term ends, this may be a wise choice.

14-Month CD

This CD is much more accessible for people with smaller amounts of cash because it only requires one tenth of the money as the 12-month breakable CD. The rate for this CD is also a lot better — but only if you have an existing Platinum or Platinum Plus Checking Account.

48-Month CD

This CD is interesting. It’s also fairly accessible for people with smaller opening deposits. However, unless you have one of the Platinum checking accounts, there’s no real incentive to open a 48-month CD over a 14-month CD because the rates are exactly the same.

In fact, if these two CDs pay the same interest rate for non-Platinum checking account members, it’s probably better to stick with the 14-month CD because you’ll earn exactly the same interest rate and you’ll get more frequent access to your money if you need it.

How Citizens Bank CD rates compare

Citizens Bank clearly wants you to be a Platinum Checking Account member, and these CDs only make sense if you are one. The rates offered for Platinum Checking Account holders on their 14-month and 48-month CDs are actually slightly better than national averages.

Otherwise, if you’re just walking into this bank off the street (or logging in), pass this one up. You can earn much better CD rates elsewhere without the checking account requirements.

How to get a Citizens Bank CD

If you decide a Citizens Bank CD is right for you, good news: It only takes about 10 minutes to apply for an account, and you can apply online or in a local branch. All you’ll need is basic personal information (including your social security number), a government-issued photo ID, and some way to fund your account.

You can fund it with a check, or a credit or debit card, but heads up: If you go the card route, you can only make the minimum opening deposit of $1,000 — you can’t deposit anything more than that.

Citizens Bank Checking Account Options

The checking accounts at Citizens Bank offer few benefits in exchange for high fees and requirements — however, they may be useful if earning higher rates on another product is your endgame.

One Deposit Checking from Citizens Bank®

  • Minimum opening deposit: Any amount.
  • Interest rate: None.
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $9.99
  • How to waive monthly maintenance fee: Citizens Bank will waive the fee if you’re a minor, or if you have at least one deposit into your account each statement period.
  • ATM fees: None for Citizens Bank ATMs. $3 for using non-Citizens Bank ATMs, plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refunds? None.
  • Overdraft fee: $35 per item (up to seven per day).

Even though this is Citizens Bank’s most basic-level checking account, it isn’t one you can walk away from and leave on autopilot. You’ll need to make at least one deposit into the account each statement period in order to avoid the exorbitant $9.99 monthly fee.

Not only that, but it will cost you to use this account anyway — at least indirectly. Checks do not come free with this account. You’ll need to pay at least $9.99 for an order of checks if you want to, you know, write checks from your checking account.

Citizens Bank Platinum Checking™

  • Minimum opening deposit: Any amount.
  • Interest rate: 0.02% APY for any amount in your account.
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $25
  • How to waive monthly maintenance fee: Keep at least $25,000 across all of your Citizens Bank investment and deposit accounts.
  • ATM fees: None for Citizens Bank ATMs. $3 for using non-Citizens Bank ATMs, plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refunds? Your first four non-Citizens Bank ATM charges will be waived each statement period (but not the ATM surcharge).
  • Overdraft fee: No fee for overdraft transfers or overdraft lines of credit.

This is Citizens Bank’s lowest premium-level checking account. If you have this account, you can qualify for higher rates on CDs, savings accounts, and money market accounts, a 0.125% discount on a mortgage, and waived fees for things like paper statements or stop check orders. Plus, you’ll get free checks. You can also earn interest with this account, albeit at a very low level.

In return, Citizens Bank wants you to keep a fairly high amount of cash with them in deposit and investment accounts. Make sure you can commit to this so you don’t have to face the high $25 monthly fee.

Citizens Bank Platinum Plus Checking™

Amount

$0-$24,999

$25,000-$249,999

$250,000+

APY

0.03%

0.05%

0.07%

  • Minimum opening deposit: Any amount.
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $25
  • How to waive monthly maintenance fee: You’ll need to keep at least $25,000 in linked deposit or investment accounts, plus one of the following two requirements: either deposit at least $5,000 per month into your account, or keep at least $10,000 in your account.
  • ATM fees: None for Citizens Bank ATMs. $3 for using non-Citizens Bank ATMs, plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refunds? Your first four non-Citizens Bank ATM charges will be waived each statement period (but not the ATM surcharge).
  • Overdraft fee: No fee for overdraft transfers or overdraft lines of credit.

This is basically the same account as the lower-level Citizens Bank Platinum Checking account with one extra bonus: a slightly higher, but still overall lackluster, interest rate.

In return for this higher interest rate you’ll need to jump through a few extra hoops (in addition to having at least $25,000 in linked deposit or investment accounts): keep an average of at least $10,000 in your checking account, or deposit at least $5,000 into your checking account each statement period.

How Citizens Bank checking accounts compare

Most checking accounts at large national banks set the bar fairly high to waive their outrageous monthly fees in return for low interest rates. Citizens Bank is no exception. Rather than using this account for its low interest rate, however, think outside the box: You actually can earn some decent rates on CDs if you hold one of the Platinum checking accounts.

If you can meet the requirements on these Platinum checking accounts, want to earn higher rates on CDs, and if Citizens Bank is convenient for you to work with, then this bank might make sense for you.

However, it’s still possible to find higher interest rates with fewer pesky requirements by opening a checking account with one of these online banks.

How to get a Citizens Bank checking account

If you decide a Citizens Bank Checking Account is right for you, good news: it only takes about 10 minutes to apply for an account, and you can apply online or in a local branch. All you’ll need is basic personal information (including your social security number), a government-issued photo ID, and some way to fund your account.

You can fund it with a check or a credit or debit card, but again, if you go the card route, you can only make the minimum opening deposit of $1,000 — you can’t deposit anything more than that.

Citizens Bank Savings Account Options

Citizens Bank does offer savings accounts with some neat features, but they’re still plagued with low interest rates and potentially high fees.

GoalTrack Savings®

GoalTrack Savings is a savings reward program that you can enroll in with any savings account, except for the CollegeSaver and Citizens Bank HomeBuyer Savings accounts. If you enroll in this program, you have to make a pledge: I will save X dollars each month for X months.

If you reach your goal, Citizens Bank will reward you with a gift card to certain merchants such as Best Buy, Lowe’s, Hyatt, or Pizza Hut. The amount of the gift card may be as follows:

Months

$25-$49

$50-$99

$100-$199

$200-$399

$400+

8-11

Discount at a merchant

$5

$5

$10

$20

12-17

$5

$5

$10

$20

$40

18-23

$5

$10

$20

$40

$75

24-35

$10

$20

$40

$75

$100

36+

$20

$40

$75

$100

$250

Green Savings®

  • Minimum opening deposit: Any amount.
  • Interest rate: 0.01% APY for any amount in your account.
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $4.99
  • How to waive the monthly maintenance fee: Fee is waived for the first four months of account opening. After that, the fee is waived if you keep an average of at least $200 in your account every day.
  • ATM fees: None for Citizens Bank ATMs. $3 for using non-Citizens Bank ATMs, plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refunds? None.
  • Excessive transaction fee: You’re allowed six certain transactions per month as per Federal Regulation D. After that, you’ll be charged $15 per transaction.

Citizens Bank’s Green Savings account is their most basic savings account. It’s also their only savings account to charge a fee, which you can avoid as long as you keep a small amount of cash ($200) in this account.

That means that this account isn’t meant to ever be drained completely lest you face the pesky monthly fee. Make sure you take that into account — i.e., if you’re saving for a specific goal, you’ll need to bump up your savings target by $200 to leave enough in this account after you withdraw the cash.

Citizens Bank Platinum Savings™

  • Minimum opening deposit: Any amount.
  • Interest rate: 0.02% for any amount in your account.
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None.
  • ATM fees: None for Citizens Bank ATMs. $3 for using non-Citizens Bank ATMs, plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refunds? None.
  • Excessive transaction fee: You’re allowed six certain transactions per month as per Federal Regulation D. After that, you’ll be charged $15 per transaction.

This account comes standard with Citizens Bank’s Platinum Checking account. Although this account doesn’t have a monthly maintenance fee, the checking account does: $25, unless you qualify to have the fee waived.

The benefits of this savings account aren’t much greater than Green Savings, which you can open without a demanding checking account. Thus, we only recommend this account if you’re interested in the Platinum Checking account anyway.

Citizens Bank Platinum Plus Savings

Amount

$0-$24,999

$25,000-$249,000

$250,000+

APY

0.03%

0.05%

0.07%

  • Minimum opening deposit: Any amount.
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None.
  • ATM fees: None for Citizens Bank ATMs. $3 for using non-Citizens Bank ATMs, plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refunds? None.
  • Excessive transaction fee: You’re allowed six certain transactions per month as per Federal Regulation D. After that, you’ll be charged $15 per transaction.

This is Citizens Bank’s most premium-level savings account. It also comes standard with a Platinum Checking account, meaning that you’ll have to pay a $25 monthly fee for that account as well unless you qualify to have the fee waived.

In return, you get slightly higher savings account rates, as well as higher rates on things like CDs and money market accounts.

CollegeSaver®

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25 if your child is under 6 years old. $500 if your child is 6-12 years old.
  • Interest rate: 0.05% for any amount in your account.
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None.
  • Minimum monthly deposit: If your child is under 6 years old, you’ll need to deposit $25 per month until his or her 18th birthday. If your child is between 6 to 12 years old, you’ll need to deposit $50 per month until his or her 18th birthday.
  • Excessive transaction fee: You’re allowed six certain transactions per month as per Federal Regulation D. After that, you’ll be charged $15 per transaction.

If you’re looking to save up some extra cash for your kid’s college bill, the CollegeSaver account might be able to help. Be warned, though: it does have some steep requirements. You’ll have to commit to depositing at least $25 into the account ($50 if your child is between ages 6-12) every single month until their 18th birthday. If you can do this, you’ll get a nice bonus: When your child turns 18, Citizens Bank will throw an extra $1,000 into your savings account.

This is a nice idea, but unfortunately this account still doesn’t earn much interest — just 0.05% APY. If saving for your kid’s college is a priority, you may be better off investing that money in a tax-advantaged savings account such as a 529 plan or a Coverdell account.

Citizens Bank HomeBuyer Savings®

  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Interest rate: 0.05% for any amount in your account.
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None.
  • Minimum monthly deposit: $100
  • Excessive transaction fee: You’re allowed six certain transactions per month as per Federal Regulation D. After that, you’ll be charged $15 per transaction.

If you’re saving for a house, you might want to consider the Citizens Bank HomeBuyer program. If you can commit to saving $100 per month for 36 months straight, you can get a $1,000 credit toward the closing costs on a Citizens Bank mortgage (assuming you qualify). You also get a free pass to skip one monthly deposit per year without losing eligibility for the $1,000 credit.

