As of today, Zions Bank offers one of the highest interest rates among high-interest savings accounts. Is it worthwhile to move your money there to take advantage of this interest rate? Today’s interest rate environment is not the best for moving money from bank to bank in search of the highest rate, so the more appropriate question is whether Zions Bank is a good choice for someone who is not currently taking advantage of a high-yield savings account. If you do not have a high-yield savings account and the money you keep for short-term expenses like emergencies is earning only 0.25% APY or less, as many are, open a high-yield savings account anywhere and start giving your cash a fighting chance against inflation — if not at Zions Bank, anywhere.
I’ve gone through the process of opening a Zions Bank savings account. This article contains a review of my experiences.
About Zions Bank
Before opening an account with the bank, I performed cursory research to understand the company that would be holding my deposit. Deposits at Zions Bank are FDIC insured up to the federal maximum, and I wouldn’t even consider opening a savings account at a bank that did not offer this protection or the equivalent protection available at credit unions. Zions Bank is based in Utah and has been in business since 1873. The corporation was formed by Brigham Young as Zion’s Savings Bank and Trust Company and was the territory’s first banking institution. The Church of Latter-Day Saints was involved with the bank’s operations until 1960, following a merger with other Utah banking institutions. After a series of name changes, the bank’s parent corporation is now known as Zions Bancorporation.
Zions Bancorporation operates 130 Zions Bank branches in Utah and Idaho, though the investment company’s operations span the western United States. The parent company is traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange (ZION). Zions Bank has a two star rating in Bankrate’s “Safe & Sound” system.
Opening a new Zions Bank Online Savings Account
The first page of the savings account application asks for your personal information. As expected, Zions Bank asks for your Social Security number, as well as your mother’s maiden name which will be used for identity verification when communicating with the bank. For communications, Zions customer service is available from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm Mountain Time every day except Sunday.
After completing my personal application, Zions suggested I open the bank’s free checking account, but I declined. Several additional features were offered. I declined the ATM account access option as well as the Visa credit card. I live in New Jersey, so there are no bank-owned ATMs local to me. I have no need for another credit card at this time.
Click the image to the right to zoom in.
Funding the Zions Bank Online Savings Account
New customers have three options for funding the initial deposit, which carries a minimum of $100. The application offers electronic funds transfer (EFT), check, and wire. For selecting check, the opening process would take longer, requiring you to send a check through the mail and waiting for the bank to receive it. The EFT process is the quickest, but it requires finding your bank routing number and account numbers. If you’re funding the account from an existing checking account, you can easily find this information on your checks.
I will be funding my new Zions savings account with an electronic transfer from ING Direct, and although I have the bank’s routing number memorized from the many times I’ve used it to fund new bank accounts, I always verify the number by logging into my account at that bank.
USA PATRIOT Act and Government Regulations
You may have noticed that opening a bank account in the past few years has involved more scrutiny for the applicant. To fight against terrorism — or against the funding of terrorism — banks are required to ask more questions about your purposes for opening a bank account. You will need to let Zions Bank know if you are a foreign government official, whether you plan to make deposits of physical cash (not electronic transfers), whether you plan to send or receive more than three wire transfers, if you plan to keep more than $1 million on deposit at the bank, and whether you are a business owner. You will also need to provide your occupation or industry and the name of your employer.
Like all savings accounts, Zions Bank will limit your withdrawals by internet, ACH, or telephone to six per thirty-day cycle. This is a federal regulation for savings accounts, but each bank can choose how they want to handle violations of this rule. Zions will charge a customer $15 per withdrawal over the limit of six in each statement period. ATM withdrawals are unlimited, however. There are no other fees for the Zions Bank Online Savings Account.
Once you provide all the information requested and agree to electronic disclosures, terms, and fees, the application is complete. Zions Bank will process the application within two business days, but your confirmation includes your new account number. provides instructions for accessing your new account right away, but you won’t be able to access your account until you receive confirmation by email. Your login name is the same as the email address you provided during the application process, and your default password is the first two letters of your mother’s maiden name followed the month and year of your birth.
Accessing your new Zions Bank Savings Account
Twenty-six hours after completing my application, I received my second email from Zions Bank to notify me that I could now access my account online. Using my email address and the password described above, I logged into ZionsBank.com. Note that while the password is case sensitive, and though I entered my mother’s maiden name capitalized properly, my password worked only when entering the two letters in lowercase. After entering your default password, you will have the opportunity to select a security image and phrase, now a common practice when banking online, and three challenge questions that will be used to verify your identity and register your computer the first time you log in and any time you view your account from a new computer.
After assigning answers to your chosen questions, you will be brought back to the main Zions Bank home page, and you can log in again. Once you are logged in and choose to register the computer, you will have the option of turning off paper statements and will see your account listed. If you log in right away, you will probably be viewing your account before your initial deposit makes its way to the bank. Zions Bank will present you first with your balance screen, which shows you the balances across all the accounts you hold at Zions Bank. You can click on the name of any of your accounts to see that account’s activity. In my case, there was still nothing to see.
The process of opening my account at Zions Bank has been flawless.
|Routing (ABA) number||124000054|
|Established||July 10, 1873|
|Savings interest rates||Click here to see rate|
|Money Market interest rates||Click here to see rate|
|Location||One South Main Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84133|
Updated July 29, 2011 and originally published January 19, 2011. 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.