Signing In To The New Emigrant Direct

Since I haven’t been home for the last week, I haven’t yet signed into the new Emigrant Direct until today and the process was pretty painless. All you need is that mailer they sent out maybe three weeks ago with your “Secure 10 Digit Access Code” and your memory (birthday, social security, login username). If you never received your secure 10 digit access code, call up Customer Service at 1-800-836-1997, they’re open seven days a week from 8am until 11:30pm ET.

The next part gets a little tricky, you will have to provide answers to some set questions and then create another set of questions and answers that will act as secondary security protections for your account. For example, one of the preset questions is what was the last school you attended and you must supply the answer. Personally, ten questions is a little ridiculous but it’s all in the name of security… Finally, you have to agree to three disclosures (I did and I’ll review them later, hopefully I won’t see something new that I don’t like) and then you’re done!

About the new Emigrant Direct, it looks a lot slicker to be honest… I took a perfunctory look at it and you can download the data into Quicken, MS Money and as a CSV (Excel) which is definitely an improvement I think. I personally don’t use either program so I don’t remember if the old Emigrant had that functionality. Otherwise, there doesn’t appear to have much functionality improvements, just interface ones, but I’ll take the new look over the old look any day!

If there are big things I’ve missed, please do share!


Spread Your Savings Across Multiple Online Banks

Update: My funds are now safely split amongst FNBO Direct, ING Direct, and an HSBC Direct account. (ING Direct is merely my online account firewall with PayPal, so it doesn’t have the same amounts as the other banks)

Right now I have all my savings, including my 0% balance transfer funds, in an Emigrant Direct account. With the latest hubbub about Bankrate lowering their rating to two stars (read the discussion here, hat tip to Tessa to clueing me into it initially), I started to rethink my online savings “strategy.” Tessa mentioned that Emigrant Direct could potentially hold my funds hostage for 30 days and so I thought… I shouldn’t have all my eggs in one basket. (Honestly, if I’m in a bind and need the money, any delay is too long) Right now, 75% of my cash is in that Emigrant Direct account (but half of that is 0% balance transfer money)… which is way too much anyway.

(Click to continue reading…)


Emigrant Direct Unveiling New Interface, 5.15% Rate on July 24th

Welcome ZDNet readers of Greg Sandoval’s article “System glitches hit two banks’ online services,” I thought given the latest website problems of Emigrant Direct you might find a recent article I wrote most appropriate. The article is titled Spread Your Savings Across Multiple Online Banks and it discusses why you might not want to put all your savings into just one online bank. Enjoy!

If you’re an Emigrant Direct account holder, keep an eye out in your mail in the next few days because ED will be sending you a small little letter about their new website interface and new rate information.

Important Notice For American Dream Savings Account Holders

We’re proud to announce that on Monday July 24th, 2006, the new website will be launched. We’ve listened to your comments and worked hard to give you a better online banking experience. Very important: In order to access your account, when prompted, you must enter your new secure access code. Your new secure access code appears below.

Also included, right under your secure 10 digit access code, is a note that they’re raising rates to 5.15% effective July 28th, 2006 too. Not bad!


Emigrant Direct to 5.0%

Emigrant Direct announced today that the APY on their online savings account is now 5.0%, keeping it competitive with every other online savings account out there. They also increased their MyWay CD rates from 5.0% to 5.35% with minimum opening deposit at $1000 and minimum maturity of 6 months.

While competitive rate wise, Emigrant has no sign-up bonuses. ING Direct offers a $25 referral if you deposit $250, please visit the ING Direct referral page if you want a referral. HSBC is offering a $25 Best Buy card for new account openings though you “must be a Best Buy cardholder to qualify for gift card offer.”


Emigrant Direct & HSBCDirect at 4.80%

Yep, HSBCDirect, who has been offering some of the more aggressive rates amongst well know names, and Emigrant Direct, which has seemingly followed lockstep, have increased their online savings account rates to 4.80%. Comparatively, slowpoke ING Direct is still down there at 4.25%.

Promotions: ING Direct offers a $25 referral if you deposit $250, use this self-serve $25 ING Direct promotion page if you want a referral.


4.5% HSBC Online Savings Account on May 1

A big thank you to John for the heads up on the rate update for HSBC. On May 1st, HSBCDirect Online Savings Account rate will change to 4.5% APY, which matches Emigrant‘s current rate. Account holders were notified by email recently:

We are writing to let you know that beginning May 1, 2006, your HSBCdirect Online Savings Account rate will change to 4.50% APY. This is one of America’s leading rates and still 8x the national average, so you can continue to watch your money grow.

With, there are no fees, no minimums, no lock-up period, and your money is FDIC insured. You can stay confident your money is in the right place and earning the most it possibly can.


“Fascinating” ABA Routing Number Facts

So I was trying to figure out how long ABA Routing Numbers are valid for and accidentally unearthed a whole slew of facts I never knew about the little digits identifying your bank on your checks:

ABA stands for American Bankers Association and they come up with the ABA Routing Numbers, here’s a boring and long PDF file all about it.

What do the numbers stand for?
The first four numbers are the Federal Reserve routing symbol, which specifies which of the twelve Federal Reserve banks (including city) that the check was printed at. The next four digits specify your bank and the last digit is the checksum digit, a calculation I explain next.

Did you know that there is a checksum validity test?
For the non-nerds out there, a checksum just means you basically add the numbers together after doing some other mathy stuff and the result is a checksum. It’s a way to figure out if something was corrupted in the communication. To calculate the checksum for the ABA Routing Number, multiply the first digit by 3, the next by 7, the next by 1, and then repeat in that order. A valid ABA Routing Number’s checksum will be evenly divisible by 10.

So if you take Emigrant Direct’s ABA Routing number of 226070319:

(2 x 3) + (2 x 7) + (6 x 1) + (0 x 3) + (7 x 7) + (0 x 1) + (3 x 3) + (1 x 7) + (9 x 1) = 100

Looking for a Bank With Its Routing Number?
Ta da! You can look it up at a Federal Reserve Financial Services website. I wonder if they give better rates at ABA#: 2839-7842-5.

I’m sure there are other great ABA facts but those are some to get you started.

 Credit, Investing 

*Expired* Emigrant Direct 5% “My Way” CD

The rates listed on this post may be out of date.

Emigrant Direct has an interesting little product they’ve debuted recently called their “My Way” CD which is a certificate of deposit with a 5% APY (I put an updated list of the best cd rates). It’s “My Way” because you can specify the maturity date within an 18 month to 10 year window, thus making it a long or short term CD. There is a minimum deposit amount of a thousand dollars and you have to be a current Emigrant Direct account holder but it’s an interesting way of offering a CD.

Usually, the longer the terms, the higher the rate (in our current economic environment, with our economy going strong and the Fed consistently bumping rates up a quarter point). Comparably, Penfed‘s (Pentagon Federal Credit Union, where the most competitive CD rates usually appear) rates don’t break 5% until you read the 3 year maturity mark. (2 year is 4.75% APY, 3 year is 5.5% APY) so if you can get a 18 month CD at 5% APY then you’re getting a pretty good deal.

Some terms and conditions worth noting:

  1. The CD account will be automatically renewed but you will have ten calendar days to close the CD account after the renewal without penalty. Also, you’ll get written notice about the renewal 10-14 days beforehand, so there aren’t many reasons why the renewal would occur without your knowledge.
  2. Early withdrawal penalty is 180 days worth of interest, whether earned or not (that last part just means if you open it and close it a day later, you still pay 180 days worth of interest even though you’ve only had the CD for 1 day).

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