If you do earn the credit, be prepared to use it fairly soon: You have another 36 months after you earn the credit to complete the purchase of a home, or lose it.

This sounds like a good plan (and it very well may be), but remember: Just because you get a $1,000 credit at the start of your mortgage doesn’t mean it’ll be cheaper in the long run.

Who knows what mortgage interest rates Citizens Bank will be charging three years from now and whether they’ll be competitive or not. You might end up saving $1,000 now only to shell out thousands more later.

How Citizens Bank savings accounts compare

While we do like some of the unique savings accounts that Citizens Bank offers (specifically the savings accounts for college and home down payments), we think that the interest rates offered are still very low.

Furthermore, their savings accounts either come with unnecessarily high fees, or are linked to checking accounts that do have high fees.

Unless there’s something really tying you to Citizens Bank, we think that you can earn a lot more and pay a lot less with other online savings accounts.

How to get a Citizens Bank Savings account

If you decide a Citizens Bank savings account is right for you, good news: It only takes about 10 minutes to apply for an account, and you can apply online or in a local branch. All you’ll need is basic personal information (including your social security number), a government-issued photo ID, and some way to fund your account.

You can fund it with a check or a credit or debit card, but once again, if you go the card route, you can only make the minimum opening deposit of $1,000 — you can’t deposit anything more than that.

Citizens Bank Money Market Account Options

The rates you can earn on these money market accounts are generally rock-bottom, unless you can qualify for the promotional rates offered on the premium-level accounts.

Personal Money Market

  • Minimum opening deposit: Any amount.
  • Interest rate: 0.01% APY for any amount in your account.
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $10
  • How to waive the monthly maintenance fee: Keep a minimum of $2,500 in your account.
  • ATM fees: None for Citizens Bank ATMs. $3 for using non-Citizens Bank ATMs, plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refunds? None.
  • Excessive transaction fee: You’re allowed six certain transactions per month as per Federal Regulation D. After that, you’ll be charged $15 per transaction.

This account also comes with checks, however watch out: You can only use the checks up to three times per month without incurring an excessive transaction fee. Like savings accounts, you’ll also be limited to just six transactions per month according to Federal Regulation D rules. If you go over, you’ll have to pay a $15 transaction fee.

If you end up paying this fee more than three times in a year (or “significantly exceed these transaction limits in any one statement cycle,” as stated in Citizens Bank’s Fees and Features Guide), your account may be automatically downgraded into a non-interest-bearing checking account.

Citizens Bank Platinum Money Market™

Promotional offer: If you deposit at least $25,000 of new-to-Citizens-Bank money in a new Citizens Bank Platinum Money Market account, you’ll earn the following interest rates until November 30, 2018:

Amount

$0-$24,999

$25,000-$2,999,999

$3,000,000+

APY

0.03%

1.10%

0.03%

  • Minimum opening deposit: Any amount.
  • Interest rate: 0.03% APY for any amount in your account (unless you qualify for the promotional rates above).
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None.
  • How to waive the monthly maintenance fee: Keep a minimum of $2,500 in your account.
  • ATM fees: None for Citizens Bank ATMs. $3 for using non-Citizens Bank ATMs, plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refunds? Your first four non-Citizens Bank ATM charges will be waived each statement period (but not the ATM surcharge, however).
  • Excessive transaction fee: You’re allowed six certain transactions per month (including three checks) as per Federal Regulation D. After that, you’ll be charged $15 per transaction or check.

You are eligible to open this account if you have a Platinum Checking account. Like the other premium-level savings accounts, this account has no monthly maintenance fee of its own, but its linked Platinum Checking account does.

Citizens Bank Platinum Plus Money Market™

Promotional offer: If you deposit at least $25,000 of new-to-Citizens-Bank money in a new Citizens Bank Platinum Plus Money Market account, you’ll earn the following interest rates until November 30, 2018:

Amount

$0-$24,999

$25,000-$2,999,999

$3,000,000+

APY

0.05%

1.35%

0.25%

  • Minimum opening deposit: Any amount.
  • Interest rate: 0.10% APY for any amount in your account (unless you qualify for the promotional rates above).
  • Monthly maintenance fee: None.
  • ATM fees: None for Citizens Bank ATMs. $3 for using non-Citizens Bank ATMs, plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner charges.
  • ATM fee refunds? Your first four non-Citizens Bank ATM charges will be waived each statement period (but not the ATM surcharge, however).
  • Excessive transaction fee: You’re allowed six certain transactions per month (including three checks) as per Federal Regulation D. After that, you’ll be charged $15 per transaction or check.

If you have a Citizens Bank Platinum Plus checking account, you’re eligible to open this corresponding money market account as well. Normally, the rates are very low (0.10% APY), however, if you have enough cash to take advantage of the promotional offer (meaning you have $25,000 stashed somewhere outside of Citizens Bank that you bring in to open a new account), you can earn much more interest.

How Citizens Bank’s Money Market accounts compare

If you can qualify for the promotional rates offered on the Platinum or Platinum Plus Money Market accounts, you can actually earn pretty decent rates. Unfortunately, most people may have a difficult time earning them because you need to deposit at least $25,000 from another non-Citizens Bank account, and the rates only last until November 30th.

If you’re looking to maximize the interest rates you receive on a money market account, you can find better rates with money market accounts from other institutions.

How to get a Citizens Bank Money Market account

If you decide a Citizens Bank money market account is right for you, good news: It only takes about 10 minutes to apply for an account, and you can apply online or in a local branch. All you’ll need is basic personal information (including your social security number), a government-issued photo ID, and some way to fund your account.

You can fund it with a check or a credit or debit card, but if you go the card route, you can only make the minimum opening deposit of $1,000 — you can’t deposit anything more than that.

Citizens Bank IRA Options

These retirement savings vessels are light on information—make sure you do your research before choosing to open an account.

IRA CDs

Citizens Bank offers some less-touted IRA CD options, including terms ranging from one to 120 months. You can get started with one of their IRA CDs with a deposit as small as $250. There is no monthly account maintenance fee.

The interest rates on these IRA CDs are not advertised on their website, however, so you’ll need to contact the bank directly if you’d like to open an IRA CD.

How to get a Citizens Bank IRA CD

If you’re interested in getting a Citizens Bank IRA CD, make sure you do your homework first by calling the bank or visiting them in person to verify the rates and term options for their different CDs.

If you’re looking for a good benchmark to compare the rates, check out other IRA CD options.

IRA Savings

Citizens Bank also offers an IRA Savings account, however they offer just about as much information on it as with their IRA CDs (that is to say, very little).

You can open an IRA Savings account with any amount you wish. Your first four months with this account are free, but after that you’ll need to pay a $4.99 monthly maintenance fee if you don’t keep at least $200 in your account.

How to get a Citizens Bank IRA savings account

Again, if you’re interested in this account you’ll need to either call Citizens Bank or visit a branch to get the information you need to make an informed decision. Specifically, you’ll need to inquire about the interest rate being offered and whether there are any fees associated with the account.

Overall review of Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank does offer some niceties with their accounts. In particular, we like the monetary bonuses they throw in for the CollegeSaver and HomeBuyer Savings accounts, in addition to their GoalTrack gift card bonuses. These rewards may provide just enough incentive if you’re looking to stick to your savings goals.

However, we are not excited about the rates that they offer and the amount of fee baggage that these accounts come with. In this day and age, it’s very easy to find a bank that doesn’t hang you high and dry with fees.

The only reason we can see recommending Citizens Bank is if you want to use an in-person branch exclusively and if Citizens Bank is the closest bank to you. Otherwise, we’d skip past this one in favor of something better.

The post Citizens Bank Review: CDs, Checking, Savings, Money Market, and IRA Accounts appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

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.

Source: DepositAccounts.com (DepositAccounts.com, like MagnifyMoney, is owned by LendingTree)

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.

The post Dollar Savings Direct Review appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

3 Reasons Emigrant Bank Might Not Be the Best Place to Save

Emigrant Bank Review

Emigrant Bank, through its internet bank subsidiaries (DollarSavingsDirect, MySavingsDirect and EmigrantDirect), offers highly competitive interest rates. However, before deciding to open an account with Emigrant, here are three concerns that every potential customer should consider:

1. Emigrant Bank has a regular history of introducing “America’s Highest Rate” to attract customers, only to decrease the rate later. Emigrant Bank is fully within its legal right to do so (because savings account rates can change at any time). But other leading internet banks pay much more consistent rates, and so the pattern starts to feel a bit like bait-and-switch.

2. Emigrant Bank has a C+ health rating from DepositAccounts.com (which, like MagnifyMoney, is owned by LendingTree). All deposits at Emigrant are insured by way of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). However, if you want to deposit more than the FDIC-insured limit, the health of your chosen bank is an important consideration. Emigrant was hit hard during the 2008 financial crisis, and some of its health indicators continue to flash warning lights

3. The digital experience of Emigrant Bank is lacking. There is no mobile banking app. The website has a look and feel better suited to the 1990s than to 2017. If digital experience is important to you, Emigrant will disappoint.

I will review each of these concerns in more detail below, while including a brief background of the bank.

What is Emigrant Bank?

Emigrant Bank was founded in 1850 by Irish immigrants to New York. Very quickly, the bank became one of the largest in the country and helped finance iconic buildings like St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Fast-forward, and today Emigrant Bank (which is technically owned by its holding company, New York Private Bank & Trust Corporation) is the largest privately held bank in the country. Howard Milstein owns the bank, which now has $6.4 billion in assets. Emigrant is not tiny, but it is far from the 7th largest bank (which today has more than $300 billion in assets).

Although the bank’s physical footprint remains in New York, it has a nationwide internet deposit business to fund its operations. Emigrant’s internet-only savings brands include the aforementioned DollarSavingsDirect, MySavingsDirect and EmigrantDirect. These brands are part of Emigrant (and your FDIC insurance limit is for your total relationship balance, not each individual brand).

Beware of the bait-and-switch (a high rate to attract, and then a rapid dropoff)

Leading internet-only banks, like Ally and Synchrony, consistently pay very high rates. Emigrant has a different strategy. It has created different sub-brands. These brands will come out with the highest rate in the country to attract deposits, and then the rates will be decreased. This occurs consistently, across brands.

