- Certificates of deposit
- Customer experience
- Overdraft fees
Overall institution rating
First Independence Bank is a Black-owned bank based in Detroit. It has multiple checking account options, including rewards checking accounts that offer discounts on auto fuel or purchases at local merchants. However, some qualifications need to be met to earn perks, such as making a certain number of monthly transactions or paying a monthly maintenance fee. The bank earns high mobile app ratings in app stores.
You’ll need to call First Independence Bank to get its most current rates on savings accounts and certificates of deposits. Yields on those accounts are lower than what you can find at other financial institutions.
Best for: Those who want a competitive rewards checking account at a Black-owned bank and are not looking for high-rate savings options (such as those who already have savings in a high-yield account at another institution).
- Competitive rewards checking account.
- Highly rated mobile apps.
- Low rates on CDs and savings accounts.
- Monthly fee on savings (though it is avoidable).
4.5/5 NerdWallet rating
You can have a rewards checking account at one bank and a high-yield savings account at another to maximize your bank benefits.
The FIB Perks Checking account has no monthly fee if you opt for e-statements. It offers a rewards program where if you make 15 qualifying transactions in a calendar month, you earn a discount of 10 cents per gallon on up to 20 gallons of fuel purchases. (Purchases must be made at select gas stations.) You could earn additional fuel discounts if you make more qualifying transactions within the month. You will need to download the program app to participate in the perks.
The bank has several other checking options. These other accounts did not factor into our ratings, but they include a second-chance checking account called First Choice Checking. It does not offer paper checks, but there are also no overdraft fees. However, a $3 monthly maintenance fee is not waived.
3.5/5 NerdWallet rating
The First Personal Savings account earns a low annual percentage yield compared to savings APYs at other financial institutions, particularly those at online banks. Per First Independence Bank’s website, you’ll need to call a customer service representative to get current savings and certificate of deposit rates.
There is only a $25 minimum balance requirement to open the savings account, but to avoid a $5 monthly fee, you’ll need to keep a balance of at least $200.
Note that interest in the savings account is compounded quarterly. Some savings accounts compound daily or monthly. The more frequently your savings interest compounds, the more your bank balance can automatically grow.
Certificates of deposit
2.0/5 NerdWallet rating
First Independence Bank offers CDs with terms that range from one month to five years. According to a customer service representative at the bank, a $500 minimum balance is required to open a one-year, three-year or five-year CD. As with savings accounts, CD rates are lower at First Independence Bank compared with other financial institutions.
» Looking for higher CD yields? See NerdWallet's list of best CD rates
Bank customers have access to First Independence Bank mobile apps, which get high ratings in mobile app scores. These apps offer the ability to pay bills, deposit mobile checks and transfer funds electronically.
According to a customer service representative, customer support is available by phone only on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time.
It is not easy to find much overdraft fee information on First Independence Bank’s website. According to a customer service representative, if there are no funds in an account to cover a transaction in the FIB Perks Checking Account, the bank assesses a $35 nonsufficient funds fee. The rep says customers can link a First Independence savings account to their checking account for overdraft protection and there is no charge for overdraft transfers.
According to the rep, First Independence charges, at most, one nonsufficient funds fee per day. Limiting fees helps customers lower costs. However, the best option for customers is to eliminate overdraft and nonsufficient funds fees, which other banks have recently done.
How does First Independence Bank compare?
SoFi Checking and Savings
Discover Cashback Debit
Chime Checking Account
Deposits are FDIC Insured
With $0 min. balance for APY
Earn up to $250 with direct deposit. Terms apply.
at SoFi Bank, N.A.
at Discover Bank
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, banking 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.