Dollar Savings Direct: 2.05% APY Emigrant Clone

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Dollar Savings Direct Logo

FDIC Update: There were some concerns as to whether Dollar Savings Direct was actually a division of Emigrant Bank and whether it was FDIC insured, those have been laid to rest thanks to the work of some dutiful readers. Dollar Savings Direct is FDIC insured under the certificate of Emigrant Bank and shares limits with any assets you may have at Emigrant Direct. This was confirmed by Jeff who was in correspondence with the FDIC.

Sometime in the last month or so, (or longer, I have no idea honestly) a new high yield savings bank appeared with little fanfare or press: Dollar Savings Direct. It’s a division of Emigrant Bank, FDIC Certificate #12054, which is the same parent company of Emigrant Direct. On the face of it, it appears there’s little difference besides interest rate and minimums. Dollar Savings Direct has a higher APY at 2.05% but has a minimum balance of $1,000 but no fees (if your balance falls under the minimum, you earn only 1%). If you go to their respective homepages, they’re designed with nearly the same elements (layout is the same except on Dollar Savings you have a picture of Benjamin Franklin versus a patriotic top hat, the buttons are basically the same, color-schemes, etc).

What’s the deal? Well, I called Dollar Savings Direct and chatted with a very nice CSR who explained the whole story. She confirmed that there was no difference other than APY and minimums, that was interesting. She also explained that Dollar Savings Direct was merely Banco Fortuna, Emigrant Bank’s foray into the Spanish-speaking banking market, rebranded in English. I suppose Emigrant’s foray wasn’t as productive as they had hoped. If you visit the Banco Fortuna homepage, it redirects you to Dollar Savings Direct, confirming the CSR’s explanation.

So, from someone who didn’t know about Banco Fortuna (or that it was going away), it appeared as though Emigrant Bank was trying to get more deposits without having to pay their existing Emigrant Direct customers. It now appears that isn’t the case.

The last question I had for the CSR was whether I could transfer between the two accounts and she said no. They were two separate banks, despite having the same FDIC certificate, so to transfer funds you’d need a checking account intermediary.

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160 Responses to “Dollar Savings Direct: 2.05% APY Emigrant Clone”

  1. Phil L. says:

    I signed up for an account with DollarSavingsDirect and initiated a initial deposit of $2000. After the registration process was completed, I signed out from DSD and tried to log on again and could not. It said my password was wrong, even though I use Keepass to store all my passwords.

    Has anybody gotten this problem. What should I do? I contacted DSD by email and no reply yet. Is my $2000 deposit at risk, since I cannot even login to my account anymore?

    Thanks a bunch.

    • Phil L. says:

      I talked with a DSD customer rep and everything is fine now. It seems the problem was my password had special characters like @#%”} the caused problems. I reseted my password to letters and numbers and everything is fine so far.

      Their web interface is horrible but the 4% is very good. Also, customer rep was very helpful fwiw.

  2. il castoro says:

    The only reason to stay with ED (an unfortunate abbreviation, I’ll admit) is the tie-in with their affiliated Mastercard (issued by Barclays Bank), which gives a 1.4% rebate on most charges if one keeps $10K in the ED account. Even though their APY is 2.5%, if one runs $10K in annual charges but pays in full every month, one’s effective APY is about 3.9%–not too shabby. But the 4.0% dodge on DD is unfair to people who keep higher balances with ED. Of course, ease of transfer of cash is important. Finally, as itself points out, a one-star rating does not mean a bank is about to fold, just that it underperforms. Emigrant itself has 3 stars.

    • Gary says:

      I have an account at ED and held out for the same reason- but now I’m switching to DSD at 4% and a new Schwab Visa which pays 2% cash back on all purchases (no caps).