With a savings account, the interest rate can change at any time. But although it’s perfectly legal, this feels a bit like a bait and switch. Here are some examples:

EmigrantDirect: It once paid 1.10% APY. Now it’s 0.50% APY

When 1.10% was America’s Highest Rate in 2010, EmigrantDirect was paying it to depositors. However, the rate has consistently and dramatically dropped, and the rate is only 0.50% APY now. If you opened your account in 2010, you would have seen your rate fall by more than 50%, even though the market interest rates have been increasing, and it is now easy to get at least 1.30% APY. Here is a chart of the deposit history, from DepositAccounts:

MySavingsDirect: It once paid 1.25% APY – now 1.00% APY

In 2015, MySavingsDirect had America’s Highest Rate. In fact, it was featured prominently on MagnifyMoney because of the healthy interest rate. However, the rate started to drop dramatically and swooned as low as 0.85% APY in less than a year. We can only guess that people started leaving in droves — because the rate bounced up a bit to 1.00% APY. This rate is far from America’s Highest, however, and MagnifyMoney readers who signed up in 2015 probably feel a bit sore about the rapid drop in rates.

Look at the chart below to see the bumpy road depositors have been on:

DollarSavingsDirect: Now America’s Highest Rate

DollarSavingsDirect now has America’s Highest Rate, and is paying 1.60% APY. We can’t argue with the rate. But when you look at DollarSavingsDirect’s rate history (below), and considering what Emigrant Bank has done with the other brands, you would be safe in betting that this rate will probably come down soon:

Source: Depositaccounts.com

Health warning: Emigrant’s risks

Emigrant was hit particularly hard during the 2008 financial crisis and required a financial bailout. The bank is now very well capitalized and has a 19.34% Tier 1 capital ratio (as of June 2017). The Tier 1 capital ratio is one of the highest in the banking universe, and it received an A+ from DepositAccounts for capitalization.

However, there are two reasons to be cautious. First, the bank continues to struggle with profitability. According to the FDIC, Emigrant’s Return on Assets (ROA) for the first six months of 2017 was only 0.70%. For banks, 2017 has been an excellent year for profitability. FDIC-insured institutions achieved an average ROA of 1.14%, which is the highest in 10 years. In a period of record earnings and low losses, Emigrant Bank is only able to achieve its much lower figure — which means a future downturn or recession will be more difficult.

In addition, the Texas Ratio of the bank is 20.23%. The Texas Ratio looks at the book value of all nonperforming assets as a percentage of the equity capital and loan-loss reserves. This ratio measures a bank’s likelihood of failure by comparing bad assets to available capital. If the ratio is above 100%, a bank is highly likely to fail. At 20%, Emigrant Bank’s Texas Ratio is flashing yellow (and received a B from DepositAccounts).

If all of this sounds confusing, let’s offer a simple recap:

  • Emigrant Bank was hit hard in 2008.
  • To repair itself, the bank raised lot of capital (to buffer against future losses).
  • Unfortunately, the bank still struggles to generate earnings. In a period of record bank earnings, it lags industry averages.
  • There are still a relatively high number of bad loans on the books, given the high Texas Ratio

In fairness, the bank has been around since the 1800s and has made it through every crisis, including the Great Depression and the recent Great Recession. However, Emigrant is not the strongest bank in the market, and you should think long and hard before depositing more money than the FDIC limit.

A poor digital experience

If you open an account with a bank that does not have branches, your expectation for a strong digital experience should be high. Sadly, Emigrant Bank does not deliver. Its website has a very dated look and feel, and there is no mobile banking app. If digital experience is important to you, Emigrant will not deliver.

Bottom line

If you want to open a savings account with a bank that consistently pays a market-leading rate, Emigrant Bank (along with its various internet brands) is probably not the bank for you.

If you want a bank where you plan on depositing significantly more than the FDIC maximum, you should do some extensive homework before entrusting your funds to Emigrant.

And if digital experience and mobile banking apps are important to you, you should avoid Emigrant.

However, if you are willing to do work, and don’t mind regularly moving your money around, you will probably be able to find America’s Highest Rate at one of Emigrant Bank’s brands at any given point in time. Just watch that rate carefully, because it will likely go down.

The post 3 Reasons Emigrant Bank Might Not Be the Best Place to Save appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

TD Bank Review: Savings, Checking, CD, Money Market, and IRA Accounts

td bank review
iStock

TD Bank got an early start in the 1850s. Today, it’s one of the largest banks in the nation. Even though it’s a nationwide bank, you can really go into a physical branch only if you live along the East Coast. If you are that lucky, you can take your pick from over 1,200 branches, many of which have convenient extended hours during the week and on weekends.

People living in the Midwest and on the West coast will have to suffice with online-only banking. But, rest assured, they still make it easy: they maintain a 24/7 customer service line if you do need to chat with a real person.

We’ll go over everything you need to know about TD Bank’s deposit accounts in this article. One important note: TD Bank’s rates vary depending on where you live. To compare apples to apples, we’ll look at the rates from Cherry Hill, N.J., which is where TD Bank is headquartered. However, we recommend checking your local rates when deciding whether these accounts are right for you. All rates are current as of Jan. 3, 2018.

TD Bank Savings Accounts

TD Simple Savings account

Simply low savings for a fee-heavy savings account.

[Chart-TDSimpleSavingsaccount]

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.05%

$0 ($300 to waive monthly maintenance fee)

[/Chart-TDSimpleSavingsaccount]
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5 ($4 if you’re signed up for online statements)
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee:
    1. Keep at least $300 in your account
    2. Have a linked TD student checking account
    3. Be under age 18 or over age 62
    4. Transfer at least $25 per month from a TD Bank account and have a linked TD Bank personal checking account (but this will only waive the fee for 12 months)
  • ATM fees: None if using a TD ATM; $3 for non-TD ATMs (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on).
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

You’ll need to keep an eye out for fees with this account. It’s not hard to waive the monthly account fee if you keep it stocked full of savings (which is how you should use a savings account, after all), but if you decide to empty the account, you’ll have to pay this steep monthly fee. Furthermore, the rates offered are very low, especially when compared with savings accounts at other banks.

Opening a Simple Savings account with TD Bank takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD Preferred Savings account

Moderate interest rates for high-balance savers.

[Chart-TDPreferredSavingsaccount]
 

$0.01 - $19,999.99

$20k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k - $249,999.99

$250k - $499,999.99

$500k - $999,999.99

$1M – $9,999,999.99

$10M+

APY with standard rate

0.05%

0.20%

0.35%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.45%

APY with bump rate

0.10%

0.50%

0.75%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

0.95%

[/Chart-TDPreferredSavingsaccount]
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15 ($14 if you’re signed up for online statements)
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee: Keep at least $20,000 in your account.
  • ATM fees: None. However, you may be charged a surcharge fee (i.e., the fee that the ATM’s owner tacks on) unless you keep at least $2,500 in your account.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

TD Bank does offer semi-OK returns for their Preferred Savings account, with a catch: You’ll need to keep a lot of money in it. Otherwise, you’ll face a hefty monthly account fee that will wipe away your earnings.

For example, let’s say that you have $15,000 in your account. That’s $5,000 under the $20,000 threshold needed to waive the $15 monthly fee. If you receive the rate bump for having another eligible TD Bank account, you’ll earn $1.25 in interest that month — meaning you’ll lose $13.75 after paying the monthly account maintenance fee.

You can qualify for the higher bump rates by also having one of the following types of accounts with TD Bank and making three transactions per month with it: a mortgage, a home equity loan, a credit card, or a personal or small business checking account.

Opening a Preferred Savings account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone, or by visiting a local branch.

How TD Bank’s savings accounts compare

TD Bank’s savings accounts are pretty lackluster. They carry the potential for a lot of fees and for very little return.

Their Preferred Savings account in particular does offer high earning potential with interest rates up to five times greater than the national average. But you’ll need to have heavy pockets to be able to reach those levels, in addition to meeting a list of other requirements to waive the monthly fee and be eligible for these high interest rates.

Most people probably won’t be able to reach these high interest rates. But there’s good news: There are many other high-interest savings accounts that offer better rates without so much fine print holding you back.

TD Bank Checking Accounts

TD Premier Checking account

Earn low interest rates for keeping a high balance in your checking account.

[Chart-TDPremierCheckingaccount]

Minimum Balance Amount

$0.01 - $2,499.99

$2,500 - $49,999.99

$50k - $249,999.99

$250k+

APY

0.00%

0.05%

0.05%

0.05%

[/Chart-TDPremierCheckingaccount]
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee: Keep at least $2,500 in your account.
  • ATM fees: None. However, you may be charged a surcharge fee (i.e., the fee that the ATM’s owner tacks on) unless you keep at least $2,500 in your account.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

If you’re looking to earn interest on the money held within your checking account, you might consider this account. Just be careful: you’ll need to keep a pretty high balance to a) earn any interest at all, and b) avoid the high monthly account fee.

A few minor side benefits of having this account also include things like free bank checks and money orders, and no service charge for more obscure things like stop payments on checks, incoming wire transfers and paper statements. You’ll also get a 0.25% interest rate reduction if you decide to apply for a home equity line of credit.

If high interest rates on your checking account with less fees are what you’re after, there are actually many other better online checking accounts to choose from.

Opening a Premier Checking account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD Convenience Checking account

A standard-level checking account — but stay vigilant for high fees.

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee: Keep at least $100 in your account.
  • ATM fees: None if using a TD ATM. $3 for non-TD ATMS (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on).
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

If you can’t keep the required $2,500 in your checking account to waive the monthly fee for the TD Premier Checking account, consider this one. You still need to keep some cash in this account to waive the $15 monthly fee, but at $100, it’s much more manageable.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to sacrifice earning any return on your funds with this account, since it pays no interest. But there still are some minor perks that come with this account. You’ll get a discount on your first order of checks, and discounts on TD Bank home loans and home equity lines of credit.

Opening a Convenience Checking account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD Simple Checking account

Simply high fees for a basic-level checking account.

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5.99
  • ATM fees: None if using a TD ATM. $3 for non-TD ATMS (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on).
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

As far as checking accounts go, this isn’t really a good one. It charges a high monthly account fee and there’s no way to waive the fee. That’s a bit ridiculous with so many free checking accounts.

The only reason you might choose this checking account is if you can’t afford to keep the minimum $100 deposit in the TD convenience checking account to waive that monthly account fee. But if you’re not able to do that, you’ll pay out $100 in fees in a little over a year with this account anyway, so what’s the point?

You do get minor perks as with the other accounts — a discount on your first order of checks, and a discount on a home loan or home equity line of credit — but let’s be honest: That’s probably not going to save you a whole lot of money.

Opening a Simple Checking account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD Relationship Checking account

Small earnings for big account requirements.

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Interest rate: 0.03% APY
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee: Keep at least $20,000 in all of your TD Bank accounts combined (including checking, savings, loans, etc — but not credit cards).
  • ATM fees: None.
  • ATM fee refunds: You can be refunded for any ATM surcharges (the money the ATM’s owner charges) if you keep at least $2,500 in your account.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to 5 items per day.

