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Mobile Banking

SFGI Direct Savings Review: High-Yield Online-Only Savings Account For You

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.

SFGI Direct Savings Review: High-Yield Online-Only Savings Account For You

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.”

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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.

Advantages

  • 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.

Disadvantages

  • 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?

Well, we hope that through this SFGI Direct savings review, we are able to help you compare your options, and weigh whether this bank is worth it or not.

Categories
Mobile Banking

Charles Schwab Bank Review: What Makes This Online Bank Stand Out

If you are looking for a digital bank that offers a stellar checking account, at the same time, free use of any ATM, and does not require you to deposit regularly, then you better read through this Charles Schwab Bank review.

Charles Schwab Bank Review: What Makes This Online Bank Stand Out

Wondering why?

Well, apparently, Charles Schwab Bank is providing all that to their customers. This Charles Schwab Bank review, however, will give you more information you need to see if this, indeed, is the right mobile bank for you.

A report published by Statista, says that in 2018, there was about 61 percent of American people used digital banking. Experts project that the population of digital bank users will increase to 65.3 percent by 2022.

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Meanwhile, an article by Forbes, says that while “digital banking had been moving mainstream, particularly for younger Americans, consumers of all ages have now hopped on board“.

So, what are we trying to say here?

Well, as you can see, these reports/studies show that digital banking has indeed become a necessity over recent years particularly in the last year when the country and the world faced one of the hardest times in history.

Moving forward, digital banking does not seem to be slowing down rather only rising – with people of all ages leaning towards it as compared to traditional banking (or have both).

Anyway, what we are trying to point here is that since there is an increasing demand for digital banking platforms, it opens up more opportunities for digital banks to come to life, which is good because it gives customers more choices.

Among the digital banking platform choices out there right now is Charles Schwab Bank, and today, we are going to particularly focus on this digital bank. Will look into what it has to offer, and what makes it right for you.

In this Charles Schwab Bank review, we are going to specifically tackle and provide answers to the following commonly asked questions about the bank:

  • What is Charles Schwab Bank?
  • Who is Charles Schwab Bank best for?
  • What are the products offered by Charles Schwab Bank?
  • How to do banking with Charles Schwab Bank?
  • Is Charles Schwab Bank safe?
  • What to like about Charles Schwab Bank?  
  • What not to like about Charles Schwab Bank?

WHAT IS CHARLES SCHWAB BANK?

Before we go into more detailed information about the products and services that the bank offers, as well as other equally important information, let’s take a look at the bank’s history or who and what the bank is all about.

Remember, as a customer, it is your responsibility to know your bank first before you even open an account. This helps you build trust and confidence knowing you are putting your money in the right, reliable place.

Moving on, here’s a quick briefer on what Charles Schwab Bank is all about —

Charles Schwab is more popularly known as an investing platform. However, it does also offer checking and savings options under Charles Schwab Bank, which is an online bank. Additionally, the bank also offers other banking services like home loans and an asset line of credit.

Charles Schwab has been part of the country’s financial landscape for more than 40 years now. With that on their shoulder, it’s safe to say that customers can rely on its stability and trustworthiness.

Although we are going to particularly focus on the Charles Schwab Bank (the online bank) today, just to give you an overview, the brokerage firm offers various investment accounts (should you need them in the future), which include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, ETFs, and a lot more.

Moreover, the firm also offers multitudes of retirement account options like Traditional IRAs and Roth.

While Charles Schwab Bank is purely online, Charles Schwab Co. has over 360 brokerage branches, which are mostly concentrated in California, Connecticut, and Arizona.

If you want to know more about Charles Schwab Bank, check this video out:

WHO IS CHARLES SCHWAB BANK BEST FOR?

When choosing a bank, it is important to do a self-assessment first. You ask yourself what you are specifically looking for, what product or service do you need, and more. Doing so will help trim down your choices – especially these days when there’s a lot to choose from.

Now, in this part of our Charles Schwab Bank review, we are going to share with you who this bank is ideal for.

Charles Schwab Bank is known as the “bank for investors”. This alone should give you a hint on who the Charles Schwab Bank is ideal for.

Technically, the bank should appeal to customers who hope to move money between various types of accounts — not just savings or checking, but also brokerage.

More so, Charles Schwab Bank may also be a good fit for people who want to earn valuable interest on their checking account, travel abroad and access their money without having to pay expensive ATM and foreign transaction fees, receive unlimited ATM fee rebates, and that the bank is also ideal for those active investors who want a combination of liquidity, $0 equity trades, as well as over 13 different investment products.

So, if you are looking for or you are any of these, then Charles Schwab Bank may just be the right choice for you.

WHAT ARE THE PRODUCTS OFFERED BY CHARLES SCHWAB BANK?

In this part of our Charles Schwab Bank review, we are going to look into the products offered by the bank.

Charles Schwab Bank currently offers the following bank accounts and services:

  • Savings Account
  • Checking Account
  • Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
  • Credit Cards

Now, let’s take a look at each of these:

Savings Account

One of the accounts offered by Charles Schwab Bank is its Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Savings account.

This account earns a 0.05% annual percentage yield (APY), which is well below other online savings accounts rates.

Although that is the case, what’s nice about the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Savings account is that it does not require a minimum opening deposit, does not require a minimum balance, has unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide, allows mobile check deposits, does not charge service fees, and of course, all savings accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Unlike other online banks, Charles Schwab Bank provides several options when it comes to opening an account. Customers may opt to fill out and submit an application via mail, in person at a Schwab branch, or upload online (this option, however, is only applicable for existing customers).

Meanwhile, customers can make deposits to their savings accounts through any of the following choices:

  • Direct deposit
  • Fund transfer from Charles Schwab brokerage account or checking account
  • Mobile deposit through the mobile app
  • Wire transfer from another financial institution
  • Mail a check to Charles Schwab Bank

Although other digital banks may offer better rates as compared to what Charles Schwab Bank offers, the bank’s High Yield Investor Savings account may still offer a better rate as compared to other local brick-and-mortar banking out there.

Checking Account

Another product option offered by Charles Schwab is its Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account.

While there is nothing extreme about this checking account, customers could earn 0.03% APY.

What makes the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account stand out from other checking accounts offered by other online banks is that when you open one, you automatically get a Schwab One brokerage account as well. This makes it not ideal for those who are not interested in opening a brokerage account.

Moving on, the Schwab One brokerage account comes with free standard checks as well as a Schwab Visa Platinum Debit Card. Since it is part of the Visa family, the debit card is accepted almost anywhere in the world, making it an ideal choice for travelers as well. Needless to say, when you use it outside the United States, you are free from foreign transaction fees.

