Editorial Review

Popular Direct Bank Review: Savings and CDs

Popular Direct is an online bank that offers some of the best annual percentage yields, or APYs, on the market.

Spencer TierneyAugust 1, 2019

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Overall bank rating

Popular Direct
  • Savings

    Savings

  • CD rates

    CD rates

  • Banking experience

    Banking experience

3.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: The bank, a division of the international company Popular and New York-based Popular Bank, offers excellent rates on savings and some certificate of deposit terms for customers who are able to meet the steep minimum deposit requirements. You need to have a bank account at another bank in order to fund a Popular Direct account.

Pros

  • Top-of-the-line rate on the savings account.

  • 24/7 customer support.

Cons

  • Steep minimum opening requirements.

  • No branch or ATM network.

  • No checking account.

  • Must have an external bank account and can’t use a different one to transfer within the first 70 days.

Full review

Popular Direct Ultimate Savings Account

Popular Direct Ultimate Savings Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

1.35%

With $0.01 minimum balance

Popular Direct’s Ultimate Savings account has one of the highest rates out there. This rate applies to all balances. You need at least $5,000 to open this account.

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.

Popular Direct has an unusual policy: Once you set up your funding account, you must stick to transfers using only that account during the first 70 days a Popular Direct account is open. You can still make withdrawals during this period.

Popular Direct CD

Popular Direct CD

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY

0.40%

3-year APY

0.70%

5-year APY

1.20%

Minimum Deposit

$10,000

Some of Popular Direct’s CD rates are competitive, but all require a very large minimum deposit, which hurts the online bank’s CD score. $10,000 is the minimum to open a CD, which is higher than many banks.

Banking experience

3.0

NerdWallet rating 

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 live chat, that some other online banks have.

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

Popular Direct Ultimate Savings Account

Popular Direct Ultimate Savings Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

1.35%

With $0.01 minimum balance

Popular Direct’s Ultimate Savings account has one of the highest rates out there. This rate applies to all balances. You need at least $5,000 to open this account.

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.

Popular Direct has an unusual policy: Once you set up your funding account, you must stick to transfers using only that account during the first 70 days a Popular Direct account is open. You can still make withdrawals during this period.

Popular Direct CD

Popular Direct CD

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY

0.40%

3-year APY

0.70%

5-year APY

1.20%

Minimum Deposit

$10,000

Some of Popular Direct’s CD rates are competitive, but all require a very large minimum deposit, which hurts the online bank’s CD score. $10,000 is the minimum to open a CD, which is higher than many banks.

3.0

NerdWallet rating 

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 live chat, that some other online banks have.

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

How does Popular Direct compare?

APY

1.30%

With $0 minimum balance

APY

1.15%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

$500

Requirements to qualify

RATING 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, 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.