If you have existing deposit (savings, checking, or CDs) or loan accounts with TD Bank, you can actually leverage them to earn at least something on the money in your checking account. It’s not much — 0.03% APY — but it’s still better than nothing.

This account also comes with a discount on home loans and home equity lines of credit, You’ll also get a few more perks than with their other checking accounts, such as free checks (not just a discount), free services that normally come with high fees (such as a stop payment order, overdraft transfers or money orders), and a fee waiver for another checking account and a savings account.

In return, just keep a close eye on your accounts to make sure you are meeting the requirements to waive the monthly fee. $25 per month is not a fee you want to pay.

Opening a Relationship Checking account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD 60 Plus Checking account

A great checking account for seniors, but keep an eye on the account balance.

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Interest rate: 0.05% APY
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee: Keep at least $250 in your account.
  • ATM fees: None if using a TD ATM. $3 for non-TD ATMS (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on).
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

If you’re over age 60, you are eligible for this account. TD Bank has generously waived many of its high fees for some account services. You’ll get free money orders, free checks and free paper statements. This account also comes with the standard rate discounts on home loans and home equity lines of credit.

Plus you’ll earn interest on your balance. Not a lot of interest, but 0.05% APY is better than 0.00% APY.

We recommend this account only if you can keep at least $250 in your account to waive the monthly fee. Otherwise, the $10 monthly fee will wipe out any interest you’ll earn.

Opening a 60 Plus Checking account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD Student Checking account

A no-frills student checking account with no monthly fee.

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: None if using a TD ATM. $3 for non-TD ATMS (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on).
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

This is perhaps one of TD Bank’s best checking accounts, but only because it’s the only one not to come with a monthly account maintenance fee. Full-time students under age 24 are eligible to open this account. (You’ll need a joint checking account with a parent if you’re under age 18). This account will automatically transfer over to a Convenience Checking account after your 24th birthday or five years from the account opening, whichever occurs first.

You won’t earn any interest on this account, but you will get some other benefits. If you link a TD Simple Savings account alongside this checking account, you won’t have to pay the $5 monthly fee for the savings account. You’ll also get a discount on your first box of checks. You can even get a discount on a home loan or a home equity line of credit, but as a student, are you really likely to use that?

Opening a Student Checking account with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch. You’ll also need to provide either your student ID or a student loan bill or receipt to prove you’re actually a student.

How TD Bank’s checking accounts compare

TD Bank does offer a lot of different types of checking accounts. This is nice because it offers you a wider range of ways to avoid their notorious account fees — and there are many to watch out for.

Plus, many of these accounts don’t even earn any interest, and when they do, the minimum balance requirements are often far above what you’d likely be keeping in a checking account anyway. If you’re looking for the best checking account possible, you’d be better off looking elsewhere unless you really are attached the TD Bank.

TD Bank CD Rates

TD Choice CDs

Moderate returns if you have a TD Bank Checking account.

Standard rate

 

$250 - $9,999.99

$10k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k+

3 months

0.10%

0.15%

0.15%

0.20%

6 months

0.15%

0.20%

0.20%

0.25%

9 months

0.20%

0.25%

0.25%

0.30%

12 months

0.30%

0.35%

0.40%

0.50%

18 months

0.30%

0.35%

0.40%

0.50%

24 months

0.35%

0.40%

0.45%

0.55%

3 years

0.40%

0.45%

0.50%

0.65%

5 years

0.45%

0.50%

0.60%

0.70%

Bump Rate

 

$250 - $9,999.99

$10k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k+

3 months

0.15%

0.20%

0.20%

0.25%

6 months

0.20%

0.25%

0.30%

0.35%

9 months

0.25%

0.30%

0.35%

0.40%

12 months

0.65%

0.80%

0.90%

1.10%

18 months

0.40%

0.45%

0.50%

0.60%

24 months

0.45%

0.50%

0.55%

0.65%

3 years

0.80%

1.00%

1.10%

1.30%

5 years

0.75%

0.90%

1.00%

1.10%

TD Bank’s Choice CDs are their standard line of CDs. You’ll need at least $250 to invest in them, which is a pretty low requirement and makes saving accessible for most people. Of course, you’ll earn higher rates if you put in much larger amounts of cash. You can also earn higher “bump rates” if you hold a checking account with TD Bank. You’ll also earn higher rates for larger deposits and longer terms.

Just be aware when you’re choosing longer terms, however, that you’ll pay an early withdrawal penalty if you do need to take that cash out early. You also can’t take out your cash at all for the first seven days after you initially open your CD. Early withdrawal penalties depend on the original term of the CD and are as follows:

  • < 3 months: All interest
  • 3 months < 1 year: 3 months’ worth of interest
  • 1 year < 2 years: 6 months’ worth of interest
  • 2 years < 3 years: 9 months’ worth of interest
  • 3 years < 4 years: 12 months’ worth of interest
  • 4 years < 5 years: 18 months’ worth of interest
  • 5 years: 24 months’ worth of interest

Once you open your account, you can’t add any more funds until the CD’s term is over. When that happens, your CD will automatically renew to another one of the same length with whatever the current interest rate is. But you have 10 days after this happens to decide what to do with it — withdraw the cash penalty-free, add in more funds or just let the CD continue.

Opening a Choice CD with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD No-Catch CDs

Moderate returns that give you the flexibility of making a free withdrawal once per term.

CD Term

APY

6 months

0.15%

12 months

0.20%

If the idea of having your money locked away makes you a little queasy, the No-Catch CD might be a good choice for you. It’s currently only offered in two term lengths — six and 12 months. Once per term, you’re allowed to make one withdrawal without paying an early withdrawal penalty if you need the cash. But remember, you can only make a withdrawal after the account has been open for at least seven days. If you need to make more than one withdrawal, you’ll pay a penalty for each additional transaction.

This will save you from paying a penalty of three months’ worth of interest (for the six-month CD) or six months’ worth of interest (for the 12-month CD). In return for this advantage, you’ll get a slightly lower return on the 12-month CD than the normal TD Choice CD (without the higher bump rates, that is). The interest rate is currently the same for the six-month Choice CD.

Just as with the TD Choice CD, you can open a TD No-Catch CD with at least $250. After the CD matures, it’ll roll over into another CD of the same term length (but with the current interest rate), and you’ll get 10 days to withdraw the money, add funds or let it continue in the current CD.

Opening a No-Catch CD with TD Bank is simple and takes only a few minutes. You’ll need basic personal information about yourself, a photo ID, and a way to fund your new account. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local branch.

TD Step Rate CDs

Higher rates over time with more frequent penalty-free access to your cash.

CD Term

APY

3 years

Year 1: 0.25%
Year 2: 0.30%
Year 3: 0.45%
Composite: 0.33%

5 years

Year 1: 0.35%
Year 2: 0.40%
Year 3: 0.55%
Year 4: 0.70%
Year 5: 1.19%
Composite: 0.64%

If you really want frequent penalty-free access to your cash but want higher rates than the No-Catch CDs offer, consider the Step Rate CDs. You can open them with as little as $250.

These CDs will allow you to make one penalty-free withdrawal per year during a 10-day window around your account’s anniversary. If you make a withdrawal outside of these windows, you’ll face an early-withdrawal penalty of 12 months’ worth of interest (for a three-year CD), or 24 months’ worth of interest (for a five-year CD).

If you leave some or all of your money in the account on each anniversary, you’ll be rewarded with sequentially higher interest rates until the term of the CD ends. When that happens, it’ll automatically roll over into a 12-month Step Rate CD with the current interest rate of the day. But you’ll still have another 10-day window where you can add or withdraw funds or let the CD investment continue.

How TD Bank’s CDs compare

TD Bank does offer a nice suite of CDs that allow you more frequent access to your money. This is especially helpful for folks who want to earn higher rates than their paltry savings and checking accounts (when interest is even earned at all), but still want to be able to get their money on a more frequent basis if needed.

Compared with other banks, however, the interest rates offered on these CDs are fairly low. If higher interest rates are what you’re after, consider these CD accounts with higher rates.

TD Bank IRA Accounts

TD Simple Savings IRA

Guaranteed low rates on your retirement savings.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.05%

$0.01

The TD Simple Savings IRA account is the mirror image of its regular TD Simple Savings account, but in an IRA form. And, just like the regular TD Simple Savings account, it earns peanuts for interest.

Its saving grace is that the monthly maintenance fee is waived for the IRA version of this account (which would normally cost you up to $5 per month). You’ll also need at least $300 to open this account, making it more accessible if you’re just starting to save for retirement and don’t have a lot of cash yet.

Another disadvantage of this account is that you can only open them in a local branch — so, if you’re not near any branches, this account will be unavailable to you.

TD Preferred Savings IRA

Higher (but still low) rates for having larger balances and linked TD accounts.

 

$0.01 - $19,999.99

$20k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k - $249,999.99

$250k - $499,999.99

$500k - $999,999.99

$1M - $9,999,999.99

$10M +

APY with Standard Rate

0.05%

0.20%

0.35%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.50%

0.45%

APY with Bump Rates

0.10%

0.50%

0.75%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

1.00%

0.95%

If you’d still like to save for your retirement using a plain-vanilla savings account but want to earn slightly higher rates, the TD Preferred Savings IRA might be for you. You’ll need at least $20,000 to open an account, but there are no monthly maintenance fees.

You can also earn higher interest rates in two ways. First, you’ll earn more by keeping larger balances in your account (the highest rates are offered on balances between $100,000 and $9,999,999). Second, you can earn higher “bump rates” if you have a another linked TD Bank account, such as a checking account, or even a mortgage or a credit card.

As with the rest of their retirement savings account, you can only open this account by going to a local branch in-person. You cannot open this account online or over the phone, so you’re out of luck if you don’t have a local branch near you.

TD Choice IRA CDs

Getting warmer… but still pretty low rates on an IRA CD.

Standard rate

 

$250 - $9,999.99

$10k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k+

3 months

0.10%

0.15%

0.15%

0.20%

6 months

0.15%

0.20%

0.20%

0.25%

9 months

0.20%

0.25%

0.25%

0.30%

12 months

0.30%

0.35%

0.40%

0.50%

18 months

0.30%

0.35%

0.40%

0.50%

24 months

0.35%

0.40%

0.45%

0.55%

3 years

0.40%

0.45%

0.50%

0.65%

5 years

0.45%

0.50%

0.60%

0.70%

Bump Rate

 

$250 - $9,999.99

$10k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k+

3 months

0.15%

0.20%

0.20%

0.25%

6 months

0.20%

0.25%

0.30%

0.35%

9 months

0.25%

0.30%

0.35%

0.40%

12 months

0.65%

0.80%

0.90%

1.10%

18 months

0.40%

0.45%

0.50%

0.60%

24 months

0.45%

0.50%

0.55%

0.65%

3 years

0.80%

1.00%

1.10%

1.30%

5 years

0.75%

0.90%

1.00%

1.10%

These CDs are also the mirror image of their regular TD Choice CD accounts, but in an IRA form. You can also open these CDs with a minimum $250 deposit, but of course you’ll earn higher rates if you put more money in. Still, if you’re just starting out and you really want a TD Bank IRA, this is one of your lowest-barrier options. You can also earn higher rates if you own another TD Bank checking account.