Furthermore, another very notable perk of the Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account is that it provides unlimited ATM fee rebates worldwide, which means wherever you go, you will always get reimbursed for any ATM fees you have incurred. The funds are usually received at the end of the same month in which you were charged ATM fees.

Similar to its savings account, Charles Schwab Bank’s checking account does not have account minimums requires as well as service fees.

As with opening an account, the same applies to its checking account as its savings account. Customers may opt to open an account online or by filling out and mailing a paper application. Just the same, you may also opt to drop by a local Schwab branch near you.

To make deposits, you may also opt to do any of the following ways:

  • Direct deposit
  • Fund transfer from Charles Schwab brokerage account
  • Mobile deposit through the mobile app
  • Wire transfer from another financial institution
  • Mail a check to Charles Schwab Bank

For those who already have a Charles Schwab brokerage account, it is important to note, though, if you have a brokerage account that comes with a debit card as well as check-writing and bill pay capabilities when you open a checking account, all of those featured are automatically transferred to your checking account, and will no longer be available with your brokerage account.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

Here’s the thing, Charles Schwab acts as a virtual middleman for various CDs from other banks. Customers can use the Schwab CD OneSource online to compare rates and terms, as well as to purchase CDs.

Unfortunately, the CD rates are far lower as compared to what you’ll get from other online banks.

For CDs, deposit start at $1,000 and increase in $1,000 increments. The terms range from a month to 20 years. A notification will be sent to you once your CD reaches maturity so you get to access your funds and reinvest into a new CD if you want to.

If you are going to open a CD account, it is important to note that the bank includes a selling concession in new issue CDs for online and broker-assisted trades. A $1 transaction fee per $1,000 CD is charged for secondary trades, while broker-assisted ones are charged the online price of $25 per trade service charge.

Similar to both checking and savings accounts CDs are FDIC-insured at each bank for up to $250,000. Also, you may opt to extend your FDIC coverage by purchasing CDs across multiple banks through Schwab.

Credit Cards

Charles Schwab per se offers two credit cards only — one is a premium credit card called Schwab Investor Card from American Express, which is ideal for investors, and the other one is a travel credit card called the American Express Platinum Card for Schwab.

HOW TO DO BANKING WITH CHARLES SCHWAB BANK?

In case you did not notice, earlier we already mentioned how to open an account particularly on Charles Schwab Bank’s savings and checking accounts.

Again, to open either a savings or a checking (or both) accounts, you may choose from several options, which include filling out and submitting an application via mail, in person at a Schwab branch, or upload online.

Meanwhile, to make an initial deposit or future deposits for that matter, you may do so through the following ways:

  • Direct deposit
  • Fund transfer from Charles Schwab brokerage account or checking account
  • Mobile deposit through the mobile app
  • Wire transfer from another financial institution
  • Mail a check to Charles Schwab Bank

IS CHARLES SCHWAB BANK SAFE?

With over 40 years of existence in the brokerage industry, Charles Schwab has, for sure, mastered ensuring the safety and security of their customers’ accounts.

The Charles Schwab online bank per se comes with the latest encryption technology, Voice ID, notifications and alerts, and card lock/unlock features to ensure the security and safety of their customers’ accounts.

Furthermore, Charles Schwab also has a security guarantee in place, providing 100% coverage of any losses in their customers’ bank accounts due to unauthorized activity.

Also, the bank is FDIC insured, which means should it fail, the federal government will pay up to $250,000 per customer.

WHAT TO LIKE ABOUT CHARLES SCHWAB BANK?

Now, we already tackled what Charles Schwab Bank is, who it is for, the products and services it offers, as well as how to do banking with them.

In this section of our review on Charles Schwab Bank, we are going to share with you a summary of the things we like about the bank.

This includes the following:

  • No Monthly Maintenance Fees – Contrary to other online banks, Charles Schwab Bank does not charge monthly maintenance fees for both checking and savings accounts.
  • No Minimum Opening Deposit Required – This is probably one of the things we love the most about Charles Schwab Bank. You can open an account anytime without having to worry about an opening deposit requirement.
  • No Minimum Balance Required – Another thing to love about Charles Schwab Bank’s savings and checking accounts is the fact that it does not require any minimum balance.
  • Unlimited ATM Fee Rebates Worldwide – Charles Schwab Bank is an ideal bank for constant travelers as it offers unlimited ATM fee rebates from all over the world.
  • Mobile Check Deposit – Another feature that not all online banks offer, but Charles Schwab Bank does.
  • High Yield Checking Account – Although it’s not as high as other mobile banks out there, the rates are still competitive considering the other perks you get from the bank.
  • Free Overdraft Transfers from Linked Accounts – With Charles Schwab Bank, you do not have to worry about overdraft transfer fees as it is free.
  • Free Investment Account with Checking Account – Once you open a checking account, you automatically get a brokerage account as well.
  • FDIC-Insured – Both savings and checking accounts of Charles Schwab Bank are FDIC insured, which means, in case of bank failure, depositors can get up to $250,000 from the federal government.

WHAT NOT TO LIKE ABOUT CHARLES SCHWAB BANK?

While there are a lot of things to like about Charles Schwab Bank, it does sure have a few downsides as well.

To help you decide if Charles Schwab Bank is the right bank for you, take a look at these disadvantages as well. It includes:

  • Below-Average APY on Savings Account – As mentioned earlier, if compared to other online banks out there, the APY offered on the Charles Schwab Bank savings account is not that competitive.
  • No Money Market Accounts – Unfortunately, unlike other banks of a similar type, Charles Schwab Bank does not offer money market accounts. So, if you are looking for one, you may check out other digital banks instead.
  • No Banking Services at Charles Schwab Branches – Although Charles Schwab has over 360 brokerage branches across the country, these branches do not provide banking service, which is actually understandable as Charles Schwab Bank is an online bank, and technically speaking, the bank is different from the brokerage (which they are really known for, by the way).
  • A Linked Brokerage Account is Required for the Checking Account – If you want a sole checking account only, Charles Schwab Bank may not be the right one for you, because the bank’s checking account automatically comes with a brokerage account.
  • No ATM Network – Although Charles Schwab Bank provides a Visa debit card, the bank does not have its own ATM network.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON CHARLES SCHWAB BANK REVIEW

Surely, there are lots of online banks out there and Charles Schwab Bank is only one of them.

