Categories
Investment Apps and Websites

GoHenry Review: The Key To Teach Your Young Kids On Financial Literacy

If you are looking out for an online app and debit card that is ideal for your kids, then you got to check this GoHenry review.

GoHenry Review: The Key To Teach Your Young Kids On Financial Literacy

According to the Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services Global Financial Literacy Survey, which is the world’s largest and most comprehensive global measurement of financial literacy, 33 percent of adults from all over the world are financially literate.

In the United States alone, 57 percent of adults are financially literate.

Meanwhile, according to the  OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test of financial literacy, which was conducted back in 2015, from the 15 countries that took part in the said test, only around one in every four students are financially literate.

Furthermore, an article published by CNBC says that based on studies, 22 percent of students in the United States do not meet the basic standards for financial proficiency.

If you come to think about it, for a society to be financially literate, we have to start with the young ones, right?

RELATED ARTICLES:

With exactly this in mind, more and more mobile budgeting apps for children are coming to life. These mobile budgeting apps aim not only to move towards a cashless society but also to teach children how to manage their finances.

In the same article by CNBC, it says that teens with bank accounts score higher than their contemporaries who do not have one. More so, those with a bank account are also more likely to earn from a part-time job and talks to their parents about finances on a regular basis.

Do you see the difference between financially proficient kids from those who are not?

It greatly shows that teaching our children early about managing finances will greatly affect – in a good way – how they spend and save.

While teaching our kids to be financially literate may sound a little challenging, the good thing is – today, thanks to technology and the internet, parents can depend on mobile budgeting apps and banks that provide services specifically for young people.

As mentioned, there are a lot of institutions providing such services, and one of them is GoHenry.

Unlike any other mobile banking and digital apps available out there, GoHenry is unique in its own way — particularly with the fact that it was created by parents who wanted to teach their children about handling their money to avoid debts.

If you are interested to know more about GoHenry and what it offers, then this one’s for you.

In this GoHenry review, we are going to specifically tackle the following:

  • What is GoHenry?
  • How does GoHenry work?
  • What features does GoHenry have?
  • Who can use the GoHenry app?
  • Are there fees involved with GoHenry?
  • What are the benefits of using GoHenry?
  • What are the downsides of using GoHenry?
  • Is GoHenry safe?

WHAT IS GOHENRY?

GoHenry, which was launched in 2012, is an online application and a debit card that was specifically designed to help kids aged six to 18 years old manage their allowance through instinctive budgeting and responsible spending.

This United Kingdom-based company offers one-of-a-kind parental controls, which allows moms and dads to monitor debit card transactions individually for each of their kids.

Although it originally came from the United Kingdom, GoHenry is already currently available in the United States as well.

By the way, one interesting fact about GoHenry is that, as we have mentioned earlier, the app was actually launched by a group of parents who aimed to teach their children to be financially literate.

Furthermore, it is nice to know that GoHenry does not charge an overdraft fee, which means there is no risk that your little one will rack up debts and charges.

With a very promising service, it is not surprising at all that as of this writing, GoHenry has already over 500,000 members from across the United Kingdom and the United States.

If you want to know more about GoHenry, here’s an informative video by Eann. You should check this out:

HOW DOES GOHENRY WORK?

Now that you have learned a brief history of the app, and what GoHenry is all about, this time, we are going to talk about how it actually works.

Similar to any other mobile budgeting apps and mobile banks, setting up a GoHenry account is made simple and easy.

You start off by downloading the smartphone app. If you want to, the app has a demo account that you can use to see how everything works before you actually sign up.

To proceed with the account setup, you will be asked to provide basic personal details like your name, email address, as well as your mobile number. You will also be asked to create a unique password to keep your account secured.

Once done with the initial steps, you will then have to add and confirm your child’s details. The cards will then be ordered and should arrive within five to seven days.

GoHenry actually has two versions — it’s up to you if you are going to download the parent version or the child’s version.

For you to have a better understanding of the difference between the two mobile app versions, here’s a quick rundown of its features:

Parents Version

The GoHenry parents’ version allows parents to:

  • Manage up to 4 children’s accounts
  • Make one-off payments
  • Set up regular payments
  • Invite relatives or other family members to contribute
  • Control where the cards can be used (such as in-store, online, as well as cash machines)
  • Set spending limits
  • Set tasks for the kids
  • Block and unblock cards
  • Receive instant spending notifications

It is also important to note that the parents’ version home screen allows moms and dads to see the balance of their own account so they can easily top up or transfer money to your children’s account.

Furthermore, you are also able to see how much your kids have spent, saved, as well as the amount that is currently available for spending.

Apart from setting a limit, blocking and unblocking, the cards section also allows parents to retrieve pin number as well as order custom debit card for your kid.

The GoHenry app also allows parents to edit their kids’ weekly allowance if there’s a need to.

Children Version

The GoHenry children version allows the kids to:

  • Budget based on their weekly allowance
  • Earn money by completing tasks
  • Save into specific savings goals
  • Ask family and relatives to contribute
  • Spend within the set limits
  • Get instant notifications about the reason behind declined transactions

On the GoHenry app’s children version, your kids will get to see their spending limit, the money they’ve already spend, as well as the money saved on the home tab.

Furthermore, the home screen allows shows how much allowance is due, when it is expected to be credited to the account, as well the number of tasks remaining.

On one hand, the card tab shows the spending transactions, the pin number, as well as the limit set on the card.

On the other hand, the earning tab allows your kids to see the tasks available. The completed ones are highlighted, to differentiate them from those that are yet to be completed.

Meanwhile, the saving tab allows you to set new goals and see the current progress on existing goals.

WHAT FEATURES DOES GOHENRY HAVE?

In this section of our GoHenry review, we are going to tackle the features that GoHenry offers.

By signing up with GoHenry, you will automatically get access to the following:

  • Parental Account
  • Children Account
  • GoHenry Prepaid Visa Card

Parental Account

This account allows parents to top up their children’s accounts as well as adjust parental controls. The parent account is fully accessible through the GoHenry mobile app.

The parental account comes full of chances to support learning about money, as well as to reinforce parenting.                     

As mentioned earlier, parental accounts allow parents to do the following:

  • Manage up to 4 children’s accounts
  • Make one-off payments
  • Set up regular payments
  • Invite relatives or other family members to contribute
  • Control where the cards can be used (such as in-store, online, as well as cash machines)
  • Set spending limits
  • Set tasks for the kids
  • Block and unblock cards
  • Receive instant spending notifications

Children Account

With this account, children are able to do the following:

  • Budget based on their weekly allowance
  • Earn money by completing tasks
  • Save into specific savings goals
  • Ask family and relatives to contribute
  • Spend within the set limits
  • Get instant notifications about the reason behind declined transactions

GoHenry Prepaid Visa Card

The GoHenry Prepaid Visa Card works just like any other regular debit card. It can be used online, in-store, as well as at cashpoints (if allowed). Although the card comes for free, you can customize it for only $4.99.

It is important to note though that while there is no limit to the number of children that are subscribed to the GoHenry service, each child will incur the same subscription cost. The GoHenry subscription costs $3.99 per month.

WHO CAN USE THE GOHENRY APP?

Now that you already know what GoHenry is all about and what it has to offer, this time we’ll talk about who is eligible for a GoHenry account.

As of this writing, GoHenry account and services are only available in both the United Kingdom and the United States.

While some people thought there is a big difference between the two versions, there’s actually not that much except for the currency used.

Regardless if you are using a GoHenry US or UK version, you will get the same type or level of functionality.

Now, given the fact that the app is only available in these two locations, it means that if you are outside the UK or the US, you cannot use GoHenry.

Also, it is very important to note that the system was specifically designed to cater to children aged six to 18. So, if your kids are older than 18, then, GoHenry is not the perfect tool for you.

Another thing, GoHenry is only helpful if you have kids. It doesn’t make sense if you do not have one.

ARE THERE FEES INVOLVED WITH GOHENRY?

One thing we particularly notice (and we like as well) about GoHenry is their transparency when it comes to fees involved.

All fees and charges are provided upfront, which means you are not blindsided. You know from the start how much this and that costs.

Now, while signing up with GoHenry is free of charge, and that there is no limit as to how many children you want to enroll, it is very important to note that there is a monthly fee of $3.99 per child account, and this comes without exemptions.

Furthermore, as we have said earlier, the GoHenry prepaid card is free, but if you wish to customize it, it comes with a price. Customized prepaid cards cost $4.99 each. The same amount goes for the replacement of lost, stolen, or damaged cards.

Meanwhile, balance inquiry using the GoHenry app is free, as well as reloading of a debit card, customer service, and inactivity (after 12 months with no activity on the account).

Unlike other mobile banks or apps of similar use or level, GoHenry charges $1.50 for ATM withdrawals — both for in and out of network withdrawals. It is important to note that some ATM owners or ATM networks may charge an additional fee.

Furthermore, international ATM withdrawals are charged $1.50. Take note that you may also be charged a fee by the ATM operator regardless if you completed a transaction or not.

As mentioned earlier, GoHenry neither charges an overdraft fee nor offer a credit feature.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING GOHENRY?

Similar to any other online money portals out there, GoHenry has its share of pros and cons.

We found some really interesting benefits, and this includes:

  • Full Parental Control – Unlike other similar online apps, GoHenry provides parents will full control of the account (as stated earlier).
  • Multiple Child Accounts – GoHenry does not limit as to how many children you want to sign up for. However, this means the same subscription cost for each account.
  • Free Trial – GoHenry provides a one-month free trial, which means you can cancel your subscription anytime you feel it’s not the app for you and your children.
  • Family and Relatives Contribution – The mobile budgeting app allows not only parents but also other family members and relatives to contribute to the child’s allowance if they want to.
  • Real-Time Notifications – GoHenry provides real-time alerts for both spendings and failed transactions.
  • Reasonable Subscription Fee – GoHenry charges $3.99 per month as a subscription fee, which when compared to other similar apps out there, it’s pretty much reasonable.
  • Incentives – The app can be used to give incentives to your kids to make them earn money. Parents can add new chores, and decide how much they will pay for their kids for doing the tasks. This is on top of their weekly allowance. Doing so teaches them the value of hard-earned money.
  • Encourages Savings and Financial Goals – Using Gohenry encourages your children to save and to set financial goals at such an early age. A valuable lesson that is very helpful, really, especially when they become an adult.

WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES OF USING GOHENRY?

As we have said in the last section, while there are benefits of using GoHenry, there are also a few downsides.

Some of the things we do not like about GoHenry are as follows:

  • No Interest – Unfortunately, GoHenry does not pay an interest, which means whatever amount you put into your child’s account, that remains as is.
  • Cannot Load Cash – Another thing we do not particularly like about GoHenry is that it does not offer a cash loading option. It limits the ability of parents to load money into their kids’ accounts.
  • Oversees Charges Apply – As per GoHenry, a $1.50 international withdrawal fee is charged if you withdraw money from your GoHenry card abroad.
  • Only One Parent Can Control The Account – For some, it may not be an issue, but for other parents, it might be. Unfortunately, GoHenry only allows one parent to have control over the account.
  • Monthly Subscription Fee Per Child – If you have two or more children, paying off $3.99 per child a month for the subscription fee can be quite expensive. It would be nice if GoHenry offers a family plan instead of a per child fee.

IS GOHENRY SAFE?

One of the common concerns of consumers when it comes to mobile banking or a mobile budgeting app is the safety and security of both personal information as well as the money itself.

In GoHenry’s case, we got to say that your account is safe and secure. The institution made sure that all safety and security measures are in place to ensure their customers’ trust and confidence.

To make sure that your account is well taken care of, GoHenry uses the following:

  • State of the art chip security
  • PIN-protected transactions
  • 256-bit encryption like the banks use

Furthermore, GoHenry makes sure there is no risk of overspending, and in case your card is lost, you can easily block it so no one gets to use it.

Also, all GoHenry accounts are FDIC-insured of up to $250,000.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON GOHENRY REVIEW

So, if you were to ask us, is GoHenry worth the time and money, what would our answer be?

We got to say that it actually depends. If you are a parent who is looking into modernizing your approach to giving your kid’s allowance, then we have to say, GoHenry is a tried and tested method, and that it’s a good option.

Needless to say, it is a reputable company with lots of investors, which means it’s not dropping off anytime soon.

Are you having some uneasy thoughts yet or you are convinced that this is the right tool for you?

We hope that through this GoHenry review you are able to gauge if this one’s indeed the right tool that will help teach your kids how to handle their money well.

Categories
Investment Apps and Websites

Marcus Review: How It Differs From Other Online Banks

In this Marcus review, we will look into how this online bank stands as compared to other banks of the same level in the market.

Marcus Review: How It Differs To Other Online Banks

In a Business Insider article, it says that based on a survey by Finder, which is a banking comparison site, it was found that today, American of all ages are open to online-only banks.

In fact, about 30% of American people have an existing account or are planning to open an account with their preferred online bank.

Currently, according to a Forbes report, there are 58 nationally available online banks in the country. Among these online banks is Marcus, which is what we are going to focus on in today’s review.

By the way, for those who are not that familiar with the term “online bank” yet, it basically refers to financial institutions that operate mainly or primarily on the internet. Also known as virtual banks or internet banks, these institutions allow their users or account holders to manage their accounts using either their mobile devices or their computer anytime and anywhere they are.

RELATED ARTICLES:

In most cases, online banks do not have a physical branch, which means all banking transactions are made entirely online.

Now, moving back, as mentioned, today, we are going to particularly focus on Marcus, which is an online bank by Goldman Sachs, which is one of Wall Street’s best-known names in investment banking.

We’ll see how this online bank fairs as compared to other online banks out there.

For your reference, we are going to particularly tackle the following:

  • What is Marcus?
  • What does Marcus offer?
  • How to open a Marcus account?
  • Are there fees involved?
  • What to like about Marcus?
  • What not to like about Marcus?
  • Is Marcus safe?

WHAT IS MARCUS?

As mentioned earlier, Marcus is the consumer banking offering of Goldman Sachs, which is one of Wall Street’s best-known names when it comes to investment banking. It was in 2016 when the bank expanded its offering to online banking.

Marcus offers high-yield savings accounts, high-yield certificates of deposit, as well as no-fee personal loans.

Although the online bank is relatively new as compared to other institutions of the same level, as of October 2020, Marcus reported having $96 billion in deposits already.

Marcus was named after one of its founders, Marcus Goldman, and is positioned as a simple and accessible online banking that provides consumers added control over their personal finances.

Furthermore, Marcus has a relatively approachable image that is focused on helping people achieve financial well-being, at the same time helping them become smarter when it comes to handling their money.

Contrary to other online banks out there, Marcus does not offer as many types of financial products. In fact, what they currently have are high rates.

If you are interested in knowing more about Marcus by Goldman Sachs, check this very informative video below by MONEY with Eddie Yoon:

Similar to most online banks, Marcus online bank does not have a physical branch, which means, if you are someone who prefers an online bank with a traditional banking option still, this may not be the perfect choice for you.

Marcus mobile banking app is available on both the App Store and on Google Play, making it available for both iOS and Android users.

By the way, Marcus ranks as one of the best online savings accounts. Also, the bank’s personal loans have been recognized in 2019 by J.D. Power as number one when it comes to personal loan satisfaction.

Marcus is based in the United States and is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which means all funds deposited into Marcus’s accounts are insured by the federal government for up to the maximum amount allowed by the law.