  3. New Yorker says:

    Emigrant’s website ( includes a link to its Privacy Policy. This policy (on the Emigrant site) notes the following regarding the official Emigrant Family (you’ll note that a Dollar relationship is indeed cited):

    This Consumer Privacy Policy is provided on behalf of the Emigrant Family of companies that offer consumer-related financial services: Emigrant Bank (providing a full range of banking products); its retail banking affiliates: Emigrant Savings Bank – Bronx/Westchester, Emigrant Savings Bank – Brooklyn/Queens, Emigrant Savings Bank – Long Island, and Emigrant Savings Bank – Manhattan; Emigrant Mortgage Company, Inc. (offering residential mortgage loans), Emigrant 1031 Direct (an affiliate of Emigrant Bank offering qualified 1031 intermediary services), Emigrant Agency, Inc. doing business as Emigrant Financial Services (featuring insurance, annuity, and mutual fund products), Personal Risk Management Solutions (a division of Emigrant Bank providing insurance advisory services), EmigrantDirect (a division of Emigrant Bank offering certain banking products and services via the Internet), New York Private Bank & Trust (a division of Emigrant Bank, offering private banking services), New York Private Bank & Trust, FSB, (an affiliate of Emigrant Bank offering trust services), and DollarSavingsDirect (a division of Emigrant Bank offering certain banking products and services via the Internet).

  4. 1uscs says:

    I also opened up a DollarSavingsDirect account. But I spoke to a customer service rep to clear up when interest is posted in the following case. If I want to take money out of the account during the middle of the month or before the last day of the month, what happens to the interest. The rep said that in order fot the interest to be credited, the funds must be in the account on the last day of the month, otherwise you lose the interest for that month. So, for me, this is money that I dont expect to access quickly and for the 4 percent which appears to be about the best around right now, will put up with that inconvenience. But I will have to remember that it will have to be the last day of the month or say the first of the month to do a withdrawal.

  5. jaewchoi says:

    When you go the FAQ, it says that “Interest on the Dollar Savings Account is compounded daily and credited monthly. For more details, see our Account Disclosure.”

  6. jayell says:

    Castoro. Can you use the credit card to purchase the CD’s?

    • jim says:

      I’ve never seen a bank let you buy CDs with a credit card, there are fees they have to pay and those are substantial. That being said, if you have heard of one… I’d really like to see it!

  7. susan says:

    Approval of Application by New York Private Bank & Trust Corporation and Emigrant Bancorp, Inc.

    January 21, 2009

    NEW YORK—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York Tuesday approved the application by New York Private Bank & Trust Corporation and Emigrant Bancorp, Inc., both of New York, New York, pursuant to Section 3 of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended, to acquire all of the voting shares of, Ossining, New York.

    According to standard procedure, the proposal cannot be completed for 15 days. The Reserve Bank acted under authority delegated by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

  8. John C says:

    Has anybody noticed that the advertised rate has dropped to 3.5% APY where as the account still says 4% APY . Is the rate about to drop ?

  9. Charlie says:

    @John: Yes, of course it will drop. No bank could sustain a 4% rate in today’s interest rate climate. It’s still a good deal at 3.5%, I think.

    @Diana: Implications? None. This is the final documentation of what we’ve known all along, i.e. that DSD is an FDIC-insured subsidiary of Emigrant.

    • New Yorker says:

      I don’t get it. On 1/23 you tell Diana that as “we’ve known all along, i.e. that DSD is an FDIC-insured subsidiary of Emigrant”

      Okay but then 5 days later on 1/28 you indicate that you “called FDIC yesterday before sending Dollar another deposit, having noticed that Dollar is still not listed on the Web s”

      Well if on 1/28 you weren’t yet convinced WHY on 1/23 did you forcefully assert “what we’ve known along”?

      BTW – DSD IS insured via Emigrant Bank. As such the FDIC Insurance is issued in the name of the Parent Bank – not a Division.

  10. 1uscs says:

    Back to Rate Chasing again. Just as I open the Dollar Direct 4 percent account, it drops to 3.5. It never ends. So have now found 3.75 percent at Clear Sky Account (FDIC) which is the online savings offer put forward by Chesapeake Bank located in the Northern Neck of Virginia, 11 local brick and mortar banks in eastern Virginia. The rate is good through 3/31/09 and then ?. The location of the Clear Sky Account is in the Williamsburg, Va. area, phone 877-257-7594, not too far from where I live.