If you need to withdraw the money before the term is up, you’ll face the following early withdrawal penalties depending on the original term length of the IRA CD:

  • < 3 months: All interest
  • 3 months < 1 year: 3 months’ worth of interest
  • 1 year < 2 years: 6 months’ worth of interest
  • 2 years < 3 years: 9 months’ worth of interest
  • 3 years < 4 years: 12 months’ worth of interest
  • 4 years < 5 years: 18 months’ worth of interest
  • 5 years: 24 months’ worth of interest

To open this IRA CD you’ll need to go into a local TD Bank branch in person. No phone or online options exist for those away from a local branch, unfortunately.

TD IRA Add-Vantage CD

Term

APY

12 months

0.25%

One of the disadvantages of CDs is that you generally can’t add more money to them once they get started. That’s a real pain if you do come into some more money and want to take advantage of the higher rates that CDs offer. This is especially true if you’re relying on CDs as a part of your retirement savings strategy.

The TD IRA Add-Vantage CD adds a neat little feature to get around this. You can deposit more money into the account at any time, as long as you follow these two rules:

  1. You can only add money in $500 increments
  2. You can’t make more than $250,000 in deposits during the CD’s term

Thus, this IRA CD functions generally like a savings account, except you can’t withdraw your money but once per year due to the sole 12-month CD term offered. If you do withdraw the money, you’ll face an early withdrawal penalty of six months’ worth of interest.

This CD is also only available to people who can visit a local branch to open an account. You’re out of luck if you don’t live near a TD Bank branch, unfortunately.

How TD Bank’s IRA CDs Compare

The trend in low rates for TD Bank’s accounts continues. These rates are all-around low compared with the best IRA CD rates out there.

CDs already offer notoriously low returns compared with more mainstream IRA investments like mutual funds and stocks (which in general offer nonguaranteed average returns of 7.0% per year), and that’s especially the case here. If you’re relying on TD Bank’s IRAs as your primary retirement strategy, you won’t get very far.

TD Bank Money Market Accounts

TD Growth Money Market account

Earn similar rates to TD’s Preferred Savings account, but with a lower minimum balance.

 

$0.01 - $999.99

$1k - $1,999.99

$2k - $4,999.99

$5k - $9,999.99

$10k - $24,999.99

$25k - $49,999.99

$50k - $99,999.99

$100k - $249,999.99

$250k+

APY with Qualified Amount

0.05%

0.05%

0.10%

0.15%

0.20%

0.25%

0.30%

0.35%

0.35%

APY without Qualified Amount

0.03%

0.03%

0.05%

0.10%

0.15%

0.20%

0.25%

0.30%

0.30%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12 (or $11 if you sign up for online statements only).
  • How to waive the account maintenance fee: Keep at least $2,000 in your account, or be age 62 or older.
  • ATM fees: None if using a TD ATM. $3 for non-TD ATMS (plus whatever surcharge fees the ATM’s owner tacks on).
  • ATM fee refunds: None.
  • Overdraft fees: $35 for each item, up to five items per day.

This account offers a nice balance between the lower balance requirements of the TD Simple Savings account and the higher rates of the TD Preferred Savings account. You only need a $2,000 minimum balance to waive the monthly fee (compared to the Preferred Savings’ $20,000 minimum balance to waive that account’s fee).

You’re also eligible to receive a higher rate if

  1. You have a linked TD Bank account
  2. You use it to make at least a $50 recurring monthly deposit into this account

How TD Bank’s Money Market account compares

Again, TD Bank comes up well short when compared with the best money market account rates available today. Plus, you need a fairly high opening deposit to even get access to this account.

This leaves savers who are just getting started high and dry, since all TD Bank offers for these folks is their Simple Savings account that offers a miniscule interest rate (and a minimum $300 deposit to avoid the monthly fee, to boot).

Overall review

We do like TD Bank’s ease of access if you’re looking to visit an in-person branch. Their local branches generally offer good hours and are open seven days per week. But for folks who don’t live near a local branch — and that’s most of the country — you’re kind of out of luck aside from the 24-hour customer service line. And if you want to open an IRA, you’re again out of luck since this must be done in person.

Furthermore, you’ll need to keep large balances in most of TD Bank’s accounts to waive high monthly fees. In return for this, you get rock-bottom interest rates. If you want to use TD Bank, we recommend you come with a hefty amount of cash.

In general, we’re left feeling rather unimpressed with these products. You can get much better rates and terms on every single one of these accounts elsewhere, without being tricked into paying out a boatload of banking fees.

The post TD Bank Review: Savings, Checking, CD, Money Market, and IRA Accounts appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Review of Northwest Bank’s Deposit Rates

Formerly called Northwest Savings Bank, Northwest Bank offers a range of personal banking products and services including loans and insurance. Headquartered in Warren, Pa., Northwest Bank has 175 locations throughout New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Northwest
Northwest Bank was on Forbes’ list of the Most Trustworthy Companies in 2016. JD Power touted Northwest for the “Highest Customer Satisfaction with Retail Banking in the Mid-Atlantic Region” in the same year.Customer service and trustworthiness don’t necessarily translate to the best rate for customers, however. Compared with the rates at other banks, like Ally, Goldman Sachs Bank USA, and Synchrony Bank, Northwest Bank’s deposit account rates are significantly lower for similar products.

When learning about the various accounts available at Northwest Bank, keep in mind that their rates vary depending on where you live. The rates listed below are based on the area closest to the bank’s headquarters. To get list of rates based on your region, please head over to the rates section of the bank’s official website and enter your ZIP code.

Northwest Bank CD Rates

The CDs at Northwest are locked in based on the term you choose, and interest earned can be compounded or paid out via check or direct deposit into a Northwest Bank account.

Term

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

12-17 Months

0.30%

$500

18-23 Months

0.35%

$500

24-29 Months

0.45%

$500

30-35 Months

0.55%

$500

36-47 Months

0.60%

$500

48-59 Months

0.75%

$500

60-71 Months

0.90%

$500

72-120 Months

1.00%

$500

Rates current as of 1/3/2018

Northwest Bank’s CD accounts offer higher rates for longer terms. When a CD matures, you have a seven-day grace period where you can opt to roll over the account or take it out in cash.

There are early withdrawal penalties which vary depending on the term:

  • Account terms up to 181 days: one month of interest
  • Account terms 182 days to 364 days: three months of interest
  • Account terms 24 to 47 months: six months of interest
  • Account terms 48 months or longer: 12 months of interest

To withdraw money, you can do so easily using online or mobile banking or by calling your local branch. Early withdrawals will require you to call Northwest Bank; as long as you acknowledge and understand the penalties involved, you can access your cash.

How Northwest Bank’s CDs compare

Compared with competitors, Northwest Bank falls short in terms of APY. With its highest APY at 1.00%, it lags other banks offering almost double that. There are much better CD rates elsewhere and ones with shorter terms. However, the minimum deposit requirement at Northwest Bank is significantly lower than what you’ll find at many competitors, making this account more accessible to those who do not have large amounts to invest.

How to get a Northwest Bank CD

To open an account, you can call Northwest’s toll-free number at 1-877-672-5678, apply online or do so at your local branch.

Northwest Bank Savings Account Rates

Northwest Bank offers two different savings account options. The Statement Savings account is best for those who do not intend to keep a large balance in their accounts and don’t want to pay a monthly fee. The Insured Money Fund is best for those who seek more interest, want access to a Visa debit card and intend to keep larger sums banked.

Statement Savings

You can get access to free online and mobile banking and over 55,000 ATMs, but at the cost of a low APY.

APY

Minimum amount to open

Minimum balance requirement

0.05%

$50

$100

As of 1/3/2018

Interest earned on Northwest Bank’s Statement Savings account compounds and deposits monthly. In order to earn interest, you need to keep an average balance of at least $100.

With your account, you get access to eStatements and a free ATM card. If you already have a checking account with Northwest, you can link your account to your Visa debit card.

You can make deposits or withdrawals using your ATM card, online, via a mobile app or at a branch. However, you can only make unlimited withdrawals in person, by mail or at an ATM. Online withdrawals are limited to six withdrawals a month.

Insured Money Fund

Northwest Bank’s Insured Money Fund provides access to a Visa debit card and unlimited ATM and in-person transactions.

Minimum balance requirement

APY

Minimum amount to open

Up to $2,499.99

0.05%

$50

$2,500.00-$9,999.99

0.10%

$50

$10,000.00-$74,999.99

0.15%

$50

$75,000-$4,999,999.99

0.25%

$50

$5,000,000.00 and over

0.25%

$50

As of 1/3/2018

Compared with Statement Savings, you need to keep a higher balance but you get a higher APY that’s compounded monthly. As long as you keep an average daily balance of $2,500, you will not be charged a service fee. Any lower than that and you’ll have to pay $10 every month.

This account gives you a free Northwest Visa debit card. You can also write checks, deposit money at a qualifying ATM, and have access to monthly statements and direct deposit. You can access your money online, in person or through Bankline, a 24/7 automated telephone banking service. You also get unlimited ATM or in-person transactions.

How Northwest Bank’s Statement Savings a Insured Money Fund compare

The minimum opening balance is on par with some similar offerings from other competitors. However, the rates are much lower compared with what’s out there. You can easily find a savings account with 1.30% APY these days, some with no minimum requirements to open an account.

However, Northwest Bank offers more access to your money compared with others that only allow ACH transfers and check-writing capabilities. Many comparable banks also do not offer in-person customer service or debit cards. You can also make unlimited withdrawals at ATMs, compared with six per month with some of the other banks out there.

Other Northwest Bank Savings Accounts

Club Accounts

Club Accounts are designed to help you reach short-term savings goals, but you can do the same with money market accounts from competitors.

Account name

APY

Minimum amount to open

Term

Holiday Club

0.05%

$1.00

Nov.-Oct.

Vacation Club

0.05%

$1.00

May-Apr.

As of 1/3/2018

The Club Accounts are designed to help you reach your short-term savings goals for the busiest times of the year, whether for a vacation or gift giving. These as sub-accounts are designed for a specific purpose similar to a one-year CD. You choose the type of account based on when you want to access your savings, as both accounts offer the same APY and minimum opening deposit.

You fund your account in person, online, via direct deposit or by setting up an automatic transfer. Once the money is in the account, you cannot access it for the duration of the account. At the end of the savings period, you can have a check mailed to you or have it automatically transferred to a Northwest savings or checking account.

