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Review Of FNBO Direct High Yield Savings Account

Published 1/4/09 (Modified 9/1/16)
By MoneyBlueBook

Updated Analysis Of FNBO Direct's High Interest Savings Account Offers

I don't know about you, but I've found that it's not always easy choosing the perfect online bank to manage one's high yield savings account or high interest money market deposits. Even when presented with a list of the best online banks, it can be rather confusing trying to distinguish them apart to come up with a top tier choice. After all, many of these online banks have been competing with each other for some time now and have restructured their business and banking practices to offer nearly identical services such as free checking, free online bill pay, free ATM reimbursement, and even free and unlimited external ACH account setups.

While certainly a very important consideration, selecting the best savings account based on who offers the highest annual percentage yield (APY) or interest rate alone may not be the most financially informed way to go. Sometimes it may be a good idea for ordinary consumers such as you and I to take some pointers from reputable and established financial writers who make a professional living from offering their expert opinions through financial product reviews. With this in mind, many of the top financial magazines and news websites such as CNN Money Magazine, Forbes, Smart Money, and Kiplinger's Personal Finance, maintain lists of the top high yield savings accounts where all of the best bank offers are ranked according to evaluated criteria. One of the online banks that has garnered much positive recognition of late is - FNBO Direct Savings Bank, otherwise known as the online virtual arm of the First National Bank of Omaha.

FNBO Direct Has Consistently Been Voted One Of The Top Online Savings Account Banks By Personal Finance Magazines and Online Websites

Very recently, FNBO Direct was voted the #1 - "best online savings account" by Kiplinger magazine. Citing FNBO Direct's very competitive high interest rate and low balance requirements (only a $1) to open a new online savings account, Kiplinger's editorial staff also praised FNBO Direct Bank's other impressive features such as its account management simplicity and streamlined nature. Since nit picky fees and maintenance charges are features that most customers absolutely loathe, in bestowing FNBO Direct with its highest award for the best online savings account, Kiplinger Finance also commented favorably on the FNBO Direct savings account's offer of no minimum balance requirements and no annoying maintenance fees. Along with Kiplinger's commentary, other noteworthy FNBO features also include the ability to link one's FNBO Direct account to as many as three other external bank or broker accounts, and the ability to access and make free bill payments. Electronic transfers via ACH or via the provided ATM service are also quick and easy.

Like many people, in my attempt to protect my money and financial assets during the current credit crisis and ongoing economic recession, I have sought the reliability and safety offered by FDIC insured savings accounts and CD's. As with all FDIC member banks, FNBO Direct's banking accounts are fully protected from loss by FDIC insurance up to the full coverage limit of $250,000. Those customers who are understandably worried about the prospect of failing banks need not worry when it comes to FNBO Direct Bank. FNBO is currently in prime financial condition as the institution was not one of the many major banks that engaged in risky subprime mortgage lending during the past few years. In fact, Bankrate.com, an independent reviewer of financial institutional stability, even awarded FNBO Direct 4 stars on its Safe & Sound bank rating system - placing FNBO Direct among the nation's highest-rated banks in terms of safety and reliability. In an otherwise unstable financial market, that definitely counts for something.

FNBO Direct's Best Features Include - Easy To Use Online Banking Functions and High Interest Rate Offers

While many online banks such as E-Trade Bank and EverBank focus on offering a diverse and wide array of features, from free online checking to high yield savings and brokerage trading tools, internet banks such as FNBO Direct appeal to a demographic that prefers a more streamlined and simplistic banking experience with just the essential amenities. Similar to clutter free online savings banks like ING Direct, the First National Bank of Omaha's virtual savings arm is simplistic, easy to use, and more than sufficient to handle your high interest savings and certificate of deposit (CD) needs.

While its online interface is exceptionally plain and basic, those who desire an efficient online banking interface with the prospect of consistently competitive APY rates for their savings will find FNBO Direct a top savings account contender. Its high interest rate offers are comparable to bank rates offered by the top high yield savings account banks. When FNBO Direct first emerged a few years ago, it came onto the scene and immediately crushed���� its online bank competitors with an extremely high 6% APY interest rate offer for new accounts. Since then, though national interest rates among all banks have ebbed and flowed with the Fed's interest rate changes, FNBO Direct has continued to maintain a fairly reliable rate offer. As noted on its own website, despite the interest rate fluctuations in the market, FNBO Direct Online Savings Account rates continue to earn more than 6x the national average for traditional savings accounts.

Opening A New FNBO Direct High Yield Savings Account and Managing Your Money Online

As FNBO Direct is the online banking department of the First National Bank of Omaha, almost all transactions and account tracking functions are preformed through the Internet via its website. All bank statements and tax information are available online and most correspondence from FNBO Direct is through email. While you can now contact FNBO via its telephone customer service line for additional assistance, most of its banking features are online based.

In addition to the high interest savings account, FNBO Direct also offers several reward credit card possibilities that earn 2% cash back on all purchases, a paperless checking feature (or Bill Pay account), and various high yield CD deposits. However, in order to access these other banking products, you must first open and establish a savings account through FNBO Direct.