While the other banks may have better offerings as compared to what Charles Schwab Bank has to offer, it surely does have some features that are unique to it — one of them is when opening a current account, you automatically get a brokerage account as well.

Overall, we have to say that Charles Schwab Bank is ideal for people who are into brokerage at the same time, want to save up for a fair enough rate.

To end, we hope that this Charles Schwab Bank review has provided you with all the essential information you need. More so, we hope we are able to help you decipher if this online bank is the one that fits you.

Categories
Mobile Banking

MemoryBank Review: How Does It Provide Great Digital Banking Experience

If you are looking forward to having a great banking experience while in the comfort of your home or anywhere in the world (for as long as there is an internet connection, of course), then this MemoryBank review may just help you with that.

MemoryBank Review: How Does It Provide Great Digital Banking Experience

MemoryBank is an all-digital banking platform that aims just exactly that — making sure you can conveniently access your bank account and transact online — anytime, anywhere.

Just to give you a little backtrack –

As mentioned, MemoryBank is a digital bank. As defined in an article published by The Straits Times, “A digital bank offers banking services such as deposits, loans, debit and credit cards like a traditional bank, except that transactions are performed online and the bank does not have a physical branch.”

Over the years, especially since digital technology boomed, more digital banks have been established. Needless to say, a lot of people have found it more convenient and easier as compared to traditional banking.

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In fact, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, particularly the United States, digital banks have won over more U.S. customers, according to a report by Reuters. Digital banks were so handy that customers were able to process a lot of their day-to-day banking transactions.

In the same article, Reuters highlighted that digital banks in the U.S. helped customers by “processing stimulus payments quickly,” which helped set apart online-only banks from traditional banks and at the same time, generate valuable word-of-mouth referrals.

You see, digital banks like MemoreBank, which is what we are going to review today have been really of great help, needless to say, very valuable to people especially during one of the world’s most challenging times.

As we have said earlier, there are lots of all-digital banking platforms in the country (and in the world in general), but, today, we are going to specifically do a MemoryBank review to hopefully help you see if this one’s a good choice for your day-to-day banking needs.

In this MemoryBank review, we are going to particularly focus on tackling the following:

  • What is MemoryBank?
  • Who is MemoryBank best for?
  • What are the products offered by MemoryBank?
  • How to do banking with MemoryBank?
  • Is MemoryBank safe?
  • What to like about MemoryBank?
  • What not to like about MemoryBank?

WHAT IS MEMORYBANK?

First of all, let get to know more about MemoryBank. As we always say, before jumping and dealing with a bank (or in any company for that matter), make sure to get to know about it first.

Know the history and what it offers so you can fully gauge if it’s perfect for you. So, with that said, here’s a quick briefer on what MemoryBank is all about.

MemoryBank, as compared to other well-established digital banks out there is relatively new. It has only been launched in the fall of 2016. However, although it’s considered a newbie in the digital banking market, MemoryBank is pretty sure about what they want for their customers — and that is, to provide them with a great banking experience wherever they may be.

By the way, if you want to know more about digital banking or what a digital bank is all about, check this video by Project Management:

Currently, MemoryBank offers two products to its customers: checking accounts and money market accounts. With its checking accounts, the bank features a headliner product called EarnMore Checking Account. Later on, we are going to share with you more about this product. Apart from checking accounts, the bank also offers Money Market accounts, which we are also giving you more details later on.

MemoreyBank, like most digital banks out there, operates solely online, which means a physical branch or location does not exist. It is, however, can be accessed using your mobile phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.

MemoryBank is a division of Republic Bank & Trust. It is an FDIC-member and is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.

WHO IS MEMORYBANK BEST FOR?

Now that you already have a glimpse of what MemoryBank is, this time around, let’s talk about who is it best for. This way, you can easily assess if the bank is right for you.

As mentioned, MemoryBank is an online-only banking platform, which means you can access it through your mobile devices, laptop, or desktop computer. Thus, it is of common sense that the bank will appeal most to people who are always on the go or those who prefer reliable mobile banking to traditional banking. Unlike traditional banking, you do not need to visit a physical branch to do banking transactions — everything can be done online.

MemoryBank is also ideal for customers who want to avoid minimum balance requirements, earn competitive rates, and of course, open an account in a quick manner.

If you are particularly looking for checking accounts that earn interest, this might just be the bank you are looking for.

WHAT ARE THE PRODUCTS OFFERED BY MEMORYBANK?

In this part of our MemoryBank review, we are going to talk about the products offered by the bank.

As we have mentioned earlier, MemoryBank has two products — Checking Account and Money Market Account.

Now, let’s take a look at each of these products and see if it’s the one you are looking for.

Checking Account

Most digital banks offer checking accounts. But, one of the things that really make the MemoryBank EarnMore Checking account stand out from the rest is that it comes with an amazing interest rate.

Compared to its competitors, the MemoryBank EarnMore Checking Account pays a way better rate. In fact, it beats most savings accounts offered by national banks.

The MemoryBank EarnMore Checking Account pays an annual percentage rate of 0.05% on balances up to $250,000. What is nice about it is that the bank has no minimum balance requirements, monthly fees, as well as activity requirements.

To earn the best interest rate on your balance, though, you will need to meet a few requirements, which include:

  • Receive at least one direct deposit per statement
  • Make at least five debit card transactions per statement
  • Opt-in to online statements

Don’t worry, if you do not meet the above requirements, you will still earn a rate but it would be less than a tenth of the best available interest rate.

Meanwhile, other amazing features that come with this account include:

  • MemoryBank MasterCard debit card
  • Access to 92,00 surcharge-free ATMs
  • Allows you to write checks
  • 24/7 online banking
  • MemoryAlert balance and activity notifications
  • Live customer support

Furthermore, MemoryBank offers an overdraft protection program called Standard Overdraft Honor (SOH). This basically pays you a $100 overdraft protection limit for the first 30 calendar days after you have opened an account with the bank.

After the first 30 days, your SOH limit will be reviewed every business day and the pay will vary between $0 and $2,000 daily based on your account history. Should you go over your limit, you will be charged a $36 overdraft fee.

Money Market Account

Another product that MemoryBank offers is a Money Market account. This gives customers access to even higher interest rates while enjoying the same benefits.

As of this writing, MemoryBank offers a 0.50% annual percentage rate on balances up to $1 million. Meanwhile, balances that go beyond $1 million will receive an APY between 0.01% and 0.05%.

To open a Money Market Account with MemoryBank, you will need to deposit at least $50, which is a small amount as compared to the requirements of other banks of the same type.

