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. 1uscs says:

    Dollar Savings Direct has now dropped to 2.65 percent from 3.05 percent. Down, down, down we go. Just when I get mucho dinero into this account, it drops. Have to keep an eye on the Clear Sky Account (Chesapeake Bank, Williamsburg, VA) which is still advertising 3.05 percent.

  2. Rocketman says:

    I opened my account less than a month ago and the rate has dropped 2 or 3 times already.

    They must have attained their goal of a certain amount of deposits and each time they do they drop the rate….if everyone pulled their money out you would see how quickly it would reverse…As soon as the month ends I am out of there.

  3. Charlie says:

    The claim of “America’s Highest Rate” is getting a bit thin, as it seems now to be based only on their $1,000 minimum deposit vs, say, 2.75% at GMAC Bank, which has a $5,0000 minimum and a **** quality rating at, compared to * for Dollar Savings Direct.

    It may be time to say goodbye to DSD.

  4. David says:

    I have become totally disillusioned with Emigrant/DSD because they REPEATEDLY start with a TEASER rate & then quickly DROP their rates! I THOUGHT that since it was described as a non-brick savings place that they would keep their rates higher for longer…but alas, JUST as they did dirty to me with a previous ED acct, they have DROPPED their rates from weeks to even days. I am transfering ALL of my $ back to my bank that has consistently offerd 2.7! So much for me chasing rates & good bye ED/DSD & whatever else they come up with FOREVER! Now known as the “BAD LUCK OF THE IRISH!”

  5. Dave says:

    The rest of what’s left in our $ savings will be transferred tomorrow.

    In Jan., the site was hard to log on to. January was/is a high outflow month for us with estimated US/Ca taxes, credit cards from Christmas and other fixed payments. Twice after I had entered withdrawals, the screen never returned to our balance sheet. Transfers went throug with their normal delay, but I didn’t like the program not going back to our balance after the transfer was approve (not made).

    Then, when we tried to transfer money at the end of Jan to transfer money to pay for the rest of our Christmas bills and an upcoming vacation, AT&T refused to allow us sign on to the site. AT&T’s info note said that the site was using a home computer.

    I got hold a lady at $, and she said that they were working with the problem. I told her that we needed several thousand $’s to be transferred to handle due bills and our vacation.

    Then, I had to send an email to get the money transferred. They did respond and transferred the money that night. This should have never happened.

    We never got an explanation nor an apology from $.

    Then their interest rate continued dropping.

    So we are out of there when this final transfer happens.

    So we will be looking for a higher rated online bank (higher than a 1 star rating) with a low minimum, a fair rate, and the ability to handle transfers when we need our money.

    What online bank is the best with a low minimum, a good interest rate, good star ranking and handles transfers out as well as in with no problem?


    PS. A little side note re computers not working for Customers. We were checking out at Costco Friday. The two poor customers in front of us were trying to use their Costco Gift Cards they had received for Christmas.

    There were no signs posted that their computor had a glitz and would not accept the gift cards. The customers were not told of this problem until the checker informed them after totalling their bill, their gift card could not be assessed. However, they could pay cash or pay by check with IDs.

    Costco had several people, who appeared to management walking up and down the checkout stands informing the customers with gift cards of the problem.

    I told the one that informed the two customers in front of me that what was being done was very bad. Costco had the money for those gift cards and now they weren’t honoring those cards. Also, customers like us without the gift cards were forced to stand in line while they explained their gift cards were not being accepted that day.

    One of these women got upset with me, and I told her that they were practing temporary fraud by not having signs outside the door, inside the door and in front of the checkstands warning that the gift cards were not being accepted.

    • Jim says:

      The bank I’ve been using nowadays is Everbank, they have a $1500 deposit requirement (if you have under that there’s a $4.95 fee), but they pay out better than Dollar Savings 34.51% guaranteed 3 month bonus rate then something lower, but blends to 2.73% first year APY) and they have four stars from Bankrate.

      It’s the second bank listed on my high interest savings account profiles page:

      Here’s the Bankrate report:

      That stinks about the Costco cards. At my Costco, they ask for membership cards before ringing you up, seems odd they’d wait until afterwards to do it there.

      • Charlie says:

        Jim, I think if you read the footnotes you will see that 2.73% isn’t their real rate after the bonus period after the bonus period ends. They come up with that figure by aggregating their 3 month rate on the first $50k, 3.51%, with their actual rate of 2.46% for the next 9 months. If you have more than $50k, or you are in your second year for any amount, you only get 2.46%.

