This Popular Direct Bank review is ideal for customers who are looking for some of the best interest rates available in both savings and certificate of deposit accounts. This will provide essential information about the bank, its products and services, and more.
According to the research entitled, “The Adoption of Electronic Banking Technologies by US Consumers” published at ResearchGate, the use of electronic banking or e-banking technology in the United States has grown rapidly. Currently, millions of Americans are using different e-banking technologies, and the number is expected to rise over the years.
By the way, in the same reference, e-banking is referred to as “a variety of different services, ranging from the common automatic teller machine (ATM) services and direct deposit to automatic bill payment (ABP), the electronic transfer of funds (EFT), and computer banking (PC banking)“.
Over time, there is an increasing demand for online banking – especially among the younger client base — making a way for digital banks to emerge, and for conventional banks to step up their game to be able to address the digital banking needs of their customers.
Fast-forward to the present times, Statista found that in 2018 about 61 percent of Americans used digital banking and that the number is expected to rise to 65.3 percent by 2022.
No doubt, thanks to technology, banking has never been so easy and convenient as it is today.
Moving on, as the number of users/clients increase, the same goes for the number of digital banks present in the market.
There are lots of existing digital banks out there, and to be honest, choosing one can be very challenging. A lot of digital banks today offer really competitive rates, and amazing perks to draw more people to them. One of these banks is Popular Direct Bank.
In the next few sections, we are going to tackle some of the most important details every potential customer needs to know about this online bank.
This Popular Direct Bank review will particularly focus on providing factual information about the bank by answering some of the most commonly asked questions by customers, which include the following:
- What is Popular Direct Bank?
- Who is Popular Direct Bank best for?
- What are the products offered by Popular Direct Bank?
- How to do banking with Popular Direct Bank?
- Is Popular Direct Bank safe?
- What to like about Popular Direct Bank?
- What not to like about Popular Direct Bank?
WHAT IS POPULAR DIRECT BANK?
Before we talk about the technical stuff, it is important that we give you a brief background about the bank first. Doing so will give you a clearer picture of how credible, reliable, and trustworthy the bank is.
After all, the bank is where you are going to keep your money, also, you will be providing your personal information and more. Thus, it is only right that you make sure the bank you are dealing with is able to keep your money and personal information safe and secure, right?
Anyway, here’s what you need to know about Popular Direct Bank —
Popular Direct is an online-only bank that was launched in 2016. It is a subsidiary of Popular Bank, which is a full-service financial services provider that was founded over 120 years ago.
The bank serves mobile and online banking customers and is ideal for those who are looking for some of the best rates available. Popular Direct Bank offers high-yield online savings accounts as well as certificates of deposit.
Before moving on, if you want to know more about Popular Bank’s mobile banking technology, you better check the video below out:
Yes, unfortunately, the bank only offers two accounts, which means, if you are looking for products other than savings and CDs, Popular Direct may not be the right one for you.
Popular Direct bank is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which is “an independent agency created by the Congress to maintain stability and public confidence in the nation’s financial system.”
Since Popular Direct is FDIC-insured, it means all accounts can receive up to $250,000 in case of a bank failure.
WHO IS POPULAR DIRECT BANK BEST FOR?
So, in the previous section of our Popular Direct Bank review, we shared with you some important details about the bank.
This time, we are going to talk about who Popular Direct Bank is most ideal for.
Generally speaking, Popular Direct Bank is ideal for anyone who is comfortable opening and maintaining an account with an online bank. It would be most appealing for those who prefer online banking to traditional/conventional banking.
Popular Direct Bank may also appeal to established savers who have more money to fund savings or a certificate of deposit account.
Overall, though, Popular Direct Bank may be best fitted for customers who:
- Have at least $5,000 to open a savings account or $10,000 to open a CD account
- Are looking for high-interest rates on savings accounts
- Wants to have access to their account on a 24/7 basis
- Do not mind not having ATM or in-person access to their money
Additionally, Popular Bank is ideal for customers who:
- Are at least 18 years old
- Have an existing checking account at an external bank
- Are not looking to have one bank to handle all their deposit and lending needs
- Are able to deposit money electronically
- Want 24/7 access to customer service
If you are any of the above-mentioned, or that everything pertains to your personality as an account holder, then perhaps Popular Direct is the right online-only bank for you.