Compared with a one-year CD, this account falls short. For one, the rates are significantly lower, with some banks offering at least 1.75% APY for a 12-month CD with a minimum deposit of $500. However, you can access the cash earlier if you’re willing the face the penalties. If you have less than a few hundred dollars for an opening deposit, then the Club Accounts may be a good alternative.

Health Savings Account

Northwest Bank’s Health Savings Account allows you to access pretax funds easily for your medical needs, but at a lower rate compared with some competitors.

Minimum balance requirement

APY

$1,000.00-$4,999.999

0.05%

$5,000.00-$14,999.99

0.10%

$15,000.00 and over

0.15%

As of 1/3/2018

Opening a Health Savings Account (HSA), can help you set aside money for out-of-pocket medical expenses. As long as you’re covered under a qualified high-deductible health plan, you can use this account for pre-tax savings to help you cover health care costs.

Northwest Bank’s HSA account requires that you maintain an average daily balance of at least $1,000 if you want to earn interest and avoid a $3 monthly service fee. Like other accounts offered, you get access to online and mobile banking and ATMs. You also get a Northwest HSA debit card which is accepted by Visa merchants worldwide.

Competitors offer similar services with higher rates. However, some of these banks have mandatory monthly service fees of up to $4. With these accounts, you can access your cash the same way, except some offer Mastercard debit cards instead.

How to get a Northwest Bank savings account

You can open an account by phone, online or in person. You’ll need your social security number, personal information and a government issued ID.

Northwest Bank Checking Account Rates

MyNorthwest Interest Checking

This account offers one of the lowest interest rates, but has unlimited ATM transactions and a GO! Rewards account.

APY

Minimum balance requirement

Minimum amount to open

0.01%

$1,500

$50

As of 1/3/2018

MyNorthwest Interest Checking requires a minimum daily balance of $1,000 or else you face a $10 monthly service charge. There is also an overdraft fee of $35 with no grace period. However, you can opt in to a premium service that costs $12 a year. This service links your checking and savings accounts so that any possible drafts from one account will be withdrawn from the other.

Like the savings account, you get access to free ATMs, electronic statements, and online and mobile banking. You also get access to online bill pay and a Northwest Visa debit with Go! Rewards. With this program you earn points with each purchase to redeem for merchandise as well as the ability to use Apple, Android, and Samsung Pay.

How MyNorthwest Interest Checking compares

Compared to other banks’ checking accounts, Northwest’s checking account has a much lower rate. However, it offers free access to ATMs and rises above its competition with its Visa debit card. Not many banks offer GO! Rewards, which could be a huge advantage if you’re interested in earning rewards and plan on using your card often.

How to get a Northwest Bank checking account

To open a checking account, you’ll need your Social Security number, government-issued ID, and account information for existing bank accounts you want to transfer to Northwest Bank.

Northwest Bank IRA Account Rates

IRA CDs

Northwest Bank’s IRA CDs offer one of the lowest minimum deposit amounts, at the expense of a lower APY.

Term

APY

Minimum deposit amount

12-17 Months

0.30%

$500

18-Month Variable

0.35%

$25

18-23 Months

0.35%

$500

24-29 Months

0.45%

$500

30-35 Months

0.55%

$500

36-47 Months

0.60%

$500

48-59 Months

0.75%

$500

60-71 Months

0.90%

$500

72-120 Months

1.00%

$500

As of 1/3/2018

With the IRA CD, you can deposit money any time and in any increment you wish. Interest is compounded and credited every quarter. However, the interest rate is not fixed, meaning that the interest rate may fluctuate on the last day of each quarter.

When your IRA matures, you have a seven-day grace period in which to make withdrawals or roll it over. Early withdrawals are subject to the same penalties as their regular CD accounts

How Northwest Bank’s IRA CDs compare

The minimum opening deposit is one of the lowest out there, compared with some other IRA CDs that ask for a $1,000 minimum for an 18-month IRA CD. Like Northwest Bank’s other products, their IRA CDs offer a much lower rate, at least half of what its competitors offer.

How to get an IRA CD from Northwest Bank

You will need to apply for an IRA CD at the nearest branch.

IRA Tiered Money Fund

This account offers higher rates than their IRA CD, but still falls short compared with other banks.

Minimum balance requirement

APY

Up to $2,499.99

0.10%

$2,500.00-$9,999.99

0.10%

$10,000.00-$74,999.99

0.10%

$75,000.00 and over

0.25%

As of 1/3/2018

Like the IRA CD, you only need a minimum of $25 to open an account and deposit money as often as you want. There is a tiered interest based on balance, and interest is compounded and deposited every month. As well, there are no withdrawal restrictions, unlike the IRA CD where you may be penalized for early withdrawals.

If you’re looking for a similar product else with higher rates, you can consider a savings or checking account that may have tiered APYs.

How to get an IRA Money Fund from Northwest Bank

Visit your local branch to open an IRA Money Fund. You cannot open one online.

Bottom line

Although Northwest Bank offers free ATM access as well as a wide variety of customer service options, its rates are significantly lower than you’ll find with competitors. If you’re looking for a bank that offers more competitive rates with similar services, you may be better off looking elsewhere.

The post Review of Northwest Bank’s Deposit Rates appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

PNC Personal Loan Review

personal loan_lg

Updated November 08, 2017
With about 2,800 branches in 19 states and the District of Columbia, [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL]is the fifth largest bank in the United States. It’s primarily located in the eastern half of the US, with most of its branches and its headquarters being in the northeast.

If you’re looking for a personal loan from a trustworthy, familiar source, [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] might be your answer. It offers an unsecured personal loan on par with most lenders, as well as a [PNCLoanAmt]secured loan that allows up to $100,000 to be borrowed[/PNCLoanAmt].

Most traditional banks haven’t been able to compete with online-only lenders in the personal loan space, so let’s see how [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] compares.

Personal Loan Details

PNC has three personal loan options – secured and unsecured installment loans, and a line of credit. For the purpose of this review, we’ll be focusing on the installment loans.

Most online lenders only offer unsecured loans. In case you’re not sure of the difference:

  • Secured loans require an agreement to let your creditor use your assets as collateral in the event you default on your loan. This protects the creditor as it can sell your assets and recoup the cost of the loan.
  • Unsecured loans are the exact opposite – there’s no collateral involved. There’s less risk for the borrower and more for the creditor.

While secured loans seem to take the creditor’s side, the bonus is they often have more favorable terms because creditors are taking on less risk. You may have access to better interest rates or more money.

A simple example of a secured loan is a mortgage loan. Your home (property) is used as collateral. If you don’t pay your mortgage, your mortgage lender can seize the property and sell it.

Now that you know what it means to have a secured or unsecured loan, we’ll take a look at the differences between the details.

[PNCPL]PNC’s[/PNCPL] unsecured personal loan allows you to [PNCLoanAmt]borrow between $1,000 and $25,000[/PNCLoanAmt] on a [PNCTerm]variety of terms: 6 months, and 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-year options are available[/PNCTerm].

[PNCPL]PNC’s[/PNCPL] secured loan allows you to [PNCLoanAmt]borrow much more – between $2,000 and $100,000[/PNCLoanAmt]. The collateral required for this loan is non-real estate (a vehicle, for example).

Both the unsecured and secured loans have fixed interest rates.

Unfortunately, you can’t check APRs or sample payments for secured loans online, and when we called, we were told they vary based on your credit. They were unable to give any APR range.

The APR for unsecured loans varies by the loan amount:

  • [PNCAPR]For a $5,000 loan, the APR ranges from 9.49% – 21.99%
  • For a $10,000 loan, the APR ranges from 6.74% – 19.24%
  • For a $15,000 loan and up, the APR ranges from 5.99% – 18.49%[/PNCAPR]

A payment example: if you borrow $20,000 on a 5-year term with an APR of 7.74%, your monthly payment will be $403.04.

The Pros and Cons

Applying for a personal loan with a bank is typically a bit more time consuming than applying with an online-only lender. This is because banks are thorough with the documentation they request.

However, [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] states the application should take no longer than 15 minutes online.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking at the secured loan option, you can’t apply online. You can only apply by phone, or in person at a branch. You can apply online with the unsecured loan option.

[PNCPL]PNC’s[/PNCPL] APRs are also quite high, especially for the loan amounts. Many online-only lenders are offering better rates starting in the 5% range.

An additional negative might be that [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] only offers fixed rates. While variable rates aren’t stable, they’re usually lower than fixed rates. If you’ll have the ability to pay the loan off soon after it’s disbursed, having the lower variable rate can be beneficial.

If you fall on hard times, there’s a possibility that [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] will allow you to defer your payments, but this is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

[PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] urges borrowers to contact the bank at the first sign of trouble – before their payment is due.

Application Process and Documents Needed to Apply

If you’re applying for an unsecured loan, you can easily apply online and be done within 15 minutes. [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] recommends having the following information ready:

  • Your photo ID
  • Annual income, plus any other sources of income you have
  • Employer information (if you’ve been working there for less than 2 years, have your previous employer information as well)
  • Address/proof of residence (if you’ve been living there for less than 2 years, have your previous address ready)
  • If you’re applying with a co-applicant, you’ll need the same information for them
  • If you’re applying for a personal loan to consolidate debt, you’ll need account statements as [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] needs to know your account number, monthly payment, and outstanding balance

[PNCPL]PNC’s[/PNCPL] application is straightforward, and it also has a checklist available for you on the application in case you need to reference it.

[PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] will use [PNCInq]a hard credit inquiry when applying for a loan with them[/PNCInq].

Who Qualifies for a Personal Loan With [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL]?

To have the best chances of being approved for a loan with [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL], you need very good and established credit, along with a reasonable debt-to-income ratio. Your loan terms greatly depend on these two factors. Being a customer with [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] doesn’t increase your chances of getting approved.

Just a note – if you choose the secured loan and want to use your vehicle as collateral, it must be less than 8 years old and have less than 80,000 miles on it.

Who Benefits the Most from a Personal Loan With [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL]?

Borrowers looking for a larger loan amount would benefit from the secured personal loan with [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL].

[SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] is the only other personal loan lender offering that much money, and while the loan is unsecured, it doesn’t have any physical locations. If you feel more secure applying in-person and receiving assistance from a trusted bank, you might prefer to go with [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL].

However, most borrowers will benefit from going elsewhere to get an unsecured personal loan.

The Fine Print

[PNCPrepayFee]There is no prepayment penalty for either loan[/PNCPrepayFee], so you can pay your loan in full at any time.

[PNCOrgFee]There’s no origination[/PNCOrgFee] nor annual fee for the unsecured personal loan.

