Are you looking for a high-yield online-only savings account? If so, then this SFGI Direct Savings review is for you as it focuses on providing essential information customers need to know about the product and the bank as well.
Digital banking is a rising industry. Over the recent years, the number of people who prefer digital or mobile banks increases, and experts say there is no sign of slowing down. This prediction was made even more evident with the turn of events that happened in 2020.
According to a study conducted by J.D. Power, it was found that during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, “37% of retail bank customers said they were using their bank’s mobile app more frequently than ever before, and 48% said their preferred means of depositing a check during that period was via mobile phone.”
More so, in July 2020, Cornerstone Advisors published a report, which says that “14.6 million Americans considered digital banking to be their primary way to the bank“.
These studies are proof that, indeed, the future of digital banking is bright. With the pandemic still ongoing, and health experts not knowing when people get to go back to their normal lives, the digital banking industry will continue to be in demand.
Of course, we also cannot deny the fact that digital banking provides a lot of benefits as compared to traditional or conventional banking. Digital banks are very convenient, easy to use and do banking jobs in real-time.
Even before the pandemic hit, digital banks are already becoming the preferred choice by most young people. It was just that during the pandemic, adult people who are used to traditional banking have also transitioned to mobile banking for health and safety reasons.
Now, with the increasing demand, the competition among digital banks is really high. Today more than ever, digital banks see to it that they have the best offerings in order to keep up with the competition.
Surely, there are lots of digital banks out there, and for customers, choosing one could really be tough. However, for as long as you know what you need and what you prefer in a bank, picking among an array of options should be a lot easier.
Anyway, one of the digital banks out there is SFGI Direct, and today, we are going to specifically do an SFGI Direct Savings review to help you find out if this account and the bank is exactly what you are looking for.
To help you compare and do a thorough assessment on the bank and the product, in this SFGI Direct Savings review, we are going to particularly tackle the following:
- What is SFGI Direct?
- Who is SFGI Direct best for?
- What are the products offered by SFGI Direct?
- What is SFGI Direct Online Savings Account?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of the SFGI Direct Online Savings Account?
- How to do banking with SFGI Direct?
- Is SFGI Direct safe?
- What to like about SFGI Direct?
- What not to like about SFGI Direct?
WHAT IS SFGI DIRECT?
When selecting an online bank, there are a lot of things that you need to consider. Apart from ease of use, convenience, products and services offered, and many more, one of the most important things every customer needs to look into is the bank’s credibility.
Sure, there are a lot of digital banks out there. Many of them offer really amazing deals, but the question is, are these banks reliable? If things come to the worst, will you be assured that your money is intact?
Now, to be able to know if a bank is credible and reliable, it is every customer’s responsibility to do a background check.
Good thing, you need not go elsewhere, because we are giving you some of the most important things you need to know about SFGI Direct in particular.
As stated on its website, SFGI Direct is an online division of Summit Community Bank, which is owned by the Summit Financial Group Inc., a financial holding company based in Moorefield, West Virginia that provides community banking and insurance services.
SFGI Direct allows customers to bank safely and easily, at the same time, enjoy competitive rates on its online-only savings account.
Yes, currently, the bank only offers one product and that is a high-yield online-only savings account.
By the way, if you want to know more about what a high-yield savings account is, here’s a very informative video by Think Wealthy with Mike Adams. This will surely help expand your knowledge.
The online bank is committed to “offering efficient banking products with personal customer service“. Furthermore, the bank assures customers that their “tradition of old fashioned service with regular investments in technology yields a unique combination of high-quality service standards and high-tech capabilities.”
With SFGI Direct, customers need not worry about their money in case the bank fails, because all accounts are covered by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance up to $250,000.
WHO IS SFGI DIRECT BEST FOR?
In the previous section of our SFGI Direct Savings review, we talked about what SFGI Direct is about.
As we have said, as customers, we have to be responsible for choosing the right bank. We need a credible and reliable bank that won’t fail us come what may.
Now, before we even proceed with the main point of our review, to help you assess, we are sharing with you who SFGI Direct is best for.
