UFB Direct Review: Savings
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- Money market
- Banking experience
Overall institution rating
UFB Direct, a division of online institution Axos Bank, offers a savings account with a high rate, no opening minimums and no monthly fee. The bank also has a high-yield money market account that has a strong rate, but it requires a minimum of $5,000 to avoid a monthly fee.
Since late October 2022, NerdWallet has received reader complaints consistently relating to delays in customer support access, long money transfer times and customers not being notified of how to benefit from ongoing rate changes. Scroll down to the banking experience section for more details.
Best for: Digital banking customers who want a savings account or money market account with strong APYs and don’t need a checking account at the same bank.
» COMPARE: Best high yield savings accounts
- High rate and no monthly maintenance fee for its savings account.
- 24/7 live phone support.
- Online chat.
- Highly rated mobile apps.
- Doesn’t offer checking accounts or certificates of deposit.
- The money market account charges a monthly fee if the average daily balance drops below $5,000.
- Unusually long ACH transfers when initiated from a UFB account (up to five business days).
3.0/5 NerdWallet rating
High rate. UFB's money market account is one of UFB Direct's two savings accounts, though we did not consider this one as part of the bank’s overall ranking given the minimum balance requirement to avoid the monthly fee. The account offers 4.81% APY for any balance.
Monthly fee unless you meet a steep minimum daily balance. Unlike UFB's savings account, this account has a $10 monthly fee, though you can waive it if your average daily balance is at least $5,000. If you plan to keep at least that much in your savings account and want the ability to write up to six checks a month, this account might be a good choice for you.
» Learn more about money market savings accounts
4.5/5 NerdWallet rating
High rate and no monthly fee. UFB's savings account has a strong rate of 4.81% APY for any balance. This online account also has no minimum deposit requirement and no monthly fees. This account is the one we considered in the bank’s overall rating. We consider it to be the bank's best offering to earn a strong rate and avoid fees.
» COMPARE: Best savings rates
Highly rated apps and 24/7 support. UFB Direct has above-average mobile app ratings on Android and iOS devices as well as 24/7 customer support by phone. There is also chat support, which is with a chatbot for most cases, though live agents are available for more complex issues. The website is relatively easy to navigate to find rates, fees and support information.
Reader complaints on three issues. Since late October 2022, NerdWallet readers have described delays in getting issues resolved through customer support, unusually long transfer times for funding accounts as well as a lack of information about how to benefit from ongoing interest rate increases. (These complaints and issues don’t factor into UFB Direct’s star ratings given the variability associated with customer experiences; see our methodology.)
» Experienced an issue? Here’s how to file a complaint
1. Customer support delays: “With the significant spike in new customer acquisition combined with historically low unemployment rates, we experienced some challenges with longer wait times than average,” Elise Yung, senior vice president of consumer deposits at UFB Direct’s parent institution, Axos Bank, said in a February email. As a result, the servicing team has been tripled and the bank continues to find additional ways to optimize, she said. Yung recommends that customers chat with a UFB Direct chatbot or contact support outside regular business hours.
2. Long transfer waits: “With the significant spike in identity theft, we need time to confirm the validity of any money movement before releasing it. We are indeed working on a plan for faster release,” Yung said in the February email.
3. Confusion over multiple account "upgrades": UFB Direct relaunched its savings and money market accounts six times from August 2022 to April 2023, and customers of existing accounts must request to upgrade to the latest account to benefit from ongoing interest rate changes. The bank said it has processed all requests to upgrade.
If you’re unsure what account you have, log into UFB’s site or app and compare it with the current account name. Here’s a rough timeline of accounts:
Aug. 9 - Sept. 20, 2022: UFB Rewards Savings and UFB Rewards Money Market.
Sept. 21 - Nov. 7, 2022: UFB Elite Savings and UFB Elite Money Market.
Nov. 8 - Dec. 13, 2022: UFB High Rate Savings and UFB High Rate Money Market.
Dec. 14, 2022 - Feb. 21, 2023: UFB Best Savings and UFB Best Money Market.
Feb. 22 - April 12, 2023: UFB Preferred Savings and UFB Preferred Money Market.
April 13, 2023: UFB Premier Savings and UFB Premier Money Market.
“The unusual frequency of product launches is tied to the unusual frequency” of the Fed rate changes, Yung said in an April email.
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.