WHAT ARE THE PRODUCTS OFFERED BY POPULAR DIRECT BANK?
We totally understand that knowing what the institution has to offer is an important aspect when choosing a bank – in this case, an online-only bank.
So, in this section of our Popular Direct Bank review, we are going to talk about the products offered by the bank, and how they compare to other accounts of the same type in the market.
As mentioned, Popular Direct Bank only offers two accounts, and these are high-yield Savings and Certificate of Deposit accounts.
Now, here’s what you need to know about these products:
Popular Direct Select Savings Account
The Popular Direct Select Savings Account is the bank’s high-yield savings account. Since it offers a high annual percentage yield (APY), it could help you grow your money quickly as compared to a typical savings account offered by other online and traditional banks.
As of January 2021, Popular Direct Select Savings Account holders may earn a 0.55% annual percentage yield (APY).
The Popular Direct Select Savings Account does not charge monthly maintenance fees, which is definitely a plus.
To open a Popular Direct Select Savings Account, the bank requires a minimum deposit of $5,000. While this is huge as compared to what other online-only banks require, the good side is that the bank does not have a minimum balance requirement for you to earn interest.
It is important to take note, though, that once the account is opened, it must remain open for at least 180 days. Otherwise, you may be charged a $25 fee.
Furthermore, if your accounts have been inactive for 12 months, the bank charges a $5 dormancy fee per month.
Similar to most online banks, Popular Direct Select Savings Account holders are entitled to a combination of six transfers or withdrawals per month. Exceeding withdrawals will be charged a fee of $5 each.
Additionally, the bank charges $10 each for overdraft and returned items. Also, a conditional monthly maintenance fee of $4 per month is charged if your balance falls below $500.
The Popular Direct Select Savings Account allows linking to external banks for easy deposits and withdrawals, and also supports mobile check deposits.
Popular Direct Certificate of Deposit Account
If you want to save for a short-term or a long-term goal, then opening a certificate of deposit is perfect for you.
Popular Direct offers CDs with terms ranging from three months to five years — pretty much the same as most banks with CD account offerings.
To open a Popular Direct Certificate of Deposit Account, the bank requires at least $10,000.
As a general rule when it comes to CDs, the longer the CD term is, the better your annual percentage yield (APY) is.
AS of February 2021, Popular Direct Certificate of Deposit Account CD APYs ranges from 0.15% for a 3-month CD term to 0.80% for a 5-year CD term.
The Popular Direct Certificate of Deposit Account does not charge monthly maintenance fees. However, CD account holders could be penalized if they withdraw their money prior to the maturity date.
Popular Direct charges between 89 and 730 days of simple interest if money is withdrawn before the CD matures. The penalty varies depending on your CD term.
Once the CD matures, account holders have the option to either renew or withdraw their money.
HOW TO DO BANKING WITH POPULAR DIRECT BANK?
By this time, you probably know already if Popular Direct Bank is right for you or not. If you think this online-only bank is perfect for your banking needs and preferences, then, it’s time to talk about how to actually do banking with Popular Direct.
As mentioned, Popular Direct Bank is an online-only bank, which means it does not have physical branches where you can open an account or do banking transactions. Everything is done entirely online.
So, to open either a savings account or a CD account, the best way to do that is through Popular Direct’s website.
To open an account, you must be at least 18 years old. Also, you will be asked to provide personal data including your name, a valid address, your Social Security number, as well as your mobile number. Additionally, you need to have a government-issued identification like a passport or driver’s license with you for identity verification purposes.
The whole account application process will only take a few minutes to finish.
Once your account is open, you can access it by different channels like online, through mobile banking, or via telephone.
Unfortunately, being an online-only bank means the bank does not issue ATM cards as well. To be able to withdraw money from your account, you need to request a transfer to your deposit account at an external bank.