WHAT DOES MARCUS OFFER?

In the last section, we have provided you some of the most important information about what Marcus is all about.

This time around, in this part of our Marcus review, we are going to look deeper into what this online bank has to offer.

Currently, Marcus offers a very simple line up of products, which include:

  • Savings Account
  • Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
  • Personal Loans

Savings Account

Marcus offers an online savings account — a classic online bank account that comes without fees, and a high annual percentage yield (APY).

On one hand, while most banks say that they do not charge monthly fees, Marcus, on the other hand, explicitly says that account holders need not pay fees for this particular type of account.

This basically means, no monthly fees, no service fees, as well as other fees usually charged by other online banks.

Furthermore, Marcus Savings Account does not have a minimum deposit requirement. They do have, however, a maximum limit of $1 million per account and not to exceed $3 million per account owner.

Meanwhile, it is important to note though that while Marcus does not charge fees when an account holder exceeds the withdrawal limit, the bank may, however, close the account. So, account holders must be very careful with that.

Now, when it comes to rates, the rate offers by Marcus is quite attractive. In fact, the bank has better terms of interest rates as compared to most big banks in the country.

Currently, Marcus pays a 0.50% APY.

Based on the characteristics of Marcus Savings Account, we got to say that this type of bank account is ideal for keeping an emergency savings fund, or if you want to save up for a particular financial goal like a family vacation, a new car, home renovations, etc.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

As mentioned, another product offering of Marcus is Certificates of Deposit (CDs). This online bank offers a couple of different types of CDs, which include:

High-Yield CD

Marcus’s high-yield Certificates of Deposit allows consumers to lock in a relatively high rate for a particular length of time.

More so, what is nice about it is that the online bank offers a 10-day rate guarantee, which means if Marcus raises rates within 10 days after the consumer opens a CD, he or she automatically get the higher rate.

The high-yield CD is available for a minimum deposit of $500. As mentioned, it comes with a fixed rate of return depending on the term you choose.

Marcus’s high-yield CD terms range between six months and six years.

Similar to most CDs offered in the market, Marcus’s high-yield CDs charge a certain fee for early withdrawals. Keep in mind that CDs are meant to stay long in the bank. It should be untouched for a certain period of time. However, if in case you need the money, you may withdraw it but, as mentioned, with a cost.

The early withdrawal penalty amounts to a certain number of days’ worth of interest.

No-Penalty CD

If you want to stay away from getting charged with an early withdrawal penalty at the same time still earn a high APY, the no-penalty CD is ideal for you.

With this type of account, you can withdraw the funds without penalty any time after seven days. You still get a guaranteed rate, though, for the full term of the CD.

No-Penalty CD terms available are seven months, 11 months, and 13 months. You can earn 0.45% with a seven months term, and similar to the other CD account type, the minimum deposit required is $500.

What is nice about this particular CD type is that it allows you to lock in on a great APY, at the same time, you have the flexibility to withdraw the funds seven days after funding without having to worry about penalties.

The No-Penalty CD is ideal for holding emergency savings, or for saving up for a specific financial goal (such as family getaways, home improvements, special occasions, etc.), or any other savings goal you have in mind.

Personal Loans

Another product offering by Marcus is Personal Loans, which can be used for various purposes. It could be for paying off credit card debts, for home improvements, or for other financial goals.

What we particularly like about this product is that Marcus offers no-fee personal loans for amounts of up to $40,000, with APRs that range between 6.99% and 19.99%.

The online bank’s personal loans have flexible loan terms that range from 36 to 72 months. Furthermore, you can also avail of a reduced APR by 0.25% if you sign up for auto-pay.

Please note, though, that all loans are subject to credit approval. More so, your monthly payment will depend on the interest rate, loan amount, as well as loan term.

Marcus personal loans have consistently received high marks from J.D. Power (as mentioned earlier) in its yearly consumer Satisfaction Studies. The said study measures customer satisfaction based on four key areas, which include application and approval process; billing and payment; interaction; and loan offerings and terms.

HOW TO OPEN A MARCUS ACCOUNT?

So, now that you already know what Marcus is all about and the products it offers, this time, let’s talk about how to actually open a Marcus account.

The process is pretty simple and easy —

Anyone in the United States can apply for a Marcus account online by providing an email address and a mobile phone number.

To be eligible to open an account, you must be more than 18 years of age, and a resident of the United States (for tax purposes). Also, similar to any financial institution in the country, Marcus online bank will also ask you to provide basic personal information to complete your bank account application.

Your Marcus account is accessible and manageable online, and you also have the option to speak to the Marcus team over the phone through 1-855-730-7283.

Meanwhile, once you are done processing your account application, the next step would be funding your account.

To add funds to your Marcus Online Savings Account, all you need to do is transfer the money from a linked account. Unlike other online banks though, this is the only way you can top up your account.

Now, to be able to do this, you will need the sort code and account number of your Marcus Online Savings Account.

ARE THERE FEES INVOLVED?

There are a lot of online banks out there, but they differ from each other in different ways. One of the common differences though is fees and charges.

With Marcus, as we have mentioned earlier, for its Online Savings Account, customers can expect the following:

  • No Monthly Fees/Maintenance Fees
  • No Service Fees
  • No Transaction Fees

Furthermore, the online bank does not charge for when an account holder exceeds the withdrawal limit. However, the bank may close the account.

As with Marcus’s High-Yield Certificates of Deposit (CDs), it does charge an early withdrawal penalty, which amounts to the specific number of days’ worth of interest.

Meanwhile, for the bank’s Personal Loans, Marcus offers no-fee personal loan amounts specifically for the borrowed amounts of up to $40,000.

Generally, we got to say that online banking with Marcus allows you to save a lot of money as compared to other banks of the same level.

WHAT TO LIKE ABOUT MARCUS?

As we always say, every institution has its share of pros and cons. For Marcus, some of the things we particularly like are as follows:

  • No Minimum Deposit Required – With Marcus, customers do not need to spend masses of cash. Even with just a few bucks or nothing at all, you can open a Marcus account.
  • High-Yield Account – Marcus has a very impressive annual percentage yield (APY). The rates are absolutely competitive as compared to other online banks out there.
  • No Bank Fees – Contrary to many online banks out there, Marcus does not charge anything (unless stated). Marcus does not charge monthly maintenance fees, transaction fees, service fees, and other fees usually charged by online banks.
  • Low Minimum Deposit for CDs – Marcus only requires at least a $500 deposit for its Certificates of Deposit accounts.
  • Award-Winning Personal Loans – Marcus’s personal loans consistently received high marks from J.D. Power (as mentioned earlier) in its yearly consumer Satisfaction Studies.
  • 24/7 Mobile and Online Access – Since Marcus is an online account, it gives consumers 24/7 access to their accounts.
  • FDIC-Insured – Marcus is an FDIC-insured online bank, which means, in the event that the bank fails, all depositors’ money is insured for up to $250,000.

WHAT NOT TO LIKE ABOUT MARCUS?

Surely, Marcus does have its share of good qualities. But as we always say, there is no such thing as a perfect online bank. It does have its share of cons.

Some of the things we do not like about Marcus is as follows:

  • No Physical Branch – Just like a lot of online banks in the market today, Marcus does not have a physical branch, which makes it not ideal for people who opt to have a more traditional banking experience.
  • No Checking Accounts – Unfortunately, Marcus does not offer to check accounts yet. However, there is news that the bank is planning to launch its checking account product in 2021. We look forward to it!
  • No Cards– Another downside of Marcus is that it does not have cards. Marcus offers an entirely online savings account. Thus, no card is available as of this time.
  • No Mobile Check Deposit – Apart from the fact that it does not have a checking account, Marcus does not have mobile check capabilities as well.
  • Limited Mobile App – If you are someone who’s keen on digital banking app features like spending notifications and savings tools that allows you to manage your funds better, Marcus may not be the right choice for you. The Marcus mobile app is literally simple and straightforward.

IS MARCUS SAFE?

Our Marcus review will not be complete without us answering the question if the bank is safe.

To answer, yes, Marcus online bank is safe.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is an FDIC-insured online bank, which means that all account holders’ money is insured by the federal government for up to $250,000. So, in the event that the bank fails, you are assured that your money is safe and secured.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THIS MARCUS REVIEW

Marcus is an online bank that is created by one of the most trusted names in investment banking, Goldman Sachs.

With that alone, customers are insured that their money is safe and secured. Needless to say, the best service possible.

Although Marcus does have its share of downsides, we thought that eventually, these downsides will be addressed, and in due time, Marcus will be able to provide an excellent entirely online banking experience.

Overall, we got to say that the quality of what the online bank offers are pretty much impressive.

Marcus offers the best APYs for both a high-yield savings account and a high-yield certificate of deposit in spite of the fact that the bank has low requirements for minimum deposits as well as no-fee accounts.

With all that, do you think Marcus is the right online banking institution for you? We hope so.

To end, we hope that this Marcus review has given answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the bank and that it provided clarity as to how it fairs as compared to other online banks out there. Just to say, it did fair well.

Categories
Investment Apps and Websites

Varo Money Review: How It Differs From Other Mobile Banks

In this Varo money review, we are going to look into how this startup bank tries to disrupt traditional banking through monthly-fee-free accounts and an entirely mobile experience.

 Varo Money Review: How It Differs From Other Mobile Banks

Back in 2013, research conducted by Pew Research Center revealed that 51% of American adults or 61% of internet users in the country do online banking. Meanwhile, 32% or 35% of the total number of cell phone users opt to do banking using their mobile phone.

Fast-forward to 2018, a report published by Statista states that based on a survey conducted, it was found that 693% of Millennials are or have used mobile banking, while 24% of Baby Boomers do online banking as well.

Furthermore, in the said report, it says that probable reasons behind the rise in number have something to do with how flexible and convenient mobile banking is. Well, with people nowadays being always on-the-go, it is not surprising at all if one of these days all traditional banks will focus on strengthening their mobile banking services.

While there are a lot more people who are into online banking particularly mobile banking, there are still a few who are not into it. Some are kind of hesitant or worried about security and if it’s really convenient to do banking online.

RELATED ARTICLES:

These concerns are valid and that is why Varo Bank makes sure it offers plenty of capability for users who are always on-the-go. With a mobile app and broad ATM network, Varo Bank ensures complete basic banking and savings transactions for each of its customers.

Furthermore, when it comes to safety and security concerns, Varo ensures customers’ personal information and money are well-protected by its 256-bit AES encryption.

Now, are you curious to know more about what Varo Bank has to offer?

If your answer is yes, then you are in the right place as we are going to dissect all essential information every customer needs to know regarding Varo Bank.

In this Varo money review, we are going to particularly talk about the following:

  • What is Varo Bank?
  • What does Varo Bank have to offer?
  • How to open an account with Varo Bank?
  • Are there fees and charges involved?
  • What are the benefits of using Varo Bank?
  • What are the downsides of using Varo Bank?
  • Is Varo Bank safe?

WHAT IS VARO BANK?

When looking for a mobile bank partner, it is important to take time to get to know the bank you are eyeing for.

A little history of the bank will help establish your trust and confidence in doing business with them. You get to see how credible and how trustworthy they are.

With that said, let’s get to know more about Varo.

Varo was founded in 2015. Compared to other online banks, it is relatively new. No wonder why some people wonder about the reliability and the authenticity of the bank.

Moving on, based in San Francisco and Utah, Varo was established to be an all-mobile bank that offers both checking and savings accounts.

As we have mentioned earlier, Varo aims to disrupt traditional banking and even other online-only banks by providing customers with monthly-fee-free accounts and an entirely mobile experience.

Varo is part of the growing neo in the United States, which makes it the first of the bank scene.

Recently, Varo worked on becoming a fully-fledged bank, making it the first of its kind in the country to receive full approval.

By becoming a full-fledged bank, it means Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will offer Varo customers deposit insurance up to $250,000.

Varo has a very bright and interesting future, to be honest. With it becoming a full-fledged bank is just the beginning of better days ahead for this mobile bank.

Before moving on to our Varo money review, here’s an interesting and very insightful and informative Varo Bank review by MONEY with Eddie Yoon that we thought you should check out:

WHAT DOES VARO BANK HAVE TO OFFER?

Now that you already know a brief history about Varo and what to expect from it in the future, this time around in our Varo money review, we are going to talk about the different products and services that this all-mobile bank has to offer.

As earlier mentioned, Varo offers the following:

  • Savings Account
  • Checking Account

Now let’s look into each of these items —

Savings Account

Varo does only have one savings account, and this one’s a high-yield account that comes without fees whatsoever.

Since the Varo Savings Account does not charge any fees, savers can earn up to 2.80% APY, which is very competitive as compared to other mobile-only banks out there.

While it all sounds good, the Varo Savings Account is only available for savers who have already an existing checking account with Varo, which they call a Varo Bank Account.

Additionally, savers can only earn the said 2.80% APY if they meet the following requirements:

Ensure a daily savings account balance of up to $10,000

Make at least five debit card purchases for every calendar month

Receive $1,000 or more in direct deposits during the same calendar month

If you fail to meet the above-mentioned requirements, your rate will only be 0.81% APY.

Please take note that all three must be met. If for example a savings account holder keeps a daily balance of $10,000 or more but does not meet the other two requirements, he or she will not be eligible as well for the 2.80% APY.

Just the same, even if a saver meets the two other requirements, but holds a daily savings balance of more than $10,000, the rate automatically drops down to 0.81% as well.

If, however, you do not mind about the APY, it is important to note that Varo does not require a minimum balance on its savings account. A saver needs no more than $0.01 in his or her account to start earning interest.

As mentioned, a saver is required to have a Varo checking account in order to open the Varo savings account. Although there are those requirements, what we find nice about it is that it comes with benefits.

Specifically, Varo Bank has two automatic savings options to help encourage savers to reach their savings goals.

The automatic savings options include:

Save Your Pay – This program by Varo allows savers to select a percentage of every direct deposit into their Varo checking account to have automatically transferred to their Varo savings account.

Save Your Change – This program allows savers to make purchases anytime using the Varo debit card. When used for purchasing, Varo will round up the amount to the nearest dollar, and then, transfer that amount from the saver’s Varo checking account into his or her Varo savings account.

Checking Account

This time around, let’s talk about Varo’s checking account.

The only checking account option from Varo is what they officially call the “Varo Bank Account”.

This checking account comes with an impressive punch for a fairly simple offering.

The key benefits of using a Varo Bank Account include:

  • No monthly maintenance charges
  • No minimum balance required
  • No overdraft fees
  • Early direct deposit

The Varo checking account comes with a Visa debit card, which you can use to withdraw, as well as in making purchases.

By the way, while Varo does not charge fees or interest, this is only applicable if users meet the following requirements:

  • The user must make five debit purchases every month.
  • The user must receive payroll or government direct deposits of at least $1,000 every month.

Furthermore, with regards to the no overdraft fee benefit, Varo checking account customers must enroll in No Fee Overdraft, which is available in the Varo app, so the feature gets activated. In case you did overdraft your account, Varo gives you 30 calendar days to pay the amount back. Varo, however, automatically takes the amount from your next direct deposit.

In addition to the benefits, Varo users also can send money to other Varo accounts without having to worry about getting charged a fee. Varo to Varo instant transfer feature is absolutely free. The downside of this account, though, is that you cannot use your Varo account in making wire transfers.

HOW TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH VARO BANK?

By now, you already know what Varo is all about, and the products that the bank offers.

