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Best Credit Cards for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching. Last holiday season, the majority of shoppers (85%) used a credit card or store card to buy their holiday items. That’s an 8% increase from 2016, and if the trend continues, credit card use will increase again this holiday season.

Folks who are trying to decide which credit card to take with them on their holiday shopping spree would do well to choose — and spend — wisely.

Some 44% of shoppers accrued over $1,000 in holiday debt in 2017, according to a MagnifyMoney survey, — and the majority of debt sufferers didn’t plan on it. Falling into unexpected debt can damper your holiday season and it may take you a long time to finally dig yourself out of debt.

But, if you use the right credit card along with responsible credit behavior, you can have a successful, debt-free holiday shopping season.

There are credit cards tailored to various holiday expenses such as supermarket purchases, online shopping at Amazon.com, purchases at department stores and much more. By using the right card, you can earn rewards to reduce the cost of your bills and even finance your holiday shopping so you avoid falling into debt.

In this roundup, we found the best credit cards that you can use on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you can maximize rewards regardless of where you plan to shop. We’ve also included several cards that offer 0% intro periods that can help you finance big-ticket purchases and even several smaller purchases.

Best for Amazon

The online shopping giant offers pretty much anything you can ask for, from electronics, to clothes, to food — perfect for a one-stop destination to get all your holiday shopping needs. You can use one of their Amazon-branded credit cards or a cashback card that rewards you for Amazon.com purchases. Rewards can be redeemed for a statement credit that helps to reduce your bill, and may be redeemable for future Amazon.com purchases.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

The information related to Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.24% - 24.24% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit

Good

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card offers the most rewards for your Amazon.com spending of any card around — Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases. This is a fantastic rate that’s great for people looking to do the majority of their Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping on Amazon.com. Plus, if you’re already a Prime member, this card is a no-brainer since there’s a $0 annual fee. However, if you’re not currently a Prime member, the cost is currently $119 for an annual membership. There is a new cardmember offer that helps offset the annual fee — Get a $70 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval.

Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card

The information related to Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.24% - 24.24% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 3% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

If you don’t want to become a Prime member, there is a version of this card that doesn’t require a Prime membership — the Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card. However, you’ll earn a lower rewards rate at Amazon.com and receive a lower new cardmember offer. Earn 3% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases. Get a $50 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval.

Discover it® Cash Back

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

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Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 14 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Balance Transfer Fee
3%
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

An alternative to an Amazon-branded store card is a cashback card that offers Amazon.com as a bonus category. The Discover it® Cash Back has Amazon.com and wholesale clubs as a bonus category from October to December 2018 — which is perfect for your holiday shopping. You’ll earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. One percent unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.

There is a $1,500 quarterly maximum for the bonus categories, which comes out to $75 cash back at the 5% rate before it drops to 1%. Depending on how much you plan to spend at Amazon.com and wholesale clubs, this may not be an issue. But, if you think you’ll spend over $1,500 in these two categories this October to December, you should consider the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card since it doesn’t have a quarterly maximum.

Best for department stores

If you do the majority of your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping at department stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, a card that offers a competitive rewards rate on these purchases can come in handy. Department stores typically offer their own store cards, but you can only use them at their store. Therefore, if you plan on shopping at multiple department stores, you’d need a store card for each store. This can be a hassle, so we’ve recommended credit cards that can be used anywhere and still earn above average rewards at eligible department stores.

The two cards we recommend offer high rewards rates at select department stores including Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, plus tons of other stores. We do want to point out that the Chase Freedom® has more qualifying department stores than the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express — providing more flexibility.

Chase Freedom®

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Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The Chase Freedom® is a rotating cashback card that allows cardholders to Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. From October to December 2018, department stores, wholesale clubs and Chase Pay® are 5% bonus categories. You can earn a great rate on those purchases, but take note that spending at the 5% cashback rate is limited to $1,500 a quarter before it drops down to 1% cash back. If you want a wide selection of department stores to earn 5% cash back (up to a quarterly max of $1,500, then 1%) and don’t mind activating the bonus categories, the Chase Freedom® can be a good choice for your Black Friday and Cyber Monday department store shopping.

Eligible department stores include:

  • Aliexpress*
  • Beall’s of Florida
  • Belk
  • Bergdorf Goodman*
  • Bergners*
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Boscov’s Department Store
  • Boston Store*
  • Carson’s*
  • Dillard’s
  • Elder-Beerman*
  • Goody’s*
  • Gordmans*
  • Gump’s*
  • Herberger’s*
  • J.C. Penney
  • Kohl’s
  • Lord & Taylor
  • Macy’s
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Nordstrom & Nordstrom Rack
  • Peebles Dept Store*
  • Saks Fifth Ave & Off Fifth
  • Sears
  • Stage Stores*
  • Stein Mart
  • The Bon Ton
  • Von Maur*
  • Younkers*

*Not an eligible department store with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.99%-25.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 12 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 12 months
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express doesn’t offer as high a rewards rate at select U.S. department stores compared with the Chase Freedom®, but it has the advantage of no quarterly limits or activation. Cardholders earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. This card does have a $95 annual fee, but if you spend $3,167 a year at select U.S. department stores, you’ll earn enough cash back to cover the annual fee.

Eligible department stores include:

  • Bealls
  • Belk
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Bon Ton Stores
  • Boscov’s
  • Century 21 Department Stores*
  • Dillard’s
  • J.C. Penney (JCP)
  • Kohl’s
  • Lord & Taylor
  • Macy’s
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Nordstrom
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Sears
  • Stein Mart

*Not an eligible department store with the Chase Freedom®.

Best for general shopping

When you go holiday shopping, you typically won’t just shop at one store, you most likely will need to make a few stops in store or online to get everything you need. To maximize your rewards on all your purchases, you’ll either need several credit cards or you can simply use a flat-rate cashback card that earns the same rewards rate on all your shopping — whether it’s online, in department stores, wholesale clubs or elsewhere.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Intro BT APR
0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers*
Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
Balance Transfer Fee
3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent, Good

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is consistently our top choice for a flat-rate cashback card since you earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay. That’s double the amount a traditional rewards card earns on everyday purchases and can simplify your wallet. You can use this card on all your purchases and earn competitive rewards without worrying which card to use. However, if you do have several credit cards, use them for the transactions they earn the most rewards in, and then use the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer on all other purchases.

In addition to a cashback program, this card has the Citi® Price Rewind benefit. When you register eligible items with Citi® Price Rewind, Citi will conduct a 60-day search from purchase date to see if there’s a lower price. If a lower price is found, you may be reimbursed for the difference between what you paid and the lower price. You can also submit a claim if you find a lower price. Note, the Citi® Price Rewind benefit is limited to $200 an item and $1,000 per calendar year.

Best for wholesale clubs

During the holidays you most likely will be traveling to visit family and friends or entertaining guests at your home. Shopping at wholesale clubs can be a great way to stock up on needed items for entertaining, cooking and gift-giving. Wholesale clubs like BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club offer their own co-branded credit cards that members can use to earn rewards. There are also some cards from major issuers that offer wholesale clubs as a bonus category during the holiday months. Just remember that if you plan on shopping regularly at wholesale clubs, you’ll need an active membership. However, many clubs offer free one-day passes where you can shop around without a membership, and you can also piggyback off a friend or family member’s membership.

From October to December 2018, two cards are offering wholesale clubs as a bonus category — the Chase Freedom® and the Discover it® Cash Back. Keep in mind you need to activate the bonus categories for the 5% cash back to take effect. And, the amount of cash back you can earn at the 5% cashback rate has a $1,500 quarterly maximum before the cashback rate drops to 1%. So, that’s up to $75 cash back at the 5% rate. You can use these cards for your wholesale club shopping this holiday season and reap the rewards. If you’re a member of multiple wholesale clubs or don’t want a club-specific credit card, these cards are a good choice.

Discover it® Cash Back

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

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Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 14 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Balance Transfer Fee
3%
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

Chase Freedom®

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

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Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Best for supermarkets

While shopping at your local supermarket on Black Friday won’t likely be on the top of your list, getting a good supermarket rewards card can help ease the sting of holiday grocery bills. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express has a rewards program tailored to U.S. supermarket spending with 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. However, this card comes with a $95 annual fee that isn’t worthwhile for everyone.

There is a $0 annual fee version of this card, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express. But, that card offers half as much cash back with 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. If you don’t want to pay an annual fee, then it can be a better choice.

You should consider how much you spend each month at U.S. supermarkets before you settle on a card. If you spend over $264 a month ($61 a week) at U.S. supermarkets, you’ll see more benefit from the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. But, if you spend less than $264 a month at U.S. supermarkets, then you should stick with the $95 annual fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

Take note that superstores, convenience stores and warehouse clubs like BJ’s, Target and Walmart aren’t considered U.S. supermarkets and will earn 1% cash back.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

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Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.99%-25.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 12 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 12 months
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.99%-25.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Best 0% intro offers on purchases

Shopping for everyone on your list this holiday season can cost you a lot of money. With the average holiday shopper incurring $1,054 in debt last year, you’ll want to think about taking preventative measures so you don’t fall into debt. You should consider credit cards offering 0% intro periods for new purchases that help you avoid interest charges when you carry a balance during the intro period. There are cards that offer as long as 20 months interest-free.

Here are our top picks for cards with 0% intro periods:

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

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on US Bank’s secure website

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Regular Purchase APR
11.99% to 23.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% introductory APR for the first 20 billing cycles
Intro BT APR
0% introductory APR for the first 20 billing cycles for balances transferred within 60 days from account opening
Annual fee
$0
Balance Transfer Fee
Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

TruWest Visa Platinum Card

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on TruWest Credit Union’s secure website

TruWest Visa Platinum Card

Regular Purchase APR
7.95% - 21.95% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% introductory APR for 18 months
Intro BT APR
0% introductory APR for 18 months
Annual fee
$0
Balance Transfer Fee
3% of the amount of each balance transfer

Chase Freedom®

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

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Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 25.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Intro BT APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

If you chose to use a 0% intro APR card, you should check in on your debt two months before your intro period ends. Check to see if you’re on track to pay off your balance before the intro period ends. If you’re behind schedule and don’t think your debt will be paid off in time, consider a balance transfer credit card. You can transfer debt from your existing card to a new card offering a 0% intro period for balance transfers. This saves you from interest charges compared with leaving your balance on your current card post intro period, and also gives you more time to pay off your debt. Just take note that balances can’t be transferred between cards from the same bank and you will typically incur a balance transfer fee — however this fee is often outweighed by the amount you save on interest — though there are cards with no balance transfer fees.