When called, a [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] representative wouldn’t disclose any other fees associated with the loan (late fees, returned payment fees, etc.).

Transparency

Since there is so little information on its website about the secured loan, it was important to find out as many details as we could from a call.

Unfortunately, the [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] representative that answered the call wasn’t very helpful. The most she could offer was that the loan rates and terms were dependent upon credit, and that the credit score and debt-to-income ratio of an applicant was extremely important.

When asked about late fees for the loan, she said “another department” handles that, and was unable to transfer the call to the appropriate personnel, as you need to have a loan with [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] before fees can be discussed.

This was rather disappointing. Most lenders are open to discussing these details with potential borrowers – fees can make a huge difference when considering loan options. To be one of the few lenders unwilling to discuss fees and rates beforehand kicks [PNCPL]PNC’s[/PNCPL] transparency down a notch.

PNC

APPLY NOW Secured

on PNC’s secure website

Alternative Personal Loan Solutions

As mentioned, [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL]* is the closest competitor as it allows borrowers a [SoFiLoanAmt]maximum of $100,000 as well. The minimum you can borrow is $5,000[/SoFiLoanAmt]. Most personal loan lenders have limits of around $25,000 – $35,000.

[SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] offers fixed rates and variable rates, while [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] only offers fixed rates for its installment loans. [SoFiPL]SoFi’s[/SoFiPL] [SoFiAPR]fixed APR ranges from 5.49% – 14.24%, and its variable APR ranges from 5.19% – 11.34%, if you’re enrolled in autopay (with a cap of 14.95%)[/SoFiAPR].

There are no fees associated with [SoFiPL]SoFi’s[/SoFiPL] personal loan except for a [SoFiLateFee]late fee, which is 4% of the amount due or $5 – whichever is less[/SoFiLateFee].

You can borrow funds on [SoFiTerm]3, 5, or 7-year[/SoFiTerm] terms, and personal loans are available in 46 states, including the District of Columbia.

[SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] also offers unemployment protection. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you can apply for payment assistance.

[SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] uses a [SoFiInq]soft credit inquiry[/SoFiInq] when you first apply to get your rates, which means your credit score won’t be affected. If you choose to move forward with the loan, a hard credit inquiry will be used.

SoFi

APPLY NOW Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

If you’re looking for good alternatives to [PNCPL]PNC’s[/PNCPL] unsecured loan, take a look at [EarnestPL]Earnest[/EarnestPL]. You can borrow between [EarnestLoanAmt]$2,000 and $50,000[/EarnestLoanAmt] on a [EarnestTerm]1, 2, or 3-year[/EarnestTerm] term.

There are no hidden fees associated with [EarnestPL]Earnest’s[/EarnestPL] personal loan, and it’s offered in 23 states plus the District of Columbia.

You’ll need a [EarnestCreditScore]minimum credit score of 720[/EarnestCreditScore] to be eligible for approval with [EarnestPL]Earnest[/EarnestPL], and a [SoFiCreditScore]minimum of 700[/SoFiCreditScore] to be approved with [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL], but both lenders take other factors into account, unlike [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL]. Your employment history, education, and salary matter as well.

*referral link

It Pays to Shop Around

While it would be convenient to have the first lender you apply with be the best solution, that’s not always the case, even with a trusted lender like [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL]. Personal loans from bigger banks are falling by the wayside as online-lenders are offering much better rates and terms. Do yourself a favor and shop around to get the best rates, even if you have a prior relationship with the bigger names out there. If you shop around within a 30-day window, your credit won’t take a big hit.

promo-personalloan-wide

*We’ll receive a referral fee if you click on offers with this symbol. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations. You can learn more about how our site is financed here.

The post PNC Personal Loan Review appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Review of Live Oak Bank’s Deposit Rates

Review of Live Oak Bank
iStock

Chances are you haven’t heard of Live Oak Bank. After all, this lender, based mostly on the web, has only been around since 2008, and it mostly focuses on giving out small business loans to businesses in specific industries, such as veterinary practices or craft breweries.

That’s no reason to pass it up for your personal banking needs, however. In fact, this little gem of a bank has one of the best-kept secrets in the personal banking world: it has one of the highest savings account interest rates you’ll find from an online bank. (More on that below.) And, most of its other personal deposit accounts offer relatively high rates as well.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at its deposit accounts to see if they’re right for you.

How Live Oak Bank rates compare

Live Oak Bank is right on par with the current highest CD rates.

This bank’s minimum deposit requirements also seem to be right on par with other bank’s minimum deposit requirements. The current best CDs out there have minimum deposit requirements both above and below Live Oak Bank’s $2,500 benchmark.

[Chart-LiveOakBankCdRates]

Term

APY

Minimum Deposit

6-month CD

1.40%

$2,500

1-year CD

1.80%

$2,500

18-month CD

1.85%

$2,500

2-year CD

2.00%

$2,500

3-year CD

2.10%

$2,500

4-year CD

2.20%

$2,500

5-year CD

2.40%

$2,500

[/Chart-LiveOakBankCdRates]

Rates current as of Jan. 2, 2018.

What else do I need to know about Live Oak Bank’s CDs?

Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to open these accounts. It’s a relatively straightforward process to open a CD: Simply complete the forms online, provide any needed documentation (such as your current bank account details), and wait for an account approval. Once your account is open, you can transfer over your deposit, where it will be held for five days before officially launching your CD.

If you need to take out your deposit early, bad news: As with many CDs, you’ll face an early-withdrawal penalty at Live Oak Bank. If your original CD term was for six months, one year or 18 months, you’ll be charged 90 days’ worth of interest. If your original CD term was for longer than that, you’ll be charged a higher rate of 180 days’ worth of interest.

If you are able to resist the urge to withdraw your money early, congratulations! Your CD will automatically renew into a second CD with the same term length. However, don’t panic if that’s not what you want: You have up to 10 days after the CD has matured to withdraw your money penalty-free and park it in your own bank account (whether it’s with Live Oak Bank or not).

APY

Minimum Deposit

1.50%

Up to $5 million

(but only up to $250,000 is FDIC-insured)

Rates current as of Jan. 2, 2018.

How do Live Oak Bank’s savings accounts compare?

When it comes to the best savings accounts with high interest rates, Live Oak Bank is right up there. This means that Live Oak Bank is lowering the bar and allowing anyone to take advantage of these high interest rates, no matter how much is in his or her pocket right now.

What else do I need to know about Live Oak Bank’s savings account?

Live Oak Bank wants you to use your savings account, and use it often, which is one reason why it has no monthly maintenance fee. If there is no activity on your account for 24 months and your balance is less than $10.01, Live Oak Bank will take the remainder of your balance as a Dormant Account Fee and close your account.

Getting money into a Live Oak Bank savings account from an external bank account can take a little bit of time depending on how you do it. If you request the money through Live Oak Bank’s online portal, the funds won’t be available for up to five or six business days. But if you opt instead to send the money to Live Oak Bank from your current bank, the money will be available as soon as it’s received. Your Live Oak Bank savings account will start earning interest as soon as the money posts to your account.

You can easily withdraw your money at any time via ACH transfer. Simply log into your Live Oak Bank savings account and electronically transfer it to whichever bank account you wish. It’ll be available in two to three business days.

You are limited to making just six transactions (deposits or withdrawals) per month with this savings account. That’s not a Live Oak Bank thing; that’s a federal regulation imposed upon savings accounts in the U.S. If you absolutely can’t wait until next month to make another deposit or withdrawal past your allotted six per month, you’ll be charged a $10 transaction fee for each additional action.

Overall review of Live Oak Bank

It’s easy to overlook Live Oak Bank for other larger, more established consumer banks like Ally or Discover Bank. But Live Oak has some of the best CD rates around, and the best savings account available on the market today.

Lest you be scared away by its smaller name, consider this: This tiny-but-growing bank is getting rave reviews from customers and employees alike. It carries an “A” health rating, and has a top-notch online banking portal. About the only thing missing is a checking account to let you seamlessly do all of your daily banking with this great company.

The post Review of Live Oak Bank’s Deposit Rates appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Honeydue App Review: A Way to Help Couples With Their Finances?

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Honeydue is an app intended to help with one of the most common sources of conflict in relationships: money.

According to a study by SunTrust bank, finances are a major point of stress and conflict in relationships. The study goes on to say that couples with different money personalities — spender versus saver, for instance — must grapple with even more stress, but communication can lessen the impact of the differences.

Eugene Park, co-creator of the money management app, found that managing finances with his fiancee after she moved in was painful. The pair were using totally different tools to track and manage their finances from day to day. Eugene’s co-founder, Thien Tran, was going through the exact same thing at the same time with his fiancee.

That’s when the idea for Honeydue was born. It officially launched in August for 2017, and the user base has been growing every since.

Through Honeydue, couples can share information like bank accounts and bills to limit confusion and miscommunication around their finances. The app aggregates information like bill payments and transactions via bank feeds to help couples get a true picture of their combined (or separate) finances in real time.

It’s true that there are a lot of financial apps out there that offer similar services — Mint, YNAB and Personal Capital, to name a few. But Eugene insists that Honeydue isn’t just a financial app.

“We think of ourselves as a collaborative tool first and a financial tool second,” he says. “The goal is to create a collaborative environment for couples to develop both financial habits and literacy together.”

The creators of the app noticed that there’s asymmetry among couples when it comes to money. Usually only one partner manages the finances. When this happens, the other partner may feel as if he or she lacks of firm grasp of where their earnings are going, setting the stage for conflict.

For this review, MagnifyMoney decided to put Honeydue through a true stress test — my husband and I used the app for two weeks straight to see if actually helped us manage our money better.

What I liked about the Honeydue app

After having used the app for some time, what stands out most is the convenience of having all bills and accounts in one place.

If you are the kind of person who likes to stay on top of your entire financial situation at a glance, this app does the job. To me, it’s like having a financial health assistant that scans all your accounts and gives you updates like these:

If you’re a busy person and want to stay on top of your finances, but can’t check every account daily, then Honeydue works. Indeed, it works even for the person not managing money with a significant other.

But once you do add a partner, things get interesting. You both can see everything that’s happening in the world of money that affects you as a couple.

For example, I was able to add a brokerage account that my husband can now see updated daily. Once he sees it, it’s a constant reminder that investing is a worthwhile activity with real returns. It’s more motivation to curb our spending and attempt to save and invest more when the numbers are there, at our disposal and updated in real time.

I also like the idea that we both can see all bank account balances and transactions. If I know that my husband will see my financial life and potentially question my spending or account balances, I’m more apt to “behave” and think a little more about my spending choices. The extra layer of accountability is a welcome change for me.

The alerts, notifications and email updates from the app serve as prompts to help us discuss finances with some regularity. There are many times I want to talk about finances and financial decisions with my husband, but it simply slips my mind. Honeydue reminders help make money discussions happen more frequently.