At this point in our Varo money review, we are going to talk about how one can actually open a Varo account.

If you are interested in opening a Varo account, then, you got to check this section out.

Opening An Account

Anyway, as mentioned earlier, Varo offers an entirely digital service, which means, if you are looking for a physical branch, Varo does not have it.

Similar to most digital banks out there, Varo promises an easy and simple process when opening an account with them. In fact, the process is very straightforward and convenient.

Unlike traditional banks, you can do it in just a few minutes. No need to do paperwork and definitely, no long waits.

To apply for a Varo account, first of all, users have to download the Varo app. The Varo app is available for both iOS and Apple users.

Once done downloading, to proceed with the process, users need to follow the on-screen prompts to complete the whole account application.

As we have said, the process is simple and easy it takes no longer than five minutes to finish.

By the way, just the same as other digital banks, you will be asked to provide some personal information, as well as undergo an identity verification process by providing either a valid ID or a passport.

Should users encounter any problem upon signing up, Varo offers a variety of customer service lines that will offer fast and friendly advice or recommendations.

Adding Funds

In relation to opening an account with Varo, we also wanted to share with you how to actually add funds into your account.

As mentioned, Varo does not have a physical branch, so, to make up for that, the bank offers five easy ways to deposit money into your Varo account.

First, the quickest way to put money into your Varo account is through direct deposit. Varo allows you to pay money into the account yourself or you may opt to use it to receive your paycheck directly into your account.

With Varo’s direct deposit option, users get to receive their salary up to two days early. Additionally, users can receive instant pay from Uber and/or Lyft if you are employed by these companies.

The second option to fund your account is by transferring money from an external bank account through the app and through your other bank’s online banking service.

The third option is by making a transfer of funds from PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, and other similar platforms.

The fourth way of putting money into your Varo account is by cashing in a paper check using your smartphone camera.

Last, but certainly, not least the option to fund your Varo account is through cash deposits. Unlike many digital banks, Varo accepts cash deposits. All you have to do is deposit the cash at a Green Dot location or with a MoneyPak.

You see, funding your Varo account is easy. You got not only one but five options to choose from – and we have to say, they’re all easy and very accessible.

ARE THERE FEES AND CHARGES INVOLVED?

The answer to this question is — mostly none.

With Varo, users are free from being charged for the following:

  • Monthly maintenance fees
  • Overdraft fees or interest owed for overdrafts
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No debit card replacement fees
  • Money Transfer fees (Varo to Varo)

However, as mentioned, these can only be benefited by the account holder (particularly, Varo Bank Account holder) if he or she meets the following requirements:

The user must make five debit purchases every month.

The user must receive payroll or government direct deposits of at least $1,000 every month.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING VARO BANK?

We are almost done with our Varo money review. But, similar to our previous bank reviews, this review will not be complete without pin-pointing the pros and cons.

So, first, let’s talk about the pros or the benefits of using Varo. Some of the benefits we found include:

  • No Monthly Fees – By having a Varo account, you do not have to worry about the minimum balance required, card replacement fees, monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees or interest owed for overdrafts, transfer fees, and foreign transaction fees.
  • No Fee Overdraft – An account holder automatically gets eligible for No Fee Overdraft if he or she receives at least a $1,000 direct deposit every month, at the same time, makes at least five debit card purchases per month. No Fee Overdraft means Varo will cover an overdraft of up to $50 without fees and interest owed. The account holder’s next deposit in 30 days will reimburse the overdraft.
  • No Overdraft Fees – If in case the user does not qualify for the No Fee Overdraft, any transaction the person makes that would overdraw his or her account is automatically declined.
  • Visa Debit Card – Varo Bank Account comes with a Visa debit card that users can use anywhere Visa is accepted. The debit card can also be connected with Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, Cash App, as well as Venmo for seamless payments anywhere. This card also entitles the owner to the Visa Zero Liability guarantee, which ensures the user that he or she won’t be liable for any unauthorized charges on the card.
  • Great Mobile App – Varo, being an all-digital bank ensures users have the best digital banking experience. Thus, making sure that the Varo app delivers as it has promised. With the app, users can deposit checks using mobile deposit, send money instantly, receive alerts, as well as track spending.

WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES OF USING VARO BANK?

In the last section, we ran down a list of benefits. This time, we are going to share with you some of the downsides of using Varo. This includes the following:

  • High-Yield Savings Account Only – Unfortunately, Varo only offers a high-yield savings account. Unlike other banks of the same level, Varo does not offer other options.
  • Mobile-Only Platform – Although you can sign up on the Varo website, everything else can only be done using the Varo mobile app. So, unless you want app-based banking transactions, Varo may not be ideal for you.
  • No Checks – Unlike other mobile banks, Varo does not offer paper checks with its checking account. However, a check via the Varo mobile app is available in case you need one. The check is mailed within three to nine business days, though.

IS VARO BANK SAFE?

Safety and security both personal information and money are two very important things that people look into when it comes to mobile or online banks.

Fortunately, Varo is a safe mobile banking platform. Varo Bank N.A is FDIC insured, which means that the federal government protects the depositors’ money for up to $250,000 per depositor, for every account ownership category. This is particularly important in case of a bank failure.

Furthermore, Varo uses 256-bit AES encryption to ensure the safety and security of all the information they gather from every depositor, as well as their depositors’ money.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THIS VARO MONEY REVIEW

All in all, we got to say that Varo Bank has a very promising offering. Given the fact that is very new to the market, it offers amazing features that every user or depositor usually looks for in a digital bank.

So, do you consider opening an account with Varo yet?

We hope that this Varo money review has cleared your thoughts and worries, at the same time, has answered some of the most crucial questions when it comes to banking with Varo Bank.

Categories
Investment Apps and Websites

Simple Review: What Makes It The Right Mobile Bank For You

If you are looking for an online banking service provider with competitive rates plus other amazing features, then, this Simple review is right for you.

Simple Review: What Makes It The Right Mobile Bank For You

In a report entitled, “The Mobile Banking and Payment Revolution” by Sunil Gupta, he said that:

Mobile technology is revolutionizing the global banking and payment industry. It offers new opportunities for banks to provide added convenience to their existing customers in developed countries, and reach a large population of unbanked customers in emerging markets.”

Furthermore, the same report, says that “Mobile penetration is 105% in the U.S. and France and it is even higher in the U.K. and Germany at 130%.

However, the said report was published around 2012-2013, so imagine how the numbers have grown by now.

In the United States, in particular, based on data published by Statista, in a 2018 survey, it was found that the usage of mobile banking in the country vary depending on demographic groups.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Among Millennials, 69.3% of them are using or have used mobile banking. Meanwhile, only 24% of Baby Boomers have used or are using it.

Regardless of the difference in number, though, one thing’s evident – Americans these days are using mobile or online banking, and it is projected to increase even more in the years to come.

Without a doubt, technology and the internet have changed the way banking is done. But, it’s all for the better, if we may say.

Moving on, thanks to the continued innovation in the banking industry, over the years, more and more mobile banking entities are coming up, which gives consumers more options to choose from.

Among these options is Simple Bank.

As stated earlier, in this Simple review, we are going to provide you essential information on why Simple Bank may just be the right mobile banking for you.

In particular, we are going to tackle the following:

  • What is Simple Bank?
  • What does Simple Bank offer?
  • How to open an account with Simple Bank?
  • What are the benefits of using Simple Bank?
  • What are the downsides of using Simple Bank?
  • Is it safe to do banking with Simple Bank?

WHAT IS SIMPLE BANK?

First of all, let’s get to know more about Simple Bank.

As a consumer, it is our obligation to check the history of the bank to see if it is legit or if it is credible. After all, we are going to put our money into their care, right?

Based in Portland, Oregon, Simple Bank was launched in the market in 2009 as a way for consumers to have the option to escape from the usual frustrations they get from dealing with traditional banks.

Simple Bank is an entirely online mobile banking service provider that provides competitive rates, focuses on budgeting and payments, as well gives users the best mobile banking experience possible.

Simple’s founders, since its inception, have always envisioned to create a mobile banking platform that is less expensive and provides a frustration-free banking experience.

To ensure the bank stays true to its vision, Simple Bank uses BBVA USA for its banking services and FDIC insurance.

Meanwhile, if you want to know more about Simple Bank, and also get a glimpse of the bank’s mobile app, we recommend you check out this very informative video by Resolute Capital – Finance Videos:

WHAT DOES SIMPLE BANK OFFER?

In this section of our Simple Bank review, we are going to talk about the different products and services the bank offers.

This will give you an overview of what to expect from the bank. At the same time, help you gauge if Simple Bank is indeed the right bank for you.

So, Simple Bank offers two major products:

  • Checking Account, and
  • Certificate of Deposit.

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

Checking Account

Technically speaking, Simple Bank has three different checking accounts – Online Checking (Simple Account), High-Yield Checking (Protected Goals Account), and Shared Checking (Simple Shared Account).

However, for Protected Goals Account, in particular, it requires the customer to have a Simple Account first so he or she can open one.

Now, let’s take a look at each of these product offerings so we get to understand each better —

Online Checking (Simple Account)

As mentioned, Simple Account is Simple Bank’s primary account. Living up to its name, this account type comes with a simple fee structure.

The checking account, at least, as of this writing, does earn 0.01% APY. Contrary to other online banking services providers, the bank’s Simple Account does not have monthly fees, as well as minimum balance requirements.

Furthermore, the Simple Account also includes the following features:

  • No overdraft fees
  • No out-of-network ATM fees from Simple’s end
  • Check writing (The bank charges $5 for a book for checks.)
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Fee-free transactions in 40,000 ATMs through the Allpoint network
  • 1% international transaction charge when you use your debit card outside of the United States

Apart from these amazing features, Simple Bank’s Simple Account also comes with various built-in tools to help consumers manage their finances effectively. These tools include:

Automated Savings. This feature allows customers to set up their financial goals. By turning on round-up riles, every purchase made is rounded up to the dollar. The moment that changes reach $5, the money is automatically transferred to a Protected Goals account.

Budgeting Tools. What we like about Simple Account’s budgeting tools is that it gives consumers access to expense tracking, as well as budgeting within their checking account. This type of feature is particularly helpful among moms and other individuals who are responsible for budgeting finances. By the way, not many online banks provide such kind of tool.

Safe to Spend. This feature is a more advanced version of “available balance”. The Safe to Spend tool is very useful for things like savings goals, and future bills as this allow you to see how much you can actually afford to spend.

High-Yield Checking (Protected Goals Account)

Simple Bank’s high-yield checking account, which they call as Protected Goals Account actually works more like a savings account.

The only difference is that it requires you to open a Simple Account first before you can open one.

Protected Goals Account also offers impressive features, but the best of all is that it pays up to 1.20% APY on all balance tiers.

Furthermore, what’s nice about the Protected Goals Account is that customers are given the prerogative to set up savings goals using the account, and then, enable automated savings to help build up the goal balance faster.

Similar to the Simple Account, Protected Goals does not charge monthly fees, as well as require a minimum deposit amount.

The only downside of this type of account is that it does not come with an ATM card or checkbook. The account is meant entirely for savings.

The Protected Goals Account is ideal for those who want to build up savings for a specific cause like a travel fund, emergency fund, home renovation fund, etc.

Shared Checking (Simple Shared Account).

Another checking account that Simple Bank offers is the Shared Checking or what they call as Simple Shared Account.

This type of account is ideal for individuals (like husbands and wives, partners, friends, siblings, etc.) who want to share a bank account or pool funds together to achieve a common goal.

However, to be able to avail of this account option, both individuals need to open first a Simple account, respectively. The Simple account will then be used to fund the Shared Checking account.

The Simple Shared Account earns an interest that mirrors that from individual accounts.

Similarly, there is also what they call Shared Protected Goals to account where you can earn a 1.20% APY.

Certificate of Deposit

Another product offered by Simple Bank is the Certificate of Deposit.

Contrary to other mobile or online banks, Simple Bank offers a CD with only one term option only, which is 12 months.

Unlike its checking account options, Simple’s certificate of deposit requires a minimum opening deposit of $250. Also, the CDs come with a fixed interest rate of 1.00% APY, which compared to other traditional banks is definitely higher. However, it is much less contrary to other popular online banks.

What makes Simple Bank’s CD attractive to customers, though, is the fact that this one’s a no-penalty certificate of deposit. This means that customers get the benefits of a locked-in savings rate, as well as the ability to withdraw all their funds without any penalty whenever they want for as long as it has been seven days since opening.

Other Products

Apart from the checking account options, plus certificate of deposit, Simple Bank also offers personal loans, which is for another Simple review (a Simple personal loan review, perhaps?).

HOW TO OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH SIMPLE BANK?

Now that you already know a little history of Simple Bank plus the products that the mobile bank offers to the market, in this section of our Simple review, we are going to share with you how to actually open a Simple Bank account.

Compared to most neobanks and challenger banks out there, opening an account with Simple Bank does not require you to download an app. You can process your application instead of on its website.

As part of the entire account application process, you will be asked to fill in some basic personal information. Once done, you will then be asked to verify your identity.

Simple Bank does state, however, that once your Simple bank account is already up and running, you must download their app to get more out of the services that the bank provides.

Since Simple Bank has eliminated all fees from the financial services that they offer, this only means that customers can avail of their services for free, which definitely is something rare among mobile is banking service providers out there.

By the way, apart from its website, interested individuals may also open an account by calling 888-248-0632.

Similar to the process on its website, those who opt to open an account through phone calls will also be asked to provide personal information to push through with setting up the bank account.

Requirements to Open an Account

In relation to the process of opening a Simple Bank account, please note the following important requirements:

  • The account holder must be a citizen of the United States.
  • The account holder has to be 18 years old and above.
  • The account holder must hold a valid U.S. taxpayer identification number.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING SIMPLE BANK?

All banks, traditional or mobile do have their respective pros and cons, which is not surprising at all because there is no such thing as a perfect bank.

In this section, we are going to talk about the benefits of using Simple Bank.

In particular, we commend Simple Bank for providing the following features:

  • No Monthly Fees. One of the core principles of Simple Bank is not having hidden fees, which in their perspective is best done by not charging any fees at all.  Thus, by using Simple Bank, you do not have to worry about monthly maintenance fees, ATM fees, or other common fees charged by banks.
  • No Minimum Balance Requirements. Whether it be a checking account or a certificate of deposit, Simple Bank does not have a minimum balance requirement.
  • Competitive APY on Protected Goals Account. Simple Bank offers competitive interest rates among its Protected Goals account (whether it be for individuals or shared).
  • No Overdraft Fees. As mentioned earlier, Simple Bank does not have hidden charges. In fact, they do not charge common bank charges at all — which includes overdraft fees.
  • 40,000+ fee-free ATM network. With Simple Bank, you can use your debit card in over 40,000 ATM network for free.
  • Built-in Budgeting Tools. Not all mobile banks offer this kind of tool, which makes Simple Bank standout also from other mobile banking service providers. Simple Bank’s budgeting tools are especially helpful for people who need help when it comes to handling finances.
  • Quick and Easy Online Sign-up Process. Similar to most online banks out there, Simple Bank does offer a quick and easy online sign-up process through its website.
  • Slick and User-Friendly Web and App Interface. The bank lives up to its name that is why even though its platforms, the bank ensures you go through a simple, easy to navigate web and app interface.

WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES OF USING SIMPLE BANK?