Generally speaking, SFGI Direct is appealing to people who want high-interest rates on their savings. Of course, it also suits people who prefer to do online banking.
Additionally, SFGI Direct will attract people who prefer online banks without monthly fees, as well as a bank that provides easy transfers from your external checking account.
So, if opt for these features, then SFGI is perfect for you.
WHAT ARE THE PRODUCTS OFFERED BY SFGI DIRECT?
Unlike other online banks, SFGI Direct only offers a single type of account, and that is a high-yield savings account.
In the next section, we are going to discuss more the product. After all, this is an SFGI Direct savings review, right?
WHAT IS SFGI DIRECT ONLINE SAVINGS ACCOUNT?
When we talk about a savings account, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is a way of keeping our money secure as we work towards a particular financial goal.
However, for sure, you will agree with us, that a savings account is even better when it allows us to earn interest on what we save.
SFGI Direct offers a high-yield savings account, which makes it at par when it comes to digital banking competition.
Apart from the fact that it allows you to earn a high-interest rate, SFGI Direct online-only savings account is simple and easy to use. Of course, since it is online-only, it means it is accessible anytime and anywhere for as long as there’s internet access.
By the way, as of January 2021, the annual percentage rate of SFGI Direct online-only savings account is 0.56%. The rate fluctuates, so, it is best to always check.
Moving on, another feature that SFGI Direct Savings Account offer is that it does not charge a monthly maintenance fee, which is very common in many online banks. Also, it allows you to set up automatic transfers from your external account, as well as allows you to transfer money from your SFGI Direct savings to your external account.
As mentioned earlier, all SFGI Direct savings accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.
Now, since the account is an online-only savings account, it does not come with an ATM card, which means you need to perform an electronic transfer when you want to withdraw your money. Fund transfers usually take two working days.
More so, the account can only be funded with electronic transfers from another bank account. Unfortunately, the account does not accept paper checks.
To open an account, all you need to do is go online. You will need to plug in your name, as well as other personal information including Social Security number, date of birth, address, and phone number. Your employment information will also be asked. More so, you will need a valid government-issued ID as well.
Apart from all that, the bank requires a minimum initial deposit of $500. By the way, to earn interest, you must have at least a $1 account balance.
Once your account is activated, please note that the bank limits your transactions on your savings account to six per month only.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THE SFGI DIRECT ONLINE SAVINGS ACCOUNT?
In this section of our SFGI Direct Savings review, we are going to give you a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of the SFGI Direct savings account. This, hopefully, helps you decide if this online-only savings account is fit for you or not.
- High-Interest Rate – As of January 2021, the APY of the SFGI Direct savings account is at 0.56%. But, in the past, it has reached as high as 1%, which makes it one of the best online-only savings accounts out there.
- No Monthly Maintenance Fee – Not all online banks offer this perk, thus, we find this a good advantage. SFGI does not charge monthly maintenance fees, which allows account holders to save a few bucks.
- 24/7 Accessibility – Since it is an online-only savings account, for as long as you have an internet connection, you can access your account and make transactions.
- Simple and Easy to Use – Unlike other online-only savings accounts, SFGI offers a simple and easy-to-use online banking platform.
- FDIC-Insured – All accounts under SFGI Direct are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.
- No ATM Access – SFGI Direct savings account is an online-only account, which means it does not come with ATM access. So, if you want an account that allows you to withdraw or deposit cash using an ATM, you may have to look elsewhere.
- No Paper Check Deposit – Unfortunately, the SFGI Direct savings account does not allow paper check deposits. Needless to say, it does not have a paper check feature as well.
- No Cash Deposit – The online-only savings account does not come with ATM access, which is why it’s understandable that it does not allow cash deposits as well.
HOW TO DO BANKING WITH SFGI DIRECT?
In the previous sections, we already talked about what SFGI is about and what it has to offer, as well as the important details you need to know about the SFGI Direct online-only savings account.
This time, we are going to talk about how to do banking with SFGI Direct.
As we have already mentioned earlier, SFGI provides an easy process when it comes to account applications. Since SFGI Direct is an online banking platform, you can easily open an account for as long as you have an internet connection.