Here are our top picks for balance transfer credit cards:

Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

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Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever

Regular Purchase APR
15.99% - 25.99%* (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
0%* for 12 months on Purchases*
Intro BT APR
0%* for 21 months on Balance Transfers*
Annual fee
$0*
Balance Transfer Fee
5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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on Citibank’s secure website

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Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Intro BT APR
0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers*
Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
Balance Transfer Fee
3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent, Good

Discover it® Balance Transfer

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Rates & Fees

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Discover it® Balance Transfer

Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 6 Months
Intro BT APR
0% for 18 Months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
Balance Transfer Fee
3%
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

This article contains links to CompareCards, which like MagnifyMoney, is a subsidiary of LendingTree.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at alexandria@magnifymoney.com

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Pay Down My Debt

What Happens When You File for Bankruptcy?

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

bankruptcy guide
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If you’re struggling with insurmountable debt, bankruptcy may be an action you’re thinking about taking. In this post, we explain what happens play-by-play when you file. One thing to note is that the process of bankruptcy can vary depending on the type of bankruptcy you file and the facts of your case. The following is a general overview of how bankruptcy works for the most common forms filed by individuals. We’ll cover:

The basics of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy

There are multiple forms of bankruptcy that can be filed by cities, businesses, farmers, and more. The two forms that individuals typically file are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Here’s an overview of both:

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is the liquidation form of bankruptcy where your assets are taken to repay your creditors.

Some assets can be excluded from the liquidation, depending on your state and the bankruptcy agreement. Exempt items may include clothing and other household items. Unsecured debt, such as credit cards, personal loans, and debt in collections, are typically discharged.

To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to pass what’s called a “means test” to prove you don’t have enough disposable income to repay your debts. You can learn more about the means test here.

Chapter 13

If you have sufficient income to repay some of your debt, Chapter 13 may be the type of bankruptcy you file. Chapter 13 establishes a debt repayment plan that lasts from three to five years.

You may be able to save your home from foreclosure through Chapter 13 by adding delinquent mortgage payments to the repayment plan. Certain debts may be discharged once you meet the conditions of your repayment plan.

What forms of debt can’t be discharged in bankruptcy?

A discharge is when you’re no longer personally liable for a debt. After discharge for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, creditors cannot pursue collection or legal action against you for the debt. However, the discharge can be reversed if it’s determined you were given the discharge based on fraudulent records.

Bankruptcy won’t wipe away all of your financial obligations, either. For example, you may be responsible for the following after bankruptcy:

The dischargeable debts will vary from case to case. It’s a good idea to consult with an attorney to find out what debts can and can’t be discharged. In general, unsecured consumer debts such as personal loans, loans from relatives, payday loans, and medical bills may be discharged. In certain situations, secured debts may be discharged if you’re willing to surrender the property backing the debt.

Filing for bankruptcy? Here’s what to expect

Moving on to what you can expect before filing, during the process, and after filing:

Before you file for bankruptcy

Open your mail
“I can’t tell you how many times clients have come in to my office with a big garbage bag full of unopened envelopes,” said Raquel S. White, a bankruptcy attorney based in Prince George’s County, Md. You’ll need to open your bills and understand where you’re at so you can come up with a resolution.

Get credit counseling
A credit counselor can help you decide whether bankruptcy is the right choice or if there are other options you can explore before filing — indeed, credit counseling from a government-approved credit counselor is already a requirement to file for bankruptcy. This session will help you review your money situation, and it suggests alternatives to bankruptcy that you may want to consider.

The length of the session is typically from 60 to 90 minutes and costs about $50. You’ll get a certificate that you must submit. You can check out an approved list of counselors here.

Hire an attorney
You don’t need to file bankruptcy with an attorney, but it is advised. An attorney can guide you through the process, file paperwork and represent you through proceedings. During proceedings, the trustee — the person overseeing your case — can try to squeeze as much money as possible out of you to repay debts. An attorney will work on your behalf to fight for your financial interests. You can shop around for lawyers on sites like Yelp, or riffle through attorney directories such as the one available on the American Bar Association website.

Despite the social stigma of filing for bankruptcy, White told MagnifyMoney that she no longer advertises her services — all of her clients come from referrals. If you feel comfortable, you can ask a friend or relative for a recommendation.

Gather your financial documents
Compile all of your asset and liability statements to give to your attorney. You need to have a list of your creditors, a list of your properties, your income, your debts, and your monthly expenses to complete the filing.

The attorney may ask you to fill out a bankruptcy questionnaire when you meet. The attorney will use information you provide to prepare the documents. Here’s a rundown of the documents needed throughout the bankruptcy process:

  • petition for bankruptcy
  • schedule of assets and liabilities
  • schedule of current income and expenses
  • statement of financial affairs
  • schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases

You can review some of the forms on the United States Courts website.

During the bankruptcy process

Here’s how the filing process unfolds for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

What to expect in Chapter 7
Your attorney will help you prepare and file the bankruptcy petition. There are filing fees, administrative fees, and fees to be paid to the trustee. You may be able to pay the fees in installments; if you don’t have the means to pay the fees and your income is less than 150% of the poverty line, you may be able to have these fees waived.

Filing your petition puts an end to most collection calls and may even stop wage garnishments and lawsuits.

After 21 to 40 days of filing the petition, there will be a meeting of creditors that you attend with your attorney; the trustee and creditors will attend as well. At this meeting, you’ll answer questions about your finances. The trustee assigned to the case will liquidate assets to pay money back to creditors.

What to expect in Chapter 13
You file the petition for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy much like you do with the Chapter 7. There are filing fees, administrative fees, and trustee fees to pay. These fees can be paid in installments, or even waived if you make under a certain amount of income. The petition may stop the collections calls and foreclosure proceedings.

A meeting of creditors typically happens within 21 to 50 days after filing the petition. At this meeting, you’ll be asked questions about your finances. Your proposed repayment plan is filed. Afterward, there’s a confirmation hearing where creditors can raise objections about the repayment plan. Here is where having representation can come in handy. Your attorney will be fighting for your financial interests within the agreement. Adjustments may be made to the proposed plan before it’s finalized.

You make payments to the trustee. They send the money to the creditors on your behalf. There’s a hierarchy of debts that get paid through your repayment plan. Taxes and the costs required to go forward with the bankruptcy, like attorneys fees, are priority. The next debt in the priority hierarchy is secured debt. You need to satisfy payment terms on this debt because the creditor can take the property. The last debt in the hierarchy is unsecured debt, i.e. credit cards. Unsecured debt isn’t backed by collateral and may not be paid in full during the course of the repayment term.

According to White, creditors of unsecured debt can get back around $0.10 per dollar borrowed. At the end of the plan, remaining debts may be discharged as outlined in the agreement.

After filing for bankruptcy

The paperwork is in and you’ve gone to the required meetings — what’s next?

Complete a post-filing debtor education course
Course completion is required before your debt can be discharged. The post-filing debtor education course is one that teaches you how to manage money and credit responsibly moving forward. Like the pre-filing counseling session, this class has to be administered by an approved provider. The course can cost around $50 to $100 and you’ll get another certificate afterward. You may be able to do this course in person, over the phone, or online.

For Chapter 7, your debt will be discharged fairly quickly
The discharge order can take place within 60 to 90 days of the meeting of creditors unless creditors object to the discharge.

For Chapter 13, discharge happens after the repayment plan
The repayment plan agreement may be three to five years and your discharge will come after you satisfy the terms.

What happens to your credit
The credit hit is something you’re probably concerned about with a bankruptcy — but according to White, there’s a bit of good news here. Bankruptcy can have a longer impact on you if you’ve had a long history of nonpayment and credit problems leading up to filing. However, if you have great credit history and then a singular event causes you to file bankruptcy immediately, your credit will take a hit but it may bounce back faster.

“You have to remember, people are looking at your actual credit. They’re going to say, this person was doing great and then they had to file for bankruptcy — something outside of their control had to have happened,” said White. Creditors may be more willing to work with you if they see you’ve had a decent track record until this event. It often takes seven to 10 years for bankruptcy to fall off your report.

Is bankruptcy right for you?

Bankruptcy should be viewed as a final resort because of its financial ramifications. If you have a ton of equity in your home but you have, say, $30,000 sitting on an American Express credit card, White said bankruptcy is probably not the answer — your credit card debt can be resolved without resorting to it.

You can call up your credit card company and try to work out a payment plan. You could also refinance your debt with a balance transfer card or consolidate your debt with a personal loan. If you don’t feel comfortable managing all of this alone, you can contact a credit counselor to help you along the way. There are other resolutions that can come before bankruptcy, especially if the situation isn’t dire.

However, bankruptcy may be a step to consider if your debt is having a larger impact on your livelihood. Here are a few scenarios where bankruptcy could make sense:

If you’re facing foreclosure
Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is one way to stop foreclosure. Back payments can be included into your repayment plan so you can save the home. Other debts can be wiped out at the end of the repayment term to give you a fresh start.

If the repo man is calling
Similar to your home, filing bankruptcy could help you stop repossession and incessant collections calls when you’re in way over your head. If you set up a repayment arrangement through Chapter 13, the trustee will collect your payments and distribute to creditors for you so you don’t have to worry about communicating with collections agencies.

If you’ve experienced a life-changing event
Large unmanageable medical bills from an accident or illness could make your financial situation take a turn for the worst. Bankruptcy could be something to consider to get you back on track.

If you experienced a significant loss in income
Losing income unexpectedly can put you in a bind, and long-term unemployment can cause damage that you’re unable to repair. Filing bankruptcy could give you a clean slate.

Don’t Suffer in Silence

If you’re struggling with debt payments, don’t try to hide your bills under the rug. According to White, wage garnishments, bank garnishments, repossessions and foreclosures are all scenarios where you should run — not walk — to see an attorney or counselor for advice.

If you do end up deciding bankruptcy is the right course of action, it’s not the end of the world. The word sounds intimidating, but the steps are systematic and the overview in the post above gives you some insight into how it all works. Be sure to take advantage of the pre-filing and post-filing counseling because you may be able to learn valuable information about how to manage your finances and debt in the future.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
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Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Personal Loans

Small Personal Loans: How to Find One and Qualify

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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Personal loans are the fastest-growing consumer debt in America, according to Experian.