As we have said earlier, no bank is perfect, and the same goes for Simple Bank.

Now that we’ve already shared some of the best features of Simple Bank, this time, we’ll share with you some of the downsides we found out about using Simple Bank.

Our list includes the following:

  • Average CD rates. Simple Bank’s certificate of deposit earns 1.00% APY only, which is very decent compared to that of traditional banks. Although, as mentioned, it is kind of lower as with other well-known online banks.
  • No Savings Account. Although Simple Bank’s Protected Goals Account functions similarly to that of a savings account, it still does not count as one because first and foremost, you have to open a Simple checking account to be able to open one. So, yeah, technically, Simple Bank does not have a concrete savings account option.
  • No Cash Deposits. Unfortunately, customers do not have an option to do cash deposits with Simple. The only available options to fund your account is through direct deposits, electronic transfers, mobile deposits, or by sending a check via mail.
  • No Online Bills Payment. Contrary to other mobile banks out there, Simple Bank does not have an online bill payment option. Although customers can opt to set up bill pay through vendor options, they do not have one that is direct to the Simple online account.
  • One CD Term Only. Unlike other mobile banks, Simple Bank only offers one-term on its certificate of deposit, which means you have no other options. Unless you are looking for a 12-month CD term only, then Simple Bank’s CD may work for you.

IS IT SAFE TO DO BANKING WITH SIMPLE BANK?

One of the most important questions among customers of online banks is if the bank is safe and secured, which is totally understandable because, at the end of the day, you are entrusting them your hard-earned money.

Anyway, with Simple Bank, you are assured that they are legit and credible.

All funds deposited in Simple Bank account are FDIC-insured through Simple’s partner bank, BBVA USA (FDIC# 19048).

FDIC insurance means the federal government protects your money up to $250,000 per depositor, for each account ownership category should the bank fails in the future.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON SIMPLE REVIEW

Overall, with all that’s been said, we’ve come to the conclusion that Simple Bank is particularly ideal for those who are looking for (more than just what we’ve initially mentioned) any of the following:

  • A payment account that works both with a debit card and checks
  • An account that does not charge you fees
  • A clear view of their monthly expenses through the bank’s budgeting tools
  • An account that will help you reach your financial goals
  • Competitive interest earnings particularly on long-term savings
  • Zero-sum budgeting that is integrated into their bank accounts
  • Mobile alerts every time an amount of money is withdrawn from the account

To end, we hope that through this Simple review, we are able to provide you with the right information to help you get into a decision on whether this mobile bank is the one you are looking for.

Categories
Investment Apps and Websites

9 Advantages Of Online Banking That Will Change The Way You See It

Knowing the advantages of online banking will definitely change the way you see it. It will open up your eyes to the benefits it gives you, and who knows, you might just end up giving up traditional banking to online banking.

advantages of online banking

In this day and age, thanks to technological advancements and the internet, a lot of banks out there offer online banking. Online banking, to say the least, is very helpful. In fact, it gives so much convenience — it makes paying bills, transferring money, and accessing a record of your accounts so much easier.

All these you can do with just a click of a finger.

The rise of online banking is eminent.

RELATED ARTICLES:

In fact, according to a study conducted by Pew Research Center, they found that “fifty-one percent of U.S. adults, or 61% of internet users, bank online. Thirty-two percent of U.S. adults, or 35% of cell phone owners, bank using their mobile phones.” This was back in 2013. So, imagine the rise in numbers by now.

Meanwhile, in another data presented by Statista, it says that in their 2018 survey, they found that the use of online banking differs from one demographic group to another. They found that “69.3 percent of Millennials used mobile banking,” while “only 24 percent of Baby boomers used it.”

However, regardless of the numbers, one thing’s for sure, mobile banking rose and continues to rise for two evident reasons — convenience and flexibility to bank customers.

You see, the numbers do not lie. The data we presented from different organizations only show that indeed, online banking is beneficial among consumers.

To help you appreciate even more the advantages of online banking, we are going to share with you a few of the most common or popular benefits of using one.

But before that, let’s do a little online banking 101 first.

ONLINE BANKING: A QUICK BACKGROUNDER

The commercialization of the internet evolved way back early 1990s. The internet change the way businesses operate — including financial institutions.

When the internet boomed, traditional brick-and-mortar banks started looking for ways to deliver online services to their clients.

In the beginning, it was quite limited, but eventually, efforts succeeded. Many banks expanded their internet presence by getting into improvised websites that feature the ability to open new accounts, as well as download forms, and eventually, process loan applications.

All these led to the inception and the rise of internet-only banks.

Internet-only banks are banking institutions that offer online banking and other financial services without having a network of branch offices. Yes, they are just like any other brick-and-mortar banks sans the face-to-face transactions and branch visits.

Just a little walk down memory lane, the first-ever fully-functional direct bank insured by the FDIC was the Security First Network Bank. The bank started its operations back in October 1995. Security First along with other online banks that were launched after them were able to offer higher interest rates on deposit accounts, and eventually reduced services fees. All these were made possible because of the lower cost as they, after all, do not have overhead costs unlike traditional banks.

According to a report on banking behavior from the FDIC, they found more than 60% of account holders do online banking.

Online banking is becoming the new norm in the banking industry, especially among young consumers. Well, after all, we are in an era of everything digital so it’s not really surprising at all. Banks really need to keep up and innovate to keep going.

If you are interested to know more about what online banking is all about and how to use it, check out the below video by CK Studio. It basically says it all.

ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE BANKING

So, now that you already know the history and what online banking is all about, let’s move on to the real deal —

This time, we are going to share with you some of the benefits you will get from online banking:

1. Fast and Efficient

Let’s face it, digital banking or online banking really sets the bar in terms of speed and efficiency.

Unlike traditional banks, online banking allows you to transfer money, apply for a new loan or a new account, or perform nearly any banking transactions in just a click of a finger. You no longer have to travel to the branch and wait in line for a minute or even hours before your turn.

With online banking, waiting never exist — unless of course, you have a bad internet connection. But generally speaking, as long as you can log in, you can easily and abruptly access your accounts, even request a new credit card, or do any bank transactions you have in mind. You can also pay bills online, which really helps you save a lot of time.

2. Online Bills Payments

If you are a busy person, a mom, a dad, whoever you are with bills to pay, you will surely love the online bills payment feature of online banks.

Through your online bank, you can pay your bills, at the same time, protect yourself from having your check gets lost in the mail. You are also spared from going to establishments just to pay bills.

Most, if not all banks have a section wherein you can set up payees. All you need to do is fill out the information once, and then choose that same profile each time you pay a bill online.

In cases when your bank does not allow paying bills online, you may consider paying from the merchant’s website instead. However, be careful and make sure to check first before making transactions as some companies or merchants charge a convenience fee. Some would charge a fee for a debit card, but not if you set up a direct debit in your account.

Furthermore, when accessing your bank’s site on your mobile phone, most banks allow you to deposit checks by simply taking a snapshot of the document. Do you see how convenient is that? Online banking basically allows you to handle all your banking needs without having to go to the bank.

Then again, just make sure to always keep an eye on any fees and charges associated with online bill pay.

3. Money Transfer from One Account to Another

One of the advantages of online banking that we personally like is the fact that it allows you to transfer funds from one account to another.

Yes, online banking lets you do that — transferring money between accounts real quick. More so, you can check your available funds first before even spending or sending money to another account.

To be honest, online money transfer is very convenient as compared to automated phone service. Needless to say, it can save you a trip to the bank, which is kind of a hassle sometimes, right?

When setting up or applying for online banking, make sure to list all your accounts. That way, it would be easier for you to transfer funds, as well as pay loans online.

Can you transfer money from one bank to another?

The answer to that question is a resounding YES.

Online banks allow you to transfer money between different banks online. Although this will not happen as fast as transferring from one account to another from the same bank as the funds still needs to go between financial institutions, still, if you come to think of it, it is much more convenient than going and lining up in the bank.

As an online bank account user, it is important that you check if the bank has a limit on the number of online transfers. Usually, it depends on the type of account you have. Some banks would charge you with a fee when you go over the limit.

What’s nice about this feature is it makes sending funds easier, more convenient, and more accessible.

4. 24/7 Account and Service Access

Unlike traditional banks, online banks are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For as long as you have an internet connection of course.

In some cases, some banks take a step further by providing their customers with 24/7 phone access to real-life customer service agents.

To be honest, this is very helpful especially if you do not have internet access or if you need assistance for banking-related concerns.

This online banking feature rather benefits really works especially during emergency situations or unlikely circumstances that may happen in an ungodly hour.

5. Low or No Overhead Cost

Unlike brick-and-mortar banks or traditional banks, online banks do not have to pay for overhead costs like rent, electricity, landscaping, janitorial services, and more.

Since they do not pay anything for that, the can pass those savings to customers. Usually, this means that online banks can charge lesser or no fees at all as compared to traditional banks.

For instance, a lot of online banks offer a free online checking account with no deposit, as well as other no-fee bank accounts like IRAs.

Furthermore, there are a number of online banks that have free checking, and/or no minimum balance required.

For those who have poor or bad credit, online banks also work for you as most online banks offer free opening of bank accounts, do not require a credit check, although chances are, there might be ongoing fees — but then again, still lower compared to traditional banks.

6. High Yield Rates

Apart from offering low fees, usually, online banks offer the best interest rates as well. Whether you are looking for a certificate deposit, a high yield checking account, or deposit accounts with high interest like money market account, expect better rates as compared to those offered by traditional banks.

While it is normal for rates to change or fluctuate, you will still find online banks offering or paying the best rates.

So, if you are looking at earning high yields annually, then consider setting up an online account instead of an opening an account on a brick-and-mortar bank.

7. View Transaction History

If you are the type of person who wants to audit your expenses, online banking is ideal for you.

With online banking, you can access your account history, as well as transactions from anywhere. Online banking gives you the fastest way to check and see if a transaction cleared your account.

More so, you can also look into the amount of a transaction in the case of losing receipts.

But the best thing, for us, is that it allows you to find out any unauthorized transactions made using your account, which makes it easier to resolve the matter right away.

Moreover, there are banks that show even pending transactions or the transactions you made that day that has not been cleared yet.

With this feature, you can easily spot if there are any unauthorized transactions. You see, the easier you find out of such, the better. That means the fastest resolution to the concern as well.

8. Syncing With Money Applications

A lot of money apps out there automatically syncs with your online banking information. That way you can stick to your budget, and not go overboard in spending.

Usually, apps work both on your home computer as well as your mobile device. This helps you keep stay updated while you are on the go.

By syncing with your money apps, you get to easily track your spending and see whether or not you are sticking with your budget.

You can sync spending real-time to avoid overspending without realizing it.

9. A Greener Option

By using online banking, you automatically use less paper. The same goes for the bank. If you notice, a lot of banks these days are trying to go paperless by offering e-statements, paper-free transfers, and other environmentally-responsible business services.

Definitely, with online banking, it’s greener. There’s less footprint because you can do banking even while at the comforts of your home, no need to take a trip to the branch, and with all the information already in there, there’s no need for a paper trail.

DISADVANTAGES OF ONLINE BANKING

So, we have already provided you the advantages of online banking. While there are so many things that you can benefit from it, there are of course corresponding cons.

With that said, here are some of the downsides of online banking:

1. No Face-to-Face Interaction

Unlike traditional banks, online banking does not have face-to-face interaction. You do not get to know the people behind.

More so, you cannot take advantage of additional financial services like when your applying for a loan, when doing it in a brick-and-mortar bank, some loan officers would offer you best possible deals, which is not the case in online banking.

There’s no bank officer or bank manager who has the discretion to change terms of your account, and all other perks of a traditional bank.

2. Lack of Banking Machines

Generally, online banks lack their own banking machines. They heavily rely on having customers use one or more ATM networks like those from Cirrus and AllPoint.

Although these systems offer access to thousands of machines all over the country, it’s best to check first a machine that is available near your place of work and your home.

Also, check for any fees you may be charged for using an ATM. Although most direct banks offer free access to ATM networks, or in some cases refund any monthly charges incurred, there are sometimes limits set on the number of free ATM transactions. So, to be sure, check this with the bank first.

3. Limited Services

Unlike traditional banks, some online banks may not offer comprehensive financial services. So, if you need products like insurance or brokerage accounts, these may not be available.

Also, while traditional banks sometimes offer special services to their loyal clients, online banks hardly do that or not do that at all.

Additionally, routine services like bank signature guarantee as well as notarization are not available in online banks. These services are required in a lot of financial and legal transactions.

4. Less Flexibility with Transactions

The thing about traditional banks is that it is not only about getting to know you and your transactions.

For some banking-related transactions and concerns, heading to a bank branch is inevitable.

Unfortunately, in online banking, you just got to make do of whatever is available. If the customer service representative for instance is only available through calls, then so be it. You just have to deal with it.

Furthermore, international transactions for instance may be more difficult or impossible even with some online banks. So, better to check first really.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON ADVANTAGES OF ONLINE BANKING

Let’s face it, in this day and age, people are after speed and convenience – yes, even when it comes to banking. No doubt why the online banking industry is rising and it will surely continue to rise in the years to come.

Innovation has indeed hit the banking industry as well – which is totally good.

We like the fact that through online banking, bank transactions are made easier and more accessible to all. Today, you can transfer money from one account to another, even deposit a check to your account without the need to take a trip to a bank branch.

Online banking has definitely set a bar in the banking industry – needless to say, it’s a very relevant response to the needs of their clients. Everything made accessible and quick. Oh, and greener, too.

So, how do you find online banking now? Do you see yourself opening one in the coming days or did this make you appreciate more what online banking offers?

With all the advantages of online banking, we won’t be surprised if one day all banks will just go online. After all, as we kept mentioning, online banking is fast, easy, and very convenient.

Categories
Investment Apps and Websites

BrioDirect Review: What Every Potential Client Must Know

One of the best ways to know more about how BrioDirect works, as well as the products and services it offers, is through a BrioDirect review — just like this one.

BrioDirect review what you should know

Through reviews, a potential customer like you will have an idea about the bank, and also, this will help you gauge whether or not BrioDirect is best for you.

Online banking is becoming the new norm. Well, it’s not surprising at all given the fact that it’s so convenient and easy to do.

In the United States alone, there are an estimated 76.9 million Americans (30.3% of the US population) who says that they are either planning or they already have opened a digital or online-only bank. The data was based on Finder’s Neobank Adoption survey.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Furthermore, in the same survey, Finder found that there are roughly 27% of millennials and 30% of Gen X who said that they have had an account with an online-only bank. Meanwhile, .8% of baby boomers said they had an account at one of these banks, while another 4.4% of boomers said they are planning to open one.

You see, these numbers tell so much as to how the banking industry is becoming – especially with the advent of technology and the internet. Needless to say, with all that’s happening in the world right now, digital banking or online banking will definitely become a hit.

There are already a number of online-only banks today. In fact, even big banks have already established either their own online banking system, or they’ve opened up an entirely new online-only bank, which is the case of Sterling National Bank.

Sterling National Bank launched BrioDirect, its online banking division.

So, having said that, if you are looking for an online-only bank that will help you save and let you earn a good amount of interest, this in-depth BrioDirect review can definitely help you decide if it’s the right fit.

To help you gauge if it’s fit for your banking needs and preferences, we are going to tackle some of the most important information that every potential client must know. This includes the following:

  • What is BrioDirect?
  • What are the pros and cons of BrioDirect?
  • Who is BrioDirect best for?
  • What does BrioDirect offer?
  • What are BrioDirect fees and charges?
  • How to bank with BrioDirect
  • How is BrioDirect’s customer service?

