E*Trade Complete Savings Account Review

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E*Trade Banner5.05% APY is a pretty healthy yield and one of the highest in the nation now (top high yield savings accounts) that the Fed has been pulling interested rates down (much to the chagrin of overseas travelers and those shorting gold) so last week I opened up an E*Trade Complete Savings account yielding exactly that. To open an account, just go to this application page and submit your information. Now, here are a few tips after you open the account as I found the start-up and activation process to be a little confusing (it was the first time I called up the help services of any bank to assist me with opening an account, if that’s any indication).

Incidentally, E*Trade Bank is FDIC insured and has been since June 23, 1955; much longer than I had thought they’d been.

Click here to open an account today!

Online Access

After you create the account, you can log into E*Trade but the account won’t immediately appear. At first I chalked it up to the account not being established yet; but after I received all the account documentation in the mail and didn’t see the Complete Savings account listed in my Accounts Complete View, I was surprised. Apparently what you need to do is click on the “Banking & Credit Cards” tab located at the top of your screen and then look for an “Apply for access” link. I thought I already applied! Anyway, there will be three boxes that appear for you to enter in your social security number, your account number, and your zip code. After that, you new account will appear. I’m not sure why this is necessary or why none of the introductory material had a “Get Started” section to explain this. Another way to reach this is to find the link that says “Don’t see one of your accounts?,” that’ll bring you to the same page.

Adding External Accounts

When you first open your account you need to add an external funding account, I added my Bank of America account since everything funnels through there. Well, the initial $100 was withdrawn but I can’t immediately transfer money yet – I have to verify it! To do that, look for the “External Account Added” in the “Alerts” section to the right of your screen, click that and then click on “Verify your external account now” in the window that pops up. That will take you to a page that details the external account, click on the Verify link next to the “Verified on:” text label. (There are about a million ways to get to the verification page, so don’t fret).

Now there are two ways to verify an account, username and login or two small deposits. I’m willing to wait and go the two deposits route even though they claim that “Your external account login information is maintained within a secured session and will not be stored to perform this verification.” That’s okay, waiting 2-3 business days for two small deposits is acceptable.

What I don’t understand is why I need to verify an account that already has been debited in the first place. My Bank of America account was used to fund this account so why would I need to verify it one more time? The only time this makes sense is if I were to open up a bank account in someone else’s name (knowing all their information), gave it an initial deposit, but didn’t want that person to have access to my bank. Is that scenario common? I wouldn’t think so. I am pretty sure every other bank I’ve worked with has automatically added the initial funding link without having to go through this process.

Fast Help Desk

I did have to call 1-800-ETRADE-1 (1-800-387-2331) to find this and it took me about two minutes to reach a representative (it was also 8AM this morning), very quick considering I didn’t feverishly hit “0” in an attempt to reach a representative ASAP. They were very helpful and we resolved this issue, probably something they hear all the time, in about a minute. Unfortunately, I have no basis for comparison because I’ve never had to call ING Direct or Emigrant Direct for anything. 🙂

{ 14 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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14 Responses to “E*Trade Complete Savings Account Review”

  1. I am a big fan of E*Trade. I have my freedom savings, rental property savings and misc savings account there. I also use them for my brokerage account. It is very easy to move money back and forth and I haven’t had any problems with them so far. Not to mention the 5.05% rate…

  2. Eden says:

    That is a great rate! I have a Schwab One Source banking and brokerage account that sounds similar (the checking pays about 4.1 or 4.2 % right now) and allows for easily moving money between checking and brokerage. My plan is to use this as my long term emergency fund, but 5% sounds a lot better than 4. Time to take a look at ETrade.

  3. Flexo says:

    I’ve been thinking about opening the E*Trade savings account as well. By ESPP shares are held there anyway (until I sell them each quarter). I don’t expect that interest rate to last much longer, though.

  4. MoneyNing says:

    ETrade is actively promoting their online savings account since they want everyone to pour money into their bank. Even though the 5.05% won’t last, I see them as one of the companies with a higher savings yield for a while.

    I also have my brokerage and online bank money in there. Everything is just very easy and customer service is always great.

  5. Carl says:

    I’ve switched to Countrywide SavingsLink. It’s 5.25% for balances over 10K.

  6. skadoo323 says:

    I’ve had both the online savings and checking accounts through ETrade since March ’07 and have loved the site’s interface, fast transfer times, and high rates. Only downside is that some of their reps are not so helpful at times (this seems to be the case with Citibank as well). I like that you get paper checks too. The only thing bugging me has been the recent news with the company and the subprime mess. Then again several online banks offering the higher rates are in the same position (Citi, WaMu, etc.). You can open accounts instantly, which can usually be used the next business day. Best part is the ATM reimbursements. I hardly use an ATM for withdrawals, but being able to use any ATM and getting reimbursed is great. Now you can just use the closest ATM and you are set. I Think the ATM reimbursement for the one ATM use I have performed during the life of my account was reimbursed the same day.

  7. Wombat says:

    “ETrade is actively promoting their online savings account since they want everyone to pour money into their bank. Even though the 5.05% won’t last, I see them as one of the companies with a higher savings yield for a while.”

    Actually, I’ve had a complete savings account at 5.05% for about 6 months now, well before the so-called “mortgage crisis”. It just recently got publicized that they had 5.05% because they were rumored to go bankrupt.

  8. skadoo323 says:

    Actually their rate dropped to 4.75 then went to 5.05 once the rumors of them going bankrupt started. Overall they have offered high rates.

  9. efrain says:

    Do you all recommend this eTrade Complete Savings Account? I have my checking in WAMU and I was wondering if I should change my regular savings (0.25%) into an “Online Savings” which gives 4.65/4.75 rate as long as it’s connected to my checking account.

    What do you guys think? or is it better to go to a place like eTrade or ING?

  10. Kevin says:

    Efrain, I have an orange savings account with ING and absolutely love it. The website is sooooo easy to use. It’s simple to transfer money between that account and my checking if I need extra money, it currently earns 4.10 percent and I just couldn’t be more satisified with them.

    I also, on advice of this website, opened a ROTH IRA with them and transfered the money from my Orange Savings Account. Easy as pie.

  11. brain says:

    i reside in africa and was thinking recently of opening an account with with etrade. just want to know if its possible

    can anyone please tell me?
    any info for a non-US resident opening an offshore account would also be great

  12. Anthony says:

    you can. Go to their International website

  13. Sheldon says:

    I just opened a e-trade complete savings account a couple weeks ago. Is there anyway I can get an atm card to withdraw money whenever I feel the need. I know there is a quick transfer, but I use this account for emergencies and I want more accessibility to my money. Any suggestions? feedback is appreciated

  14. Tom says:

    I recently moved and now I am unable to use quick transfer or any other means that I am aware of to withdraw cash from my, over 10 year old, saving account for 30 days. The call center, located in Manila, has been very unhelpful in the process.

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