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Popular Direct Bank Review: Savings and CDs

Nov. 30, 2018
Banking, Banking Basics, Banks & Credit Unions, Savings Accounts
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3.5 NerdWallet rating

Where Popular Direct shines:

  • Top-of-the-line rates on savings and CDs.
  • 24/7 customer support.

Where Popular Direct falls short:

  • Steep minimum opening requirements.
  • No branch or ATM network.
  • No checking account.
  • Customers can’t make withdrawals for 60 days after accounts are opened.

Where Popular Direct shines:

  • Top-of-the-line rates on savings and CDs.
  • 24/7 customer support.

Where Popular Direct falls short:

  • Steep minimum opening requirements.
  • No branch or ATM network.
  • No checking account.
  • Customers can’t make withdrawals for 60 days after accounts are opened.

Where Popular Direct shines:

  • Top-of-the-line rates on savings and CDs.
  • 24/7 customer support.

Where Popular Direct falls short:

  • Steep minimum opening requirements.
  • No branch or ATM network.
  • No checking account.
  • Customers can’t make withdrawals for 60 days after accounts are opened.

The bottom line

Popular Direct is an online bank that offers some of the best annual percentage yields, or APYs, on the market. The bank, a division of the international company Popular, offers excellent rates on savings and certificates of deposits for customers who are able to meet the steep minimum deposit requirements.


Here are more details about the bank’s savings account, CDs and bank experience.

» Need a home for your spending money? Take a look at NerdWallet’s best checking accounts

Popular Direct Savings: 4.5/5.0

 

Upside:

Top rate: Popular Direct’s Plus Savings account has one of the highest rates out there at 2.36% APY. This rate applies to all balances.

Downsides:

High minimum opening requirement: You need at least $5,000 to open this account.

Two fees to watch out for: Many online savings accounts don’t have a monthly fee, but Popular Direct charges $4 a month if your balance drops below $500 any day in the month. Also, if you take out money more than six times a month, there’s a $5 excessive withdrawal fee.

60-day period of no withdrawals: As of March 2018, Popular Direct requires new accounts to be frozen for the first 60 calendar days before customers can make any withdrawals. Customers can still access their accounts online and earn interest during this period. They may also be able to shorten the freeze to several business days by working with customer service and providing additional verification. Popular Direct wasn’t available for comment.

» Want access to your accounts sooner? Check out other high-yield savings options

How does Popular Direct compare?

Popular Direct

Plus Savings Account

NerdWallet Rating

APY

2.36%

Monthly Fees

$4

Bonus features

Competitive APY

Live help 24/7

Goldman Sachs Bank USA

Online Savings

NerdWallet Rating

at Goldman Sachs Bank USA,

Member, FDIC

APY

2.25%

Monthly Fees

$0

Bonus features

No Monthly Fee

Competitive APY

HSBC

Online Savings Account

NerdWallet Rating

at HSBC,

Member, FDIC

APY

2.30%

Monthly Fees

$0

Bonus features

Competitive APY

No Monthly Fee

Not for you? Read more bank reviews

Popular Direct CDs: 4.5/5.0

 

Upside:

Stellar rates: All Popular Direct’s CDs are competitive across the board from 3-month to 5-year terms. A one-year CD rate earns 2.60% APY; a three-year rate gets 2.85% APY; and, a five-year CD has 3.00% APY.

Downside:

High opening deposit: $10,000 is the minimum to open a CD.

» Find lower minimums on our list of best CD rates for the month

Bank experience: 3.0/5.0

 

Popular Direct’s website clearly lays out rates and minimum deposits, but you have to dig into the disclosures to see the fees. Live customer service is available 24/7 by phone and you can email or message the bank. The bank lacks some support channels, such as Twitter and live chat, that some other online banks have.

The no-frills mobile apps are mainly there to help you monitor accounts and deposit checks.

High rates, but high minimums, too

Popular Direct is a bank designed for stashing your money and letting it grow. Its minimum opening requirements are higher than many online banks, and its policy of no withdrawals within the first 60 days is unusual.

But if rates are all-important, a savings account or CD at this bank might work. Otherwise, check out other solid options on our list of best savings rates and best cd rates.


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, bank 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.

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