Before we move on to our BrioDirect review, here’s an informative video by Wander Wealthy by Tess Wicks on how to choose the best high-yield savings account:

WHAT IS BRIODIRECT?

First and foremost, as a potential client or customer, it is important to make time to get to know the financial institution that you are looking at.

Know more about the background of the bank, in this case, of BrioDirect so you get to judge the bank’s credibility, and also on how strong its foundation is. After all, you’re going to entrust to them your hard-earned money, right?

So, before we get into a more detailed BrioDirect review, here are a few vital information that we thought you must know about BrioDirect:

First, as mentioned earlier, BrioDirect is Sterling National Bank’s online banking division.

Second, BrioDirect is an FDIC-insured bank that offers high-rate certificates of deposit, and high-yield savings accounts, which is essential in growing your money.

Third, BrioDirect High-Yield Savings account is known for its strong interest rate, and also for not charging any monthly fees.

Fourth, BrioDirect CDs are also notable for providing very attractive interest rates for short maturity terms of either 9 months or 12 months.

Lastly, all BrioDirect accounts are manageable online or through Sterling National Bank mobile banking apps, which are available for both iOS and Android users.

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF BRIODIRECT?

There are so many digital banks out there to choose from. That is why it is important to really do your research and weigh your options.

Apart from knowing the bank’s background, it is also important to look at the pros and cons of the financial institution. This is one of the best ways for you to be able to gauge whether it’s a fit or not according to your banking needs and preferences.

For BrioDirect, here are some of the things that we like and we do not like:

PROS

  • Very Competitive Savings Rate – This is actually the key feature that makes BrioDirect’s high-yield savings account stand out from any average savings account.
  • No Monthly Fee – BrioDirect does not charge any monthly fee or maintenance fee, which also makes it attractive to potential clients.
  • Low Opening Deposit – You can open a BrioDirect’s high-yield savings account for only $25.
  • All Deposits are FDIC-insured – Unlike other online-only banks, the BrioDirect savings account is FDIC-insured up to $250,000.
  • Mobile and Online Banking Features – BrioDirect makes managing your money simple and easy with features available in their mobile and online banking platforms.
  • Account Security – Security is a top priority of BrioDirect. Thus, the bank use technology as well as follows protocols to help ensure a secured online account opening, as well as online and mobile banking experience.
  • Financially Strong and Stable – Sterling National Bank, the bank behind BrioDirect is a strong financial institution. Founded in 1888, the bank currently has over $30 billion in assets and is rated as one of “America’s 100 Best Banks” by Forbes. That said, this translates to being a BrioDirect account holder, you are assured of the bank’s strength and stability.

CONS

  • Limited CD Options – Unfortunately, BrioDirect offers CDs with terms up to 12 months only.
  • No ATM access – Unlike other online-only banks, BrioDirect does not provide ATM access to your money.

WHO IS BRIODIRECT BEST FOR?

From what it offers, we thought BrioDirect is ideal for people who are looking for a safe and secure place to keep their money, at the same time, earn a good amount of interest.

Apart from that, BrioDirect may also appeal to those who:

  • Have at least $25 (the minimum required) to be able to open a BrioDirect Savings Account, or those who have at least $500 to open a Certificate of Deposit
  • Does want to save from paying monthly maintenance fees
  • Do not need ATM access to their money
  • Are interested in building a CD ladder

Do you see yourself in any of these, if your answer is yes, then, let’s proceed to the next?

WHAT DOES BRIODIRECT OFFER?

Just like any other online banks out there, BrioDirect also offers online deposit accounts, as well as basic customer service options, which include:

Accounts

  • Savings Accounts
  • Certificates of Deposit

Services

  • Mobile and online banking
  • Customer service

Now, let’s take a look at BrioDirect’s accounts closely. Here are a few important information about these accounts:

BrioDirect High Yield Savings Accounts

As we have mentioned earlier, BrioDirect’s High Yield Savings Account is an FDIC-insured online savings account, which is something we expected given the fact that it is owned by a well-known bank. More so, it is also known for paying highly competitive rates, which makes it ideal for savers who want to earn more from their savings.

Moreover, here are some of the benefits of getting a BrioDirect High Yield Savings Account:

  • Earn a highly competitive annual percentage yield. As of May 2020, it is at 1.40%. This is applicable to all balances with a $25 minimum.
  • No monthly maintenance charges
  • Low minimum deposit required to open an account — it’s at $25
  • Manage your savings account whenever you want, and wherever you are through BrioDirect’s mobile and online banking

If you take a look at it, BrioDirect’s savings account is actually quite similar to other high-yield savings accounts from other online banks out there. Just the same, it offers a very generous annual percentage yield, and also, it does not require any monthly maintenance payments.

Opening a BrioDirect account online is very easy and simple. In fact, it will only take a few minutes of your time to complete the whole process of opening an account.

Once you have successfully opened an account, you can link immediately link it to a checking or savings account at another bank to easily transfer money here and there. Although, make sure to keep in mind that for savings accounts, the Federal Reserve regulations only allow up to six “convenient” transfers or withdrawals in a month.

Unfortunately, it’s not all good with BrioDirect Savings Account. It’s not perfect — just like most online-only banking. It does have its share of downsides as well.

One of them is that it does not come with an ATM or debit card access, which means, depositing and withdrawing money can be quite a challenge.

Another thing is that BrioDirect limits its savers from transferring money in and out of their accounts. They can only do it through ACH transactions, mailing a check, as well as through wire transfer.

In addition, there is a possibility that BrioDirect may charge you a pair of fees for using their savings account. The fees include $10 for every transaction beyond the six-transaction limit, and $35 each time you overdraft your account or don’t have sufficient funds to complete a transaction.

To avoid such fees, and wasting money from paying these fees, make sure to always check your account and ensure that you are always on track.

BrioDirect Certificate of Deposit Accounts

Another notable product that BrioDirect is known for is its BrioDirect Certificate of Deposit Account. BrioDirect CDs have terms that range from 30 days up to 12 months.

Some of the key highlights of BrioDirect Certificate of Deposit Accounts include:

  • Requires a $500 minimum balance to open an account
  • Allows you to open multiple CDs to create a ladder

With BrioDirect Certificate of Deposit Accounts, how much APY you earn depends on how long you keep your money in the bank. The shorter period stays, the lesser the rates would be. The longer it stays, the higher the APY will be.

To be honest, what we like about the BrioDirect Certificate of Deposit Account is that the minimum deposit requirement is not as steep as compared to what required by other online banks out there.

For savers who want to take full advantage of all the rates that BrioDirect has to offer, we highly encourage you to set up a CD ladder. You can create a CD ladder by purchasing multiple CDs with different terms and rates. What happens is, when one of the CDs mature, you can cash it out, and then collect the interest, and roll it into another CD. It’s basically like a money wheel — you just continue doing a process to earn money through your accounts.

As a BrioDirect Certificate of Deposit Account holder though, make sure to keep in mind that the bank may close your account if you withdraw all your money from your CD or have a balance below $500 for more than 20 days.

So, again, make sure to always keep yourself on track of your account to ensure you have enough funds, and that you are not breaking any rule. This way, you get to have easy banking experience. Needless to say, you get to take full advantage of what the account has to offer.

When opening a CD account, make sure that you will not need or spend that money up until it’s due. Just like any other CD accounts out there, BrioDirect will charge you an early withdrawal penalty should you take your money out of a CD before the end term.

WHAT ARE BRIODIRECT FEES AND CHARGES?

As mentioned, one of the key highlights of BrioDirect — both for their savings and CD accounts is that they do not charge any fees.

To be specific, BrioDirect does not charge anything for the following:

  • Monthly Maintenance
  • Monthly Inactivity
  • Non-Sufficient Fund (Overdraft)
  • Stop Payment item
  • Return Deposit
  • Domestic Wire Transfer (Outbound)
  • Domestic Wire Transfer (Inbound)
  • Non-Bank ATM

So, if you want to save money from paying such fees, BrioDirect may just be the best option for you.

Meanwhile, particularly for those opening a CD account, in case you decide to withdraw your CD ahead of its maturity date or before the end of the term, BrioDirect will charge you an early withdrawal penalty.

For your reference, here’s how much you will be charged for:

TERM PENALTY
Terms of 30 days or less The penalty will be 30 days interest, whether or not earned
Terms of 12 months or less The penalty will be 90 days interest, whether or not earned
Terms of 18 months or more but less than 60 months The penalty will be 9 months interest, whether or not earned
Terms of 60 months or more The penalty will be 12 months interest, whether or not earned

Apart from the afore-mentioned, BrioDirect does not charge for any other fees.

HOW TO BANK WITH BRIODIRECT?

Since BrioDirect is an online-only bank, this automatically means you can only open an account through their online platforms.

Opening an account with BrioDirect is made easy and simple. In fact, it only takes a few minutes of your time!

Just make sure to keep the following handy as you create your account:

  • Driver’s License
  • U.S. Passport or State I.D.
  • Social Security number
  • Contact Information

Of course, just like in any other bank, BrioDirect will also ask your personal details.

Meanwhile, to set up your initial deposit, all you need to do is to link your checking or savings account with another financial institution or bank to your BrioDirect online high-yield savings or CD account, and then transfer funds from your offline account to your new online account.

You may also consider sending a check or wire funds into your account if you think these are better options.

HOW IS BRIODIRECT’S CUSTOMER SERVICE?

BrioDirect lets you manage your savings account and/or your CD accounts either online or through their reliable mobile banking.

However, if you opt to speak to a client service representative, all you need to do is call their toll free hotline 877-369-BRIO from 8 in the morning until 8 in the evening (Eastern Time), Mondays through Fridays. On Saturdays, they are available to take your calls from 8:30 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon (Eastern Time).

FINAL THOUGHTS ON BRIODIRECT REVIEW

As we have said, there are so many digital banks or online-only banks out there. Too many that choosing one can get a little overwhelming. However, reviews like this one are very much helpful to ensure you get to fully understand and learn what to expect about the bank you are eyeing for.

For this BrioDirect review, in particular, we have shared with you the key information that every potential client must know. Thus, hopefully, this helps you decide on whether or not BrioDirect is fit based on what your banking needs are.

To sum up, what we like about BrioDirect is the fact that it offers really competitive rates. We also like the fact that it is owned by a strong and stable bank, which is Sterling National Bank, and that it is FDIC-insured. This is like a security blanket for any bank client, right? Knowing that whatever happens, your money is secured.

To be honest, although we shared a few downsides, apart from those, we really have no major issues with BioDirect.

So, have you decided to go for BioDirect yet?

Just remember all the information in this BioDirect review, and your good. After all, we basically just shared with you the essentials to guide you through as you make a decision.

Categories
Investment Apps and Websites

BB and T Bank Review: Is It The Right Bank For You?

Through this BB and T Bank review and all other related reviews are essential to know and understand fully how the bank operates, and also, what its products and services are. This will serve as your guide as you think about opening an account with BB&T Bank.

BB and T Bank Review What you need to know

BB&T Bank is a community bank that has been around for more than 150 years now. Having served its clients and customers that long, it is not surprising that the bank has become one of the largest banks on the East Coast.

By the way, according to the FDIC Community Banking Study, which was released in December 2012, community banks “focus on providing traditional banking services in their local communities. They obtain most of their core deposits locally and make many of their loans to local businesses.”

This explains why BB&T, a community bank, is regarded as one of the biggest financial institutions in the East Coast.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Anyway, the mere fact that you are reading this means that you are considering opening an account with BB&T Bank, right?

So, with this BB and T Bank review, we are going to tackle some, if not, the most essential information that every potential customer or client should know.

In particular, we are going to discuss the following:

  • Who is BB&T Bank?
  • What are the pros and cons of BB&T Bank?
  • Who is BB&T Bank best for?
  • What does BB&T Bank offer?
  • Are there charges and fees involved?
  • How to bank with BB&T?
  • How’s BB&T Bank’s customer service?

WHO IS BB&T BANK?

As mentioned earlier, Branch Banking and Trust Co. or more popularly known as BB&T Bank has been around for over 150 years already, dating its roots back to 1872. It is an FDIC-insured bank headquartered in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

Since its inception, up to this day, the bank continues to grow and innovate. As of this writing, BB&T Bank is present in more than 1,700 locations in 15 states, as well as in the District of Columbia.

But apart from being physically present through its branches, BB&T also offers both mobile and online banking, which is easy to use, and definitely, makes banking more convenient for its customers.

Moving on, in December 2019, BB&T faced a major change. The bank joined forces with SunTrust in what they call as a “merger of equals”.

With such a move, the two companies came up with Truist, which is a new financial institution that is expected to be the sixth biggest bank in the United States.

While at the moment BB&T customers work under the BB&T brand, it will eventually be shifted to its new name, Truist in the days to come.

Regardless of the changes, though, one thing remains, BB&T Bank offers a wide variety of products and services to its customers. It offers account types than can be combined in several ways to fit your lifestyle.

If you want to know more about the merger between these two financial institutions, you may want to check this video by 11Alive about the said matter:

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF BB&T BANK?

Similar to what we usually do whenever we make a bank review, in this BB and T Bank review, we are going to share with you some of the things that we like and we do not like about this financial institution.

We find this essential for every customer to know so you get to gauge whether or not BB&T Bank is the right bank for you or not.

Having said that, here are some of BB&T Bank’s pros and cons:

PROS CONS
Provides free checking (after fee waiver) available at a brick-and-mortar bank.  

BB&T Bank’s mobile app called U is highly commended/rated.  

The app helps its users manage multiple accounts from a customizable dashboard.  

Online savings accounts are available without monthly maintenance fees, as well as minimum deposit requirements.

  In 2018, BB&T was named to Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list in the superregional bank category.

  There is a high potential for improvements should the merger gets successful.
The bank offers fairly low-interest rates on deposit products compared with other banks.  

It has limited physical branches, which, currently is only present in 15 states, as well as in Washington, D.C.    

As mentioned, these are just some of the pros and cons that we found with BB&T Bank. If you want to know more about what to expect with BB&T Bank especially with its products and services, you can always check for customer reviews online.

WHO IS BB&T BANK BEST FOR?

BB&T Bank has proven its worth in the banking industry. Well, their years of existence in the business should speak for itself.

But who is BB&T Bank most ideal for?

While BB&T Bank has the capability to meet the needs of consumers in the bank’s service area, we find it most appealing to those who:

  • Reside in one of the 15 states (and Washington D.C.) where BB&T is present
  • Want to keep a savings account without monthly fees
  • Have at least $500 of monthly direct deposits to be able to avail a checking account fee waiver
  • Are willing to visit their physical branch to know more about the bank’s products and services
  • Want to have the freedom to disable their debit card using an app
  • Like to bank with text messages instead of using an app
  • Employ text and email alerts to keep track of their accounts

If you see yourself in one or more of the above circumstances, then BB&T Bank might just be the bank you have been looking for.

WHAT DOES BB&T BANK OFFER?

At this point in our BB and T Bank review, we are going to go through each of the products and services that BB&T Bank offers.

Again, as a potential client, it is important that you are well-aware of the bank’s offerings. This way, you can gauge if BB&T is indeed the bank that you are looking for.

BB&T offers a wide selection of banking products and services to both individuals and businesses. You can turn to BB&T for an everyday checking account, and/or a credit card.