    • JJS says:

      Thank you for the tip on Chesapeake Bank. Although I have successfully used ED for a few years now, the Clear Sky Account 3.75 return for a few months beats the 2.40 ED is currently offering. Hopefully, we’ll have more options by then.

  11. Dave says:

    My internet server will not let me log on the Dollar Savings Site.

    Has Dollar Savings Gone out of business?

  12. Charlie says:

    I called FDIC yesterday before sending Dollar another deposit, having noticed that Dollar is still not listed on the Web site, and that has them down to 1 star. FDIC assured me that Dollar is fully insured, under the Emigrant certificate. Their only caution is that deposits in the two banks are aggregated for purposes of the $250K insurance limit.

    BTW, the FDIC rep gave me this information without pausing to look anything up; apparently they’re getting this question a lot.

  13. John C says:


    Thanks for the extra verification. This is a much better situation that earlier when people called FDIC and they didn’t know who DSD were.We are still getting a decent rate in comparison to other banks. I also have a HSBC account but they just keep dropping rates for any excuse.Also opened a FNBO account but so far I am not impressed with them.

  14. Charlie says:

    John, my call was prompted by the precipitous drop in rating at I see that my reporting on it upset another member, but my feeling is that more information is better than less, especially for people like us who are daring to send significant funds out into the Internet cloud.

    Good luck in your quest for good service and high interest. I’ve been impressed so far with GMAC Bank. You get friendly, helpful people when you call, but you give up 50 basis points for the privilege, compared to DSD.

    • New Yorker says:

      No – what upset another member was you having the gall to tell Diana on 1/23 that “as we’ve known all along” DSD is FDIC insured, and then on 1/28 you are reporting that you just contacted the FDIC because you were concerned about whether DSD was FDIC insured. HUH??? Well if you weren’t sure on 1/28 then you must have had doubts on 1/23. That being the case you should have not responded to Diana on 1/23 as you did … I agree that the more information the better, which is what Diana was trying to obtain – until YOU shot her down with that “what we’ve known all along” nonsense. But I guess you know that now because your 1/23 response to Diana has strangely been deleted.

  15. Chase says:

    I just want to thank all of you. After a ton of research and especially finding sites like this one I moved my money over to DSD. I can’t begin to tell you how lovely the customer service reps are at this bank. They have been beyond informative, patient, kind, considerate, and extremely prompt. They have made banking amazingly convenient for me. DSD has also gone the extra mile for me when it came to linking my personal checking account and my high yield savings account with DSD in an extremely swift fashion. After I too had a problem with logging in due to using &%: silly characters, I called the bank, they immediately knew what the problem was, we fixed it, and I have not had any problems since. The ease of the website and calling customer service is even better than my local bank. It is DEFINITELY FDIC insured and I am so impressed with their extended security protocols on their site that you can have if you choose to. I recommend this bank and this high yield savings account to everyone I know. The only thing I am a little bit disappointed in is the drop in the varying interest rate from 4 to 3.5, however, from what I can find it is still the highest interest rate out there and the rate cannot be blamed on them when it is the FED that dictates rates in these difficult economic times. Again, I just want to THANK ALL OF YOU for your informative comments, let you know someone is INDEED READING/LISTENING, and say I just wish other sites like bankrate were recommending and more informative on DSD.

  16. Scott says:

    Is it true that in the application process they ask you for your username and pssword for the checking account you want to link?? I think I read that on someones review elsewhere or was that another bank ?? This would be a deal breaker for me

  17. Charlie says:

    Scott, I was asked only for the routing number and account number of my checking account…information which is on public display on every check I write. They then sent a few tiny debits and credits via ACH, and asked me to verify the amounts, thus verifying that I have access to the account. This was over a month ago, so it’s possible they’ve changed the policy, but I doubt it.