Where a mortgage goes toward buying a home and an auto loan goes toward the purchase of a car, a personal loan can be used in myriad ways. This article will define small personal loans and walk you through a variety of ways to use and get them.

What is a small personal loan?

A small personal loan is defined as anything between $1,000 and $5,000, according to LendingTree, which owns MagnifyMoney. Because small personal loans usually have low interest rates for those with good credit and can be paid back over a relatively short amount of time (two to three years), they allow borrowers quick access to money that can be used at their discretion, unless otherwise specified.

When used wisely and paid back on time, small personal loans can reduce stress, help solve financial problems and build credit. If you’re in need of a few thousand dollars to cover an expense, a small personal loan is worth considering.

“When you have little to no credit history, a small, unsecured loan with a short term that is quickly repaid can help build a positive credit history,” said Tricia Cook, branch manager for First Utah Bank.

Small personal loans are commonly used to help consolidate debt into one manageable payment, but can also be used to pay for medical, dental or veterinary bills, remodels or home repairs, weddings or funeral costs and unexpected expenses, to name a few.

“Usually, small personal loans are applied for in emergency situations, for example, your roof is leaking and you need $5,000 to replace it before winter,” Cook said. “My experience at the bank has shown that small personal loan applications rarely feel like they are planned for and the applicant is desperate for money right now.”

Where to get a small personal loan online

Once you’ve determined you need a small personal loan to cover an expense, you’ll want to start shopping and comparing lenders.

LendingTree’s small personal loan comparison tool can point you in the right direction. Using it, you’ll input basic information about yourself and what you’re looking for in a loan. The tool may then spit out lenders and loan offers for you to consider.

LendingTree
APR

5.99%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Minimum 500 FICO

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company

LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you may be pre-qualified by lenders without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender.

As you begin your search, consider these online lenders:

Upstart

Upstart offers loans with interest rates low as 8.89% and terms of up to five years. Upstart can be a good choice for small personal loans because it can lend as little as $1,000, depending on the state in which you live. Upstart can also be a good choice because it assesses more than credit score and credit history when determining a rate. It looks at the borrower’s education, area of study and work history for a more holistic picture of the borrower and their ability to repay. If you have a strong education and work history, you’ll likely benefit from a loan with Upstart. Upstart also allows you to pay off your loan on your terms without penalizing you.

APR

8.89%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 & 60

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 8.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Upstart is an online lender created by ex-Googlers.... Read More

Avant

Avant can be a smart option for those with a low credit score looking for a quick loan. If you qualify, funds can be accessed in as little as one business day. The minimum credit score required for an Avant loan is 580. If your credit score is hindering you from receiving a loan elsewhere, Avant may a good option for you. The minimum loan available is $2,000, with interest rates starting at 9.95% and terms up to 60 months.

APR

9.95%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Up to 4.75%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

Avant is an online lender that offers personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. ... Read More

LendingClub

LendingClub can offer small loans starting at $1,000 with interest rates as low as 6.95%. LendingClub offers loans to borrowers whose credit scores vary, but the minimum credit score is 600. If you’re looking for a small loan and have a strong credit history, this may be a smart option for you as you’ll likely get lower interest rates. But if you’re looking to receive your funds almost immediately, LendingClub may not be the best option as it takes about a week to receive your money.

APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores as low as 600.... Read More

Best Egg

Best Egg may be the lender for you if you’re looking for a fast and easy loan application process. Funds are deposited in as little as a day, and Best Egg offers interest rates as low as 5.99% to those who qualify. Best Egg analyzes three years’ worth of credit history and requires a 660 minimum credit score, so it may not be the best option for those with poor credit. Best Egg offers terms for up to five years and will loan as little as $2,000.

APR

Up to 5.99%
To
29.99%

Credit Req.

660

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

0.99% - 5.99%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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People looking for a process that is fast and straightforward can’t go wrong when applying through Best Egg for a personal loan. ... Read More


*The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and ranges from 5.99%-29.99%, which may include an origination fee from 0.99% - 5.99%. Any origination fee on a 5-year loan will be at least 4.99% and is deducted from loan proceeds. The APR offered will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, loan term, credit usage history and other factors, and therefore may be higher than our lowest advertised rate. Requests for the highest loan amount may resulting an APR higher than our lowest advertised rate. You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest rate.

Best Egg loans are unsecured personal loans made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. "Best Egg" is a trademark of Marlette Funding LLC. All uses of "Best Egg" on this site mean and shall refer to "the Best Egg personal loan" and/or "Best Egg on behalf of Cross River Bank, as originator of the Best Egg personal loan," as applicable. Loan amounts generally range from $2,000-$35,000. Offers up to $50,000 may be available for qualified customers who receive offer codes in the mail. The minimum individual annual income needed to qualify for a loan of $50,000 is $130,000. Borrowers may hold no more than two open Best Egg loans at any given time. In order to be eligible for a second Best Egg loan, your existing Best Egg loan must have been open for at least six months. Total existing Best Egg loan balances must not exceed $50,000. All loans in MA must exceed $6,000; in NM, OH must exceed $5,000; in GA must exceed $3,000.

Borrowers should refer to their loan agreement for specific terms and conditions. A loan example: a 5–year $10,000 loan with 9.99% APR has 60 scheduled monthly payments of $201.81, and a 3–year $5,000 loan with 5.99% APR has 36 scheduled monthly payments of $150.57. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Upon loan funding, the timing of available funds may vary depending upon your bank's policies.

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you.

Small loans from credit unions

Getting a small loan from a credit union is another option besides shopping for one online. Credit unions are regulated and insured nonprofits. They are often community-focused.

A credit union is a good place to get a small loan because you can become part of the credit union community, build relationships with the members and potentially get lower interests rates on your small loan.

When applying for a loan, credit unions will assess many factors, such as your credit report and ability to pay back the loan. When obtaining a loan from a credit union, come prepared with your Social Security number, proof of income and personal identification.

Check out personal loan offers at credit unions here.

Small loans from banks

Small loans can ease financial stress when used wisely. Working with a bank to get a small personal loan is a smart idea because the federal government heavily regulates banks. These regulations aim to protect the borrower from getting in too much debt.

Before granting you a loan, the bank will look at your financial history to assess how much money they can reasonably lend you. This will help ensure you are not in over your head when you get the money.

“The ability-to-repay rule [under the Truth in Lending Act] ensures that banks have looked at your current income and your current debt and are able to prove that you have the ability to repay the full balance, not just the monthly minimum payments,” Cook said. “A bank cannot lend to you in a way that would make you overextended.”

When shopping for a small loan from a major bank, you may consider local options such as Citibank or Wells Fargo. But you can review the best personal loans here.

Alternatives to a small personal loan

When you need to borrow money and do not wish to obtain a personal loan or cannot get one due to poor credit, there are a variety of other ways to get a loan. Here are four alternatives to a small personal loan from a bank or credit union.

1. Credit card

Using a credit card to make a purchase or pay off an expense is a viable option if you’re able to pay back the amount charged in full (and on time).

“Credit cards can be smart to have when you are smart with your spending and paying your bill to a zero balance each month,” Cook said. “People get into trouble when they use a credit card and buy things they truly can’t afford, even when the payments are split up over a few months.”

Most credit cards offer at least a 21-day grace period and will not charge interest in that time frame. After that period, if the balance is not paid in full, the cardholder will be charged interest on the remaining statement balance. Credit card interest averages 15%, so if you cannot pay it back quickly, a small personal loan is a better option as the interest rate is much lower and the monthly payment is fixed.

– Compare low interest credit cards here

2. Pawnshop loans

Pawnshop loans allow the borrower to take an item — often jewelry or electronics — to a pawnshop to be evaluated as collateral in exchange for quick cash.

“A pawnshop is a good choice if you want to sell something quickly and take the cash,” Cook said. “But if you truly intend to get your merchandise back, you’re in essence paying for that item twice. Ask yourself: ‘How much will I have paid for my belonging when I’m done?’”

The borrower typically has up to 90 days to repay a pawnshop loan — plus fees and interest, which can be upward of 200%. Pawnshop loans do not require a credit check, can be obtained quickly and do not negatively impact a borrower’s credit score if they are not paid back on time. While pawnshops are regulated by 15 federal laws, keep in mind that the interest rates incredibly high and you will likely lose your collateral should you default on the pawnshop loan.

3. Advance on paycheck

A payroll advance is a type of unsecured loan that allows an employer to release the employee’s pay ahead of time. Paycheck advances are usually used to cover an unexpected expense that must be paid immediately. If you can cover an expense with your upcoming paycheck but need it early, asking about an advance on the paycheck is worth considering.

Policies around paycheck advances differ by company, so it’s best to discuss terms with your HR department to see what options are available. But if using your entire advanced paycheck to cover an unexpected expense will disrupt your monthly budget, a small personal loan may still be your best option.

4. Borrowing from friends

Borrowing money from friends or family has its pros and cons. The upside of borrowing from a friend is you can set your own terms, negotiate interest rates (if any) and determine the repayment schedule. Friends or family who act as a lender may be more lenient with borrowing terms compared to a bank or credit union.

But asking someone close to you to borrow money can be awkward and potentially cause a strain on that relationship. Money can be a sensitive subject. When borrowing from a friend, ensure that both parties agree to the loan terms and are comfortable with the situation.

Avoid payday loans

Payday loans are short-term loans with incredibly high interest rates. Interest rates vary by state but can be upwards of 700% in some instances. Unless paid off in full on time, payday loans should be a last resort and avoided in most cases.

“The advice I’d give anyone is to stay away from a payday loan,” Cook said. “There is no one watching out for the borrower’s best interest. For example, you’ll see an ad that quotes their interest rate of 5%, which sounds good compared to the bank at 13%, but they fail to explain what’s in the fine print — that it’s 5% a month, not 5% APR (annual percentage rate).”

When you’re in need of a small personal loan, know that you have many options available to you.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Sage Evans
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Sage Evans is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sage here

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What to Expect When You Have Debt in Collections

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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Updated – November 15, 2018

If you’ve ever been sent to debt collections, you know it’s not fun. It can affect your credit score and negatively impact your financial health. Debt collectors don’t mess around, either: Few people have great experiences dealing with them.

Dealing with a debt collection agency can be painful. The phone never stops ringing, and they won’t stop asking for money. Agencies have a reputation for pushing the boundaries of the law, using aggressive (and sometimes illegal) tactics, and bending the law to pressure people into making payments.