But what we like about BB&T is that it also could be an ideal choice for more complicated circumstances, which include financing a business, or retirement.

For your reference, BB&T Bank offers the following:

  • Savings Accounts
  • Checking Accounts
  • Money Market Accounts
  • Certificates of Deposit
  • Credit Cards

BB&T Savings Accounts (eSavings)

BB&T Savings Accounts or its eSavings is what the bank calls as their most popular savings account that is available exclusively online.

With eSavings, account holders can earn 0.03% annual percentage yield (APY) on all balances — from $0 up to $99 billion.

The eSavings account offers an affordable way to jumpstart saving. Although the rate is quite low as compared to its competitors, it is nevertheless a useful place to store extra cash that’s accessible.

Apart from the aforementioned, the eSavings account also features:

  • No minimum deposit required to open an account
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • No ongoing minimum balance requirements
  • Can provide overdraft protection to BB&T checking accounts

With BB&T’s eSavings, it allows unlimited withdrawals at bank branches and ATMs. However, other withdrawals such as electronic transfers out of your account, are only limited to six every month, which is in accordance with federal regulations.

BB&T Checking Accounts

With BB&T’s Elite Gold Checking, customers can earn interest after depositing a minimum opening deposit of $100. While the bank charges a monthly maintenance fee of $30, it can eventually be waived should customers meet a combined balance of $25,000 across all eligible linked accounts.

Meanwhile, with BB&T Fundamentals and Bright Banking Checking Accounts, both products do not include interest, but they both have lower fees. BB&T Fundamentals’ monthly fee is only $5, and it also does require a minimum initial deposit. As with BB&T Bright Banking, there is a $12 fee that can be waived and a $50 opening deposit requirement.

BB&T Checking Accounts features also include:

  • Tiered rates offer interest on all balances
  • Allows non-BB&T ATM transactions per statement cycle ($3 fee per transaction thereafter)

On one hand, specifically for BB&T Fundamentals Checking Account, features also include:

  • No ongoing balance requirement
  • Free online bill pay
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Optional overdraft protection (fees apply)
  • Free debit card for spending and cash withdrawals
  • Text and email alerts
  • More than 2,400 free BB&T ATMs

On the other hand, for BB&T Bright Banking Checking Account, features also include:

  • Combined ACH direct deposits of at least $500 per statement cycle
  • Average checking balance of $1,500 or more

Apart from BB&TElite Gold Checking, BB&T Fundamentals, Bright Banking Checking Accounts, BB&T also has Student Checking Account and Senior Checking Account.

For BB&T Student Checking Account, features include:

  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • No minimum deposit to open
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • No direct deposit required

Furthermore, it also provides the following benefits:

  • Linked savings account with no monthly fee
  • One no-fee incoming wire transfer (domestic or international) monthly
  • BB&T waives its fees on two non-BB&T ATM transactions monthly

As for the BB&T Senior Checking Account, it is designed primarily for customers who are 55 years old and above. As compared to other checking accounts offered by BB&T, this one’s slightly easier to qualify for a fee waiver.

Customers basically have to meet the following requirements:

  • $100 minimum to open
  • $10 monthly maintenance fee can be waived with one of the following:
  • Combined direct deposits of at least $500 per month
  • Minimum average checking balance of $1,000

The Seniors Checking Account’s features are basically the same as other BB&T Bank’s checking accounts. What makes the difference is that this particular account offers:

  • One complimentary early withdrawal from a CD for medical emergencies
  • Free standard BB&T checks, or discounts on other designs

Money Market Accounts

The High Performance Money Market Account or BB&T Money Market Account offers tiered rates depending on your account balance. The account does have limitations though, as you can only open such an account if you have a BB&T personal checking account.

To open a High Performance Money Market, the bank requires a $100 minimum. While there is a $12 monthly maintenance fee, this can be waived if you have a $1,000 balance in your account.

Meanwhile, its features include:

  • A 0.01% to 0.50% APY, depending on your account balance (Note: The rates only apply to account opened online or via phone. Rates differ when you open an account in person.)
  • Check writing available from your this account
  • Debit card for spending and cash withdrawals

Certificates of Deposit

BB&T offers four different types of Certificates of Deposit, which include the following:

  • Special CDs
  • Personal CD
  • Can’t Lose CD
  • Stepped Rate CD

For Special CDs, this type comes with a variety of terms (7 months, 13 months, and 23 months). While rates may only be available for a short period of time, they tend to be the highest available at BB&T.

To open, a minimum of $1,000 is required. The rate is fixed depending on the term you choose. However, for deposits of more than $100,000, you check directly with BB&T for customized rates and terms.

Please take note also of below BB&T standard early-withdrawal penalties:

TERM PENALTY
Terms less than three months The greater of $25 or all interest earned
Terms of three months to one year The greater of $25 or three months of simple interest
Terms of 13 to 23 months The greater of $25 or six months of simple interest
Terms of 24 months or more The greater of $25 or 12 months of simple interest

Meanwhile, BB&T’s Personal CDs pay a fixed rate for terms, which range from a week up to five years. If you want to earn a higher or bigger rate, then you got to opt for a longer term.

At the moment, the CD rates of BB&T are quite unimpressive as compared to other banks.

Anyway, if you are interested to get a Personal CD, take note of the following minimum requirements:

  • $2,500 minimum for terms of 7 to 31 days
  • $1,000 minimum for terms of 32 days or more

Another CD option is BB&T’s Can’t Lose CD. As compared to BB&T’s traditional CDs, this one’s slighly more flexible. The thing we about this CD type is that if you like your rate, you can always add funds to an existing CD provided it has been active for 12 months already.

For your reference, here are some important details to remember with BB&T’s Can’t Lose CD:

  • Requires $1,000 required to open
  • 30-month term
  • APY varies but as of March 30, account holders earn 0.25% APY
  • You can add up to $10,000 to your CD after 12 months

For BB&T Stepped Rate CD, your rate rises year after year. Basically, BB&T publishes the APY their customers get each year on these 4-yead CDs. This way, customers know what they are expecting ahead.

As compared to other CDs, BB&T Stepped Rate CD, unfortunately, has low rates.

For this type of CD, features include:

  • Minimum $1,000 investment
  • Deposit additional funds, up to $10,000 per year
  • There is a potential for a penalty-free withdrawals after 24 months

Credit Cards

Just like any other banks out there, BB&T also offers a variety of credit card options regarless of your purpose of use. Whether you want to save on interest or you want to accumulate rewards, BB&T has a credit card option for you.

For your referece, here’s what BB&T’s credit card options:

  • BB&T Bright
  • BB&T Spectrum Cash Rewards
  • BB&T Spectrum Travel Rewards
  • BB&T MoneyAccount
  • BB&T Visa Gift Cards

Other BB&T Products

Apart from above-mentioned accounts, BB&T also offers the following products and services:

  • Auto loans
  • Business bank accounts
  • Business loans and lines of credit
  • Business credit card
  • Home purchase loans
  • Home equity loans and lines of credit
  • IRAs
  • Investment management
  • Personal loans
  • Self-directed investments

ARE THERE CHARGES AND FEES INVOLVED?

Of course, this BB and T Bank review will not be complete without us discussing whether they do have charges and fees.

Well, just like any other banks out there, BB&T does have their list of fees – particularly monthly fees depending on the product. However, most of these fees can eventually be waived once the customer meets certain requirements set by the bank.

We already mentioned most of them when we tackled the products and services a while ago. But, if you want to be sure, you can always visit a BB&T Bank branch near you or you may call them through their customer hotline at 800-BANK-BBT (800-226-5228).

HOW TO BANK WITH BB&T?

BB&T does have a branch in certain states. You may opt to pay them a visit and inquire about their products and services, or if you find it more convenient and right for you, you may opt to visit their website or call them at 800-BANK-BBT (800-226-5228) for more information.

Particularly with opening an account, just like any other banks and other financial institutions out there, BB&T will ask you to provide essential personal information such as your name, address, contact details, as well as a valid identification number (e.g. Social Security Number).

Again, for a thorough list of requirements, you may always check their site or call them, or visit the nearest BB&T branch near your place.

HOW’S BB&T BANK’S CUSTOMER SERVICE?

In J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study BB&T and SunTrust ranked 18th and 19th of 26 banks in overall satisfaction for the Mid-Atlantic region. Both banks received an overall rating/grade of “above average”.

In addition, BB&T excelled as a regional issuer, winning the regional category of J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study for their credit card products.

You see, these recognitions only goes to show that customers have had excellent customer experience with BB&T — customer service is perhaps at its best.

Anyway, BB&T Bank’s customer service is available every day from 6 in the morning until midnight Eastern Time via phone.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON BB AND T BANK REVIEW

With all that’s been said, we, therefore, conclude that BB&T Bank offers not just a wide variety of products and services, but also provides excellent customer service.

Although there’s a merger and we have yet to see its outcome, we thought it should not fail given the fact that both BB&T and SunTrust are well-trusted, needless to say, strong financial institutions.

So, have you decided whether to open an account with BB&T yet?

Just keep in mind all that we have shared in this BB and T Bank review as all of this matter when making a decision. But we just have to say, BB&T Bank would be an excellent choice.

Categories
Investment Apps and Websites

5 Best Reasons For Using Online Banks Today

We are sharing with you some of the best reasons for using online banks that will surely change how you see it, and probably spark will to jump from traditional to online banking.

best reasons for using online banks that you should know

First thing first, there is a difference between online banks and online banking. While these terms seem alike, they are totally different.

Online banks basically refer to financial institutions that do business entirely online. They are just like a normal bank, but operations are entirely online.

Meanwhile, online banking refers to the act of doing banking online. In this day and age, thanks to digital advancements and the internet, online banking have become in. In fact, it has become a trend in the banking industry.

You see, whether you are a private individual, a business owner, a parent, or a student, whoever you are, managing finances nowadays have become so much easier, and one of the reasons why is online banking.

RELATED ARTICLES:

On one hand, today, most banks not just in the United States, but across the globe offer online banking wherein consumers can pay bills, transfer money to a friend or a family member, as well as access a record of their checking account transactions. All these and more consumers get to do right at the comforts of their homes, or wherever they are, and whenever they want to.

On the other hand, with online baking becoming a trend, and a lot of people have eventually embraced what online banking has to offer, online banks have also emerged. As the year goes by, the number of online banks in the U.S. per se has really grown.

Now, speaking of numbers, let’s get into some very interesting facts —

In the United States, the number of mobile banking users has reached more or less 57 million. This was stated in a report published by Statista in October 2019.

Meanwhile in another report, this time by the Pew Research Center, it says that 51 percent of American adults are actually into banking online.

Well, these numbers are not surprising at all given the fact that online banking has so much to offer –

Now, going back to online banks, there is some information that we’d like to share with you. Apart from the best reasons for using online banks, it is important too, first and foremost, know and understand what an online bank is all about.

In particular, we’ll share with you information about:

  • What is an online bank?
  • What is the difference between online banks and online banking?
  • How do you open an account with an online bank?
  • What are the best reasons for using online banks?
  • Are online banks safe?

WHAT IS AN ONLINE BANK?

For most of us, February 22, 1999, was just an ordinary day. What we do know is that it was during that day that history unfolded in the banking industry. It was the day when the First Internet Bank of Indiana was formally launched. The event was held at the Museum of American Financial History in New York City.

As the name suggests, the First Internet Bank (as it’s now more popularly known) operates entirely online (which is what the whole idea of what an online bank is). So, if you are looking for a teller or a branch manager to talk about your money, you will just get disappointed.

Moving on, fast-forward to today, online banks, which basically offers online-only banking have grown big. The industry has exploded.

Today, more and more people are using online banks not just to save or park their money, but also to manage their finances, which is definitely a win for consumers.

Needless to say, most, if not all, online banks offer the same products and services that traditional banks offer. In fact, in some cases, even more.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ONLINE BANKS AND ONLINE BANKING?

As mentioned earlier, a lot of people confuse online banks in online banking. So, to clarify the confusion, here’s what makes the former different from the latter.

In this day and age, with the help of technology, and also to cope with the demands of consumers (needless to say to stay up-to-date), all banks and credit unions already offer online access, cash transfers, as well as bill payments, and many other services.

This is not surprising because people these days, people, particularly the young ones spend a lot of time online. In fact, in a 2018 research by Bank Administration Institute, a not-for-profit organization, it says that 51 percent of millennials would switch from one bank to another just to be able to get a better online banking experience.

With such demand, and also with the change of consumers’ attitude towards banking, banks need to find solutions to be able to retain their customers.

Thus, the country’s banks developed ways for their customers to be able to bank online. Basically, the birth of online banking.

As mentioned earlier, online banking refers to the act of managing your bank accounts with a computer or mobile device. Through online banking, consumers get to transfer funds, deposit checks, pay bills, and more.

Online banking offer features that are incredibly slick and convenient.

Meanwhile, online banks, as we have earlier discussed, refer to a financial institution that operates entirely online. Unlike traditional banks though, most online banks do not have a physical branch.

Online banks provide almost the same online banking experience with traditional banks with an online presence.

Again, to put it simply – online banks are a legit bank without a physical branch, and operates online only, while online banking means managing your bank account online.

Did you get it? Now, let’s proceed to another very important point that you need to know about online banks – the process of opening an account.

HOW DO YOU OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH AN ONLINE BANK?

As discussed, online banks operate online only. So, how then do you open an account? Obviously, you do it online as well.

To help you with the process, here’s a step-by-step guide for opening an account with an online bank:

STEP 1: Proceed to the online bank’s website. Once you are on the site, look for a button or a tab or a link that refers to opening an account. Click that and you will be directed to the account-opening page.

STEP 2: Keep all necessary documents handy. Requirements for opening an account differs from one online bank to another. However, normally, online banks would ask for your Social Security number, a valid form of identification such as a U.S. driver’s license or other government-issued ID, proof that you’re a U.S. citizen or resident alien, as well as a U.S. address for a physical residence (not a P.O. box).

STEP 3: Create an application login. Depending on the bank, you would either be asked to create a username, or you just have to provide your email, and then create a password.

STEP 4: Choose the account type. Just like traditional banks, online banks also offer a variety of account types to choose from. Select based on your needs and preferences.

STEP 5: Fill out the online application. Just input whatever information is asked, and you’re done.

That’s basically it. To be honest, we find the process of opening an account in an online bank easier and more convenient as compared to a traditional bank. Needless to say, you can do it anytime – at your most convenient time.

If you are interested to know more about opening an online bank account, and its pros and cons, check below video by Frugal Chic Life:

WHAT ARE THE BEST REASONS FOR USING ONLINE BANKS?

Now, we’ve come to the real deal.

Here are some of the best reasons for using online banks:

1. Higher Interest Rates

Unlike traditional banks, online banks are known for paying higher annualized interest rates (APY) particularly on savings accounts, as well as certificates of deposits (CDs).

Perhaps you have already figured out the reason behind this. Yes, it’s because unlike traditional banks, online banks do not have to pay overhead costs that are usually associated with building as well as maintaining a physical branch.

If you are the kind of consumer who is looking for the highest interest rate available, well, online bank is definitely the way to go.

However, just do not be disappointed if you find that another online bank comes with a better rate than what you have. This is actually one of the reasons why a lot of people open and uses several online bank accounts. What they do is transfer money between accounts as the rates change.

