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High Interest Savings Accounts Profiles

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Make bundles at high interest savings accounts!The high interest rates of online banks may be appealing, but before you open an account, it pays to do a little research to learn more about the bank itself.

When Dollar Savings Direct first appeared with its amazingly high interest rate, I know I was one of the first customers to sign up. The 4.00% APY savings account was amazing, as other banks dropped to 3% or lower. I saw the FDIC emblem, I saw that it was affiliated with Emigrant Direct and Emigrant Bank, but I never confirmed it. I did a little bit of research and discovered that it was once branded Banco Fortuna, Emigrant’s aborted attempt into the Spanish-speaking market. I was satisfied and opened an account. Thankfully, astute readers investigated further, even calling up the FDIC, and we learned that Dollar Savings Direct was FDIC insured but shared that protection with Emigrant Direct. In other words, having a Dollar Savings Direct account, for FDIC insurance purposes, was the same as having another Emigrant Direct account, the combined assets would be protected up to $250,000. I did not know that when I opened the account and while it wouldn’t have affected me, I should’ve known.

So here’s a brief history and discussion about the banks I consider to the best high interest savings accounts:

Everbank

EverBankEverbank is most well known for their foreign currency CDs, a banking product that very few other banks (none amongst the online banks) offer, but they’ve been around for quite some time. Their FDIC certificate states they were founded in 1998 but I have to believe that’s more their bank offerings than their business lifetime, they spent much of their time as a mortgage lending institution before taking on deposits. They’ve seen acquired plenty of accolades from industry publications including Money Magazine “Best of the Breed” in 2007, Kiplinger’s “Best Checking Account” in 2006, and a five time recipient of Forbes.com Best of the Web award from 2000 to 2005. If you’re in the mood for trophy cases, you can view their long list of awards.

Bankrate Ratings & Report:
They are given four stars from Bankrate’s Safe and Sound rankings, you can review their comments here.

Everbank Bank Stats: (as of Sept 30, 2008)

  • Founded: 1/1/1998
  • Deposit Insurance Date: 1/1/1998
  • Address: 501 Riverside Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32202
  • FDIC Certificate: #34775
  • ABA Routing Number: 063000225
  • Total Employees: 1,474
  • Total Deposits: $4.0952 billion

FNBO Direct

FNBO DirectFNBO Direct is the online banking offering of First National Bank Omaha, which is itself a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska. First National Bank opened in 1857 and was first covered by FDIC insurance in 1934, when the program was launched. First National Bank Omaha is a full service bank, offering both retail and business banking services, investment and wealth management.

Bankrate & Bauer Financial Ratings:
They are awarded four stars from Bauer Financial and four stars from Bankrate’s Safe and Sound rankings, you can review their comments on First National Bank of Omaha here.

FNBO Direct Bank Stats: (as of Sept 30, 2008)

  • Founded: 1/1/1857
  • Deposit Insurance Date: 1/1/1934
  • Address: 16th and Dodge Streets, Omaha, NE 68197
  • FDIC Certificate: #5452
  • ABA Routing Number: 104000016
  • Total Employees: 3,838
  • Total Deposits: $8.1430 billion

E*Trade Bank

E*TradeE*Trade Bank is affiliated with, but separate from, the more well-known E*Trade Securities brokerage. One of the nice features about opening an E*Trade Bank account is that you can easily link your brokerage account to the savings account, creating your very own deposit sweep account. E*Trade Bank itself has won a few awards itself, including a Money Magazine Best of the Breed in 2007, and the brokerage firm has consistently high rankings in Smart Money’s Best Discount Brokers listings (2008 results).

Bankrate Ratings & Report:
They are given two stars from Bankrate’s Safe and Sound rankings, you can review their comments here.

E*Trade Bank Stats: (as of Sept 30, 2008)

  • Founded: 1/1/1933
  • Deposit Insurance Date: 6/23/1955
  • Address: 671 N. Glebe Road, 16th Floor, Arlington, VA 22203
  • FDIC Certificate: #30746
  • ABA Routing Number: 256072691
  • Total Employees: 269
  • Total Deposits: $31.0141 billion

HSBC Direct

HSBC DirectIf you’ve done a little bit of international travel, you’ll probably recognize the name HSBC, which stands for Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, because it’s an international powerhouse. Unfortunately, if you have any of their accounts, you’ll also know that each account in each country is segregated from one another, which can sometimes be a bit of a headache. Well, independent of that, HSBC Direct is the United States-based online bank offering from HSBC, under HSBC Bank USA, and has been growing very quickly.

