Review Of E*Trade Bank High Interest Savings and Checking Accounts
Published 12/27/08 (Modified 3/22/11)
When most people think of ETrade, the popular online discount brokerage firm with the cutesy talking baby commercials probably comes to mind. Since 2000, E-Trade has been well known for its slew of strange, but memorably funny TV commercials, starting with its series of odd-ball Superbowl monkey commercials in 1999 and 2000. Who can forget the grand daddy of them all - the one with a monkey dancing a jig on an upside down bucket for a quarter of a minute with two old fellas on rocking chairs clapping away to some goofy Latin beat - followed by the message "Well we just wasted 2 million bucks. What are you doing with your money?" While the message might have been a bit lost in the commercial's zaniness, it certainly was good for future brand name recognition.
Since its days as a leader in the do-it-yourself stock investing movement, E-Trade has grown and developed itself into a full service financial holding company with a wide array of banking and trading related services. Eager to shed and change its old image as merely a low cost discount broker, the company has���� jumped into the online banking business. Hoping to change the public's perception, E-Trade has heavily promoted its rapidly growing online savings and checking products in an attempt to leverage its established reputation as one of the best brokers into a similar position in the online banking market. Despite the presence of formidable competing online banks like ING Direct, HSBC Direct, and FNBO Direct, E-Trade seems to have thrived and undergone quite a transformation. Today, it's not only one of the most popular discount brokers in the market, it's also one of the best online bank options in terms of interest rate and website features.
The Combined E-Trade Savings Bank and Discount Broker Company Offers One-Stop Shopping For All Of Your Banking and Trading Needs
Today, not only can E-Trade customers buy, sell, and trade stocks, options, and mutual funds via its highly sophisticated electronic trading website, ETrade customers can also take advantage of a wealth of lending and bank deposit products like high interest checking, high yield savings accounts, certificate of deposits (CD's), and even E-Trade branded reward credit cards. Because of its strong beginnings and expertise in the brokerage business (voted by SmartMoney as 2008's best discount broker and a top 10 winner according to Barron's 2008 online broker survey), E-Trade has also been able to successfully integrate its online broker and banking business together into a fairly seamless one stop full service financial platform for its customers - an important feature that is lacking and not always available with other online banks.
After much development, Etrade's current banking centerpiece is comprised of two primary high interest bearing banking products:
ETrade Bank Offers High Interest Rates, and Fast Electronic Fund Transfers Between Banks, Brokers, and External Accounts
One of the combined E-Trade company's most attractive key features is its consistently high interest rate offers. While the company does have a few banking and brokerage branches scattered throughout numerous states in the United States, E-Trade has always been primarily an online institution. Because of its website presence and ability to maintain substantially lower overhead costs compared to most traditional banks with regular branches, E-Trade has been able to pass on the cost savings to its customers in the way of consistently high annual percentage yields (APY) on its line up of checking deposits and savings accounts.
E-Trade Bank's other strong feature is its well known ability to offer fast transfers. ETrade currently features on its online website the Free Quick Transfer service, an improved way for customers to make one click electronic fund transfers from one linked account to another without having to go through numerous pages of clicks. Electronic transfers between Etrade bank and Etrade broker accounts are instantaneous (a great advantage for those that use Etrade for both banking and stock trading). Banking customers also have the ability to link up all of their online financial accounts with their E-Trade platform, and transfer money around quickly as needed via ACH transfers at a comparatively rapid speed.
Opening and Funding An E-Trade Banking Account Is Quick and Easy, and Involves Only A Harmless Soft Credit Check
ETrade Bank offers a quick account opening process with minimal paperwork. Other than the nice welcome package you'll receive via snail mail after getting your accounts approved, everything is done online. After clicking through the online application for your desired checking or savings account option, you'll be required to verify your identity through a soft credit pull that is performed on your credit report. Fear not, the credit check is a soft inquiry for ID purposes and has no negative effect on your FICO credit score.
1) E-Trade Max Rate Complete Savings Account
After taking a look the interest rate offers promoted by other banks, I do not doubt E-Trade's marketing claim that the APY interest rates of its Complete Savings Account has consistently stayed more than 8 times the national average APY for savings accounts. Its interest rate levels have indeed consistently remained one of the best deals out there for those seeking the best rate of return for their conservative assets. It is also interesting to note that the E-Trade Complete Savings Account has no account fees, no maintenance charges, and no minimum balance requirement to earn interest. The initial deposit requirement is only $1, something I think most of us can easily afford. All savings (and checking) deposits are also fully FDIC insured, up to the current federal coverage limit of $250,000.
2) E-Trade Max Rate Checking Account
As E-trade aptly puts it, the online bank's Max Rate Checking Account is checking on steroids - due to its overabundance of account benefits. You can apply for the standard checking option, but if you want the most bang for your checking buck, you should select the Max Rate Checking offer when applying. Not only does its checking account offer a notable interest rate on checking deposits (something almost unheard of among most traditional brick and mortar banks like Bank of America or Citibank), its Max Rate Checking APY is more than 10 times the national average according to Etrade sources.
Its checking account perks include no ATM fees at any machine, at any bank, or anywhere nationwide, via (get this) unlimited ATM fee refunds. Max Rate Checking customers also receive unlimited check writing privileges, online check deposit images (so you don't have to fumble with canceled paper checks), payment alerts, and free online bill pay reporting services. Free quick one click electronic transfers among verified and linked external financial accounts are offered as well.
While all checking deposits will earn the standard interest rate regardless of how much you have deposited, to receive the highest interest rate level requires a minimum balance of $5,000. A minimum checking balance of $5,000 is required to bypass the monthly $15 fee, but there are many ways to have this minimum balance requirement waived. By signing up for direct deposit of at least $200 a month, linking up your ETrade discount broker account with your bank accounts to maintain at least a totalof $50,000, or executing at least 30 stock trades per quarter, you can avoid the hassles of checking account minimums (which is how I personally have my monthly fee automatically waived every month with E-Trade).
Extra Information and Resource:
- ETrade ABA/Routing Number for direct deposits and ACH transfers: 256072691