To be fair, this strategy is quite rewarding, but of course, it needs work. You need to pay attention to transfer periods.

2. Less in Fees

Apart from high-interest rates, online banks are also known for charging less in fees. They were found to charge less for overdraft fees, as well as other bank fees and charges.

But apart from charging less, online banks are also known for free checking, which is our next point.

3. Free Checking

Probably, this is one of the best reasons for using online banks. Who doesn’t want free stuff, right? All the more if it has something to do with free checking.

In recent years, checking account fees have become a breaking point for consumers. Of course, as a consumer, you would always go for what is beneficial to you, right?

In a recent survey conducted by MoneyRates.com, it was found that checking accounts at online banks are more than twice as likely to be free of monthly maintenance fees as compared to traditional banks.

Surely, you will find some brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions offer free checking. However, most of them, if not all, are usually smaller institutions.

So, it is probably safe to say that it is hard to find this kind of deal with traditional banks. Although, there are traditional banks that may waive fees for as long as you have your paycheck deposited into your account or you keep a large account balance.

Now, with online banks though, usually, they do not have minimum opening deposits, as well as no minimum balance requirement.

In addition, consumers may also earn interest on cash in their checking account if they use an online bank. While the interest rate is not as high as the rate on an online savings account, it definitely is much higher than what you typically get in a traditional bank.

4. New Technology

The thing we like about online banks is that even though they have long produced innovative websites and applications, they do not stop there. In fact, they continue to innovate. They continue to find new ways to make online banking simpler, and more convenient to consumers.

One of the recent innovations of online banks is making depositing checks possible through your computer or through your smartphone. Very convenient, right?

The eCheck Deposit system from one of the popularly known online banks out there, for instance, allows consumers to take a photo or scan their checks with their mobile phones, and just like that, they can deposit it via the bank’s website or app. Immediately, the fund is deposited without the hassle of going to a physical branch, lining up, and so on.

What’s good about online banks is they allow their consumers to enjoy featured that they may not have access to. For example, online banks offer features like a free online bill or person-to-person payments, which sometimes are not available in traditional banks.

One more thing, with online banks, you may also enjoy a larger ATM network, which depends on where you are from. Thus, making it so easier to withdraw money anytime for free.

5. No Branch Visits

Obviously, as we kept saying early on, online banks are entirely online. No tellers. No branch managers. No physical branches (although there are some online banks that have very few branches, like one or two).

Having said that, getting into rather making transactions through online banks means saving a lot of time, gas, effort, and even money!

With online banks, you do everything online. No need to visit a branch to do all the financial stuff you need. If in case you need help, most online banks do have remote customer service, which is available through chat, email, or toll-free lines.

As competition rises among online banks, so does the availability as well as the quality of customer service that they provide.

Another thing, those who live in small communities will most likely appreciate the anonymity that comes with an online bank. With online banks, no one in the neighborhood will know about their financial transactions because they will not be seen carrying them out, which is really cool.

ARE ONLINE BANKS SAFE?

So, having shared with you some, if not the best reasons for using online banks, perhaps you are wondering about the safety and security of making these financial transactions online.

Are online banks safe? The answer would be YES.

As we have said, the number of online banks increases as years go by, which means, competition is getting high as well.

So, to ensure that people will patronize their bank, online banks look into finding and offering solutions to some of the things that consumers are most concerned about – one of them is safety.

Generally speaking, online banking is regarded as a safe way to make financial transactions. Of course, that is if you deal with a legitimate bank.

To ensure that you are choosing a legit online bank, make sure that it is affiliated with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation seal. The banks related to it are federally insured just like FDIC banks.

Meanwhile, with regards to credit union accounts, see to it that they are affiliated with the National Credit Union Administration.

But apart from these, there are also measure that you, as a user, can do to ensure the safety and security of your online bank account.

These measures include:

  • Strengthening your password by using upper- and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers in random combinations.
  • Use biometrics, which allows you to confirm your identity using a unique physical trait, such as your voice, thumbprint (a popular method on mobile devices), or facial/retina scan, whenever possible.
  • Be very wary when banking in public.
  • Always keep an eye out for timely security alerts.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST REASONS FOR USING ONLINE BANKS

Financial management is like a way of life. We do it regularly. Thus, it is not surprising that consumers, like us, try to find the best ways possible to make managing our finances, or dealing with our money easier.

On one hand, brick-and-mortar are proven and tested. Most of the banks we have now have been there for such a long time, and have already proven their credibility during the course of their service. Thanks to technology, and perhaps the increasing competition in the banking industry, banks innovate and cope with what their consumers need.

On the other hand, there are online banks. To be honest, they provide the kind of service that some of us find too good to be true, but they’re real! They exist. We would like to think that online banks are there to provide consumers options – better options, in fact.

Well, in a world where technology and the internet prevails, online banks are indeed very promising. Don’t you think?

So, we shared with you a few reasons for using online banks, but as we always say, at the end of the day, the choice is yours. If you think online banks will work better for you, then so be it. If not, that’s totally fine. Whatever works for you best.

Categories
Investment Apps and Websites

11 Best Online Savings Accounts In 2020

When it comes to choosing among the best online savings accounts, you go to look into not just the credibility of the company, but more importantly, it has to be meet your personal needs and preferences as a user or customer. There are so many choices to choose from, thus, it is important to really make a wise decision.

Best Online Savings Accounts list

There are plenty of online savings accounts out there, and since they’re many some people find it challenging to choose the best among them all.

While you can base the “best” based on certain criteria like high-yield rates, customer service, security, etc., at the end of the day, like what we mentioned earlier, your decision has to also be based on your needs and preferences. Also, your financial goals.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Now, apart from those we mentioned, there’s one important question that you also need to answer. Why are you choosing online savings accounts instead of traditional savings accounts?

Some of you will say because of convenience, while others will base it on high-yield that some online banks offer. You see, we all have different answers to this question. But if you come to think about it, your answer to these questions will greatly affect your choices.

Don’t worry though because today we are going to share with you some of the best online savings accounts. Since they are all part of “the best” club, this means, all of these online banks offer you the best deals and services. It’s probably safe to say that you will never go wrong choosing any of the online banks on our list.

But before that, here’s a very interesting fact about how widely used mobile banking is in the country.

Did you know that according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, they found that 51% percent of U.S. adults, or 61% of internet users, bank online? Furthermore, 32% of U.S. adults, or 35% of cell phone owners, a bank using their mobile phones.

You see, these numbers only show how electronic or digital banking has changed the way people do banking. Thus, it is not surprising why you, yes, you, are looking for the best online savings account out there.

Before we move on to our list of best online savings accounts, you may want to check below video first by Graham Stephan:

With that, let’s start with our list of best online savings accounts to date.

MARCUS BY GOLDMAN SACHS

Marcus is an online bank that offers excellent savings account products. The company, which is owned by the well-known investment firm, Goldman Sachs, has built its reputation for offering a very competitive APY (around 1.70%).

Apart from that, Marcus has also gained popularity because of providing a platform that is easy to use. Also, it created a very simple process when it comes to transferring money to accounts from other banks.

Marcus’s savings account option requires no minimum deposit to be able to open an account. Apart from savings accounts, the bank also has other products for consumers to take advantage of. One example is the company’s personal loan options, which you can use from debt consolidation to home improvement.

HIGHS:

  • Has high-interest rate
  • Savings account comes with easy-to-meet requirements
  • Take advantage of other benefits you get from a typical online bank
  • Your account is accessible anytime, anywhere
  • Does not charge fees for any transactions made
  • A contact center is open seven days a week

LOWS:

  • No ATM access
  • No checking account option, which limits your liquidity options
  • No branches available, which means face-to-face transactions is not possible
  • No mobile application yet

ALLY BANK

Based in Sandy, Utah, Ally Bank, which was established back in 2004, is another very popular name in online/mobile banking. Ally Bank, which was formerly known as GMAC Bank, exceeded 1 million customer accounts in the year 2012. As of today, Ally Bank boasts having 1.5 million customers.

Ally Bank is a well-trusted online company. Apart from the fact that it offers a high-interest rate at 1.50% annual percentage yield (APY), the bank also does not require a minimum balance to gain APY. Furthermore, it offers a free checking account and does have excellent customer service support.

HIGHS:

  • High-interest rate
  • Deposit checks remotely through Ally eCheck Deposit
  • Now monthly maintenance fees for Online Savings Accounts
  • Provides 24/7 live customer care
  • Free checking account, which makes your money more liquid

LOWS:

  • No ATM or debit card access (unless you open another account)
  • Cash deposits are not feasible
  • Allows up to $50,000 deposit per day only or up to $250,000 every 30 calendar days via eCheck Deposit

CAPITAL ONE

Capital One Financial Corporation or more popularly known as Capital One is an American bank holding company. It specialized in credit cards, banking, auto loans, as well as savings accounts. Capital One, which is based in McLean, Virginia, is ranked as the 11th largest bank in the United States based on its assets.

As mentioned, the company provides a variety of products. Apart from credit cards, Capital One also provides a range of lending as well as banking products. In 2019, Capital One’s 360 Performance Savings account debuted. This has eventually become one of the most popular products of the company.

In addition to the company’s list of products, they also offer certificates of deposit, a savings IRA as well as a checking account.

HIGHS:

  • High-interest rate at 1.50% APY
  • 360 Performance Savings account requires no minimum balance to open an account
  • 360 Performance Savings account does not charge monthly fees
  • No maintaining minimum balance required
  • All balances earn the same APY

LOWS:

  • There are some online banks that offer higher yield on savings accounts

VIO BANK

Vio Bank is an online-only financial institution that serves savers from all over the country.

Established back in 2018, Vio Bank has been tagged as the national online division of MidFirst Bank. MidFirst Bank, which was established in 1911, is an FDIC-insured bank since 1934.

Vio Bank offers both a High Yield Online Savings account and Certificates of Deposit. Vio Bank earned popularity for having one of the top yields online savings accounts out there.

HIGHS:

  • Vio Bank’s High Yield Online Savings account offers one of the top yields in the industry (1.75% APY)
  • All balances receive the same APY
  • Low minimum requirement of $100 to open the account
  • Vio Bank’s High Yield Online Savings account does not have a monthly fee
  • Does not charge for incoming domestic or international wire transfers
  • No fees charged for the outgoing or incoming external transfers

LOWS:

  • Domestic wire transfer is charged at $30
  • No ATM access
  • Charges  $5 dormant account fee per month if you go 12 months without initiating a transaction
  • Requires initiating a transaction at least once during the preceding 12-month period to avoid having a dormant account

HSBC DIRECT

HSBC Direct Savings is an online-only savings account offered by the popular international bank, HSBC. The rates and terms it offers make it one of the best online savings accounts out there.

As you know, HSBC is a really popular bank not just in the United States but all over the world. No wonder as it serves 38 million customers worldwide.

Meanwhile, the HSBC Direct Savings account is offered through HSBC Bank, USA, N.A. This savings account is available online across all 48 states.

HIGHS:

  • HSBC Direct Savings account has a competitive APY at 1.70%
  • Requires at least $1 minimum balance only for APY
  • Requires $1 at account opening
  • APY is currently available on all balance tiers
  • No monthly maintenance fee charges
  • You can make a deposit or withdrawal at one of the HSBC retail locations in the country

LOWS:

  • No ATM access
  • Charges $25 if you close your HSBC Direct Savings account within 180 days
  • Money deposited in your HSBC Direct Savings account has to be new money from outside HSBC

CIT BANK

CIT Bank, N.A. is the banking subsidiary of financial services company CIT Group. The bank, which is headquartered in Pasadena, California is consists of an online bank, as well as its OneWest Bank division, a Southern California branch bank that is located in 60 different sites.

By the way, CIT Bank, N.A. is a subsidiary of CIT Group Inc., which is a financial holding company that was founded in 1908.

HIGHS:

  • Offers competitive yields on its accounts (1.70% APY to be exact)
  • Provides a couple of options for savers

LOWS:

  • Requires at least $100 to open a Savings Builder
  • Requires you to keep making at least $100 in monthly deposits to be able to earn a competitive APY
  • To earn the top APY, you may also opt to maintain a $25,000 balance
  • You will earn much lower variable rate if your balance goes below $25,000 or if you are unable to make monthly deposits of at least $100
  • Actual APY will vary depending on the day of the month that you open your account

WEBBANK

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, WebBank is an FDIC-insured and state-chartered bank. The bank was organized under the laws of the State of Utah in the year 1997. At the same time, WebBank operates under federal banking law.

WebBank offers a wide range of products. They do have savings accounts and time deposits, as well as financing solutions intended for businesses and consumers through the company’s Strategic Partnerships.

HIGHS:

  • High APY at 1.66%
  • Requires at least $0.01 minimum balance for APY, but balances are required to stay above $1,000
  • Does not charge fees like monthly fees and maintenance fees
  • Do have one of the highest APYs available in the industry
  • WebBank savings account interest is paid on the last business day of the month

LOWS:

  • Outgoing wire transfer is charged at $25
  • Should your savings account falls below $1,000, the account will be closed; money will be returned depending on the WebBank Terms and Conditions for your account
  • No ATM card available
  • No mobile application
  • Does not allow you to deposit a check into any of its accounts
  • Deposits can only be made through ACH or wire transfer
  • Withdrawal from your WebBank account is not possible

AMERICAN EXPRESS NATIONAL BANK

We all know American Express, it’s one of the most popular and well-trusted banks in the country particularly known for its credit cards. However, the company also offers a competitive savings account called American Express Personal Savings.

How the American Express National Bank operates is pretty simple. Just like other online savings accounts, American Express National Bank does not offer to check account option, which means you should not use the American Express Personal Savings for any regular transactions outside a recurring withdrawal or deposit.

American Express’s savings account does not charge fees. Also, it allows you to link your external bank account.

By the way, apart from the savings account, the company also offers a wide range of certificates of deposit.

HIGHS:

  • High APY at 1.60%
  • Requires a minimum balance of $1 to earn APY
  • Does not charge any monthly fees
  • Does not require a minimum balance
  • Allows you to link current outside bank accounts

LOWS:

  • Does not offer a checking account
  • Does not have any branch locations
  • No mobile check deposit option

DISCOVER BANK

Discover Bank is an FDIC-insured online bank. It offers a wide range of options like a debit card that comes with cashback rewards. While it does have one branch located in Greenwood, Delaware, most of its users/customers manage their accounts online or through the bank’s mobile app.

Discover Bank has offered deposit products online since 2007. Just like American Express, Discover is popularly known for its credit card products. However, it does also offer a savings account, checking account, money market, as well as a certificate of deposit.

As with its savings account, although the Discover Online Savings Account isn’t the highest-yielding account, it does offer a very competitive APY. It also does not require a minimum opening deposit and does not charge a monthly fee.

HIGHS:

  • Competitive APY at 1.50% on savings account
  • Does not require a minimum balance
  • Offers the most popular types of deposit products
  • Offers checking, money market accounts, savings and CDs

LOWS:

  • APY is not as high as its competitors
  • No ATM access

BARCLAYS BANK

Barclays Bank is a British multinational investment bank and financial services company. The bank is headquartered in London. Apart from offering investment banking, Barclays is divided into four core businesses, which are personal banking, corporate banking, wealth management, and investment management.

Of all its products, Barclay is usually known for its credit cards. However, it has also gained popularity in its savings products because of the high-interest rate.

All the products offered by Barclay in the United States are only available online.

