Betterment Checking and Cash Reserve: Online Cash Management Account Review

Chanelle BessetteSeptember 19, 2019
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Betterment Cash Reserve
NerdWallet rating 

at Betterment

Like most cash management account providers, Betterment is not a bank. It’s an online financial service provider that helps customers invest their money. Betterment sweeps customers’ funds into accounts at program banks, where it benefits from FDIC insurance. Betterment has two complementary accounts, formerly known as Betterment Everyday: Betterment Cash Reserve and Betterment Checking.

Betterment Cash Reserve offers a solid annual percentage yield with no fees and no minimum balance requirement.

Betterment Checking has a debit card available and reimburses ATM fees worldwide. This account also has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirement.

Where Betterment shines

Where Betterment falls short

  • Solid 0.40% APY on Betterment Cash Reserve

  • No monthly fees or minimum balance

  • ATM fees reimbursed worldwide on Checking

  • FDIC insured through third-party bank

  • Offers debit cards for Betterment Checking account

  • No interest on Checking

  • No branches

  • No check deposit or writing, although these features are to be available soon

  • Limited human phone support hours and no chat support

» See how Betterment compares on NerdWallet's full list of Best Cash Management Accounts.

Checking and savings features

5.0/5.0

Upsides:

Good APY for Cash Reserve. The APY on Betterment Cash Reserve is currently an above-average 0.40%. While not a bank account itself, this account has a rate that’s higher than most traditional brick-and-mortar bank accounts. However, it lags the best rates of some online banks.

No monthly fees or minimum balance. Both the Betterment Cash Reserve and Betterment Checking products have no monthly fees or minimum balances.

Customers can withdraw cash, and ATM fees are reimbursed. Betterment reimburses all ATM fees incurred worldwide on its Betterment Checking account.

Debit cards are available. Customers can use a Betterment Visa debit card to access their funds in Betterment Checking.

No limit on the number of savings withdrawals. There is no limit on the number of withdrawals that can be made from Betterment Cash Reserve, unlike with traditional bank savings accounts, which have a federal limit of six free withdrawals a month.

» What is a cash management account? Check out NerdWallet’s guide to this financial product

Downsides:

Currently no check deposits or check writing. With Betterment Cash Reserve, the only way to deposit and withdraw funds is through online transfer to or from a linked checking account. Betterment Checking plans to make mobile check deposits and check writing available in the near future.

Things to consider:

APY can fluctuate without notice. As with other cash management products, the program banks that Betterment partners with are subject to the changing federal funds rate, which is the set rate at which banks loan money to one another. This means that the APY that Betterment offers customers moves up and down in conjunction with the rates of its program banks. Essentially, as with savings accounts at regular banks, the APY you open your account with is not guaranteed.

» Looking for more information about Betterment? Check out NerdWallet’s review of its investment services

Customer experience

4.0/5.0

Upsides:

High-quality website. The Betterment website is well-designed, and information on its different products is easy to find. There is also a robust Frequently Asked Questions section on the site that provides additional information on how Betterment’s products work.

High app store ratings. The Betterment mobile app is highly rated in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.

Twitter support available. Betterment provides Twitter support to its customers on its @BettermentHelp channel.

Downsides:

Betterment Cash Reserve
NerdWallet rating 

at Betterment

No branches. Betterment is an online-only service provider, so customers can receive help only through remote means of communication like phone, mail, email and Twitter support.

Limited human phone support hours and no chat support. Phone support and email is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, but only email is available on weekends. The site has no online chat support.

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