To open, go to the SFGI Direct website and client “Open an Account”. Make sure, however, to collect everything you need to open an account as your session will time out if you leave it inactive for 30 minutes. This is a security feature of the site. If that happens, unfortunately, you have to start over again.
To proceed with your account application, you will be asked to provide your personal information such as your name, Social Security number, date of birth, address, and phone number. You will also be asked to provide your employment information.
In addition, you will need a valid government-issued identification such as a driver’s license and passport as well.
To complete the account application process, you will need to make a minimum initial deposit of $500.
To deposit, you can link your account to an external checking or savings account. Also, you can put money into your account via ACH transfer or direct deposit but not through an incoming wire transfer or paper check deposits. Since SFGI Direct does not have a mobile app, it does not support mobile check deposits as well.
IS SFGI DIRECT SAFE?
Online banking can be crucial especially because of fraud and identity theft threats. So, in this SFGI Direct savings review, we are also looking into the safety and security features of the bank.
SFGI Direct uses multiple security measures to help ensure the safety and security of its customers’ personal information as well as banking transactions.
The bank’s security measures include 128-bit SSL encryption, password, and other authentication methods.
As mentioned, SFGI Direct is FDIC-insured under the Summit Community Bank umbrella. This means that the federal government protects the account holders’ money up to $250,000 (combined between all SFGI Direct and Summit Community Bank accounts) per depositor, per ownership category, in case of a bank failure.
WHAT TO LIKE ABOUT SFGI DIRECT?
Earlier in our SFGI Direct savings review, we talked about the advantages and disadvantages of the online-only savings account. This time, we are going to share with you a summary of the things that we particularly like about SFGI Direct.
This includes the following:
- Competitive Rates – What makes SFGI Direct known in the world of digital banking is that it offers a high-yield online-only savings account that could go as high as 1%, which definitely is one of the best rates in the United States.
- No Monthly Maintenance Fees – SFGI Direct does not charge a monthly maintenance fee as compared to other banks of the same type. This allows account holders to save a few bucks, really.
- 24/7 Online Access – SFGI Direct savings account is accessible through the website anytime, anywhere.
WHAT NOT TO LIKE ABOUT SFGI DIRECT?
Of course, to complete our review, we also listed down some of the things we particularly do not like about SFGI Direct. Well, nothing is perfect, as they say – and the same goes for SFGI.
So, some of the not-so-good things about SFGI Direct are as follows:
- No Mobile Banking App – Currently, SFGI Direct does not have its own mobile app, however, you can access your account through the Summit Community Bank mobile app.
- Limited Personal Account Options – SFGI Direct only offers online-only savings account. It does not have other products like checking, CDs, money market, loans, etc. So, if you are someone who needs this kind of feature, SFGI Direct is not for you.
- No Physical Branches – SFGI Direct is an online bank, and does not cater to what traditional banks offer. So, it is understandable that it does not come with physical branches.
- High Minimum Deposit Requirement – Contrary to other online banks out there with similar product offerings, the $500 minimum initial deposit for SFGI Direct bank savings account is high. Although, the good thing is that the minimum balance requirement is only at least $1.
- No Cash or Check Deposits – Since the online-only savings account does not come with ATM access, cash and check deposits are not allowed. In addition, since it does not come with its own mobile app, mobile check deposits are also prohibited.
- No Business Accounts – Again, SFGI Direct only offers one account, which also means it does not provide business account options as well.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SFGI DIRECT SAVINGS REVIEW
SFGI Direct has its share of advantages and disadvantages, and the same goes with its online-only savings account.
We must say, though, that the best feature that this online bank offers is the high-interest rate on its savings account. As mentioned, it is one of the highest in the industry. It definitely is very competitive even with what the top online banks have to offer.
However, we must admit that functionality is a major factor as well when choosing a bank. Unfortunately, SFGI does have a lot to work on in this aspect. It would be best if the bank also has its own mobile app, as well as additional product offerings to give customers more options.
Nonetheless, overall, SFGI Direct serves its purpose based on what it promises to offer.
Now, given all the information we have provided, do you consider opening a savings account with SFGI?