Bankrate Ratings & Report:
They are given two stars from Bankrate’s Safe and Sound rankings, you can review their comments here.

HSBC Direct Bank Stats: (as of Sept 30, 2008)

  • Founded: 7/1/2004
  • Deposit Insurance Date: 7/1/2004
  • Address: 1800 Tysons Blvd, McLean, Virginia 22102
  • FDIC Certificate: #57890
  • ABA Routing Number: 022000020
  • Total Employees: 11,595
  • Total Deposits: $124.8762 billion

ING Direct

ING Direct Orange Savings AccountING Direct was probably the first online bank, back when people were wary of doing all of their banking online and they offered eye-popping rates. When you were used to less than 1.00% APY on you savings, ING was willing to give you 5% or more. It was absolutely bananas. ING Direct is the online banking offering of ING Group, an international financial services company that operates in over 50 countries in the area of banking, investments, insurance, and retirement. They are headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and were created in 1991 when Nationale-Nederlanden, a Dutch insurer, and NMB Postbank Groep, a Dutch bank, merged together. ING Direct is one of the six business lines of the company, separate from its Retail Banking and Wholesale Banking business lines. Not to be left out of the award lovefest, Money Magazine called ING Direct “the best money market account in the country.”

Bankrate Ratings & Report:
They are given four stars from Bankrate’s Safe and Sound rankings, you can review their comments here.

ING Direct Bank Stats: (as of Sept 30, 2008)

  • Founded: 8/4/2000
  • Deposit Insurance Date: 8/4/2000
  • Address: 1 S. Orange Street, Wilmington, DE 19801
  • FDIC Certificate: #35489
  • ABA Routing Number: 0311761100
  • Total Employees: 2,281
  • Total Deposits: $69.1191 billion

WT Direct

WTDirectWTDirect is the online banking account for Wilmington Trust Federal Savings Bank, a bank headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. I know the least about Wilmington Trust and WTDirect because they haven’t been among the leaders in terms of interest rates, with their online bank offering around 3% if you have a balance over $10,000, but they are FDIC insured. The parent company is a full service financial company with business and retail banking as well as wealth advisory services.

Bankrate Ratings & Report:
They are given three stars from Bankrate’s Safe and Sound rankings, you can review their comments here.

WTDirect Bank Stats: (as of Sept 30, 2008)

  • Founded: 6/10/1994
  • Deposit Insurance Date: 6/10/1994
  • Address: 111 S. Calvert Street, Ste 2620, Baltimore, MD 21202
  • FDIC Certificate: #33911
  • ABA Routing Number: 052173464
  • Total Employees: 361
  • Total Deposits: $610.0240 million

Bank of Internet

I know very little about Bank of Internet but at the request of Peter I did a little digging about them. They’re FDIC insured and publicly traded (BOFI) with a full range of bank services like checking, savings, and certificates of deposit. They have no branches and operate entirely over the internet, though their headquarters are in San Diego, California.

Bankrate Ratings & Report:
They are given three stars from Bankrate’s Safe and Sound rankings, you can review their comments here.

WTDirect Bank Stats: (as of Sept 30, 2008)

  • Founded: 7/4/2000
  • Deposit Insurance Date: 7/4/2000
  • Address: 12777 High Bluff Dr #100, San Diego, CA 92130
  • FDIC Certificate: #35546
  • ABA Routing Number: 122287251
  • Total Employees: 47
  • Total Deposits: $560.8120 million

Is there an online bank you think I should add to the list?

(Photo: refractedmoments)

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20 Responses to “High Interest Savings Accounts Profiles”

  1. Chris says:

    Hi Jim,

    I’m not sure I understand the first paragraph regarding Emigrant – that’s the bank I’ve used for the past 2 years (switching from ING due to a better rate).

    After reading about DSD as a subsidiary of Emigrant, and then not seeing Emigrant in your list – should we be considering a move to someone other institution?

    Thanks,

    CK

    • Jim says:

      Chris, it’s not on the list because it offers 2.40% APY, the lowest of all the banks I’m aware of, and because they tried to pull a switcheroo on their customers. Dollar Savings Direct is the exact same thing as Emigrant Direct, except a higher rate and a $1,000 minimum account balance. I didn’t want to confuse people by listing both because they’re essentially the same bank. I also didn’t want to steer anyone towards Emigrant Direct because it’s a vastly inferior product. It’s one thing to offer 2.40% APY (ING Direct offers 2.40% APY), it’s another to offer two different online accounts with a huge difference in rates.