In fact, at the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (a government agency that gathers financial services complaints), collection agencies are the fastest growing complaint category. And the main reason people complain: they don’t recognize the debt that is being collected. That complaint is often valid. There is no central registrar of debt, and sometimes the only “proof” that a collection agency has of your debt is that your name is on a spreadsheet. The debt collection market has a high risk of fraud, abuse and simple human error.

If your debt has been sent to collections, there are some things you need to know to protect yourself. If you’re armed with information, you can turn things around. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about your debt being in collections. Next, take the proper steps to rectify the situation.

Understanding the debt collection process

What does it mean when your debt is in collections?

Being late on your debt payments is one thing, but having your debt to go collections is quite another. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a debt collector collects debts that are past due. There are different kinds of debt collectors, including individuals, lawyers and companies that buy debts from other creditors to try to get them paid. When your debt goes into collections, it means that a third party is trying to retrieve what you owe.

A debt collector may take certain steps to get you to pay.

  1. You will receive a debt collection letter: Banks and credit card companies usually make the collection calls themselves during the first 180 days. However, after 180 days of collection activity, the bank “writes off” the debt. At this point, most major banks will hire a collection agency to collect the debt. And after a few more months, the banks will typically sell the debt to a collection agency. When banks sells the debt, they wipes their hands of the relationship. But the timeline varies. You might receive a letter telling you the debt went to collections and asking for payment to avoid legal action. It is crucial that the letter contains information about your rights.
  2. Debt collection calls and letters will continue: The debt collector will continue to send letters and call you to “remind” you about the debt and ask you to pay it. Although you can negotiate most debt collections, you must work out a payment plan or settlement figure to avoid the legal phase.
  3. The debt collector might sue you: If you don’t make a plan with the collector, the agency might have an attorney file a suit against you. The court will notify you of the suit and give you an appearance date. Do yourself a favor and show up. If you don’t, you’ll lose by default and be legally responsible to pay.
  4. The court will decide on your debt: The court will send out its judgment. If you lose, you may be held responsible for additional expenses, such as attorney fees, collection costs and interest. Further, the debt collector will have additional tools to get back the money you owe, including the ability to garnish your wages or funds in your bank account or place a lien on property you own.

When can your debt be sent to collections?

You might be wondering when your overdue debt will be sent to collections. It’s a bit complicated. Martin Lynch, compliance manager and director of education at Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. — a nonprofit in Agawam, Mass., dedicated to helping people get out of debt and stay that way — explained it in layman’s terms.

As soon as a debt is past due, it can be sent to a collector, though there’s seldom that kind of urgency, Lynch said. It’s the creditor’s call on how long it will try to collect on the account internally or turn it over to a commission-based collector. Most credit card accounts will charge-off after six months, for example, but mortgage loan servicers often carry delinquent loan holders longer than that.

“It’s more important to avoid these scenarios altogether since there’s no way of predicting whether your particular creditor is going to place your account with a collector or give you some time to catch up,” Lynch said. And there’s no federal requirement to notify a consumer when their account is being placed in collections.

“Our counselors won’t give any guidance on this point, as we don’t want the consumer to feel there’s no threat of collection/lawsuit activity after their account slips into default,” Lynch said. “The best thing to do is communicate with the lender or loan servicer as soon as you realize you can’t make the monthly payment. Waiting until you’ve missed several payments is like playing Russian roulette.”

It’s also important to understand the difference between a debt collector and a debt buyer, according to Lynch. A debt collector gets assigned to an account but doesn’t own the debt — he is collecting on a commission basis for the original creditor, who still owns the debt. A debt buyer, however, actually purchases debts from an original creditor or another collector.

Impact on your credit bureau

A collection item has a big impact on your credit bureau. The higher your score, the more points your score can drop. For example, if you have a 770 credit score, you could see your score drop 40 to 70 points from a single collection item.

A collection items stays on your credit report for seven years. Even if you pay the collection item, it doesn’t disappear.

Fortunately, this is changing with FICO 9. If you pay off a collection item, the item will no longer be included in your FICO score. However, it will be awhile before banks start using FICO 9.

In the current model, the only way for a collection item to disappear is to wait seven years from the date it is first reported. So, that means seven years from the date that you become 180 days past due.

The only way to have a collection item removed is for the collection agency to remove the debt. You can ask an agency for a “pay for delete” deal. This means that you agree an amount to pay, and then the agency will remove the collection item from your account. Some collection agencies will offer this (even though they technically are not supposed to do so). The closer you are to seven years, the more likely they are to deal with the debt. You can also dispute the item with the credit bureaus (online). If the debt collection agency does not respond with proof of the debt in 30 days, then the item would be removed. Here are the links to dispute:

What are your rights?

After the original creditor places the debt with a third party, the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers, Lynch advised. The FDCPA imposes a host of requirements on collectors, but the most important is probably the consumer’s right to request the debt’s validation.

“You should invoke this right when the collector first contacts you in writing, and remember that if the first contact is by phone, the collector has to send you a letter within five days,” Lynch said. The letter will provide some basic account details, and it must advise the consumer of their right to seek confirmation of the debt. All consumers should exercise this right.

“The best way to seek validation of the debt is through a certified letter to the collector,” Lynch said. “If you know the debt is yours and that the statute of limitations hasn’t expired, at least you’ll buy a little bit of time to put your budget together to determine how much you could put toward a monthly payment plan.”

The FDCPA also has other protections, and some states have imposed even more stringent limitations on the collections process, according to Lynch. For example, there are limits on when calls can be placed to the debtor’s phone — generally not before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless the debtor has granted permission to go beyond those hours.

You can also send a cease-and-desist letter to the collector and a prohibition request on calls to your place of employment, according to Lynch. “Collectors can’t threaten to publish your name, nor can they impersonate law enforcement officers or officers of the court during the collections process,” Lynch said. “As outrageous as these clauses sound, bear in mind that they only made it into law because unscrupulous collectors were actually using these tactics.”

If your collector violates any of these rules, you could sue them for up to $1,000 in small claims court. If the violations are much more egregious, rising to the level of harassment, you could bring a suit for considerably more, Lynch advised. “Consumers dealing with collection accounts should review the FDCPA, as well as their own state’s rules governing the collections process,” Lynch said. “At any time they feel a collector is violating those rules, they should contact their state attorney general’s office or department of consumer affairs.”

If you feel that a debt collector has done any of the above, you need to file a formal complaint. If they have engaged in prohibited practices, you can file that complaint with the CFPB,Federal Trade Commission (FTC), your attorney general and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

7 Things to Know if you have debt in collections

  1. If you don’t think the debt is yours, then take action right away. Within 30 days of the first collection activity, write a letter (certified, copied, with proof of delivery) to the collection agency. Tell them that you do not owe the debt and they must cease and desist all collection activity. Collection activity must stop until the agency provides concrete proof that you owe the debt.
  2. If you don’t think the debt is yours, and the collection agency provides proof that you don’t agree with, then complain to the CFPB. The more documentation you have, the better.
  3. Dispute the items with the credit bureaus. You can dispute the items online at Transunion, Equifax and Experian. It is fast and easy to make a dispute. The burden of proof is now with the collection agency, and they often will just decline to provide further information. If they don’t provide proof within 30 days, the information disappears from your bureau.
  4. The item disappears from your credit report seven years after it is with a collection agency. That usually means seven years after you become 180 days past due. This is not the same as the date you opened your account. Sometimes the best option is to just wait for the item to disappear.
  5. Be careful when you communicate with the agencies. There is a statute of limitations, which varies by state. After the statute of limitation expires, you are protected from further legal action (wage garnishment, etc.). In some states, admitting that the debt is yours on the phone is enough to reset the statute.
  6. Just because you are outside of the statute of limitations doesn’t mean that the collection agency won’t try to sue you. And, if they do, make sure you defend yourself in court. It will be easy: you just reaffirm the statute of limitations. But, if you don’t defend yourself, you could end up with wage garnishment or a new judgment. In addition, complain to the FTC, because it is against the law for a collector to sue you or threaten to sue you on a time-barred debt.
  7. When all else fails, use this line with the collection agency: “I do not recognize this debt. I have provided a written request for you to cease and desist all collection activity. In addition, I have complained to the CFPB. After this conversation is complete, I will reach out to the CFPB to update my complaint with this conversation. Given that you have not provided adequate proof that I owe this debt obligation, I believe you have further incriminated yourself by making this phone call. I will also provide a written complaint to the FTC, as I believe you are violating the FDCPA. At this point, I am going to terminate the conversation, and I hope that you will respect the law and promptly cease and desist from all collection activities, and ensure that negative information is removed from all 3 credit bureau. Goodbye.”

How to get debts out of collections

Lynch said there are several options to get debt out of collections: pay in full, negotiate a payment plan or settle the debt for less than the principal balance. After that, the options are based on what type of debt you’re talking about. Lynch outlined the different types below.

You can cure your mortgage problem by paying the full amount due, plus interest and fees, to stave off foreclosure. If it hasn’t come to that, the loan servicer might accept a workout plan, which means the past-due amount is divided into equal parts and added to the regular mortgage payment, typically over six to 10 months, Lynch said.

A consumer struggling with high-interest credit card accounts might be able to have their interest rates dropped to the single digits, Lynch said, by working with a nonprofit consumer credit counseling agency. You can find an agency in your state by visiting the Fair Counseling Association of America website.

If you’re behind on a federal student loan, you might be able to switch to an income-based repayment plan, rather than pursuing a deferment or forbearance, which doesn’t solve the problem. You also might be able to consolidate out of default, though you should discuss the pros and cons of that option with a counselor. Finally, federal student loan rehabilitation might also be an option, but, again, a conversation with a certified counselor would be in order first.

If the debt is older and the relevant statute of limitations has expired (or is about to), you must be careful not to revive the statute or waive its protections. Making a payment toward a time-barred debt restarts the statute of limitations, giving the creditor a fresh opportunity to sue, Lynch said.

“In a few states, simply acknowledging that the debt is yours will restart the statute, so be wary of collectors offering a sweetheart deal to pay off an old debt,” Lynch said. “They may simply be trying to get you to make a payment and revive the statute of limitations.” The statute runs from the date of the most recent payment, so check your bank records.

