FNBO offers one of the highest rates on savings accounts available today. In this FNBO Direct Savings Account review, we cover the terms, rates, and how to open an account.
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 1.60% APY as of March 2018 (subject to change).
FNBO Direct is a member of the FDIC, so deposits 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 1.75% APY on an FDIC-insured money market account at CIT Bank.
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
When visiting FNBO Direct for the first time, you will choose between two options. You can start a new application or continue with an existing one. (Note that the FNBO website could be a bit different than the screenshots below.)
Along with basic information, FNBO Direct requires you to confirm your identity with a driver’s license. You will need to provide the following:
- Your occupation
- Name and address of your employer
- Source of your main income
- Source of the money you are using to open the account
To verify your account information, FNBO Direct will ask a few questions related to items on your credit report. For example, a multiple choice question asked me to select my student loan payment. I wasn’t sure I would guess correctly as I’ve been paying more than my installment amount for the last few years. I selected my best guess and FNBO allowed me to continue.
After providing all the appropriate information for your application, the bank’s decision to grant you an account will be presented immediately. After approval, the bank requires a signature card. A traditional brick-and-mortar savings account keeps your signature on file. With modern technology, though, FNBO Direct accepts an online form submission as a substitute for a signature.
After submitting the signature card, FNBO Direct will offer you an ATM card. I couldn’t remember if there were any fees attached to the ATM card (there are not). I declined the card. It’s unlikely I’d ever access this account via an ATM or at a point of sale, so I didn’t feel a need to receive one. This account will solely be for savings, and I will initiate any bank-to-bank transfers online. If you would like an ATM card, though, you can select the option here.
The last step of the application process is to provide a routing number and bank account number for the initial start-up funds. I chose to transfer $1,000 from my Capital One 360 account.
After the bank account information is verified, your application is complete. FNBO Direct will make two small deposits in the external bank account, which must be verified before the initial deposit will take place.
Step 2: Verify test deposits and initiate opening balance transfer
The small deposits didn’t appear in my Capital One 360 account until Tuesday. As you can see from the image below, FNBO Direct posted a $0.25 item and a $0.17 item to the account. Some banks will withdraw these trial deposits once verified. FNBO Direct left the $0.42 gift in my Capital One 360 account as of Friday morning. Lucky me!
To verify your trial deposits, return to the application at FNBO Direct. Your account is now complete. FNBO Direct will return you to the website’s home page without further instructions. I then tried logging into FNBO Direct to view my account, but I was unable to do so. Turns out I was not yet able to choose my user ID.
Step 3: Create your user ID and password
On Tuesday night, I received an email from FNBO Direct initiating the deposit. (The funds transfer takes about three business days.) In this email, however, there were still no instructions for creating a user ID and password. For that, I would have to wait until early Wednesday morning.
I received another email at that time, stating that my account was ready to open. Less than an hour later, another email, informing me that my new account was now available online. This email contained instructions for accessing the account:
If you have not yet chosen a User ID and password, you can do so by returning to your application. Simply visit www.fnbodirect.com. Click on the “Return to Application” tab. Enter the requested identify information to access your Application Summary. Click the “Activate” button at the bottom of the “Application Summary” page.
At this point, you will create your username, password, and establish two security questions. For example, “What was the name of your best childhood friend?” and “Favorite sports team?” These questions help to enhance the security of online access.
On Wednesday afternoon, I checked my Capital One 360 account again. My $1,000 initial deposit was debited from the account. I proceeded to log into my new FNBO Direct account. My deposit was still “in transit.”
As of Thursday night, this status had still not changed.
Impressions of the FNBO Direct Savings Account
The application process was fairly smooth, albeit a little slow. While it would be nice to be able to establish and fund a new account at a bank in under 24 hours online, modern security and ACH transfers take extra time.
Like Capital One 360, once your account is established, you can add links to external bank accounts to initiate transfers. FNBO Direct also supports links to external investment accounts for a limited number of brokers, including E-Trade, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and a few others.
Like all savings accounts, FNBO Direct requires that you have no more than six withdrawals from your FNBO Direct account during any month.
Based on my experiences so far, I would recommend FNBO Direct. The application process was easy and the current interest rate is competitive.
Update: As of Friday morning, my FNBO Direct balance now includes the opening deposit. Now complete, the account opening process took a total of four business days.
If you are a current accountholder or if you open a new account following my experiences, let me know your impressions of the bank.
Finally, in addition to an online savings account, FNBO offers a high yield checking account. It currently pays 0.65% APY, which is one of the best rates available on a checking account.
Updated February 28, 2018 and originally published March 27, 2017.