        Here are the gory details from their Web site:

        Rates and Annual Percentage Yields (APYs) are current as of 2/20/2009 12:00:00 AM. Minimum opening deposit of $1,500 is required. In any month that your average monthly balance falls below $1,500, a $4.95 monthly fee applies. Fees may reduce earnings. This is a variable rate account and any of the rates may change at any time without notice. This bonus rate and New Account First-Year APYs are available to first-time EverBank account holders only and is limited to one account per household. The bonus rate of 3.51% will apply to the first $50,000 on deposit for the first three months after account opening (the “Bonus Period”) and may change at any time prior to account opening. New Account First-Year APY for Balances up to and including $50,000: This corresponds to an Annual Percentage Yield (APY) for the 12 month period after the account is opened (“New Account First-Year APY” or “First-Year APY”), based on the current ongoing rates shown here, the current bonus rate and the average collected daily balance on your account, of 2.73%. New Account First-Year APY for Balances greater than $50,000: During the Bonus Period, balances of $50,001 and greater will earn an interest rate of 3.51% for the first $50,000 and an interest rate of 2.43% for all amounts above $50,000, and all funds in the account will earn the applicable ongoing interest rate, currently 2.43%, after the Bonus Period ends. Assuming the highest balance in the account is $10,000,000, the range of First-Year APYs available for this highest tier, based on the bonus rate, the ongoing rate, and the average collected daily balance on your account for the 12 month period after the account is opened is 2.73%-2.46% APY. Without the Bonus Rate: Without this bonus offer, the current APY for this account as of 2/20/2009 12:00:00 AM is 2.46% regardless of deposit amount.

        • Jim says:

          Shoot, you’re right, I mis-read and mis-wrote in my earlier comment, I’ll amend it in a moment.

          3.51% for 3 months is still very solid though (if you don’t mind the hassle) but you are right, thanks for reading the fine print closer than I did.

          One clarification to your last sentence, you still get 3.51% for your balance under $50k, it’s the dollars over $50k that get the 2.46% and not the promo rate.

      • Dave says:

        “That stinks about the Costco cards. At my Costco, they ask for membership cards before ringing you up, seems odd they’d wait until afterwards to do it there.”

        Jim, what really stunk about the Costco sham with its own gift cards was that the customers in front of me handed those gift cards to the Clerk before their purchases were processed.

        After the clerk scanned the purchases got a total, they then informed the customers, “Due to a computer glitch, they couldn’t apply the charges for the current transaction.

        The first customer growled a little and paid cash.

        The second was a Grandfather trying to buy some items and lunch/pizza/drinks for his Grandkids. He refused pay for the items and the pizza and drinks. Needless to say he and his grandkids were disappointed. Being a grandfather, I verbally blasted the first Costco Manager who informed the guy that his gift card would not work, but he could pay cash.

        The Costco people knew that their computer was not able to charge their Gift cards, and nothing was said until the customer after their purchases were scanned. It really stunk.

        We had no problems, when we were checked out with our Costco card and charging our purchases to the card.

        • Charlie says:

          As a courtesy to those who are subscribed to this thread, with email notification of new posts, may I respectfully suggest that discussion be confined to Dollar Savings Bank and its competitors.

          • John C says:

            I second that, take the Costco blog elsewhere and lets confine it to on-line savings accounts.

  6. Rich says:

    I am just completely STUNNED that DSD has dropped from 3.1 to 2.65 in the past 10 days. WOW.

    I just moved all of my money into DSD – in fact the funds are still not available yet. I am going to take Jim’s advice here and MOVE over to Everbank permanently. The whole DSD experience has been about the same as their rating – “1 star”.

  7. Rich says:

    Ooops…I meant to say move over to Everbank, not Emigrant! 🙂

    Jim: I revised it for you. 🙂

    • Bill says:

      I did a little research on Everbank and find the following items…..

      1. If I read their website correctly, the 3.51% for 3 months is only on the first $50,000…above that the rate is 2.43%….the “First Year APR of 2.73% ” is a blend of the two for a $10,000 balance over 12 months…..the higher the balance…the less the actual First Year APR

      2. This is a Money Market Account….are the FDIC coverages the same as a passbook saving account ??????

      3. epinions reviewers have a pretty low score of Everbank 2 1/2 Stars….some complain it took 4 weeks to open an account….….(sort by Review Date and a lot of the 1 Star ratings are recent)

      4. Question..why doesn’t Everbank show up on a search of Bankrate’s MM and savings accounts?????…..

      I must admit that an ETF on TIP with a 6.34% dividend yield (and the benefit of the current lower divided tax rate of 15%) is looking better every day….