Be on the lookout for a collector who “re-aged” the account, or marked it on the credit report as current. Only a payment can cause an account to be re-aged. Doing so without a payment having been made is a fraudulent attempt by the collector to make you think that the statute of limitations has more time to run, according to Lynch.

Some good news: “If you can pay off the account in full, then, under FICO 9, the newest version of FICO’s scoring formula, the account won’t be included in the calculation of your score,” Lynch said.

But if you settle the account for less than the principal balance owed, you’ll probably do significant damage to your score, which will raise a red flag for future lenders, at least for a while.

Finally, you might consider declaring bankruptcy. If you can show that you have significant hardship paying your debt — and can prove that there’s no way you can repay the debt and still maintain a basic standard of living — a court might enable you to declare bankruptcy. Keep in mind that bankruptcy can have long-lasting effects on your financial life for years, so use it as a last resort.

Debt collection: FAQs

You likely still have some questions about debt collections. Review these seven FAQs and see if any match yours.

Having debt collections on your credit report will lower your FICO score — and continue to affect it for up to seven years.

Debt collectors can’t contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., and they can’t call you at work if you’ve said you cannot get calls there.

A debt collector can contact you via mail, email, text or phone.

Send a snail-mail letter and ask the debt collector to stop contacting you. Consider sending certified mail and paying for a return receipt so that you have proof you sent it. Once the collector receives your request, they can contact you only to let you know action is being taken. For example, a lawyer might be filing suit against you. If you have an attorney, the debt collector must communicate only with that person, not you.

A debt collector can discuss your debt only with you, your spouse or your attorney. They can also contact other people to find out where you live or work and what your phone number is, but that contact is typically limited to once per person.

The debt collector must send you, in writing, the amount of money you owe, to whom you owe it and what action to take if you think there has been a mistake.

Debt collectors are not allowed to harass you. They can’t use obscene language when they talk to you, call you incessantly or threaten you with violence. Also, they are not allowed to make any false claims, such as saying they are government representatives or lawyers.

The bottom line

It’s a stressful, tedious process to pay a bill once it has gone to collections. That said, you must persevere and get it done to avoid further dinging your credit. If you’re dealing with a collections agency that’s proving particularly uncooperative, consider hiring an attorney with experience in credit issues to represent you. Sometimes, collection agencies “listen” better to an attorney than a consumer.

If you feel you’ve been charged in error on a debt collection, report it immediately to the agency and ask that it validate the debt for you. Also, if you feel a debt collector has overstepped the line of acceptable behavior, make sure you report it to the CFPB, FTC, your attorney general and the BBB.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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Reviews

Chemical Bank Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1917
Total Assets$20.3B
LEARN MORE on Chemical Bank’s secure websiteMember FDIC

Founded in 1917, Chemical Bank is now the largest bank headquartered and operating in Michigan. Chemical Bank has 212 branches mainly in Michigan, northern Indiana and northeast Ohio. Parent company Chemical Financial Corporation has over $20.3 billion in assets and trades on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange. The bank offers various financial literacy aids, along with games and resources to teach kids about finance on its website and in its branches.

Chemical bank offers a wide range of consumer banking options, from numerous checking and savings options to various types of CDs, money markets and IRA accounts. Unfortunately, if you try to open an account online, you’ll be directed to a branch locator webpage, as the bank doesn’t provide the ability for customers to open accounts online. Here’s a breakdown of the services and accounts offered by Chemical Bank, including required minimum balances, fees, interest rates and other features and benefits.

Chemical Bank’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

Compare Rates from Similar Accounts

0.50%

CD Rates

Chemical Bank 12 Month Add-On CD

2.55%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 12 Month CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

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0.90%

CD Rates

Chemical Bank 36 Month Raise-Your-Rate CD

2.85%

Synchrony Bank 36 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

1.50%

CD Rates

Chemical Bank 60 Month Raise-Your-Rate CD

3.10%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 5 Year CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

Chemical Bank’s checking account options

ChemBasic Checking

Living up to its name, ChemBasic Checking is the bank’s entry-level, no-frills checking account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0 with eStatements ($3 with paper statements)
  • ATM fee: None; $2.50 per withdrawal from other/foreign ATM
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $32; limit of 10 overdraft and NSF Fees ($320) per day; $10 per transfer with overdraft protection

ChemBasic Checking is targeted toward customers who don’t keep large balances in their checking account or frequently write checks. If you’re looking for a no-fee account and can’t qualify for a no-fee relationship checking account, this might be your best option.

Customers who don’t select the eStatement option with this account will be charged a $3 monthly fee for paper statements. The account offers certain features common with entry-level checking accounts, such as eBanking, eBill Pay, Voice Banking, Mobile Banking and Mobile Remote Deposit Capture. However, the bank also offers, on approval, a 0.25% discount on a personal loan. ATM fees are fairly standard, which means they are free for network ATMs but charge a fee for out-of-network withdrawals. Overdraft fees are high, though they can be reduced with overdraft protection.

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ChemPlus Checking

A standard checking account reserved for those 55 and older.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: None; $2.50 per withdrawal from other/foreign ATM
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $32; limit of 10 overdraft and NSF Fees ($320) per day; $10 per transfer with overdraft protection

With the exception of the 55-and-over age requirement, the ChemPlus Checking account does provide a few additional features from that of the ChemBasic Checking account. For starters, this is the only Chemical Bank checking account that doesn’t charge a $3 fee for paper statements. Green-mint safety paper checks are also provided free of charge with this account, and customers can get a 50% discount on orders of other types of checks.

ChemPlus account holders are also entitled to free notary services and photocopies. Beyond that, the account comes with the standard eStatements, bill pay, mobile and telephone banking and the 0.25% personal loan discount.

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Classic Checking

Classic Checking is Chemical Bank’s “traditional” checking account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5; $0 with a daily minimum balance of $500
  • ATM fee: None; $2.50 per withdrawal from other/foreign ATM
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $32; limit of 10 overdraft and NSF Fees ($320) per day; $10 per transfer with overdraft protection

Classic Checking has the same features and benefits of the bank’s ChemBasic checking, with the only difference being the minimum balance requirements. Although technically there is no minimum opening deposit, customers are required to deposit $500 within 30 days of the account being opened to avoid a monthly maintenance fee.

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Advantage Checking

Advantage Checking is the only Chemical Bank checking account that pays interest.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.02%$0
0.02%$10,000
0.02%$25,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $7; $0 with a daily minimum balance of $1,000, an average daily minimum balance of $1,500, the maintenance of a Midwest Savings Account or an aggregated daily minimum balance of $10,000 in other Chemical Bank deposit accounts
  • ATM fee: None; $2.50 per withdrawal from other/foreign ATM
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $32; limit of 10 overdraft and NSF Fees ($320) per day; $10 per transfer with overdraft protection

Advantage Checking pays interest in three tiers, with the top tier for deposits of $25,000 or more. However, at the current time, the interest rate is the same for all tiers. Customers have 30 days after opening the account to deposit enough funds or open a Midwest Savings account to waive the monthly maintenance fee.

This account provides the same basic account features as other Chemical Bank checking accounts, including mobile, online, and telephone banking, along with the 0.25% discount on personal loans.

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Green Checking

Green Checking is an environmentally friendly, completely paper-free account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: None; $2.50 per withdrawal from other/foreign ATMs; $0 foreign ATM fees if 20 debit card signature-based transactions are completed within each monthly cycle
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $32; limit of 10 overdraft and NSF Fees ($320) per day; $10 per transfer with overdraft protection

Chemical Bank’s Green Checking account is best suited for customers that either want to have a small carbon footprint or who otherwise don’t need check-writing capabilities. Account holders access their funds via electronic means or by using a debit card, rather than by writing checks. In that sense, Green Checking isn’t so much a “checking” account as a savings account with unlimited withdrawal capabilities. Other features of the account are the same as the bank’s other checking accounts, including online and mobile capabilities and the 0.25% discount on personal loans.

How to get Chemical Bank’s checking accounts

As noted above, Chemical Bank does not permit accounts to be opened online. To get any of the bank’s checking accounts, you’ll have to visit a Chemical Bank branch.

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How Chemical’s checking accounts compare

Chemical Bank’s checking accounts are mostly variations on the same theme. Nearly every account offers the same basic benefits, with a few tweaks here and there. For example, there’s a dedicated account for those 55 and older, one for those who want to earn interest and one for those who want to go “green” and paperless, but beyond those distinctions, the accounts are mostly similar.

The sole account that pays interest, the Advantage Checking account, pays a low rate across the board, far lower than you can get even with the average checking account nationwide. Those looking for an interest-bearing account should search elsewhere, as Chemical’s rates are a world away from the best nationwide rates for checking accounts.

Chemical Bank’s savings account options

Classic Savings

Classic Savings is Chemical Bank’s traditional savings account, good for first-time savers or for those not in need of additional features.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3; $0 with a daily minimum balance of $300
  • ATM fee: None; $2.50 per withdrawal from other/foreign ATM
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $32.00; limit of 10 overdraft and NSF Fees ($320) per day; $10 per transfer with overdraft protection

Classic Savings has no minimum opening deposit requirement, but a small maintaining balance is suggested to eliminate the small monthly fee. The ATM structure of the account is like the bank’s checking accounts, with free withdrawals from in-network ATMs and a small fee for others. Interest is paid on all balances with this account, but rates are not listed on the bank’s website, so you’ll have to visit a branch or talk to a banker to get the current APY. Withdrawals and transfers are limited to six per month, and additional transactions incur a $1 fee each.

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Classic Savings for Minors

Chemical Bank’s Classic Savings account is also available in this format for minors.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: None; $2.50 per withdrawal from other/foreign ATM*
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $32.00; limit of 10 overdraft and NSF Fees ($320) per day; $10 per transfer with overdraft protection

Chemical Bank offers a special version of Classic Savings for minors, with the most important distinction being that this account carries no monthly maintenance fee, regardless of balance. This account also requires special permission from a branch to have an ATM card issued. As with the Classic Savings account, a fee is charged for non-Chemical ATM withdrawals, and certain withdrawals and transfers in excess of six per month incur a $1 fee per transaction. Overdrafts also have the same fee structure as with Classic Savings.