  18. Phil L. says:

    Scott, I signed up to DSD a month ago. I was never asked for my banking username or password. They of course, do ask for your routing and account # like any other online financial institution.

    Their rate has gone down from 4 to 3.5 to 3.2%. However they still have the best rate and even though their UI is not pretty, you get use to it and so far everything is good.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Since DSD is Emigrant we should not bother signing up for DSD. Emigrant lured accounts in during with a brief competitive rate during the early 2000’s interest rate lull and then dropped their rate to an abysmal low. It was a waste of time to sign up for Emigrant, and sincs Dollarsavingsdirect is the same bank they will do the same. Better go elsewhere.
    At GOTALKMONEY.COM the money market top 10 shows WTDIRECT is a consistent performer. Also the clear sky bank mentioned sounds good…

  20. Scott says:

    I am perturbed about their account linking policy. I was able to easily link my checking account to my DSD account when opening it up. Then I tried to link my DSD account to another account I have so that I could originate the transfer from this other account and it could not be done. I was told that transfers can only originate from DSD and not the other way around. None of my other online accounts limit you in this way. Sounds fishy to me.

  21. Danny says:

    3.05% as of today (2/12/09)

    Just the aftermath of the Fed rate or time to look elsewhere?

    • BK says:

      Yes, you’re right…rate continues to drop and it is becoming more and more difficult to find a good one without committing long term! Where else can you look?? I too opened a sizable account with DSD, only to see the rate drop significantly. What’s next…stuff the cash under one’s matress and watch it dissappear??

  22. Rich says:

    I just opened and funded my DSD account and I am a little angry. The entire sign up / tranfer set up process was smooth, but when I logged in today to verify that my initial funding had transferred from my BofA account I saw something that bothered me.

    I initiated the ACH transfer on 2/12. The money left my BofA account and appeared in my DSD account on 2/13 BUT the DSD site say it is not “available” until 2/23.

    A 10 DAY HOLD? Are they serious? I came over from CountryWide where the hold period was never more than 1-2 days.

    I think this is dirty pool they are playing so they don’t have to pay interest.

    Does anyone know if the 10 day hold is common for just the initial funding OR is it the standard hold period for ALL subsequent transfers as well?


    • Scott says:

      They put a 7 day hold on mine which I just opened up about 1 week ago. My understanding is that interest is paid from the day it transfers and the hold period only applies to your ability to withdraw.

      • New Yorker says:

        The 10 Day hold is for the initial deposit only. And as noted by Scott – Interest is paid from the day the funds are deposited; irrespective of any availability hold.

  23. Charlie says:

    I don’t know exactly what the purpose of the long hold is; it’s not greed, as they do pay interest from day of deposit. I guess it removes any risk of the transaction being repudiated by the counterparty bank. I’m not too bothered by it, as there’s not much point in using these online banks unless you plan to keep the money there for a while.

    However, note that as interest rates drop they are also converging to some degree. GMAC Bank, for example, is at 2.75% now, only 30 basis points away from DSD. gives them four stars vs. one star for DSD. And I heard a rumor that GMAC gives new depositors a free Chevy Suburban just for opening the account..

  24. JB says:

    I’ve been w/ dollar since Oct. and been happy with them except for the recent rate plunge, while emigrant still hasn’t yet. They do have the initial hold but in my experience say small deposits like $100 are available in a couple days, even though the site will say for longer. Larger deposits are held as long as they say I believe.

    I have ing accounts, emigrant accts, have had hsbc, but emigrant/dollar have the best transfer times. If you schedule for a certain day it will be there that day. Ing has a day lag, hsbc was terrible.

    Hopeful dollar will be worth it in the months to come. Wish I could’ve funded my dollar w/ emigrant since the checking acct go between makes it almost worthless when switching often.

  25. FU says:

    Other than converting dollars to a different currancy, we have no option. If I can get a 1% return on my savings, I am thrilled. My only other optin is …well. there is none.

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