While the amount required to open an account is low, it is important to note that you must maintain a daily balance of at least $1,000 to avoid being charged a Below Balance Fee, which amounts to $15. The fee applies to balances that drop below $1,000 at any point during the whole billing cycle.

The MemoryBank Money Market Account is not a typical money market account. The only exception would be the number of withdrawals you are allowed to make. According to FDIC rules, customers can only make six withdrawals per cycle. If you go beyond that, you may have to pay an “excessive withdrawal fee,” which amounts to $10 for every transaction.

Similar to the bank’s checking account, its Money Market Account does not charge a monthly service fee as well.

HOW TO DO BANKING WITH MEMORYBANK?

By this time, you have probably figured out already if MemoryBank is the right bank for you. Maybe, by now, you are already wondering how to actually open an account with them.

Well, in this part of our review on MemoryBank, we are going to tackle how to bank with MemoryBank.

Similar to other digital banks out there, MemoryBank’s application process is completed entirely online. You will need either a mobile device or a computer to do so. The application is easy that it can take as little as 10 minutes only.

To begin the application process, though, make sure to read the following requirements:

  • Social Security Number
  • Passport or State-Issued Identification Card
  • Home Address
  • Email Address

Head on to their website or download the app to proceed with the application process.

As to adding money to your account, you have the following options to do that:

  • Set up a direct deposit
  • Deposit checks using MemoryBank’s mobile deposit feature
  • Set up transfers from other banks or financial institutions

The same with most all-digital banking platforms out there, MemoryBank does not accept cash deposits. So, if you want an online bank that offers that feature, MemoryBank may not be right for you.

IS MEMORYBANK SAFE?

One of the hesitations that customers have when it comes to online-only banks is the security of their accounts.

Just like other digital banks, though, the security and safety of customer accounts is MemoryBank’s top priority. Thus, the bank ensures that it has put everything in place to avoid fraud and identity theft.

More than the standard web protection and encryption like SSL security, the bank allows you to set up biometric security to ensure that only you can log in to your account.

If you own a modern smartphone, you may also opt to set up a fingerprint login for your account. Also, you can eye-pattern identification to log in to your account for an extra layer of security.

Furthermore, MemoryBank is a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insured, which means customers need not worry about their money in the event of bank failure. FDIC will reimburse you up to the limit of $250,000.

WHAT TO LIKE ABOUT MEMORYBANK?

In the previous sections, we have already tackled most if not all of the important information every customer needs to know.

At this point of our MemoryBank review, we are going to provide you with a summary of the things that we particularly like about MemoryBank, and this includes the following:

  • Above-Average Interest Rates – MemoryBank offers an interest rate that is way better than its competitors. In fact, it beats most savings accounts offered by national banks.
  • No Monthly Fees – Unlike other digital banks, MemoryBank does not charge monthly maintenance or service fees.
  • No Minimum Account Balances (for Checking Accounts) – The bank does not require a minimum account balance. If you want to earn the best interest rate, though, all you need is to meet certain requirements set by the bank.
  • Open an Account Easily – The process of opening an account is so easy you can finish it in at least 10 minutes only!
  • MemoryBank MasterCard Debit Card – Opening a checking account comes with a MasterCard debit card that allows you to withdraw cash and purchase items using it.
  • Access to Over 92,000 Network ATMs – Withdraw cash anytime, anywhere as MemoryBank provides you access to over 92,000 network ATMs.
  • FDIC Insured – In case of bank failure, you need not worry because MemoryBank is FDIC insured, which means FDIC will reimburse you up to the limit of $250,000.
  • 24/7 Access to Your Account – Since MemoryBank is an all-digital banking platform, you get to access your account and do bank transactions anytime, anywhere.
  • Earn Purchase Rewards – Whether you are using the mobile app or the website, you can enable some offers that are available to your account to get yourself some cashback.
  • Alert Notifications – MemoryBank allows you to set up various alerts for your accounts such as deposits, transactions of a certain amount, and alerts for a low balance threshold.
  • Free Online Statement – MemoryBank provides free online statements for up to 18 months.
  • Mobile Check Deposit – The bank allows you to deposit your checks on the mobile app wherever you may be.
  • Powerful Security Features – As mentioned earlier, MemoryBank provides not just standard web protection and encryption, but that also allows users to set up biometric security. Those with modern smartphones may also set up fingerprint login, as well as eye-pattern identification to log in to your account.

WHAT NOT TO LIKE ABOUT MEMORYBANK?

In the last section, we provided you with a list of advantages of MemoryBank. But as the saying goes, nothing is perfect. So, while we have listed a lot of things to like about MemoryBank, we also have found some disadvantages.

Some of the downsides/downfalls of MemoryBank include:

  • Limited Products and Services – Unlike other digital banks out there, MemoryBank only offers Checking and Money Market accounts only, which means if you are looking for other products like a Certificate of Deposit or Savings Account, you may opt for another bank instead.
  • No Physical Branches Available – Since MemoryBank is an all-digital banking platform, it obviously does not come with a physical branch or location. So, if you prefer in-person banking, MemoryBank is definitely not for you.
  • No Business Account Option – As mentioned earlier, MemoryBank has very limited products and services offered – and a business account is definitely one of them. Try other banks instead if you want to open a business account.
  • No Cash Deposits – Another downside of MemoryBank is that it does not offer cash deposits. Again, if you want a bank that allows cash deposits, this bank is ultimately not the one for you.
  • Withdrawal Limits and Restrictions (for Money Market Account) – MemoryBank’s Money Market Account does have withdrawal limits for up to six only per cycle. If you go beyond that, you may have to pay an “excessive withdrawal fee,” amounting to $10 for every transaction. Also, as stated earlier, you must maintain a daily balance of at least $1,000. Otherwise, you will be charged a Below Balance Fee, which amounts to $15. The fee applies to balances that drop below $1,000 at any point during the whole billing cycle.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON MEMORYBANK REVIEW

There are a lot of digital banks out there and MemoryBank is one of them. Although relatively new in the market, having launched only in 2016, the bank promise to give customers a great online banking experience.

Obviously, the bank offers a lot of amazing features, one of them and the most notable of all is providing a great interest rate for both its checking and money market accounts. In fact, the rates are very competitive as compared to what national banks offer.

Although it comes with lots of benefits, it does sure have its share of downsides – one of them is not having lots of product options.

Nevertheless, overall, we have to say that MemoryBank is a great choice for people who wanted all the featured it has to offer while earning a great rate.

