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Bank of Internet USA Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

Banking, Banks & Credit Unions, CDs, Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts
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Bank of Internet

Bank of Internet
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.0 / 5.0

Where Bank of Internet shines:

  • No monthly fees
  • Domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • Excellent checking rates and rewards

Where Bank of Internet falls short:

  • No branches
  • Savings and CD rates mostly average for an online bank

Where Bank of Internet shines:

  • No monthly fees
  • Domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • Excellent checking rates and rewards

Where Bank of Internet falls short:

  • No branches
  • Savings and CD rates mostly average for an online bank

Where Bank of Internet shines:

  • No monthly fees
  • Domestic ATM fee reimbursements
  • Excellent checking rates and rewards

Where Bank of Internet falls short:

  • No branches
  • Savings and CD rates mostly average for an online bank

 

The bottom line

Bank of Internet USA is an online bank that does away with many fees and has the rare offering of rewards checking. The bank has some limits in customer support channels, but if that’s not a concern for you, consider giving Bank of Internet a closer look.

Best if: You’re looking for checking accounts with rewards and ATM fee reimbursements.

Learn more at Bank of Internet USA


Read on for more details about Bank of Internet’s checking and savings accounts, CDs, bank experience and overdraft fees.

Checking account: 4.5 / 5.0

Bank of Internet’s Rewards Checking has no monthly balance requirements, and like the bank’s other checking accounts, charges no monthly fees.

More upsides:

Few to no domestic ATM costs: Bank of Internet doesn’t charge any ATM fees in the U.S. Plus, three of the bank’s five checking accounts reimburse all fees charged by domestic ATM operators. The three accounts are Rewards, CashBack and Essential Checking.

Earn rewards, if you put in some effort: Several checking accounts give interest or earn cash back, but they’re not automatically given.

  • Rewards Checking earns an annual percentage yield of up to 1.25%, but to get this rate, you need to receive $1,000 or more in monthly direct deposits and make 15 debit card transactions a month
  • CashBack Checking gives you 1% cash back on debit card transactions that require your signature, if you keep at least $1,500 as the average daily balance. If your account falls below that, you earn 0.50% cash back instead.
  • Platinum Checking earns 0.71% APY for balances of at least $5,000, but no interest below that

Downside:

Occasional fees: Although you can avoid most fees, getting a replacement debit card costs $10 (or $50 if you need rush delivery) and foreign transactions cost 2% of the purchase or ATM withdrawal amount.

» Interested in other good checking options? Read NerdWallet’s best online checking accounts of 2017

Savings account: 5.0 / 5.0


The High-Yield Savings account charges no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, but its rate is not the highest among online banks.

Upside:

Free ATM card: If you don’t open a checking account, you might want a card for ATM withdrawals. This is available upon request.

Downside:

Decent rate but not great for an online bank: This account earns 0.61% regardless of your balance, but in this time of rising interest rates, you can find better savings options with yields over 1%.

» Find higher rates and compare accounts at NerdWallet’s best savings accounts

Certificates of deposit: 3.5 / 5.0

The upside:

Variety: You can open CDs with terms from 3 months to 5 years, which gives you flexibility in earning interest over a time frame you choose. The longer the term, the higher the rate.

The downsides:

For an online bank, these rates are pretty average: The five-year CD has an APY of 2.25%, which is currently one of the highest among banks. The two-year CD at 1.20% APY and the three-year at 1.30% APY far exceed the national average rates, but you can find better CD yields for those terms at other online banks.

$1,000 minimum opening deposit: Although this is in line with national banks, many online banks don’t have as high a minimum. Barclays, for example, lets you open an account with $1.

» Compare CDs offerings at our roundup, featuring the highest CD rates

Bank experience: 3.5 / 5.0

Upsides:

Easy to find and compare accounts: The bank’s website makes it easy to see what distinguishes the different checking accounts, including rates and features.

Useful digital tools: You can link and see all your bank accounts — regardless of the bank — from Bank of Internet’s FinanceWorks tool on its website or mobile app. This lets you get an overview of your spending.

24/7 customer service: The Bank of Internet has a customer support team at headquarters available by phone on weekdays only, and the bank also has a third-party call center to provide around-the-clock phone support.

Other support channels: The bank has live chat support on its site.

Downsides:

No branches: Customers in San Diego can visit the bank’s headquarters, but otherwise you’ll have to handle your banking online or over the phone.

Not easy to find all fees: You’ll need to scroll through a long account disclosure to find two sets of fees — account-specific ones and general fees across accounts — which can be confusing.

Fees for depositing cash: Bank of Internet uses a third-party service, Reload @ the Register, which lets customers add cash to their accounts at retailers such as 7-Eleven and CVS Pharmacy. It costs up to $4.95 per deposit.

Overdraft fees: 3.0 / 5.0

Upsides:
No overdraft fees for three accounts: The Essential, Platinum and Rewards checking accounts don’t have overdraft or nonsufficient funds fees. Transactions are simply declined, unless you enroll in one of the bank’s overdraft programs.

Free overdraft protection: You can set up free automatic transfers from a savings account to your checking, which would only occur if your balance goes negative.

Overdraft line of credit offered: This overdraft program lets you borrow money when you overdraw.

Downsides:

$25 nonsufficient funds fee for two accounts: If you overdraw with the CashBack or Golden checking account, you’ll be charged $25, with a limit of three charges per day.

Great online bank option

Bank+of+Internet
Learn more
at Bank of Internet
Bank of Internet’s checking accounts are among the best because of their strong rates and lack of monthly fees. But the rate on the savings account isn’t as impressive. Still, both can serve you well if you want them under the same virtual roof.

The bank’s online tools are helpful, and you have several ways to contact the bank if you’d like to get help from a customer service representative.

The credit unions that most resemble this online bank are Alliant  (see our review) and Connexus (see our review), which both offer excellent checking accounts. For an overdraft policy that’s even better than that of Bank of Internet, check out Capital One 360 (details in our CapOne review).

Tony Armstrong is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: tony@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @tonystrongarm. NerdWallet writer Spencer Tierney contributed to this report.

Updated Sept. 8, 2017.


Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, customer experience and overdraft fees.

Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation.

The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.