HIGHS:

  • Competitive, high-yield savings account (1.50% APY)
  • No minimum balance required for APY
  • Provides 24/7 access to funds
  • Allows online transfers to and from other banks and direct deposit
  • A mobile app is available and allows both deposit and transfer of funds
  • Ideal for those who like to bank online and want an outside institution for its savings options

LOWS:

  • No ATM access
  • Not a full-service banking institution
  • Does not offer a checking account option
  • Does not have branch locations

CITIBANK

Citibank, which is the retail banking arm of Citigroup has recently launched a high-yield savings account called Citi Accelerate. It was only in 2019 when the popular company launched the said online savings account.

The said savings account pays 1.60% APY, which is very competitive. Needless to say, it is above the national average. Citi Accelerate does not require a minimum balance required to be able to earn the APY. It also does not require any minimum amount to open an account. However, the APY is only made available for certain markets.

HIGHS:

  • High APY at 1.60%, making it one of the top yields to be found in big banks
  • No minimum balance required for APY
  • $0 minimum balance required to earn the APY
  • Does have ATM access

LOWS:

  • Charges a monthly service fee amounting to $4.50 (This applies if you open the Citi Accelerate Savings account in a Basic or Access Account package. Otherwise, the fee is waived provided you keep at least $500 average balance per month.)

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

So, we’re done with our list of 11 best online savings accounts out there. But before we end, we just want to share a few very important reminders regarding online savings accounts.

  • Online savings accounts are ideal for people who want to take advantage of higher interest rates and lower fees, which is evident among online banks given the fact that they do not carry the same overhead costs as other walk-in branches.
  • When choosing a bank that offers online savings account, take into account not just the APY but also the charges and fees, and other perks that come with it. It also considers if they do have ATM access or not (although most online savings account does not offer such). Also, take into consideration the minimum balances or opening balance required.
  • Make sure to only deal with online savings accounts that are safe. In order to ensure safety, see to it that the bank is an FDIC bank or at an NCUA credit union.
  • An online savings account is an ideal place for growing an emergency fund or for saving up for any financial goal.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON BEST ONLINE SAVINGS ACCOUNTS

You see, there are so many options available when it comes to opening up online savings accounts. Needless to say, like the ones on our list, they offer really competitive interest rates.

Choosing one among the so many options out there could be really challenging. Thus, it is best to set certain personal criteria so you get to pick the best out of the bests.

Having said that, have you picked your choice yet?

We got to say that if you were to choose from our list of best online savings accounts, you will surely not go wrong as they all have already established their names in this industry. It will really just go back to what it is that you are specifically looking for in an online savings account.

Categories
Investment Apps and Websites

Ally Bank Vs Marcus: Your Guide In Choosing The Best Online Bank

This Ally Bank vs Marcus review will help you understand the difference as well as similarities of these two well-known companies in the mobile banking industry. This will hopefully help you choose the perfect fit according to your online banking needs.

Ally Bank vs Marcus What You Need To Know

Today, we live in a more privileged world. Everything is made for our convenience. With the advent and the help of technology, it is probably safe to say that everything is becoming available in an instant. And yes, we are not just talking about food or material things. This includes different products and services as a whole — including banking.

Mobile banking is a new thing in the banking industry. Today, banks are adjusting and adapting to the needs of the people, at the same time, to what technology has to offer.

Let’s face it, while traditional banking is still good and has so much to offer, given our constant movement and also the ease of use, a lot of us would prefer mobile banks.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Back in 2013, in an article published by Pew Research Center, it says that “51% of U.S. adults, or 61% of internet users, bank online.” In addition, the same article says that “32% of U.S. adults, or 35% of cell phone owners, bank using their mobile phones.”

Meanwhile, in 2015 data published by Statista Research Department, says that the “number of digital banking users was forecast to surpass 161 million in the United States in 2019.” Furthermore, it explained that there are two factors that led to such growth in mobile or digital banking. These are “increased prevalence of smartphones and other digital technologies, and the other is an increase in financial technology (fintech) firms.”

You see, times have changed. Even the way banking is done has changed. No wonder why companies such as Ally Bank and Marcus by Goldman Sachs are becoming popular in the said industry. Precisely why we are making this comparative review among these two popular names in the mobile banking industry.

If you are someone who’s looking into what particular online bank to deal with, where to entrust your money and rely on your other banking needs, this one is for you.

In particular, we are going to talk about the following regarding both Ally Bank and Marcus by Goldman Sachs:

  • What Ally Bank and Marcus is all about?
  • Types of Accounts Offered          
  • Special Features
  • Branches and ATMs
  • Fees and Charges
  • Customer Service Support
  • Pros and Cons

ALLY BANK VS MARCUS: BRIEF BACKGROUND

In anything especially if we are talking about an institution where you are going to park your money into, it is very important to get to know the company first. This will give you an idea on whether or not the bank is reliable and trustworthy, or the other way around.

Having said that, here’s a brief backgrounder of both Ally and Marcus for your reference:

ALLY BANK

Ally Bank whose roots were in the automobile industry has been around for years already. Based in Midvale, Utah, the company is part of the General Motors Corporation.

GMC established a company names General Motors Acceptance Corporation or GMAC in 1919. The company was established to particularly help provide financing for its growing customer base back in the days.

Overtime, GMAC expanded and eventually ventured into banking. It offered functions of what traditional banks offer on a day-to-day basis.

Years later, specifically in 2009, GMAC changed the name of its banking unit to what we know today as Ally Bank. The name change gave the company a fresh start having gone through a financial crisis.

Eventually, GMAC decided to change the name of the entire financial company. They rebranded to what is now called Ally Financial. However, it was only in 2014 when Ally Financial went public with the ticker ALLY.

Things went smoothly for Ally Financial, as well as Ally Bank, which is why it is not surprising that the company decided to expand and open up an online brokerage. The company bought TradeKing, and it was rebranded to Ally Invest, which is a name that is also popular in the online brokerage industry.

If you are interested in knowing more about Ally Bank, here’s an insightful review by CBLifeHacks. Click the red button below to watch the whole thing:

MARCUS

Marcus is an online bank that was founded in the United States in 2016. It is owned by Goldman Sachs, an investment bank that has been around since 1869.

Headquartered in New York City, Marcus has become popular in the online banking space because of its high-yield savings and certificate of deposit (CD) accounts. These accounts are made accessible even with a low deposit. Moreover, Marcus also gained popularity as people find its No-Penalty CD feature as a unique option as compared to its competitors.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs is ideal for those who want to take advantage of the highest savings account interest rates available. Furthermore, it is ideal for those who:

  • Wants fee-free savings to account to keep money
  • Do not have enough savings to qualify for highest rates in other banks out there
  • Do not need a separate checking account intended for payments
  • Need to move money fast through wire transfer

ALLY BANK VS MARCUS: TYPES OF ACCOUNTS OFFERED

Every bank customer out there (like you and me) has different banking needs and preferences. That is why knowing what it is that you need will make the selection process easier.

Both Ally Bank and Marcus offer different sets of products depending on the needs of their clients. Here’s a list of what these online banks have to offer:

ALLY BANK

Online Savings Account

Ally Bank offers a high annual percentage yield or APY on deposits. In addition, it offers features, which include:

  • No minimum initial deposit or ongoing minimum balance required
  • Funding your account by transferring money from another account, wiring funds, mailing checks for deposit, or making a mobile check deposit
  • No monthly fees

The downside of Ally Bank’s Online Savings Account though is that it does not include an ATM card. Withdrawals can be done by linking an external account and transferring the money there. Otherwise, you can open a Money Market or Interest Checking Account if you want easier access to your money.

Money Market Account

Ally Bank’s Money Markey Account is a mixture of both checking and savings accounts, which means you can make money from interest. Needless to say, this type of account lets you use your money anytime you want.

In addition, the Money Market Account also offers the following features:

  • High annual percentage yield (exact rate vary from time to time)
  • A debit card and free checks for expenditures
  • No monthly fees
  • Enjoy ATM access

Unfortunately, because of federal regulations, withdrawals from your Money Market Account have certain limitations. While you can withdraw cash via an ATM machine anytime you need cash, payments, and transfers out of your account are limited.

Interest Checking Account

Ally Bank’s Interest Checking Account is free. Apart from that, Ally’s Checking Account also pays a reasonable return on your cash.

Additionally, it also provides the following features:

  • You can earn 0.10% on balances of less than $15,000
  • You can 0.50% on balances of $15,000 or more
  • No monthly fees
  • You can send instant and secure payments to friends and family through Zelle
  • Deposit checks to your account through the mobile app

Ally Bank’s Interest Checking Account is an ideal choice for everyday spending. While earning interest on your account balance, you can also pay bills online without any hassle. Needless to say, you will also receive a debit card for easy cash withdrawals.

With Ally’s ATM you can withdraw cash anytime at any Allpoint ATM free of charge. Furthermore, you can also get up to $10 per statement cycle in ATM fee rebate charges from other ATMs in the country.

Another plus is that Ally Bank does not charge you for using a non-network ATMs. However, there may be some ATM operators that will charge you instead. As with foreign transactions, Ally Bank does charge a 1% foreign transaction fee is the case you withdraw cash outside the country.

Certificates of Deposit

Ally Bank offers a variety of Certificates of Deposit, which includes the following:

  • High-Yield CDs – These are traditional CDs that do require a commitment to leaving funds with the bank for a particular period of time.
  • Raise Your Rate CDs – This type of CD has rates that can potentially grow, which precludes situations wherein you get stuck with a low CD for a couple of years.
  • No Penalty CDs – These are considered as liquid CDs, which means your money is accessible anytime.

Apart from the above-mentioned products, Ally Bank also offers the following:

  • Auto Loans
  • Home Purchase Loans
  • IRAs
  • Managed Investment Portfolios
  • Mortgage Refinance Loans
  • Self-Directed Investment Accounts

MARCUS

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers the following types of accounts:

Online Savings Account

Compared to the national average, what Marcus Online Savings offer is significantly higher. Other features of this product include:

  • Earning 2% APY on account balances as low as $1
  • No minimum initial deposit requirement
  • No ongoing minimum balance requirement
  • Funding account by wiring funds, money transfer, or mailing checks for deposit
  • No fees (unless cashing out of a CD early)

Several CD Options

Marcus does have very competitive CD rates. Apart from that, you have various options to choose from.

Here is some very important information you have to know about Marcus CDs:

  • Requires at least $500 to open a CD
  • Standard CDs require you to leave your savings in an account for a particular period of time
  • Marcus may assess an early-withdrawal penalty on highest-paying CDs depending on the term of your CD
  • No-Penalty CDs are liquid CDs with a term of 13 months (full balance can be withdrawn after 7 days from the day you purchased your CD)

Personal Unsecured Loans

Marcus offers unsecured personal loans amounting from $3,500 up to $40,000. For this, your application will be evaluated by the lender. They will be particular on your credit scored as well as your income. The thing about this is, you are not required to pledge collateral to secure loans.

ALLY BANK VS MARCUS: SPECIAL FEATURES

Both Ally Bank and Marcus have a couple of features that make each of them stand out from the rest. Having said that, let’s look into what both banks have to offer.

ALLY BANK

Apart from the various type of accounts, as well as other products that the bank offers, there are two other things that Ally Bank has become really popular about. These are its customer service support and their mobile app with card management.

Ally Bank has a very reliable customer service support, which is available 24/7 via phone, live chat, and email.

Ally’s customer service is very dependable that in fact, it has earned second place in the 2019 J.D. Power 2019 Direct Banking Satisfaction Study.

Meanwhile, with their mobile app, unlike other banks’ mobile application, Ally comes with a card management feature, which makes it even more convenient for its customers/users.

MARCUS

Meanwhile, Marcus has two key features as well. These are loan specialization, as well as having a learning center plus debt resources.

ALLY BANK VS MARCUS: BRANCHES AND ATMs

This time around, we’ll look into both Ally Bank and Marcus Bank’s availability via bank branches as well as ATM access.

Unfortunately, Ally Banks does not have a physical branch, which is precisely why it is called a mobile-only bank in the first place. This perhaps can be considered as a downside especially for those people who prefer talking to a bank officer or teller face-to-face. Nevertheless, Ally Bank knows how to make it up to its users by giving them a reliable and dependable 24/7 customer service support.

Meanwhile, with regards to ATM access, Ally Banks has around 43,000 ATMs where you can withdraw money from free of charge.

As for Marcus, they do have two branches available. As with the bank’s ATM services, they boast over 80,000 ATMs nationwide available anytime you want to withdraw money from your account.

ALLY BANK VS MARCUS: FEES AND CHARGES

When it comes to fees and charges, we have to say that both are almost equal in this part. Both Ally Bank and Marcus do have their share of highs and lows on this part.

With Ally Bank, there are no fees like monthly maintenance fees. Ally Bank does not charge you for using a non-network ATMs as well — unless the ATM operator charges a fee for using their services. Meanwhile, with regards to making foreign transactions, the bank charges a 1% foreign transaction fee for cash withdrawals outside the country.

As with Marcus, they do not charge monthly fees as well. However, they do have early-withdrawal penalties for CDs. Also, you cannot overdraw your account or pay fees at foreign ATMs without a checking account or ATM card.

ALLY BANK VS MARCUS: CUSTOMER SERVICE SUPPORT

Our review will not be complete if we will not look into each bank’s customer service support.

As mentioned earlier, Ally Bank excels when it comes to customer service. They do offer customer service support via phone, live chat, email, and even through social media 24/7. This is definitely one of the reasons why people love online banking with Ally. They may not be physically available, but they do know how to make it up.

Now, with regard to Marcus, they do have phone support to both new and existing customers available between 8 in the morning and 10 in the evening (Eastern Time) from Monday to Friday, while 9 in the morning until 7 in the evening on weekends. Chat support, meanwhile, is exclusively available for customers who are logged into their accounts only.

ALLY BANK VS MARCUS: PROS AND CONS

To complete our review, we are going to look into the overall pros and cons of both Ally Bank and Marcus. This will surely help you make a decision if you have not decided yet whether to go for Ally or Marcus.

ALLY BANK

PROS CONS
It offers a wide variety of financial products. It has fewer loan options as compared to Marcus and other competing banks.
It is easily accessible with widespread ATM access, and of course, its cutting edge mobile application. It has slightly lower savings rates.
It has excellent 24/7 customer service support. It does not have a brick-and-mortar location, which means face-to-face transactions or consultations is impossible.

MARCUS

PROS CONS
It offers slightly higher savings rates, which means you have the chance to earn a little more if you park your money with Marcus. It has very limited financial products.
It has lower fees. Its customer service is not accessible compared to Ally Bank.
It offers a wide range of loan options.  

FINAL THOUGHTS ON ALLY BANK VS MARCUS

It is actually hard to choose between the two because ultimately, they are two different banks with different offerings. However, if we will base it on overall impact, we have to say Ally Bank wins. But, then again, it depends on the user or customer.

If you want a higher interest rate, then it is a no-brainer, it is Marcus winning for this. But if you are fine with a little lower interest rate but with excellent customer service support and money is more accessible, then it has to be Ally Bank.

Again, it all boils down to what your needs and preferences are as a user.

So, have you decided yet? Which do you think meets your requirements?

While this Ally Bank vs Marcus comparative review gives you a lot of vital information to help you decide, at the end of the day, it all goes back to what your goals are. Once you know what you want for your money, then it should be easier to determine which between Ally and Marcus you will get your money into.