To me, the app sets the stage for a healthy financial relationship for couples struggling with money: Transparency, collaboration and communication are all improved with use.

What I didn’t like about Honeydue

The concept of the app itself is amazing. The execution is pretty top-notch, too. The app didn’t seem to be buggy or prone to inexplicable crashes.

Still, I noticed a few things.

The first issue: how the app interacts with institutions that use two-factor authentication. Many bank protocols ask different security questions or require you to re-authenticate with security codes if a connection needs to be refreshed.

However, I’ve used other apps with the same issue. So I am not sure there is a way around this. It’s a safety measure that I welcome to keep my data secure. However, it’s usually barely noticeable and just takes a few moments to correct.

Further, the transaction history for all accounts only goes back a couple of months. Again, not a super big deal, but something I did notice.

Finally, the budget categories are not that extensive and you could potentially spend a lot of time recategorizing transactions it does assign. That is to say, right now the budget categories are not “smart.” They don’t “learn” from the updates you make to transactions like most financial softwares and apps. Eugene says that the development road map does include plans to make the budget categories more automatic once you edit them.

The Complete Magnifymoney Honeydue App Review

  • What is Honeydue?
  • How do you sign up?
  • Fees
  • Benefits
  • Who should consider using Honeydue?
  • App drawbacks

What is Honeydue?

Honeydue allows couples to share financial information, but the partners can select what that information is and the level of detail that is included. So if one person has a bank account he or she doesn’t want visible to a partner through the app, it’s possible to choose not to share those banking details or give a limited view of them (“balance only”).

Here are some additional capabilities of the app:

Track balances

Couples can see all bank balances in one place in the app. They can track both credit card and bank balances, along with individual transactions related to each account. Transactions and balances are updated in real time so there’s always a complete, accurate snapshot of where these accounts stand.

The nice thing about this feature: that ability to choose which accounts your partner can see and at what level of detail. Eugene says many partners feel like it isn’t necessary to share at the transaction level. In his words, “trust doesn’t always mean transparency.” According to a 2014 poll in the magazine Money, surveying more than 1,000 married adults, 55 percent of respondents said finance arguments in their relationships were over purchases. This is exactly why Honeydue built these privacy features into the app.

Categorized spending

This feature allows a couple to see how all of their money is spent. As transactions are completed and updated in the app, Honeydue gives them a category: cash & checks; family & pets; getting around; gifts & charity; miscellaneous; personal & wellness; home & utilities; food & drink; trips & occasions; shopping & fun. If the app assigns a category incorrectly for a transaction, it can be fixed with a quick edit.

Secure banking

Honeydue uses military-grade encryption.

Share expenses

You can share expenses with your partner using Honeydue. Once a transaction appears in your bank feed, you can mark it for sharing and add comments. The app will send the share notification to the partner, as well as periodic reminders to settle up a balance owed with his/her mate.

Bill reminders

You can enter bill due dates and amounts with Honeydue. It will keep a running log of coming bills, so they are not lost in the shuffle of life. In the Settings areas of the app, you can create push notifications for bills as well.

How do you sign up for Honeydue?

The sign-up process is extremely simple. After downloading the Honeydue app for iOS or Android devices, you’ll open the app and enter information it will use for your account settings. Then, you’ll enter your partner’s information so he/she can receive an invite to join the app and view all of your combined financial information.

The rest of the process involves connecting your bank account and setting up bill reminders. The app connects with most major banks. You can even include a PayPal account in your bank feed.

Honeydue fees

At the moment Honeydue is totally free to use for both partners.

There is an “offers” tab in the app where you can apply for credit cards and explore bank new accounts. The app also allows you to look for deals on things like Hulu, Starbucks and Gobble. All the categories in the offers tab include bank accounts, credit cards, loans & insurance, savings and investments and money savers.

According to Park, this monetization model will remain in place to keep the app free to use.

Who should consider using Honeydue?

As my husband and I found, Honeydue gives couples a springboard for constant discussions about money. It gives them practice with communicating, negotiating and saving in money conversations they may not otherwise have.

Final words

Honeydue is another app in the sea of fintech innovation. There are so many tools out there that it might be difficult to add another to the mix for couples already overwhelmed with financial issues.

However, the branding and features that cater to couples can’t be underestimated. When was the last time you were able to stamp bank transactions with a smiley face or a comment for your partner to see? Honeydue let’s you do just that. For the price (free), I think it’s at least worth a try.

The post Honeydue App Review: A Way to Help Couples With Their Finances? appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Should You Use CareCredit to Pay for Medical Expenses?

Source: iStock

It’s no secret that medical expenses can be very costly in the United States. Since 2011, average family insurance premiums, even for people with employer-provided plans, have increased by 20 percent.

With out-of-pocket health care costs and insurance premiums skyrocketing, many people are turning to credit cards designated for medical expenses like CareCredit to help them pay for health care expenses over time.

But before you sign up for CareCredit to cover your next medical bill, here’s what you need to know.

A warning about those 0% financing offers

CareCredit is a credit card you can use at any of more than 200,000 health and wellness providers in the United States — from doctor’s offices to drugstores like Rite Aid.

Why turn to CareCredit instead of a regular credit card for medical expenses?

The biggest draw is the company’s frequent 0% financing specials for six to 24 months on qualifying purchases $200 or more, when you make the minimum monthly payments and pay the full amount due by the end of the promotional period.

The opportunity to put approved medical expenses on a 0% credit card and breathe easy for up to two years has huge appeal. But there’s one big caveat everyone should understand when it comes to CareCredit — deferred interest.

When you sign up for the CareCredit financing on a purchase of $200 to $999, deferred interest rate applies. This means that if you don’t have the full purchase paid off by the end of the promotional period, you will be charged retroactive interest at an APR of 26.99% from the date of your original purchase on the card. (We give an example of how the math works out below.)

Unfortunately, this is something customers could easily forget about, and it doesn’t help that the minimum monthly payment shown on your statement isn’t necessarily enough to get the entire balance paid off on or before the end of the special financing period. You should do the math yourself to make sure you’re paying enough each month to make the most of interest-free financing.

How CareCredit works

Now that you understand the risk that comes with a CareCredit account, let’s cover some of the details of what the company offers.

For larger purchases of $1,000 or more, CareCredit offers terms of up to 60 months with a reduced APR and fixed monthly payments until paid in full.

$200 to $999: Borrow at 0% for 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Variable rate of 26.99% applies after promotional period ends.

$1,000 to $2,499: Borrow at 0% for 24, 36, or 48 months with an APR of 14.9%.

$2,500 and up: Borrow at 0% for 24, 36, 48, or 60 months with an APR of 16.9%.

How to apply

You can apply online on the CareCredit website or by phone at 1-800-677-0718. You can also apply at most health care providers’ offices if they are part of the network that accepts CareCredit to pay for services.

Like most credit card applications, you will need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, net income and housing information. But unlike most credit card applications, you will also need to specify your doctor’s name and how you plan to use your CareCredit credit card if you aren’t applying in a doctor’s office. Once approved, you can use your CareCredit credit card again and again at participating health care providers.

CareCredit approvals are usually immediate, so you can find out right away if you can pay for your medical services with CareCredit. Synchrony, the bank that issues CareCredit, did not respond to phone and email requests for information on the credit standing needed to qualify for CareCredit.

What can CareCredit be used for?

As mentioned earlier, there are more than 200,000 enrolled providers that accept CareCredit in the United States. These include many different types of medical and health care providers and procedures, such as:

  • Chiropractic
  • Cosmetic
  • Dentistry
  • Hearing
  • LASIK and Vision
  • Primary and Urgent Care
  • Weight Loss
  • Health Care Specialists

You might even be able to use CareCredit to pay for veterinary care for your four-legged family members, if your veterinarian participates and accepts CareCredit in their office.

Fine print alert

While there’s no application fee or fee for using the special financing offered by CareCredit, there are still some things you need to watch out for.

The first, which we covered previously, is the high interest rate charged if you don’t pay your balance off in full by the end of the promotional period. The interest rate of 26.99% is very high, and as mentioned, it will be charged in arrears from the time you made your purchase.

For example, if you charge $1,200 to your CareCredit at 0% for six months and only pay the minimum payment each month (between $39 and $33), your balance will be $982 at the end of the six-month period, plus accrued interest of $152, totaling $1,134. If you continue making only the minimum payment, it will take you 96 months (eight years) to pay off your balance and cost you $2,693. However, if you paid $200 a month, you’d pay off the $1,200 bill within six months at no extra cost.

Source: CareCredit

The late payment fee for CareCredit can be up to $38. Plus, paying late even once may result in you losing your promotional 0% interest rate.

Who is CareCredit best for?

Because of the fact that CareCredit will charge interest from the time of your purchase if your balance is not paid in full by the end of a promotional period, the only time you should use CareCredit to finance your medical costs is if you are 100 percent certain you can pay it off within or before the end of that time frame.

This might be a good idea if you have already saved up the cash for a medical procedure and you can continue earning interest on it in your savings account. By earning interest on your savings and paying 0% interest with CareCredit, you can actually save money on your medical bill. This could still be risky: You never know if something might happen that could cause you to no longer be able to afford to pay off your CareCredit balance as you had planned.

Alternatives to CareCredit

Ask the billing department for a payment plan

Many health care providers offer patients no-interest payment plans, but you may not know about it unless you ask. Tell the billing department what you can afford to pay monthly and see what your options are for spreading out the cost of your treatment.

Use your emergency fund

If you know you incur a lot of medical bills or don’t want to rely on credit when they come around, make saving for medical expenses or adding to your emergency fund part of your regular budget. That way, if an emergency happens, you’re much less likely to go into debt paying for it.

Open a credit card with 0% financing for purchases or balance transfers

There are many credit cards available with 0% interest rates from six months to 21 months that don’t require you to pay off your purchase in full to avoid interest from back when you first made the purchase. Even if you can’t pay off the entire purchase before the end of the 0% interest period, you could try doing a balance transfer to keep your interest rate low, but even if you leave your balance on that credit card, it probably has a lower interest rate than the 26.99% offered by CareCredit. Here are some of your best options for a 0% credit card.

Take out a personal loan

If you can qualify for a personal loan with a low interest rate, you’ll have fixed monthly payments, and you may be able to extend them longer than the terms offered by CareCredit. We’ve rounded up some of the places you can get the best personal loan rates online, and you can read about them here.

Don’t get caught at the checkout counter at your doctor’s office and end up making the wrong decision. Make sure you’ve carefully considered your options before you decide if you want to sign up for CareCredit to pay for your medical costs.

The post Should You Use CareCredit to Pay for Medical Expenses? appeared first on MagnifyMoney.