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Community Savings

Community Savings is a rare bird — a savings account that doesn’t pay any interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3; $0 with a daily minimum balance of $300
  • ATM fee: None; $2.50 per withdrawal from other/foreign ATM
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $32; limit of 10 overdraft and NSF Fees ($320) per day; $10 per transfer with overdraft protection

Community Savings seems like the account that Chemical Bank can do without. In terms of its overall structure, it’s nearly identical to the bank’s Classic Savings account, with no fee on in-network ATM withdrawals, no minimum required opening deposit and a small maintenance fee that can be avoided with a small balance. However, the account doesn’t pay interest. With the same cost and requirements as the Classic Savings account, customers would be better served opening that account — and earning interest — rather than keeping a Community Savings account.

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Holiday Savings

Holiday Savings is a typical club account, with interest earned on deposits until a mandatory distribution date near the end of the year.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

Chemical’s Holiday Savings account allows customers to make regular contributions the account over the course of the year, with a mandatory payout on either Oct. 10th or Oct. 31st. Any withdrawals made before this distribution date will trigger account closure. Interest is paid on Holiday Savings deposits, but you’ll have to contact a banker to get the current rates, as they are not available on the bank’s website.

Customers typically use this account to save for special occasions, such as weddings, vacations or holiday spending. Voice Banking, eBanking and Mobile Banking services are all available with this account.

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Midwest Savings

Midwest Savings is Chemical Bank’s top-tier checking account, good for those with higher balances who want to earn interest and gain a complementary checking account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$0
0.05%$5,000
0.15%$10,000
0.20%$25,000
0.05%$50,000
0.05%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $32; limit of 10 overdraft and NSF Fees ($320) per day; $10 per transfer with overdraft protection

Opening a Midwest Savings account is one of the ways to get Chemical Bank’s Advantage Checking account without a monthly fee; it’s also a way to earn tiered interest on your savings. Somewhat unusual, the bank doesn’t pay its highest rates on the largest deposits. Once your account size reaches $50,000 or more, your money earns the same low rate paid on deposits of up to $10,000.

This account has no monthly fee and requires no balance to open, but withdrawals are limited to just four per month. After that, a $1 fee is assessed per transaction. Beyond these differences, Midwest Savings also offers the same features that can be found across Chemical Bank accounts, from online and mobile banking to a 0.25% APY discount on personal loans.

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Health Savings

Chemical Bank’s Health Savings account is a typical HSA.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3; $0 with eStatements
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

Chemical’s HSA requires no minimum deposit but does charge a small fee if you don’t sign up for eStatements. You can access the account via check writing or a debit card, but you won’t have ATM access. You also will not be allowed to overdraw the account. As with all HSAs, you must meet certain requirements to qualify for this account, such as being under age 65 and participating in a high-deductible health plan.

How to get Chemical Bank’s savings accounts

As mentioned above, Chemical Bank has no online account application. You must visit a branch to open an account.

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How Chemical Bank’s savings account compares

As with the bank’s checking account roster, there is no shortage of available savings accounts at Chemical Bank. Whether you’re looking for a traditional savings account, one for a minor, a holiday savings account or an HSA, you can find it at Chemical. Unfortunately, rates and features of all the accounts are a bit sparse.

When compared with the national average, none of Chemical Bank’s savings accounts can measure up, with each account failing to hit that benchmark. The best available savings rates can be found at other institutions.

Chemical Bank’s CD account options

Regular CDs

Chemical Bank offers an attractive range of CD maturities, with low minimums.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
15 months0.50%$100
18 months0.50%$100
24 months 0.50%$100
30 months0.55%$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ interest for maturities of 3 to 12 months; 6 months’ interest for maturities of 13 to 35 months; 12 months’ interest for maturities of 36 to 60 months

For a large bank, Chemical offers a pretty low minimum balance requirement to open a regular CD account. Unless you’re looking for an extremely long maturity, you can likely find a term suiting your needs in Chemical’s regular CD lineup. Chemical offers both single maturity and automatic renewal certificates, with interest payments monthly, quarterly or at maturity. Chemical offers terms from 3 to 60 months but doesn’t advertise all of the rates. You need to call the bank for the complete list of rates.

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Raise-Your-Rate CD

The Raise-Your-Rate CD allows you to adjust the yield on your CD to the current rate.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
36 months0.90%$100
48 months1.20%$100
60 months1.50%$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 12 months’ interest

Chemical’s Raise-Your-Rate CDs are only offered in 3 year, 4 year and 5 year maturities. Once per term, you can call the bank and have your rate raised to the then-current rate, up to a maximum increase of 1%. Minimums and withdrawal penalties are otherwise the same as with the bank’s regular CDs.

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Add-On CD

Chemical Bank’s Add-On CD is a single-maturity CD that allows additional deposits before maturity.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
12 months0.50%$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ interest

In all respects but one, Chemical Bank’s Add-On CD is a regular CD, including the minimum opening deposit and the early withdrawal penalty. The distinction is an important one, however. This 12 month CD allows customer to continue making deposits into the account until it matures. The only restriction is that deposits must be at least $100.

How to get Chemical Bank’s CDs

As mentioned above, you can’t open any Chemical Bank CDs online. You must visit a branch.

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How Chemical Bank’s CD rates compare

Overall, Chemical Bank’s CDs are nothing to write home about. Although it’s nice to have the option to choose a Raise-Your-Rate or Add-On CD, the rates paid on Chemical’s CDs of all types are below average. While not all banks can compete with the very best available national CD rates, even the average CD rate tops those offered at Chemical Bank, for every maturity.

Chemical Bank’s money market account options

Money Market

This account is Chemical Bank’s traditional money market account, combining features of both checking and savings accounts.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$0
0.15%$10,000
0.15%$25,000
0.15%$50,000
0.20%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10; $0 with $2,500 average daily minimum balance
  • ATM fee: None; $2.50 per withdrawal from other/foreign ATM
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $32; limit of 10 overdraft and NSF Fees ($320) per day; $10 per transfer with overdraft protection

Chemical Bank’s Money Market account has a fairly high monthly maintenance fee, but you can avoid it with a $2,500 average daily balance. Per Federal Regulation D, certain transactions, including pre-authorized withdrawals or transfers, are limited up to six per month. Interest is paid in tiers, with the highest rates paid on deposits of at least $100,000.

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Premier Money Market

Chemical Bank’s Premier Money Market account allows customers the opportunity to earn higher interest rates but requires a larger maintaining balance.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$0
0.10%$10,000
0.20%$50,000
0.40%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $30; $0 with average daily minimum balance of $35,000
  • ATM fee: $0; $2.50 per withdrawal from other/foreign ATM
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $32; limit of 10 overdraft and NSF Fees ($320) per day; $10 per transfer with overdraft protection

Chemical Bank knows how to put the “premier” into its Premier Money Market account. True, the account pays higher interest rates than those in its regular Money Market account. However, it takes a lot of money to get that benefit. The $30 monthly maintenance fee is one of the highest bank account fees you can find. To avoid it, you’ll need to deposit 14 times the amount required for the bank’s regular Money Market account, and you’ll need to keep it there. Otherwise, the accounts are identical.

How to get Chemical Bank’s money market account

As mentioned above, you’ll have to visit a branch if you want to open a Chemical Bank money market account.

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How Chemical Bank’s money market accounts compare

While the Chemical Bank Money Market account is a perfectly normal, serviceable money market account, the Premier Money Market is one of the most expensive accounts you can find.

With an astronomical annual fee that can only be waived with a significant and ongoing minimum balance, the interest rates paid should be commensurately higher. Sadly, that is not the case. Rates on the Premier Money Market account only climb above the national average on deposits of $100,000 or more, and even this “top” rate is nowhere near the best available money market rates nationwide.

Chemical Bank’s IRA account options

IRA Regular CDs

Chemical Bank’s IRA CD lineup has varying rates and maturities, but you’ll have to check with a bank to get all current options.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
15 months0.50%$100
18 months0.50%$100
24 months0.50%$100
30 months0.55%$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ interest for maturities of 3 to 12 months; 6 months’ interest for maturities of 13 to 35 months; 12 months’ interest for maturities of 36 to 60 months

Chemical’s IRA CDs are similar to the lineup in its non-IRA accounts, but there are a few differences in terms of available maturities. Only a few of the bank’s rates are published on the website. For complete details, you’ll have to contact the bank directly. Chemical offers both single maturity and automatic renewal certificates in its IRAs, with interest payments monthly, quarterly or at maturity.

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IRA Variable-Rate CD

Chemical Bank offers a Variable-Rate IRA CD in a single maturity; this CD is not available in the bank’s taxable accounts.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
6 months0.25%$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ interest

Chemical Bank’s IRA Variable-Rate CD is an unusual product. Coming in a single, short maturity of six months, the CD pays a rate that can be adjusted after purchase by the bank, but not by the customer. The rate on this variable CD is currently the same as with a regular six-month IRA CD. Minimums and penalties on this account are the same as with regular IRA CDs.

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IRA Raise-Your-Rate

The IRA Raise-Your-Rate CD is a carbon copy of the bank’s non-IRA CD of the same name.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
36 months0.90%$100
48 months1.20%$100
60 months1.50%$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 12 months’ interest

Chemical’s Raise-Your-Rate IRA CDs are offered in 3 year, 4 year and 5 year maturities, just like the non-IRA version. Once per term, you can call the bank and have your rate raised to the then-current rate, up to a maximum increase of 1%. Minimums and withdrawal penalties are otherwise the same as with the bank’s regular IRA CDs.

How to get Chemical Bank’s IRA accounts

As with the bank’s non-IRA products, if you want to open an IRA account at Chemical Bank, you’ll have to visit a branch.

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How Chemical Bank’s IRA accounts compare

Chemical Bank’s IRA CDs share the same lackluster yields as the bank’s regular CD lineup. You’ll be able to find better IRA CD rates elsewhere.

Overall review of Chemical Bank’s products

Chemical Bank offers a large number of both checking and savings accounts, but not one of them particularly stand out. Only a single checking account pays interest, and its rates — along with the rates on all of Chemical’s savings accounts — are below average.When it comes to the bank’s money market and CD accounts, sub-par rates continue to prevail.

New customers looking for a bank with a wide range of account options might be curious about Chemical Bank, as they offer accounts for seemingly any need. However, upon comparison shopping, it’s clear that higher rates can be had elsewhere for nearly any type of account. You can find better options at competitor banks.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

John Csiszar
John Csiszar |

John Csiszar is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email John here

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Reviews

Synovus Bank Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., Synovus Bank started when a factory executive at a textile mill offered to keep a worker’s money in the company vault, plus pay her interest. What grew to a service that helped all employers at the textile mill turned into a bank that has more than 250 locations throughout Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Synovus Bank is primarily a brick-and-mortar bank, so you’ll need to open its accounts in person. Also, rates may differ by location.