Meanwhile, to deposit money to your account, you can either initiate a transfer from your existing bank account, or you may opt to perform a mobile deposit through the Popular Direct mobile app.
The Popular Direct Bank mobile app is available for both Apple and Android devices. Apart from making deposits, the app also allows you to see an overview of your accounts, review your account history, as well as transfer money between eligible accounts.
For customer concerns, you may reach Popular Direct through its customer service by phone. You may call 800-274-5696 anytime, any day.
Customers also have the option to mail a letter instead to Popular Direct Bank’s headquarter in Florida.
IS POPULAR DIRECT BANK SAFE?
Account security and safety are important to Popular Direct Bank. Thus, the bank ensures that all security and safety measures are in place to avoid possible fraud or identity theft cases.
The bank follows standard online security and safety requirements to ensure that all money and personal data are safe and are well-taken care of.
Also, as mentioned earlier, Popular Direct Bank is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). So, in case of a bank failure, each account will receive up to $250,000.
So, to answer the question if Popular Direct Bank is safe, with all these measures in place, it definitely is.
WHAT TO LIKE ABOUT POPULAR DIRECT BANK?
In this part of our Popular Direct Bank review, we are going to share with you a summary of the things that we like about this online-only bank.
These are the things that you may consider to push through with opening an account with Popular Direct over other banks of the same type out there.
With that said, here are some of the things we particularly like about Popular Direct Bank:
- Competitive Rates – Popular Direct Bank offers one of the most competitive rates on both savings and CD accounts out there. This makes it really ideal for people who want to save, at the same time, earn quickly from their money.
- No Monthly Fees – While the Popular Direct savings account has a minimum initial deposit requirement, the bank does not charge monthly maintenance fees. This feature is definitely a plus especially since monthly fees can be excruciating at times.
- 24/7 Customer Service Availability – One of the unique features of Popular Direct Bank is that it offers 24/7 live customer service by phone. So, anytime you need help with your account, or you need to make transactions via phone, no matter what time of the day, you can rely on the bank’s customer service representatives to help you.
- Easy Account Application Process – Since Popular Direct is an online-only bank, it means account applications can be done entirely online only. Good thing is, the process is easy and quick it only requires a few minutes to finish.
WHAT NOT TO LIKE ABOUT POPULAR DIRECT BANK?
While Popular Direct Bank has its share of things to like, it also has a few downsides.
In this part of our Popular Direct Bank review, we are going to share with you a list of the things we do not like about the bank, and that they could probably improve on in the future. This includes as follows:
- High Minimum Initial Deposit Requirement – To be honest, the minimum initial deposit requirement for both savings and CD accounts is too high if compared to other online banks out there.
- No Physical Branches – Since Popular Direct Bank is an online-only bank, it is totally understandable that it does not have physical branches. So, if you want to enjoy the benefit of an online bank and a traditional bank, then you may have to look for another bank.
- No ATM Card Access – Again, Popular Direct is an online-only bank, which also means it does not come with ATM card access. Withdrawals can be made only if you link your account to an external account.
- Monthly Fee for Balances Below $500 – The bank charges $4 per month for account balances under $500. This can be quite a challenge for some. It’s high compare to other online-only banks. So, if you are not sure you can keep up with this requirement, then better choose another bank instead.
- Limited Product Offerings – Popular Direct Bank only offers two products – savings account and certificate of deposit accounts. If you want a bank with a wide variety of account options, Popular Direct is not it.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON POPULAR DIRECT BANK REVIEW
Popular Direct Bank is an online-only bank that offers competitive rates for both savings and CD accounts. While the bank does not charge monthly service fees, it does have its share of different fees, which can be avoidable if you meet the bank’s requirements.
While we like the fact that the bank offers high-yield accounts, we find its minimum initial deposit requirements too high as compared to similar accounts by other online banks in the market.
Overall, Popular Direct Bank has its share of good and bad, and it’s all up to you to decide if the bank fits best for you or not.
Now, do you think Popular Direct Bank suits your preference in an online bank?