To end, we hope that this MemoryBank review has provided you not just essential information you need to know as a potential customer, as well as how the bank offers a great banking experience, but that it also gives you the clarity you need to determine if it’s the suitable digital bank for you or not.

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Investment Apps and Websites

Cogni Review: Why Makes This Digital Bank Worth It

This Cogni review will provide you all the essential information that while this digital banking platform is new, it’s worth it.

Cogni Review: Why Makes This Digital Bank Worth It

Digital banking is becoming the norm. More and more people prefer using it or making financial transactions using digital banks as compared to traditional ones.

In fact, according to the “Global Digital Banking Platform Market By Component (Solution and Services), By Deployment Type (On-premise and Cloud), By Type (Retail Banking and Corporate Banking), By Banking Mode (Online Banking and Mobile Banking), By Region, Industry Analysis and Forecast, 2020-2026report, the “Global Digital Banking Platform Market is expected to reach $9 billion by 2026, rising at a market growth of 16% CAGR during the forecast period.”

Meanwhile, according to Statista report, the share of the population using digital banking in the United States alone in 2018 has reached about 61%, while it is projected to rise even more to 65.3% by the year 2022.

These reports only show that digital banking is set to continue growing as the years go by. With the unexpected turn of events in the current year wherein people are restricted to go out of their homes and rely so much on anything digital, it won’t be surprising if the numbers grow bigger.

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As mentioned, a lot of people are becoming so into online banking, which is not surprising given the fact that it is very convenient, safe, and very accessible.

These days, there are actually a lot of digital banks to choose from already. With so many options out there, selecting one can get really tough.

One of the many digital banking options out there is Cogni.

Today, as mentioned earlier, we are going to do a Cogni review. We are going to provide you the essential information you need to see if this digital banking platform is the right one for you.

In particular, we are going to talk about the following:

  • What is Cogni?
  • What are the features of Cogni?
  • Where to use Cogni?
  • How does Cogni work?
  • What are the benefits of using Cogni?
  • What are the downsides of using Cogni?
  • Is Cogni safe?

WHAT IS COGNI?

When you are looking for a digital banking partner, it is important to get to know the bank first. Do not just go with the status quo.

It is important to research your options so you can choose what’s best for you — your needs and preferences. Getting to know more about the institution or the bank will also help you build your trust and confidence in it. After all, you are going to entrust your hard-earned money to them, right?

The safety and security of your money (and your personal information) are very important especially when you are opting for digital banking.

Before we proceed, if digital banking is new to you, below is a very informative video by Project Management. It will help you know and understand better what this type of banking is all about.

Anyway, so what is Cogni all about?

As compared to other similar online banking platforms out there, Cogni is very new in the market.

This digital banking platform is in fact, was only launched this 2020.

While there are a lot of other digital banking platforms out there already, why would you consider Cogni over them?

According to the company, they established Cogni aiming to complement a user’s finances with a straightforward account, and the music to our ears, with no hidden fees.

This digital banking platform’s goal is to connect their members’ banking with their lifestyles. Furthermore, they hope to evolve with their members as their needs change. Over time, they aim to combine banking, commerce, as well as lifestyle in just a single platform.

Primarily, the marketing of the company aimed at the transparency and practicality of their Visa Debit Card, with no additional fees. But, the company actually does offer other services as well, which include convenient, cost-free bank transfers and ‘single-use’ virtual cards.

Currently, Cogni has over $6 million in funding. Needless to say, it has support from big-name financial institutions such as Barclays who owns 2% of this digital banking platform.

Furthermore, this digital banking platform supports the use of Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

Cogni has two offices including one in New York City.

WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF COGNI?

If there’s one thing that Cogni promises its members that would be that it will be their “all-access pass to digital banking”.

In this section of our Cogni review, we are going to talk about the different features that this digital banking platform offer, which include the following:

Checking Account

Cogni’s primary product is its checking account. What makes it particularly stand out as compared to other checking accounts of digital banks out there is that apart from the fact that you can easily open an account in just 3 to 5 minutes, it does not require a minimum deposit amount. It does not even go through credit checks, which makes it even more attractive to all types of consumers.

With your account comes the following perks:

  • Digital Card – You can easily move funds into your account, and access the money immediately — as you need it — without any hassle.
  • No ATM Fees – It doesn’t matter where you are in the world. Cogni does not charge ATM fees, which means you can withdraw money in all 55,000 Allpoint ATMs without having to worry about charges.
  • Complete Account Details – With your Cogni app, you get a complete view of your balance, recent amount activity, as well as monthly statements, and card spendings. Everything in one place.

Cogni Pay

Another feature that we like about Cogni is Cogni Pay, which allows you to receive money from another account, and the money gets available immediately.

So, no need to worry about covering for a friend’s needs. They can easily pay you anyway.

Along with the Cogni Pay features comes the following perks as well:

  • Direct Deposit – With your Cogni account, you can set up direct deposit by sharing your account information as well as your routing number with your employer. That way you can easily receive your hard-earned money. By the way, you can do this through the app.
  • Easy Bank Transfers – With Cogni, you can easily transfer money from other banks into your Cogni account. You can do this free of charge. Again, all you need is your account information and routing number.
  • Deposit Worldwide with Visa ReadyLink – Unlike other digital banking platforms, with Cogni, you can deposit money to your account regardless of where you are in the world as long as there is a store with Visa ReadyLink. Your money gets available in just as little as 30 minutes!

Cogni Visa Card

To make your banking more effortless, along with your Cogni accounts comes a Cogni Visa Card.

Your Cogni Visa Card can be used not just to withdraw money but as well as in-store purchases.

But wait, there’s more!

Cogni also offers a single-use card, which you can generate for extra security or a risk-free trial.

Anyway, the Cogni Debit Card is issued by the Community Federal Savings Bank.

Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay Compatibility

Another notable feature that Cogni digital bank offers is that it is compatible with all your favorite person-to-person payment apps such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

ACH Bank Transfers

Cogni supports bill pay and bank-to-bank transfers making it easier for you to move your money.

Physical Checks

While it’s an all-digital bank, Cogni recognizes the fact that there are things that still need the traditional way of banking. Thus, the bank also offers checks.

If you need one, all you need is to request and they will send one right to your doorstep.

“Just-in-case” Protection

In case you misplace or lost your Cogni Visa Card, Cogni provides you a freeze and unfreeze feature. This allows you to secure your account to avoid unfortunate cases.

Customized Alerts

Cogni allows you to choose your own push notifications. That way, you only get to receive alerts that are relevant to you.