Synovus Bank’s checking account options

Free Checking

A simple checking account that offers no interest on your deposits.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $36

While it’s great that Synovus Bank doesn’t charge you a monthly maintenance fee, it’s also a noninterest-bearing account. It’s probably best for those who intend on using this an account for daily use or don’t plan on keeping a lot of money in it.

All checking accounts come with bill pay and online and mobile banking. You also get a Visa check card that you can add to Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ or Samsung Pay®. You can use this card to access Synovus Bank ATMs, as well as over 1,190 surcharge-free ATMs through the Publix Presto! network.

How to get Synovus Bank’s Free Checking account

You’ll need to head a branch to open an account. You’ll most likely need to provide your state-issued ID and Social Security number to do so.

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Preferred Account

The monthly maintenance fee seems a bit steep, but it can be waived.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: Up to four a month
  • Overdraft fee: $36

If you’re looking for more from a checking account, this could be a good choice for you. The rates could change depending on whether you have multiple accounts with Synovus Bank. The rates aren’t advertised on the bank’s website, so it’s best to call to find out the current ones.You may also get bonus rates depending on your average daily balance amounts. If you can maintain $15,000 across your deposit, loan and credit card accounts, you can earn an extra 0.05%. For those who can reach a $25,000 average daily balance across Synovus Bank accounts, you can earn a 0.15% bonus rate.

Other features of the account include free standard checks, up to four ATM withdrawal refunds a month and online and mobile banking. You’ll also get discounts such as 50% off designer checks and safe deposit box rentals. The Visa Platinum check card comes with benefits such as purchase security and lost luggage insurance.

The monthly maintenance fee seems steep considering there are no-fee accounts out there, but you can get it waived in a variety of ways. You can either maintain a $5,000 minimum average balance in the Preferred Account, a $15,000 average daily balance across your deposit, loan and credit card accounts, or $25,000 if you want to include your CD or IRA accounts.

If you do end up paying the monthly maintenance fee, you can knock off $2 if you’re registered for e-statements and online and mobile banking. You also can waive monthly fees on two other Synovus checking or money market accounts. To do so, you’ll need to contact the bank.

How to get Synovus Bank’s Preferred Account

To open a Preferred Account, you’ll need to head to a branch. Synovus Bank will likely ask you for a way to fund the account, proof of ID and your Social Security number. To find out more, call customer service at 888-796-6887.

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Gold Checking

If you’re 55 or older, you can open this account and take advantage of fee features such as notary services and unlimited check-writing.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $36

This account is for those who are at least 55. The cool part is you can get some savings compared to the Preferred Account — perks such as a lower monthly maintenance fee and free notary services. You also get a box of standard checks for free and other benefits such as zero liability protection with your Visa check card. You do earn some interest with this account, but it isn’t advertised on its website, meaning you’ll need to contact Synovus Bank for details.Like the Preferred Account, you can waive the monthly maintenance fee with the Gold Checking account. To do so, you’ll need to maintain a minimum average daily balance of $1,000 or have at least $500 in monthly direct deposits each month. If you registered for e-statements and online and mobile banking, you can get a $2 credit each month if you are paying the monthly maintenance fee.

How to get Synovus Bank’s Gold Checking account

You’ll need to go to a branch to open an account. To find out more, call customer service at 888-796-6887, but you’ll most likely be asked to bring documentation such as your Social Security card and state-issued ID.

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Military Interest Checking

Members of the military can enjoy benefits such as ATM refunds and lower overdraft fees.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $7 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: Up to five each month ($1.50 per transaction)
  • Overdraft fee: $29

The Military Interest Checking account is only for active duty, retired or reserved personnel, which can include Department of Defense civilians. Account holders can get their first order of standard checks for free, e-statements and online and mobile banking. You’re not charged ATM fees and can get up to five out-of-network ATM refunds a month.Although there is a monthly maintenance fee, you can get that waived if you make a monthly direct deposit of at least $1 from your Defense Finance and Accounting Service paycheck. If you sign up for e-statements and Synovus digital banking, you can get a $2 credit toward your monthly maintenance fee — that is, if you need to pay it for any given month.

One more thing: You do earn interest, but the rates aren’t available on its website. To find out the rates, it’s best to contact Synovus Bank.

How to get Synovus Bank’s Military Interest Checking account

Show up at a Synovus Bank location to open an account. You’ll most likely need to provide funds to open the account, your Social Security number and proof of employment.

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How Synovus Bank’s checking accounts compare

We do like that you don’t need to have a large opening deposit amount, although some of the competitors from our list of the best online checking accounts don’t require one at all.

Other features we like include the Visa check card and the ability to waive monthly maintenance fees, but other banks offer similar features. Since Synovus Bank doesn’t advertise its rates, we can’t help you there. But the fact that you can only open an account in person leaves us thinking that you’re probably better off elsewhere.

Synovus Bank’s savings account options

Signature Personal Savings

You can get more access to your cash with the ATM card that’s included with this account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $2.50 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

This account is a simple savings account that’s best for those who don’t want to worry about minimum balance amounts and are interested in getting ATM access. If you have a checking account, you can link your savings account and access your funds using your Visa check card. Otherwise, when we contacted Synovus Bank on Oct. 22, 2018, customer service mentioned you can request an ATM card. Either way, you have access to over 1,190 surcharge-free ATMs through the Publix Presto! ATM network.

Other features include bill pay, e-statements and online banking. Federal Reserve Regulation D allows up to six certain withdrawals a month, but Synovus Bank will charge you $3 each time you go over two withdrawals in a month.

How to get Synovus Bank’s Signature Personal Savings account

To open a Signature Personal Savings account, go to a Synovus Bank location. You’ll be asked for information such as your name, address and Social Security number, but you can call customer service 888-796-6887 to find out.

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Minor Savings

You don’t need to worry about minimum balance amounts with this account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The Minor Savings account is available to those younger than 18 (or 19 if you’re not married and residing in Alabama) who agree to have a parent or guardian as the joint owner. There is no ATM access, which Synovus Bank told us when we contacted it on Oct. 22, 2018. Once the minor reaches adulthood, this will be converted to a Signature Personal Savings account.

You don’t need to pay any fees unless you end up making more than two withdrawals a month. Go over that amount and you’re looking at $3 per withdrawal.

How to get Synovus Bank’s Minor Savings account

You and your child will need to head to a branch to open an account. You’ll both likely need to bring a state-issued ID and Social Security card. You’ll also need a method to fund the account.

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Holiday Savings

This account may help you with your short-term savings goals.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

If you’re after a savings account dedicated to your short-term savings goals, the Holiday Savings account is an option. Think of it like a certificate of deposit where you set aside money for a specific amount of time — in this case annually — and set automatic deposits to the account until the period is up. Synovus Bank will then automatically deposit your balance into your checking account, or you can have a check mailed to you.

Unfortunately, the rates aren’t advertised on the website, so you’ll need to do your own research and call Synovus Bank to find out. And, yes, you can take money out anytime, but you’re looking at a $5 fee each time you do so. Also, federal Regulation D allows you up to six certain withdrawals a month, meaning your account could be converted to a checking account if you continually make excessive withdrawals.

How to get Synovus Bank’s Holiday Savings account

Like all the other accounts so far, you’ll need to head to a branch to open this one. You may need to bring along items such as your Social Security card and state-issued ID.

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How Synovus Bank’s savings accounts compare

We would love to tell you how the rates compare to other competitors, but they aren’t advertised on its website. This could hinder a few folks who want to compare rates quickly — like the ones on our list of the best online savings accounts.

What we do like is that there are low (or no) minimum balance requirements and you get ATM access with some accounts. But other places offer no minimum opening deposits and you may be able to link to a checking account to get ATM access.

If you’re after an account you can open relatively quickly, you may be better off checking places where you can open an account online.

Synovus Bank’s CD rates

Certificates of deposit

These are fixed-rate CDs that have different minimum opening deposits depending on if you want to take advantage of promo rates.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 (for regular rates) or $10,000 (for promo rates)
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on the length of the term:
    • Up to and including a year: Three months’ interest
    • 18 months to two years: Six months’ interest
    • Three years and up: Nine months’ interest

The fixed-rate CDs have a wide variety of terms — anywhere from less than three months to five years or more. Unfortunately, the rates aren’t advertised, including the current promo rates that require a higher minimum opening deposit. To find out, you can call customer service at 888-796-6887 or stop by one of Synovus Bank’s branches.

The interest you earn for the CD is compounded daily and credited monthly, though you can request other options. These CDs renew at maturity, though you can make changes during the 10-day grace period such as making additional deposits and withdrawals or renewing for another term.

How to get Synovus Bank’s CDs

The only way to open a Synovus Bank CD right now is to head to a branch. Documents you may need to bring include your Social Security card and state-issued ID, as well as funds to open the account. It’s probably best to call customer service at 888-796-6887 before you go.

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How Synovus Bank’s CD rates compare

It’s hard to tell how the rates compare without knowing exactly what they. If you’re interested in seeing the competition, we compiled a list of the best CD rates out there. While it’s great that Synovus Bank offers a wide range of terms, the minimum opening deposit can be a turnoff considering other places have lower minimum amounts. If you don’t have that much set aside to open a CD, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.

Synovus Bank’s money market account options

Signature Money Market

Earn a higher APY with different rate tiers.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The Signature Money Market account offers higher APYs the more you have on deposit, though you’ll need to contact customer service since the rates aren’t advertised on Synovus Bank’s website.

There is a monthly maintenance fee, but you can waive it if you can either maintain a $1,000 minimum daily balance or $2,500 average daily balance. We found out when we contacted the bank on Oct. 22, 2018, that you also get limited check-writing capabilities, as well as free notary services and online and mobile banking.

Since this is considered a savings account, Regulation D allows up to six certain withdrawals a month. Otherwise, you’re looking at a $15 excessive transaction fee for each withdrawal you go over.

How to get Synovus Bank’s Signature Money Market account

You’ll need to head to a branch to open a Signature Money Market account. Like other deposit accounts, you’ll most likely need your Social Security number and state-issued ID to open one.