      • Jim says:

        1. You’re right, I didn’t read carefully enough the first time.
        2. It’s FDIC ensured, money market FUNDs are the ones that aren’t insured (you buy those through a brokerage though).
        3. I never read epinions (I take those reviews with a grain of salt) but opening an account does take time because of how their paperwork and depositing process is, it took me a week to open and another week to fund (since it was via mail). They get 4 stars from bankrate and I trust Bankrate over epinion reviewers.
        4. I don’t know, Bankrate definitely reviews them because they have a 4 star Safe and Sound ranking.

      • Charlie says:

        Bill, I was composing my reply to Jim’s post above at the same time as yours was posted, but we’re making the same point – except that the calculation is on $10 million, not $10 thousand; they’re trying to show the maximum possible dilution of the first $50,000.

        FDIC insurance on money markets is the same as on any other deposit in the bank.

        As for TIPS ETFs, it’s important to be aware that while the yields may look great right now, the value of your investment will decline if interest rates rise, as they are sure to do eventually, so your capital loss will offset (or exceed!) your dividend earnings.

  8. 1uscs says:

    This weekend, March 1st, it’s adios, DollarSavingsDirect and it’s 2.65 percent. Setting sail for Clear Sky Account at Chesapeake Bank in Virginia. Rate still listed at 3.05 percent. My money has been in Dollar for about 3 weeks. I initiated a third transfer while the rate still showed 3.05 percent. And dont you know 2 days later after the transfer initiation, the rate dropped to 2.65 and you can’t stop the process. But come this weekend, March 1st, it will all be transferred back into my local bank and then to a new Clear Sky 3.05 account. And the rate game continues.

  9. 1uscs says:

    Fooled again, the Clear Sky account went down to 2.85 percent from 3.05 just as March 1st rolled in.

  10. Bill says:

    FYI…I found a site “” that lists many small banks not listed in website….

    I have not researched these banks as yet and some have minimum balance requirements of $25k to $100k. However they are quoting saving accout APR rates of 3.51%., 3.3%, 3.25%..etc….certainly worth a look….

    • Dave says:

      Below is the warning from AT&T/SBC re Provident-direct. They had the same warning on Dollar Savings, and I was unable to access my account to transfer funds. I had to contact them by phone and email to get the transfer done at the end of Jan..

      Since then I transferred the remainder of my acct at $ Savings.

      Why are these so called banks using a network reserved for home computers?

      AT&T Toolbar Possible Fraud WARNING!

      The requested website,
      is part of a network reserved for home computers and is possibly involved in fraud.

      RECOMMENDATION: DO NOT provide sensitive information, such as a password
      or credit card number, on this site. Disregard this warning ONLY if you are
      absolutely sure the site is authentic.

      Click ACCESS THIS TIME to proceed to the website if you believe it is authenic.

      Click ALWAYS ACCESS to proceed to the website and not to be redirected to this page
      next time this site is detected, if you believe it is authenic.

      By selecting ACCESS THIS TIME or ALWAYS ACCESS, you continue at your own risk.
      AT&T is not responsible for websites or content accessed through its service.

      What would you like to do?

  11. Charlie says:

    RE: “Why are these so called banks using a network reserved for home computers?”

    Dave, to the best of my knowledge there is no such network, and I believe the problem is in the toolbar you are using, or conflict between that toolbar and some other protective software in your computer, not in the banks’ Web sites.

    The authors of that warning message may be referring – in a confused and confusing way – to so-called non-routable IP addresses, which are generally used on the private side of routers. These addresses begin with 192. or 172. or 10. It seems likely that AT&T is seeing the address of your home computer itself (probably and mistaking it for the address of the site.

    My suggestion is that you delete the AT&T toolbar and instead rely on the built-in protections of the current versions of Internet Explorer or Firefox; or install the Google Toolbar in its place. These are all quite good, and they rarely generate false alarms.

  12. AN says:

    Free fall rate drop – now down in 2.50% in a blink of an eye. Bye bye DSD.

  13. Droopycom says:

    @AN: Where are you going ?

    ClearSkyAccounts that was mentionned by others is now at 2.45% (max, only 2.00% if you have less than 10K)

    GMAC is only at 2.65%… not worth moving the money…

    Where else ?