With Cogni app, you stay updated on your account’s activities. Needless to say, you are alerted of potential fraud all days and times of the week.

256-bit Encryption

To ensure your account’s safety and security, Cogni uses 256-bit encryption.

FDIC Insured

Of course, to complete the amazing features offered by Cogni, they are FDIC-insured as well, which means all Cogni checking accounts are protected for up to $250,000.

WHERE TO USE COGNI?

As we have mentioned in the previous sections, Cogni is just new in the market. Thus, it is not surprising if Cogni is only available at the moment to customers in the United States.

But, who knows!? Maybe in a few years’ time, they will eventually expand their coverage and reach other countries as well.

HOW DOES COGNI WORK?

In the last three sections, we talked about what Cogni is all about, its features, and where it’s available for use.

This time in our Cogni review, we’ll talk about how it actually works.

First of all, Cogni is an app-only banking service, which means, you need to download the app to take full advantage of what Cogni has to offer.

Unfortunately, Cogni is currently available only through the App Store, which means iPad and iPhone users may download it to their device free of charge.

Once the Cogni app is downloaded to your Apple device, an identification process is required to be able to open an account. In this process, you will be asked to input basic personal information similar to other apps of the same level or type.

Once done, your account will be made life automatically. Also, your tap to pay Visa card will be sent to you.

Please take note that as soon as your account is approved, which only takes a few minutes, you can immediately use your account with any transaction.

By using the Cogni app, users can perform instant fund transfers to other Cogni accounts. They can also deposit cash into their account through Visa ReadyLink locations, as well as create checks using the digital checkbook service on the app.

What’s nice about Cogni is that you do not necessarily need to wait for your physical card to make transactions. This digital banking platforms offer a virtual card, which you can use in making payments.

Furthermore, you can also create one-off cards for your online shopping.

Once your physical card arrives, you can use it in your in-store transactions as well as in withdrawing cash across all 55,000 Allpoint ATMs.

As you can see, how Cogni works is pretty simple and easy, making your banking experience a total breeze.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING COGNI?

As we always do when reviewing a bank — whether it be a traditional one or in this case, a digital bank — we always see to it to take note of both the pros and cons.

By doing so, we get to help you gauge the compatibility of the bank to you based on your preferences.

So, as usual, Cogni, just like any other banks of the same kind does its share of benefits and downsides as well.

In this section, though, we are going to focus particularly on the good sides of the bank.

Some of the benefits of using Cogni that we found are as follows:

  • Trusted By Large-Scale Businesses – Cogni may be a start-up, but, with the considerable amount of support it is getting especially from big companies, it only goes to show that it is a financial institution that can be trusted with your hard-earned money.
  • Zero Fees – One of the best parts of being a Cogni account holder is that you get to free yourself up from paying fees and charges, which is honestly financially exhausting sometimes. With Cogni, you do not have to worry about cash withdrawals and transfer fees, and other usual fees charged by digital banks.
  • Physical Checks – While some digital banking platforms have totally forgone traditional checks, Cogni believes that there are still transactions that require a physical check, thus, you can request one if you need it.
  • Visa Card – While Cogni allows you to make online transactions regardless of the availability of the card, it does provide a Visa debit card as well. This allows you to make in-store transactions as well as withdraw money from Allpoint ATMs.
  • Direct Deposit – Cogni supports direct deposit allowing you to receive your salary through it by simply sharing your account information as well as routing number to your employer.
  • Visa ReadyLink Deposits – Unlike other digital banks out there, Cogni allows its users to deposit cash through Visa ReadyLink locations worldwide. Needless to say, funds are credited in as little as 30 minutes
  • Person-to-Person Payment Apps Compatibility – Another thing to like about Cogni is that it is compatible with person-to-person payment apps, which include Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.
  • Customized Alerts – With the Cogni app, you can customize alerts based on your needs and preferences.
  • 256-bit Encryption – With its 256-bit encryption, users are ensured of enterprise-level banking protection.
  • FDIC-Insured – All Cogni checking account holders are protected because Cogni is FDIC-insured, which means all accounts are covered for up to $250,000 in the event that the bank fails.

WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES OF USING COGNI?

There is no such thing as a perfect bank, all the more with digital banks.

While Cogni has several features that we like, we also found a few downsides, and these are:

  • Limited to the US – Unfortunately, Cogni is only available in the United States. Although, for sure they have expansion plans in the future. For now, though, interested customers from other parts of the world will have to wait.
  • Incomplete Website – Cogni is very new, so, we thought it’s very understandable that there are still things being worked out. One example is their website, which while already running is still incomplete.

Overall, we have to say that the downsides are related to the bank’s very new status. Remember that Cogni was just launched early this year. So, probably, it’s best to check it out again in the next few months.

IS COGNI SAFE?

Of course, this Corgni review will not be complete if we not going to answer one of the most important questions – is it safe to use Cogni?

Well, the answer to that is yes, Cogni is safe for two very evident reasons:

First, Cogni, as we have mentioned earlier uses 256-bit encryption, which, according to Techpedia is “a data/file encryption technique that uses a 256-bit key to encrypt and decrypt data or files“. This is one of the most secure encryption methods out there and is mostly used by digital banks to keep all their members’ accounts secured and safe.

Second, Cogni is safe because it is insured under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). As you know by now, all FDIC insured account under Cogni is protected for up to $250,000 should an unfortunate thing happens to the bank.

With these two in place, account holders are ensured that their money and their personal information are protected, safe, and secured.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON COGNI REVIEW

Cogni is a digital banking service based in the United States that was designed to offer a people-driven service.

While it has a lot of good features, we particularly like the fact that it provides a bank-level service sans additional costs or fees.

Similar to other banks of the same level, Cogni offers effective, flexible, as well as very convenient payment and fund transfer options.

Are you looking for a reliable digital banking partner that is free of commonly-charged fees? If your answer is yes, then perhaps Cogni is the one you are looking for.

We hope that through this Cogni review we were able to convince you that this digital banking platform is worth a try.

Categories
Investment Apps and Websites

MoneyLion Review: What Makes It Your Perfect Online Banking Choice

This MoneyLion review will provide you essential information to be able to gauge if this digital banking platform is your perfect choice.

MoneyLion Review: What Makes It Your Perfect Online Banking Choice

When you search online, you will find a lot of different versions of the definition of digital banking. But, to put things simply, digital banking refers to the digitization of all traditional banking activities as well as program services.

All these banking activities and services are offered and delivered over the internet or online instead of how traditional banking does it.

Thanks to the birth of technology and the internet, digital banking became possible.

