Updated 9/19: Emigrant Direct’s  interest rates are at an impressive 4.0%!
So about three weeks ago, like a week before they raised their rates to 3.25% (and before ING raised their rates to 2.80%), I decided I was going to open up an Emigrant Direct  account so I could get the best interest rate possible by having the accounts opened already. I had heard about some confusion and difficulty with opening an account with Emigrant but for the great rates I was willing to brave it and have posted the following as a guide to make the process as painless as possible. So the oddesey begins with a click on the “Open Account” button…
The first thing you have to realize is when you first open an account, the information you receive about an account number, your chosen username and password, will not give you access to your account immediately. After the test deposits are deposited in and withdrawn from the externally linked account you specify, click on the link in the email they sent to verify the external account.
At this point I had messed up and omitted a digit from the end of my account number so I had to call in and change it. The email that they sent asked me to talk to a specific person (two people), who I then asked to talk to. One person was gone and the other didn’t want to answer the phone, which rang about thirty times before I was kicked back into the normal customer service pool again where a random CSR helped me. I wonder what the point in sending me to a specific person was if anyone could’ve helped me.
So now the external account was verified, I needed to wait a few days for a paper package in the mail with my account details. It was just a letter with my new account number and some “instructions.” Anyway, back to emigrantdirect.com I go and I click on View Account. Then… this is where there’s a little more confusion, I can’t login yet. I have to click on the “Sign Up” link located in the “New Customers” box underneath the login section. Once there I had to verify some information and I was finally in!
But I couldn’t transfer money from an external account yet! Just click on Message Center on the left sidebar, click on Contact Us, and send them an email with the following information (you can cut and paste the one I’ve included):
I’d like the links to transfer money between my Emigrant
Direct account and the external linked account activated
In a day or so there should be an External Transfers link for you to transfer money into the account and you are set! This should help you make the process, which takes around a week and a half overall, as painless and clear as possible. I hope you find this helpful and let me know if I missed something.