1) Visit FNBO Direct and Complete An Online Savings Account Application - To apply for an account, simply proceed to the quick and very straight forward secure FNBO Direct new account application page. You will need to provide the following information:

  1. Your social security (SSN) or employer tax ID number (EIN).
  2. Your state driver's license number.
  3. Knowledge and information about your current loans or mortgages (to enable the online application to confirm your identity via your credit report).
  4. Your current bank account and ABA routing numbers (to set up instant account funding)
  5. Your co-applicant's name, social security number, and date of birth information (only if you're applying for a joint savings account)

My own FNBO account opening experience was very routine and uneventful, and yours will probably be the same. Along with your basic identity information, you'll need to provide additional data about your employment and sources of income, as well as provide a source of bank funding to open the account. To verify your identity during the online application process, FNBO Direct will use a series of customized multiple choice questions related to items on your personal credit report (such as the name of your student loan lender, or the amount of your monthly mortgage payments). To pull up your official credit report, FNBO will need to send a credit inquiry to the big three credit rating agencies, however the FNBO credit check is only a soft credit pull for identity verification purposes, and will not have a negative bearing against your FICO credit score.

Afterwards, the customary practice is to ask the applicant to mail in a signed signature card for the bank to keep on file for future identity verification purposes. However (and this is where FNBO really shines), FNBO Direct accepts an online authorization mouse click for a mailed in signature form in its place, thus greatly speeding up the time for processing and approval. Before competing the application, you will also need to fund your account.

2) Fund Your Account and Verify Your Test Deposits To Link Your FNBO Direct Savings Account With Your External Funding���� Source

Before the application process can be completed, you will need to transfer funds from your designated external bank account into your new FNBO Direct savings account. Because FNBO Direct has no minimum opening balance and no minimum maintenance balance requirements, you are free to open your new savings account with as little as a $1. To enable the system to pull funds from your chosen external bank account and deposit the designated amount into your new FNBO savings, you will need to verify ownership of the external account. You can do so in either of three flexible and convenient ways:

  • Electronic Log-In Verification - If you are comfortable with divulging your funding bank's online login and password, you can instantly complete the external account verification process in a flash by entering your login and password for immediate identity verification and external account link up. If you are reluctant to provide this personal information due to security concerns or if your external bank has no online access to begin with, you will have to select the second trial deposit option.
  • Trial Deposits - The other method to verify ownership of your external bank account is to set up a trial deposit test. You will need to provide your external bank's ABA routing number and your account number (either checking, savings, or money market). Within a few business days, two small random deposits will be placed into your external bank account by FNBO, the amounts which you'll need to report back to the FNBO Direct website to finalize the new account set up.
  • Mailing In A Check - The third and more old fashioned method of funding your new FNBO account is to mail in a check by postal service. Because this method takes a much longer period of time to process and complete, I suggest utilizing one of the other two options first before settling on this method.

3) Create Your New FNBO Direct User ID and Password

Once you've funded your new account with one of the above methods, you'll receive an email notification once your new FNBO Direct high yield savings account is ready to be accessed online (usually after a few days). At that time you'll be prompted with instructions to set up online access to your new FNBO Direct account by choosing your desired online ID, password, and set of security test questions in case you ever forget your login or password. Example test questions include "your first pet", "your favorite sports team", and "your youngest sibling's nickname" just to name a few. After setting up online access, you're ready to start banking online with FNBO.

Extra Information and Resource:

  • FNBO Direct ABA/Routing Number for direct deposits and ACH transfers: 104000016

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3 Responses to “Review Of FNBO Direct High Yield Savings Account” 

  1. Bobby says:

    Thanks for the review, looking for an account to put retirement savings, emergency cash fund, and taxes (I'm a contractor, so I need to set aside % of my pay each month), pretty much torn between this one or etrade, how liquid is FNBO? Is it easy to withdraw money should I ever need to? I had a friend that tried Etrade, but complained that it took them forever to open an account....any similar experiences?

  2. Bobby says:

    Great review! Looking for an online high yield savings account to store my taxes (I'm a contractor so I have to set aside % of my pay each month towards taxes, retirement savings, and emergency cash fund). Pretty much undecided between FNBO and Etrade, hesitant on Etrade because a friend of mine complained about it taking them forever to open his account? Any similar issues with Etrade in your experience? How easy is it to withdraw money from FNBO?

  3. Aaron says:

    Bobby,

    FNBO account. I have had one there for over a yr now and it takes three days to from the time u transfer the money. but u can also get a ATM card with this account so u an get cash that way I do believe when u need it. I choose not to get the atm card myself. It will prob take 3-6 days to get the account fully set up to start transfer money. Most of the accounts like this take the three days to get transfer money from account to account. I have had no problems and recommend this account to anybody. They keep there reates just as high or higher than anybody that only requires 1$ to recieve the good yield.

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