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Amex entered banking years ago. Today, they offer great rates with low fees. Check out our take in this American Express savings account review.

By far, the most requested review on Consumerism Commentary is for the American Express Personal Savings Account. Amex offers one of the highest interest rates available with this savings account, making it very attractive from the surface. Once you own an account, how does it hold up against All, Discover, CIT and other online savings accounts?

I opened an account to find out.

First of all, if the bulk of your savings is earning less than 0.5% APY, it’s time to change. There is usually no excuse for settling for interest rates that low. It’s simple and easy to double or triple the interest you receive in your account every month. Granted, this might not add up to a lot of money. But high yield savings accounts help to ensure your cash will at least hold its value when up against inflation. Your money loses value over time when sitting in a low-interest or no-interest account.

Banking Deal: Earn 1.20% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at Barclays.

Application process

After visiting the American Express website, I was impressed with the application process. You can zoom in on the overview screen by clicking on the image included here.

The first step is entering your personal information. If you have an American Express savings account currently, you can easily link your current account to the application.

As I do not have a savings account with AMEX, I entered my personal information. Following this, I entered the amount I intend to deposit from my external bank account. There is no minimum deposit, and I decided to start with $500. While there is an option to send a check, I chose to pull the funds from an existing bank account via an electronic transfer (ACH). After confirming my personal information and deposit amount, I agreed to the standard terms of service and entered my external banking information (routing number and account number). I chose to link this account to my personal Wells Fargo brick and mortar checking account.

The strength of American Express, in this first impression, is the bank’s professional appearance. Each step through this process, the bank’s website was very helpful in letting me know what to expect and when to expect it. When I confirmed my external banking information, it was clear that I would need to verify two test deposits into my newly-linked Wells Fargo account. I immediately received an email with instructions for verifying the test deposits, and I received a welcome kit in the mail in [three] days. It took three days, from Friday to Monday, for the deposits to hit my Wells Fargo account.

Verifying deposits

After the weekend, I checked my Wells Fargo account and saw two small test deposits from American Express. Once again, AmEx outlined the process clearly, as you can see from the image here. To finalize the link between my new American Express account and my existing checking account at Wells Fargo, the bank required me to enter my email address, a verification code that was sent to me via email, and the amounts of the two test deposits.

After the confirmation, American Express allowed me to create an online user identity for viewing statements and otherwise operating my new bank account. User names for the American Express Personal Savings Account require at least two numerals, so I was unfortunately forced to use a non-standard user ID. For the first time, I chose to receive online statements in lieu of paper statements. This is a trend I want to continue; I receive too much paper in the mail, and electronic states — when chosen without paper statements — will help reduce my clutter, as well as on a small scale, help the environment.

Using my American Express Personal Savings Account

As of today, I am waiting for my initial deposit to reach my new American Express savings account. Although there is not much I can do, I am able to look at all features contained in the website and get a feel for its operation. My first order of business was customizing the account names. I also looked at the options for downloading activity into applications like Quicken. American Express supports Quicken through the “Web Connect” service as well as Microsoft Money. There are options for QIF and CSV downloads, too.

There are not many different things you can do with this savings account. Although the bank recently lowered the interest rate offered on these accounts, the rates are still comparatively high. The deposits at American Express Bank are fully insured by FDIC, which means there is no risk in depositing your money up to the FDIC maximum, currently $250,000 for an individual savings account. American Express does not currently offer a checking, bill-payment, or other “transactional” account, so this type of service is fine for letting the cash you need to sit and grow, losing as little value to inflation as possible in a savings account.

American Express Interest Rate

On July 14, 2017, American Express Bank increased the rate on its online savings account to 1.15% APY.  This keeps them in the for online banks, but there are a few banks who are currently offering a better interest rate on savings.  Those banks are:

  • Dollar Savings Direct 1.40%
  • CIT Bank – 1.35%
  • Ally Bank – 1.20%
  • Barclays Bank – 1.20%
  • Synchrony Bank 1.20%

Outside of an online savings account, there isn’t much else to the deposit side of American Express. They do offer a range of CD’s, but the interest rates on those are simply not good.  A six month CD will net you an APY of 0.40% and a five year CD comes in at 1.70%.  Keep in mind that these rates can change at any time. Check our high yield savings account page for current rates.

The ease with which American Express allowed me to open an account was terrific.  Their clean interface, transfer options and overall appeal is something that I’m not sure any other online bank can match (for my taste).  That said, their interest rate, while strong, is a bit lower than some other online banks.  If I were a rate chaser, AMEX would not have my business.

American Express Bank
Routing (ABA) number 124085066
Established December 1, 2000
FDIC certificate 35328
Location 4315 South 2700 West, Salt Lake City, Utah 84184
Direct Connect Not supported
Web Connect Supported
Mint/Yodlee Supported

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

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Have you been looking for a new online checking account? Preferably one with a higher-than-average interest rate? Then the FNBO Direct checking account may be the answer.

FNBO Direct checking

I’m a bit particular when it comes to my checking accounts. I don’t like paying any monthly fees, regardless of how much money I keep in the account. I want to be able to easily withdraw my money; I want a debit card, and I want to be able to manage my funds (including paying my bills)… oh, and I want all of that for free.