Although traditional banks still exist, over the years, more and more digital banks are opening up, which is not surprising given the fact that people prefer anything that is more convenient, but safe and secure at the same time – which is precisely what digital banking offers.

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Based on data published online by the Statista Research Department, about 61% of Americans used digital banking in 2018, and the number is expected to increase to 65.3% by 2022.

This data goes to show that indeed digital banks have changed the way people do banking – and that is a good thing!

As mentioned, there are a lot of digital banks out there. Too many choices, in fact, that it can be very challenging to choose the right one.

Of all the options available, MoneyLion is one of them – and today, we are going to do a review about this digital banking platform to help you decipher if this is the one you are looking for.

To help you out, in this MoneyLion review, we are going to provide you answers particularly on the following commonly asked questions about this digital bank:

  • What is MoneyLion?
  • How does MoneyLion work?
  • What does MoneyLion offer?
  • Are there any fees and charges?
  • How to open an account with MoneyLion?
  • What are the benefits of using MoneyLion?
  • What are the downsides of using MoneyLion?
  • Is MoneyLion safe?

WHAT IS MONEYLION?

Before we even go into deeper details about MoneyLion and what the bank offers, let us first and foremost, know what the bank is all about.

MoneyLion was founded in 2013 and is a mobile banking platform that offers financial services.

Unlike other online banks, this New York-formed digital banking platform offers a membership program, which comes with various products and services such as online banking services, credit-builder loans of up to $1,000, interest-free cash advances, managed investing, cashback rewards, as well as financial tracking and education.

What makes MoneyLion set apart from other digital banking platforms is that it breaks down traditional barriers to financial health. More so, it provides financial access to hardworking American people, helping them control their hard-earned money, at the same time, reach their goals financially.

Furthermore, MoneyLion is can increase a 360-degree view of its customers’ personal finances as well as deliver one of a kind, personalized advice and underwriting by taking advantage of superior analytics, artificial intelligence, as well as machine learning technologies.

Since its inception, MoneyLion has already gained over 6 million users. On top of that are various awards and recognitions received for providing excellent banking products and services.

Some of MoneyLion’s awards and recognitions received include the 2020 Forbes Fintech 50, Webby Awards 2019 People’s Voice Award, Finovate Award for Best Digital Bank 2019, and the Benzinga Fintech Awards (winner for Innovation in Personal Finance 2019).

Although formed in New York City, MoneyLion is currently based in Sandy, Utah, and has other offices in New York, San Franciso, as well as in Kuala Lumpur.

MoneyLion’s checking and debit card are issued by Lincoln Savings Bank, a member of the FDIC.

HOW DOES MONEYLION WORK?

MoneyLion is a one-stop online banking platform. It offers various banking products and services — from personalized financial advice to wealth management information, loan access, as well as credit-building and monitoring services, and different other financial tools and services.

What makes MoneyLion set apart from its competitors is that all its services are available in just one place. Apart from that, they all work together to help maximize the client’s financial status.

As a user, you can choose the kind of services that you think will work best for you, and then sign up as needed.

Now, to be able to use MoneyLion’s services, users must sign up to have a MoneyLion account.

The creation of a MoneyLion account is free. More so, you have the option to choose to add other free services that work for you like Instacash advances, or you may opt for paid services like the Credit Builder Plus.

Credit Builder Plus costs $19.99 per month. It includes services like credit monitory, credit builder loan, as well as provides access to other services.

To be able to register with MoneyLion, one must be at least 18 years old, and must also have an existing bank account. Once done creating an account, the user immediately gets access to different MoneyLion’s services.

WHAT DOES MONEYLION OFFER?

In this section, we are going to talk about what MoneyLion offers to the consumers.

If there is one thing that this digital banking platform believes — that would be that consumers must have access to various financial products like loans with little or no fees at all.

MoneyLion offers a variety of products and services, which include:

  • Credit Builder Plus
  • Smart Mobile Banking
  • Cash Advances
  • Cash Back Rewards
  • Personalized Financial Tracking & Education
  • Managed Investing

Credit Builder Plus

Credit Builder Plus is a paid service of MoneyLion. It is a membership, credit-building plan.

Credit Builder Plus, as earlier stated costs $19.99 per month.

With your membership, you will get to take advantage of the following:

  • Loans access of up to $1,000 with very competitive rates
  • 24/7 Credit Monitoring and tracking using the app
  • Payment reporting to all three credit bureaus
  • Access to 0% APR Instacash cash advances
  • Access to Lion’s Share, an exclusive cashback rewards that allow the user to get back up to $19.99 a month

Additionally, if a Credit Builder Plus member signs up for a RoarMoney account and/or a MoneyLion Investment account (both are paid services as well), the bank will refund the $1/month administrative fee charged for each of the accounts.

Smart Mobile Banking

Another feature that MoneyLion offers is RoarMoney, which is the bank’s banking offering in partnership with Mastercard and MetaBank.

With RoarMoney, you get to enjoy the following features

  • Direct deposits that are received up to two days early
  • 0% APR Instacash, SM advances for up to $250
  • No minimum balance, and no fees across 55,000 ATMs
  • Contactless MoneyLion Debit Mastercard® with Price Protection and Zero Liability
  • RoarMoney virtual card (received as soon as you open your account)
  • Weekly spend reports by category
  • Transparent pricing
  • No hidden fees

You can enjoy what RoarMoney has to offer for only $1 per month or $12 a year. However, if you are a Credit Builder Plus member, the $1 administrative fee will be reimbursed, which means you can get it for free.

Cash Advances

Earlier we mentioned Instacash. Instacash is MoneyLion’s short-term cash advance feature.

MoneyLion customers can instantly get up to $250 cash advance with 0% interest. Yes, you read it right. You get to advance cash without having to worry about getting charged for interest.

This cash advance feature helps customers get money faster to cover unexpected expenses.

What makes it even more interesting is that customers cans apply without having to worry about going through a credit check.

In addition, Instacash does not charge a monthly fee. So you can enjoy using it anytime you need to.

Know more about MoneyLion’s Instacash feature in the video below:

Cash Back Rewards

With RoarMoney, MoneyLion customers can earn cashback rewards on their purchases every day.

Unlike other cashback programs, MoneyLion’s cashback rewards can grow when customers invest it on their fully managed investment portfolio.

Customers have the option to grab it and let their money grow.

Personalized Financial Tracking & Education

Another prime feature that MoneyLion offers is what they call Financial Heartbeat, which is basically a fitness tracker for finances.

