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Posted By Jim On 11/06/2008 @ 7:37 am In Reviews | 32 Comments
When EverBank   offered that teaser rate of 4.65% APY for three months, followed by an equally impressive 3.60% APY afterwards, I was impressed. That’s a pretty competitive rate for a checking account. Unfortunately, that rate wasn’t guaranteed (no savings rate is guaranteed) and it recently fell to a more pedestrian 3.93% APY promo with a 3.18% APY follow up on balances over $50,000 (blended, that’s 3.40% APY).
That being said, EverBank was still worth a look after the rate drop. I didn’t open an account at the time but I did want to poke around the site to see what else they offered in addition to the high yield FreeNet Checking Account.
I first heard about EverBank a few years ago when international currency CDs were more popular. Back then, a sagging dollar meant international CDs were offering high rates and EverBank was one of the few places known to offer them to the public. Everbank is more than a traditional bank, it offers all sorts of baning and investment services.
The history of the bank can be traced back to 1962 but its brand as it operates today began more in 1994, when EverBank acquired a Florida-based mortgage company. As with any bank I’d consider, they’re FDIC insured (Certificate 34775) up to $250,000 (through December 2009, then presumably the $100k limit applies) and you can read more about their history on Wikipedia . According to thier history, they recently spiked in growth a little before the dot-com boom and have been growing, in terms of assets, since then.
As I mentioned earlier, I first heard about them and their international currency CDs, called their World Currency CDs.
From their site :
If you seek to diversify your portfolio globally, then foreign currencies could be a beneficial addition. And our WorldCurrency® certificates of deposit can make adding currencies a simple process—and potentially rewarding too. You earn interest in the currency of your choice and potentially benefit from appreciation against the U.S. dollar. However if your selected currency depreciates against the U.S. dollar, you could experience a loss to some of your principal deposit. We also offer competitive conversion exchange rates within 1% of the wholesale spot price EverBank® pays for the currency—among the lowest in the nation.
It’s a cool way to get exposure but you do face currency risk. The same concerns I had for high yield international accounts  apply for CDs based on international currencies too. FDIC insurance can protect you against bank failure, but it won’t protect you against currency-price fluctuations. There’s a reason why yields are higher, the risk is higher as well.
Getting back to the headline offer, the FreeNet Checking Account  offers a 3-month bonus rate of 3.93% APY followed by a 3.18% APY on balances above $50k. Blended, that’s a rate of 3.40% APY – competitive but certainly not tops at the moment. The requirements of the account are that you open with at least $1,500 though there are no minimum balance requirements to earn interest and no monthly fee. You get all the usual trappings of a checking account (online/mobile banking, Visa check card, unlimited check writing, optional online bill pay, no Everbank ATM fees, $6/mo ATM fee reimbursement, and overdraft protection).
When you couple that checking rate with a 1-year CD rate of 4.15% APY (as of this writing), it’s a decent offer. I’m not yet ready to open up another bank account but if you’re in the market for a new account, you won’t be wasting your time taking a look at EverBank.
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 history on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EverBank_Direct
 From their site: http://www.everbank.com/001CurrencyCDSingle.aspx?referId=12718
 concerns I had for high yield international accounts: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/why-i-dont-trust-high-yield-international-banks.html
Thank you for reading!