Narrows the list down a bit, huh? Luckily, the FNBO Direct Checking with BillPay offers all of that and more. Here’s what you’ll get with this account:

  • A completely free online checking account with zero monthly service fees, no matter how much money is in your account
  • Interest earned on your balance – currently 0.65% APY (as of July 21, 2017)
  • Minimum opening balance of $1 – yes, one dollar
  • Free online banking, bill pay, and account alertsfnbo
  • Complimentary FNBO Direct Visa® Debit Card
  • One overdraft fee forgiveness every 12 months (typically a $33 fee)
  • Free incoming wires
  • Free stop payments (I’ve paid as much as $35 for this before, so it’s a great bonus in my book!)
  • 24/7 access to over 2 million ATMs worldwide (no fees charged by FNBO for using out-of-network ATMs, though the machine operator may charge their own fees)

BillPay

popmoney

Being able to automate my bills is one of the biggest perks. The FNBO Direct checking account allows you to not only pay your bills online, but also set up automatic, recurring payments. That way, you’ll never miss another electric bill or charitable donation.

Need to send money to a friend or pay your babysitter? You’ll also have access to the free person-to-person money transfer app, Popmoney®, which is conveniently linked directly to your checking account. It allows you to easily and quickly send (or receive) money via mobile and email.

Earn Interest

For me, one of the best perks of this account is the interest rate. While it is subject to change, of course, the APY currently sits at 0.65%. This is significantly higher than many online savings accounts… let alone checking accounts!

The high yield – and absence of any fees – make this account a must-have for anyone looking to earn as much as they possibly can off of their money.

If you’d like to learn more about FNBO Direct checking with BillPay, or are interested in opening an account, check them out online here.

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While I’m generally happy with my Capital One 360 account for a good portion of my savings, I’m looking to spread the money around to take advantage of some higher interest rates. One of the banks I’ve targeted is FNBO Direct, the online arm of First National Bank of Omaha, currently offering 1.10% APY as of March 2017 (subject to change).

FNBO savings

FNBO Direct is a member of the FDIC, so deposits at the bank are insured. As long as balances stay below the limits set by the FDIC, I won’t have to worry about the safety of my money.

Banking Deal: Earn 1.20% APY on an FDIC-insured savings account at Barclays.

Opening my account at FNBO Direct

Opening a savings account at any bank takes several days from start to finish, and FNBO Direct is not an exception.

Step 1: Visit FNBO Direct and fill out an application [click to continue…]

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With W-2s and other tax forms now appearing in our mailboxes (or inboxes) daily, chances are that taxes are on your mind. If you believe you’ll owe money to the government, it makes sense to put off filing as long as possible, up to this year’s filing deadline. If you expect to receive a refund, however, file your taxes early to receive your money faster.

tax

Previously, H&R Block offered a product that allowed customers to get their refund even faster than the few weeks the IRS takes to process. However, they no longer offer these (though, you can sign up here to be first in line when they begin offering the Emerald advance lines of credit again). While you can find anticipation loans through third-party companies, these are typically accompanied by high fees. So, as of now, the least expensive and quickest way to receive a refund is to allow the IRS to deposit your refund directly into your bank account.

Regardless of how you receive your refund, you can file online using H&R Block’s system if you’d prefer to not visit a local office in person (buying a software package is one more option you have, too!). Here is what you need to know about filing online.

Different editions available

H&R Block offers three tiers of their online filing system in 2017 (for filing your 2016 taxes).

[click to continue…]

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Quicken 2015 for Mac Review and Giveaway

by Luke Landes

I have one free download code for Quicken 2015 for Mac to give away to a lucky reader. Instructions are at the bottom of this article. It’s been nine years since Intuit released a version of Quicken that was both fully-featured and designed to run on Apple’s hardware and operating systems. The Quicken Essentials for […]

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Discover it® with 18-Month Balance Transfer Offer

by Joe Taylor Jr.

The Discover it® card with an 18-month introductory balance transfer offer arrived on the market with heavy fanfare, including lots of television ads and billboards touting personal service and a new rebate structure that frees customers from most cash-back traps. This card’s critics have pointed out that other lenders extend far more generous sign-up offers, dangling hundreds […]

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Discover it® for Students

by Joe Taylor Jr.

Discover®’s made strong inroads into student borrowing over the past few years. Discover it® for Students represents the bank’s latest foray onto college campuses, with pricing and features that resemble full-featured credit cards more than the typically watered-down student accounts on the market. Loading up your wallet for the long haul For years, student credit cards earned bad […]

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Discover it® for Students with $20 Cashback Bonus

by Joe Taylor Jr.

Once upon a time, applying for a student credit card got you a cheesy T-shirt, or a hat, or a beer koozie. Often, that same card saddled you with a higher-than-average APR and a bare bones set of features compared to regular credit cards. Instead of spiking your finance charges, the folks behind the Discover it® for Students […]

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Barclays Online Savings Review

by Luke Landes

Barclays has enjoyed a long and storied history as a financial industry leader in the United Kingdom. While those of us in the United States often consider a financial company to be well established once it passes its centennial, Barclays was founded in 1690. As an organization, the bank is older than our country. The brand […]

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Discover it® card Review

by Joe Taylor Jr.

The Discover it® card makes a habit of saying no. No annual fee, no late fee on your first late payment, and no APR hike for paying late. Discover®’s latest incarnation of cash back cards aims to simplify the relationship between cardholder and card issuer into one of easy cooperation. Discover it® Card maintains 5 percent […]

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