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Trying Out Emigrant Direct

This article was written by in Saving. 15 comments.

It’s been about three months since Emigrant Direct started offering a 3.0% interest yield on their savings account, beating out ING Direct for the favored spot in the minds of many. I’ve held out with ING for these three months and witnessed my favorite raise their rates, though not quite to the top. ING Direct’s savings account now sites at a 2.6% yield.

I’ve decided, despite declaring I wouldn’t, to at least give Emigrant Direct a try. Yesterday, I filled out the online forms necessary for opening an account. This whole process has had mixed reviews, so I figured it would be better to try it for myself before making a judgment. I have started the process and I am now waiting for two test deposits to hit my checking account, at which point I can verify ownership.

As long as it’s easy to move money back and forth between Emigrant Direct and ING Direct, I’ll just move my money to where ever the best deal is. My timing might be perfect, because there is a rumor going around that Emigrant Direct is raising their rates heven higher, to 3.25% APY, this coming Monday.

I’ll post updates on the progress of opening my account continues, so readers can compare my experiences with those of other bloggers who have been writing about their problems with the newer bank.

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published March 12, 2005. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .


avatar Ron

I opened an account with Emigrant Direct and I found no problems whatsoever. I linked it to my personal bank checking account so transfers are very easy. It takes about 2 weeks to go through all the transfer testing and security requirements. I am very well pleased so far. The latest interest rate APY is 3.25%. You can’t beat it when you compare it to a CD. This Emigrant account is much more flexible.

avatar Luke Landes
avatar Luke Landes
avatar Melchorr

People seem to love Emigrant Direct or despite it. I have not really seen any middle-of-the-road opinions regarding this bank. I suppose the jeers are warranted, but what else can you expect from an old New York brick-and-mortar bank that is trying to compete with a bunch of national Internet-based banks in the money market arena? They are going to take a few on the chin. Sure, there are bugs that remain on their website and the set-up process may be a tad too vintage, but their APY and lack of silly fees or outrageous minimum balance mostly overshadow these technical shortcomings.

Only time will tell if Emigrant Direct can indeed compete with the INGs of the world, but for now I’ll confidently walk with the boys in New York (unless, of course, ING decides to break out with a 3.50% APY).

avatar Miriam

Really good work.
I found a lot of profound information which can help me to go on.
Thanks for all this input.

avatar Doug

I e-mailed emigrant direct about whether it was possible to set up the account in the name of a family trust for security reasons. They responded that “EmigrantDirect only offers beneficiary applications. You will not be able to title the account in a Family Trust.” People may want to re-think putting any substantial amount of money in an open personal account.

avatar gina

i’ve had no problems whatsoever with this bank. They just raised the APY to 4.00%, and with the economy and markets seeming so volitile, it seems a good way to go. To the last poster, you are able to put the account ITF for another family member to get the maximum FDIC insurance, maybe that would be a way to set up an account.

avatar ashley

i was wondering if someone who already has an emigrant direct account could email me and let me know exactly how it works. i am planning on opening up a checking & savings within a few days. really all i wanted to know is do they pay you 4% interest daily, weekly, monthly or yearly? ashleyrpoole@yahoo.com
thank you!!

avatar Leo

I opened my emigrant direct account 2 weeks ago. I can not transfer money in and out. I have been lied to by the empolyes that work there. They basically have my money & I can’t do anythikng. I have emailed them where it says they will responed, they will not. I have spend over an 1hr on the phone with them. Emigrant rate is higher than ING, but Emigran t has several glitchs in thier system. If you like opening an count where you have no idea when you will every be able to move money in or out of and want probally the worse customer services I have every thad the unpleasurer to deal with I suggest Emigrant. If you want a great bank use ING Direct.
In comparison grade was Emigrant would get an F- & ING Direct would get an A (not A+)

avatar TR

I just opened my acct with Emigrant and while the process was slow and tedious, all seems ok. I opened with $80, and have now transferred $400 as well. It states up front that you cannot withdraw your initial deposit within the 1st 10 days, and further deposits within 5 days. All seems fair and secure, so no complaints here!

avatar G

emigrant direct have TERRIBLE customer service.
They never reply my emails. Have to wait for a long time to get someone to answer the damn phone. They always said they’re working on it, but NOTHING has been done. As the guy above said (they have Customer NO-Service), if I read his post earlier, I wouldn’t open the account. Also, the usability of their web site is poor.
I never have these kind of problems with other banks.
Think twice before you open an account with them.

avatar rkl

I have had my account with Emigrant for over 2 months and have had absolutely NO problems what so ever! I have a substantial amount in the account and wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t trust the bank. I haven’t had any problems with opening the account or transferrring. I think a majority of people would say the same. Plus Suze Orman recommends this bank to her viewers. Why would she do that if there were major problems?

avatar Luke Landes

Here’s the latest update from Emigrant Direct: They are now offering a cash back credit card.

avatar Big Tex

I read the posts on this and other discussion boards and blogs about Emigran Direct being horrible and deicded to open an account anyway. I signed up online and two days later I confirmed the two deposit amounts. Ten days later I received my account letter and completed my registration process. I can not make any additional transfers into the account for one business day but after that everything should be normal. That’s where I am and so far, no problems. Sure, they don’t offer the same “instant-gratification” service like we’ve become used to but they spell everything out in plain language at each stage. There were no surprises for me because I read the fine print. I am a new customer but I would recommend Emigrant so far. Hope this helps

avatar steve

Well, I’m checking out this blog because I’ve become sceptical of Emigrant Direct. It took 2 weeks to open my account. I opened with $10 by written check via snail mail, it was the only way to get the account started, and that took numerous calls. After the account was open, I was able to electronically deposit another $10. It’s been 15 working days since I opened, and 8 working days since the second deposit, and I only have $10 of my $20 recorded as available. So, I patiently wait to see if my $20 will become available, meanwhile, my confidence dwindles. The 4.25% interest keeps me hoping that the folks at Emigrant are ligit. So far, I have doughts. AND I’m looking into ING.