Popular Direct Bank Review: Savings and CDs

Popular Direct is an online bank that offers strong annual percentage yields but also requires fairly high minimum balances.
Spencer TierneyAug 9, 2021

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Overall bank rating

Popular Direct
  • Savings

  • CD rates

  • Banking experience

3.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: The bank, a division of the international company Popular and New York-based Popular Bank, offers competitive rates on savings and certificates of deposit 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.   Best for: Those who don’t need a checking account, want to earn highly competitive rates on savings and CDs, and can meet the high minimum deposit requirements by funding from an external bank account.

Pros

  • Competitive savings account rate.
  • Extended hours for live customer support.

Cons

  • Steep minimum opening requirements.
  • No branch or ATM network.
  • No checking account.
  • Must link to an external bank account and can only use that external bank account for transfers within the first 70 days.

Full review

Popular Direct Select Savings Account

Popular Direct Select Savings Account

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.45%

With $5,000 minimum balance

Popular Direct’s Select Savings account offers a competitive interest rate that applies to all balances. To open this account, you need at least $5,000, which is a large amount compared with what other, similar accounts typically require.

Like many other online savings accounts, Popular Direct's doesn't have a monthly fee. But 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 use only that account for transfers during the first 70 days a Popular Direct account is open.

Popular Direct CD

Popular Direct CD

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY

0.15%

3-year APY

0.50%

5-year APY

1.00%

Minimum Deposit

$10,000

Some of Popular Direct’s CD rates are competitive, but all require a large minimum deposit. To open a CD, the minimum deposit is $10,000, which is higher than many banks’ requirements of $0 to $2,500.

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 by phone Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to midnight Easter and weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern, and you can also message the bank. The bank lacks some support channels, such as live chat, that some other online banks have.

The no-frills mobile app mainly helps you monitor accounts and deposit checks.

Popular Direct Select Savings Account

Popular Direct Select Savings Account

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.45%

With $5,000 minimum balance

Popular Direct’s Select Savings account offers a competitive interest rate that applies to all balances. To open this account, you need at least $5,000, which is a large amount compared with what other, similar accounts typically require.

Like many other online savings accounts, Popular Direct's doesn't have a monthly fee. But 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 use only that account for transfers during the first 70 days a Popular Direct account is open.

How does Popular Direct compare?

Federally insured by the NCUA

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.50%

With $0 minimum balance

APY

0.40%

With $1 minimum balance

APY

0.55%

With $100 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

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.