      • CK says:

        Jimbo? Vastly inferior? Just because they offered another product with different terms? I think you’re discounting the 1000 minimum too much. For a lot of people that’s a decent hunk of cash. For myself I prefer the flexibility of not having a minimum. And unless you’re keeping large hunks of cash (upwards of 20k) in these accounts the difference in money you earn from the lowest apr to the highest apr is minimal.

        • Jim says:

          You’re right, I may be discounting the $1,000 minimum too much but E*Trade at 3.01% is 0.61% higher than Emigrant Direct and a better pick if you were going to choose. I wouldn’t move $1,000 from Emigrant to Dollar Savings, but if all my new deposits would be going to DSD (or E*Trade if I couldn’t satisfy the minimum).

          Vastly may have been too much of an adjective but I was upset when I learned about DSD. Same bank, different online account, why treat your existing customers this way?

  2. Scott says:

    FYI – E*TRADE currently has a $25 promo for new online savings account. Look to the upper right on page at this link:

    https://us.etrade.com/e/t/jumppage/viewjumppage?PageName=CSA25&tb=9338

    (no referral for me, just friendly help)

  3. Wiseaxe says:

    My suggestion is that Venture Bank Direct be added to the list. At this time they’re still offering 3.3% and recently added checking.

  4. Great info Jim. This is the type of info people need to be seeing especially if they want to stay debt free. I like these type of accounts for emergency funds.

  5. Michael harr says:

    If you’re not an active statement watcher and willing to move money, I really like EverBank’s Yield Pledge Money Market. They pledge to stay within the top 5% of all money market account yields which means you’ll typically receive a competitive rate.

    The average bank plays the sleeping dog game where they start you with a treat (high rate), then switch product names and drop your rate to near nothing when you’re asleep. ING and EverBank are the only two I’ve paid any attention to in the last several years because they seem to be competitive on a consistent basis and don’t play sleeping dogs.

    One other thing, I like bankrate.com’s rating system now to know the financial strength of the institution. Before the financial crisis hit in 2008, Countrywide was offering a huge yield to stabilize it’s balance sheet. People unaware of the risks gladly signed up and when Countrywide got in trouble, there were quite a few depositors losing some sleep.

  6. Start-Up says:

    Unfortunately, DSD dropped their rate to 3.5%. They are still near the top of the list for high interest savings accounts, but the bank of internet (http://www.bankofinternet.com/) offers a 3.51% savings account.

  7. Eric N. says:

    I had no idea about the HSBC segregated banks thing…nice to know.

    Btw Jim, under WT Direct, you put ING Direct Bank Stats instead of WT Direct. :)

  8. Dan says:

    Do all of these banks compound interest the same way?

  9. Hey Jim, great post but the Everbank Bankrate link you posted goes to FNBO.

  10. Peter says:

    the bank of internet (http://www.bankofinternet.com/) offers a 3.51% savings account. Does anyone know anything about this bank?

  11. Michelle says:

    I want to transfer a large sum of cash to DSD but have this inherent bad feeling about it. Is it safe and undoubtedly FDIC insured?

    Thanks,

    Michelle

    • Jim says:

      It’s FDIC insured, I don’t know what you mean by safe?

      • Michelle says:

        I guess by safe I DO mean FDIC insured. It is confusing when the FDIC is under Emigrants name. Also, Bankrate gives them a low rating, I just wondered why.

        I have had only several thousand dollars in there for awhile now but am a little nervous about transferring a substantially larger sum. Are you saying they are absolutely, positively, without a doubt FDIC insured? Don’t mean to sound uneducated, but I kinda am. I am newly widowed and learning to play the money game. I fear most types of investments due the the large number of scams going on today. Given that I know very little, I am probably a good candidate for one so I am trying to educate myself as best I can. Thanks.

  12. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for the update. It’s hard to find any decent kind of return on cash these days. I’ve watched my Paypal account (they pay interest based on their money market account) plummet from 3% to .5% over the last year or so.

    It’s just where I keep some liquid money for buying sites and online purchases and such, but it was a lot nicer when I was getting a decent amount of interest each month. ;)

  13. Anonymous says:

    Your information on ING Direct is old. They only give 1.095%


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