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 Tierney
By Spencer Tierney 
Edited by Yuliya Goldshteyn

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Popular Direct
  • Savings
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Customer experience

Overall institution rating

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

The online 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

  • No monthly fees.
  • Competitive rates on savings account and CDs.
  • Extended phone customer service hours.

Cons

  • High minimum opening deposits for CDs.
  • No branch access.
  • No checking account.
  • Must already have another bank account to fund your account.

Full review

Savings

Popular Direct Savings
Popular Direct Savings

Savings

Member FDIC

4.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
APY
5.20%
With $0.01 min. balance for APY

Popular Direct’s savings account offers a competitive interest rate that applies to all balances. To open this account, you need at least $100.

» Want to see more options? Check out NerdWallet’s best high-yield online savings accounts

Like many other online savings accounts, Popular Direct's doesn't have a monthly 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.

Certificates of deposit

Popular Direct CD
Popular Direct CD

CD

Member FDIC

4.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY
5.30%
3-year APY
4.55%
5-year APY
4.45%
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.

» COMPARE: Best CD rates

  • 3-month CD: 5.00% APY.

  • 6-month CD: 5.27% APY.

  • 1-year CD: 5.30% APY.

  • 18-month CD: 5.00% APY.

  • 2-year CD: 4.70% APY.

  • 3-year CD: 4.55% APY.

  • 4-year CD: 4.45% APY.

  • 5-year CD: 4.45% APY.

Customer experience

3.5

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 Eastern 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.

How does Popular Direct compare?

NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5

APY 

4.60%

With $0 min. balance for APY

APY 

5.05%

With $5,000 min. balance for APY

Bonus 

$300

Earn up to $300 with direct deposit. Terms apply.

Bonus 

N/A

Learn more

at SoFi Bank, N.A.

Learn more

at CIT Bank

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.