  14. 1uscs says:

    Whoa, DollarSavingsDirect now at 2.25 percent-

  15. 1uscs says:

    Just scheduled a transfer of all my funds out of DollarSavings back into my local checking account. So much for my one month enrollment in Dollar, but 2.25 percent is not worth it. At least it is still somewhat near the beginning of the month.

    The Clear Sky Account webpage still shows 2.85 percent as of Saturday morning, 3-7.

  16. 1uscs says:

    And also looking now at Centennial Bank in Fountain Valley, California. Variable savings rates i.e. 50-100K at 3.05 percent, over 100K at 3.3 percent. Somewhat better than the Clear Sky 2.85 for over 100K.

  17. Charlie says:

    Citibank is now at 2.1%, vs. 2.25 for Dollar. So if you have $100,000 to deposit, Citi will yield $150 bucks less than Dollar for the year. In return, you get walk-in convenience and a bank that, while deeply troubled, will never be allowed to fail by the Feds, saving the hassle of dealing with a possible FDIC rescue. Plus, your balance counts toward eliminating fees on other banking services.

    Conclusion: This whole Internet banking sector is starting to look like more trouble than it’s worth.

  18. Llewellyn says:

    Like driving an extra ten miles to find a gas station that sells regular for a penny a gallon cheaper.

  19. Bill says:

    I have finally decided to go for a GUARRANTEED 5.25 % return!!!!!…..take my savings and payoff my mortagage…..

    Chasing these puny savings returns just isn’t worth the effort any more…..

    • Dave says:

      “I have finally decided to go for a GUARRANTEED 5.25 % return!!!!!…..take my savings and payoff my mortagage…..”

      Bill, where did you go and what is the website?


  20. Jason says:


    I believe that Bill is just deciding to pay off his mortgage that has a 5.25% interest rate. I don’t think he is talking about any savings accounts carrying 5.25% interest rate…

  21. Bill says:

    Dave & Jason,

    Exactly…when I took out the adjustable mortgage 6 years ago it was at 4.3% for 5 years and my savings accounts were earning a healthy 5-6%…then last year the mortgage adjusted to 5.25% …not too bad of a rate….but now the savings accounts are down to a measly 2.25% …. the safety cushion of having cash at a 3% spread doesn’t make sense any more….Even if I need the cash for an emergency in the future, the cost of paying points and closing costs for a new 1st TD are still less than the cost of the 3% spread I’m currently paying….

    Good Bye DSD….Hello mortgage burning party…

  22. Charlie says:

    Actually you CAN get that kind of money from a bank…but it involves the use of a mask and a gun.

    Seriously, it’s not clear that paying off a mortgage right now is a wise thing to do. In today’s market there is no assurance that you can ever get your money back out in the form of a new mortgage or home equity loan. So, the payoff represents a more-or-less-permanent loss of liquidity.

    In short, paying off a mortgage isn’t an alternative to savings account; it’s an alternative to buying a long-term cd or bond, and comparisons should reflect those (generally higher) rates. Retiring the mortgage may well make sense for Bill, but it’s not for people who may need to get their hands on the money in the next several years.

  23. 1uscs says:

    Noticed DollarSavingsDirect now at 2.05 percent. Can one percent be far behind.

  24. Mike says:

    This is one of the more dramatic freefalls I have seen since I began trying to invest larger dollar amounts ($125K+) in an online bank. I withdrew the vast majority of my DSD funds when they dropped to 2.5%, and the remainder when they were at 2.25%.

    Tired of the fear (real or imagined) of one-star banking, my money is now split between ING Direct’s “Electric Orange” (1.95% for $100K+) and Capital One (2.01% for $10K+). Both are close enough to DSD’s rate, and my guess is that DSD will continue to plummet (EmigrantDirect is at 1.65%). Plus, both are rated at four stars or better on BankRate.

    I already had the ING account and wanted to open a Clear Sky Account, but they aren’t accepting applications right now, so I went with Capital One. Too bad; I would have liked to give Clear Sky a try.

  25. 1uscs says:

    Clear Sky Accounts at Chesapeake Bank are now at 2.5 percent. I managed to open an account just before they closed the 3.75 percent rate which is good through March. Unfortunately,I was unable to get the bulk of my money out of DollarSavingsDirect in time to send to Clear Sky. But I was told that about April 1st, Clear Sky is going to start accepting new money again, so as of now I will go with them in April. They said they had am overwhelming response to the 3.75 percent rate and had to stop new accounts for a while.

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