MoneyLion’s Financial Heartbeat is a combination of a dynamic framework for both monitoring financial health and empowerment of members to help them improve on a day-to-day basis.

You can check your Financial Heartbeat, which literally uses a beating heart to serve as a visual presentation, through the MoneyLion mobile app. Basically, the heath changes colors to reflect the user’s progress on a scale from 1 to 10.

The Financial Heartbeat feature enables members to immediately evaluate where they are standing in terms of their financial health journey.

The MoneyLion Financial Heartbeat feature sums up five essential financial pillars: Save, Spend, Shield, Score, and Strive.

Managed Investing

With MoneyLion, it’s easier and faster to invest and reach your financial goals, respectively with its fully managed portfolios as well as auto investing features.

All these are free of management fees and with no minimum amount requirements.

To enjoy this feature, all you have to do is answer a few questions on MoneyLion’s app, and wait for its recommendation among its 7 core portfolios.

Furthermore, you can personalize it by simply changing it to either more or less aggressive or by adding investment themes like Future Innovations. You can also opt for auto investing to make it easier to fund and build your account.

For this feature, MoneyLion charges a $1 administrative fee per month for full investment management services, which include trading and rebalancing. However, as mentioned earlier, if you are a Credit Builder Plus member, your $1 per month will be reimbursed.

ARE THERE ANY FEES AND CHARGES?

In this section of our MoneyLion review, we are going to share with you the fees charged by MoneyLion. This one’s important so you’d be able to see if it’s worth it or not — apart from the features, of course.

While creating an account is free, MoneyLion charges $19.99 per month when you sign up for the bank’s Credit Builder Plus, which is a membership program that allows you to leverage the bank’s amazing features.

MoneyLion also charges a $1 administrative fee per month for its RoarMoney and investment account. However, if you are a Credit Builder Plus member, these charges will be refunded.

Furthermore, customers can also be charged a $2.50 fee for using an out-of-network ATM plus the financial institution’s fee ($2 to $5).

When using MoneyLion’s debit card in another country, customers will be charged a 0.8% foreign transaction fee.

Also, a $0.25 fee is assessed when withdrawing money from your MoneyLion investment account.

HOW TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH MONEYLION?

Similar to other digital banking platforms, MoneyLion also made the sign-up process quick and easy.

You can sign up using your smartphone through its mobile app, or you can use your desktop or laptop computer and open an account on MoneyLion’s website.

To proceed with the sign-up process, you will need to provide your full name as well as your address.

Once you’re done with this step, you can now proceed with your application for the Credit Builder Plus membership (if you want to request a credit-builder loan).

To complete the whole process, you will be asked to provide the following personal details:

  • Full name
  • Full email address
  • Home address
  • Social Security number
  • Verifiable phone number
  • A verifiable bank account that’s in good standing (at least 60 days old and has deposits that show steady income)

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING MONEYLION?

To complete our MoneyLion review, we are giving some of the good things we found about MoneyLion.

Some of the benefits of using MoneyLion include:

Free Online Account – MoneyLion allows you to create an online account for free.

  • No ATM Fees – The bank does not charge any fee for as long as you make ATM transactions at Allpoint.
  • Credit-Builder Loans for up to $1,000 – As part of the benefits of being a Credit Builder Plus member, you can enjoy credit-builder loans up to $1,000.
  • Offers 0% APR Instacash Advances – MoneyLion allows members to enjoy 0% APR Instacash advances up to $250.
  • Competitive APR – For MoneyLion’s Credit Builder Plus, the APR starts at 5.99%, which is low compared to other banks. Meanwhile, Instacash cash advances offer 0% APR.
  • No Hard Credit Check – MoneyLion’s loans are suitable for all credit types. Customers only need to link a checking account to their MoneyLion app, and they can get loan approval in just a few minutes.
  • Quick Funding – MoneyLion provides customers a portion of the loan amount upfront (instantly or within 48 hours). Meanwhile, the rest of the loan will be held in a Credit Reserve Account in your name. Customers will this fund after they’ve paid off the full loan amount.
  • Easy Repayment Terms – MoneyLion’s repayment scheme is fixed, which means payments won’t fluctuate over time.
  • Early Repayment Option – Customers have the option for an early repayment fee of penalties or charges.
  • Transparent Fees – MoneyLion provides all fees during the loan process so customers won’t get surprised by any fees or charges.
  • Chance To Offset Paid Membership – MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus member may get a portion or all their monthly membership fee offset by payouts from the Lion’s Share Loyalty Program. This reward can be provided by meeting certain requirements like logging into the app, as well as making a certain number of purchases.

WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES OF USING MONEYLION?

There is no such thing as a perfect banking institution. So, just like the other digital banking platforms, MoneyLion does have its share of cons as well.

Some of the downsides of MoneyLion that we found are as follows:

  • Monthly Membership Fee – MoneyLion charges a membership fee of $19.99 a month to its Credit Builder Plus members. Without this membership, you won’t be able to use its premium features.
  • Small Loan Amounts – Compared to other digital banks out there, the loan amounts offered by MoneyLion are smaller, which makes it not ideal for those who need to loan bigger amounts.
  • A Portion of Loan Funds Go to Reserve Account – As mentioned earlier, while customers get a portion of the loaned money upfront, the rest will go to a reserve account, which will only be available once you are able to pay back the loan.
  • APR Can Be High – Although MoneyLion offers as low as 5.99% APR on its credit-builder loans, the interest can actually go as high as 29.99% depending on certain factors like your income.

IS MONEYLION SAFE?

Before we conclude this MoneyLion review, we’ll talk about the safety and security of using the MoneyLion app.

To ensure the safety and security of your money as well as your personal information, MoneyLion uses encryption on both its app and website.

Additionally, MoneyLion monitors its site and database 24/7 for any possible threat.

Furthermore, the bank also implements strict privacy and information security practices to ensure that their customers’ data is handled carefully and is secure.

MoneyLion checking, as well as a debit card, are all FDIC-insured.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON MONEYLION REVIEW

Online banking or digital banking has definitely boomed over recent years. It is not surprising though because compared to traditional banks, it is easier, convenient, and more accessible.

There are a lot of digital banks out there, and MoneyLion is one of them. Just like the rest, MoneyLion offers certain features that make it stand out from the rest — particularly its Credit Builder Plus membership.

So, having all learned all the information you provided, can you say that MoneyLion is the online bank you’ve been looking for?

Well, to end, we hope that this MoneyLion review provided you with all the information you need to land on a decision on whether it is the right one for you or not.