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Premium Money Market

You may be able to earn a higher rate, although there is a higher minimum opening deposit amount.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The Premium Money Market account could offer higher rates, though you’ll need to contact Synovus Bank because they aren’t advertised on the website. But with higher rates comes a higher cost — a much bigger minimum opening deposit amount. This could be limiting for many, especially those who don’t have that much money sitting around. It’s something to consider before opening any money market account.

You don’t get ATM access but there are limited check-writing capabilities, according to an Oct. 22, 2018, conversation with customer service. You also get online and mobile banking access. As for the monthly maintenance fee, you can get that waived if you can maintain either a $20,000 average daily balance or a $10,000 minimum daily balance in your account. You’re also allowed up to six certain withdrawals a month thanks to Regulation D. You could be paying a $15 excessive transaction fee for each withdrawal one go over.

How to get Synovus Bank’s Premium Money Market account

To open the Premium Money Market account, go to a Synovus Bank location. You may be asked to provide your Social Security card and state-issued ID, so it’s best to be prepared.

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How Synovus Bank’s money market accounts compare

Synovus Bank offers a fairly high minimum opening balance that may be off-putting to those who may not have a lot of money to spare. Sure, there’s limited check-writing capabilities, but there are other places that offer ATM access. Some competitors also offer low to no minimum deposit amounts, which can be a great choice depending on how much money you want to use to open an account.

If you want to see what you could be earning with a money market account, consider looking at our list of the best money market rates and accounts.

Synovus Bank’s IRA account options

IRA CD

This could be a great choice if you’re after a conservative retirement account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on the length of the term:
    • Up to and including a year: Three months’ interest
    • 18 months to two years: Six months’ interest
    • Three years and up: Nine months’ interest

Synovus Bank’s IRA CD accounts are essentially the same as the regular CDs, except they’re either tax-sheltered or deferred. You may also be limited to how much you can contribute per year because of IRS regulations.

You can choose from a wide range of terms, though to find out the exact rates you’ll need to contact Synovus Bank. As for the interest, it’s compounded daily and credited either to your account annually or at maturity. The IRA CD will automatically renew unless you make changes during the 10-day grace period. This can include making withdrawals or additional deposits or renewing it for another term.

How to get Synovus Bank’s IRA CDs

You can open an account by going to a Synovus Bank location. It’s best to call customer service at 888-796-6887 to make sure, but you’ll most likely need to provide your Social Security number and a state-issued ID.

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How Synovus Bank’s IRA CD rates compare

We can’t comment on the rates as they’re not advertised on Synovus Bank’s website. But what we do notice is that the minimum opening balance seems to be on par or lower compared to others on our list of the best IRA CD rates.

Many of these financial institutions also offer a wide range of terms, and it looks like you should be able to open these accounts online. Considering the only way to open a Synovus Bank IRA CD is in person, that’s a pretty big barrier, especially if you don’t live near a branch.

Overall review of Synovus Bank’s banking products

We can’t say if the rates for Synovus Bank are great considering they aren’t advertised on the website, so this could be a deterrent.

What we do like is that most of its accounts, such as its checking and savings options, have a low minimum opening balance, meaning it can be accessible to most people. It’s also convenient that both types of accounts offer ATM access and surcharge-free ATMs through the Publix Presto! network.

Unfortunately, the money market and CDs do require a higher minimum opening deposit, which may be a stretch for some if you don’t have a lot of savings to make those initial deposits. Many competitors offer some great rates and have lower minimum opening balances.

What we’re getting at is that Synovus Bank may not be the best choice, considering you need to open accounts in person and its rates aren’t readily available. There are plenty of competitors happy to show you what you could earn in interest on its website.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Sarah Li Cain
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Sarah Li Cain is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Sarah Li here

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College Students and Recent Grads

Refinancing Student Loans and Credit Scores: What You Need to Know

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

You probably know by now that a minimum credit score is required for refinancing student loan debt.

But did you know that your score could rise or fall while you apply to refinance, or even while your repay your new, refinanced debt?

Here’s everything you need to know about how student loan refinance and credit scores can affect each other.

What’s the credit score needed to refinance student loans?

Each lender has underwriting criteria to determine if you’re eligible for refinancing. They’re concerned with your debt-to-income ratio, employment history and other factors, but chief among these is your credit score. In fact, your score could make or break your application.

Most reputable lenders prefer borrowers who have at least good credit scores. Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, defines a good score as any mark at or above 670.

Here are some examples of lenders’ current minimums:

Other lenders feature different credit score minimums for different types of applicants. Splash Financial, for example, currently requires a 670 score for applicants with cosigners, but a 700 for solo applicants.

To unlock the lowest refinancing interest rates available, meanwhile, you’re better off waiting until your score climbs into the 700s and beyond.

Every percentage point matters. Repaying $20,000 over 10 years at a 6% rate, for example, would cost in $6,645 of interest. Paying back the same amount over the same timespan at 5% would carry just $5,456 of interest.

How does applying to refinance your student loans affect your credit?

Many lenders offer the ability to prequalify in minutes for a refinanced loan without affecting your credit. You’ll provide some basic information about yourself and your debt, and the lender will perform a “soft” credit pull to vet you as a borrower.

Submitting a formal application for a loan, however, will result in a “hard” check on your credit report. This hard check could diminish your credit score by as much as five points, so it’s generally recommended to only submit a formal application with the lender with the best offer.

However, another strategy is to apply to different lenders but to do so in a short timespan, say one week, as this will minimize the impact on your score.

How does refinancing student loans affect your credit score?

When you put pen to paper and refinance your federal or private student loans, you consolidate your original loans into one new loan. Your credit report will show the older loans as being paid off and the new loan as being recently opened.

These transactions could ding your report. That’s because a 35% chunk of your FICO score, the most popular of credit scores, is determined by your payment history. With no payment history attached to your new account, your credit score could drop.

Say, for example, that you’re looking to refinance parent PLUS loans. Perhaps you made timely payments for years on those loans, and your credit score had steadily increased. With these loans falling off your report as a result of refinancing, you’ll no longer receive credit for the strong, continuing payment history — and your new, refinanced loan will lack a payment history altogether.

Despite all this, the pros of refinancing usually outweigh the temporary and slight harm to your credit.

By refinancing your PLUS loans, for example, you could lower your interest rate and potentially save money during repayment. Or maybe you could consolidate your debt on a more conservative repayment plan, reducing your monthly payments. However, by extending your payments you may pay more in interest over the life of your loan.

It’s unlikely that you would trade benefits like these for a few points on your credit score.

How does making loan payments affect your credit score?

With your new, refinanced loan, your credit score could creep upward or fall off, depending on the success of your repayment.

As you make timely payments — and your payment history lengthens — your score should increase. After all, you’re proving that you have the ability to repay what you borrow.

On the flip side, if you become delinquent (or worse, default) on your refinanced loan, your score will reflect it. In fact, a 30-day delinquency could drop your score by as much as 100 points, depending on your original credit score level, according to FICO.

You’re better off choosing a conservative repayment plan and making extra — or extra large — payments to your lender. Reputable refinancing companies don’t impose prepayment penalties if you pay off your debt faster than planned.

If you still struggle to keep pace with your repayment plan, you can protect your credit score by exploring options for loan deferment or forbearance. These measures could allow you to pause your repayment in the event of a job loss or other major life event.

While they’ll be noted on your credit report, rest assured that neither deferment nor forbearance will affect your credit score.

How does paying off your loan affect your credit score?

Once you pay off your refinanced loan, you’ll likely be over the moon (and you should be). From a practical standpoint, however, closing the loan on your credit report might decrease your credit score.

The drop occurs because the closure affects your credit mix, which represents 10% of your FICO score. Removing the refinanced loan, which is a type of installment loan, from your credit report might leave you only repaying revolving credit, such as your standard credit card debt.

Your score could also experience a dip because your amounts owed, which is 30% of FICO’s scoring formula, have decreased.

That’s not to say that paying off your refinanced loan is a bad idea. Of course, it’s the opposite!

Still, be aware that your credit score could take a temporary hit. Keep this in mind especially if you’ve been protecting your score for future borrowing purposes, such as taking out a mortgage for a home. (Like student loan refinancing companies, however, mortgage lenders will also take into account your improved debt-to-income ratio.)

Check your credit before applying to refinance your student loans

Student loan refinancing isn’t always the right step for every borrower. You won’t be able to reap the benefits of refinancing your education debt, for example, if you have a subpar credit score.

Take the time you need to improve your score before you begin the process of completing refinancing applications. To get started, access your full credit report free of charge via AnnualCreditReport.com and track your three-digit score using one of the free services available online.

If your score is poor, and there’s a long road to recovery ahead, take a break from your refinancing research. Instead, you might examine your student loan forgiveness options.

On the other hand, if your score is already good to great, now could be the right time to refinance. Take the next step by reviewing the rates and offerings of the best student loan refinancing companies.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Andrew Pentis
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Andrew Pentis is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Andrew here

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College Students and Recent Grads

How to Combine Your Student Loan Debt With Your Spouse’s

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

While marriage is a union between two people, it can also become a union between two financial situations, as the couple shares expenses and typically opens joint bank accounts and credit cards together. Many newlyweds (and many of those soon-to-be-wedded) also wonder: Can they combine student loans with their spouse?

It might sound attractive to consolidate student loans with your loved one and combine all educational debt. In reality, combining student debt with your spouse might not be that easy or simple.

Here’s what you need to know about how marriage affects student debt and whether combining student loans is possible.

Dealing with student debt after marriage

Starting a marriage with student debt is common enough these days, given that about 44 million Americans have a student loan. But how you and your partner choose to handle any student loans is up to you — mostly.

There are a few legal changes to student debt that kick in as soon as you say “I do.” Here are some of the ways that getting married can affect student debt.

Student debt from before the wedding: Usually, any debt that predates your marriage will be individually owned, and repaying it remains the sole responsibility of the person who holds it.

Student loans borrowed while married: In most states, student loans taken out after the wedding day would still be the sole responsibility of the one borrowing them. However, in states with community property laws for married couples, student loans borrowed during a marriage might be considered shared property, for which the couple is collectively responsible.

Student loans enrolled in income-driven repayment: These repayment plans use your income to set affordable monthly payments for your federal student loans. If you get married, this could change what you pay — depending on how you choose to file your taxes.

File jointly, and your payments will be based on your joint incomes and how much you owe together on federal student loans. File separately, and payments will be based on your individual income and student loan balance.

Student loan interest deduction: Spouses who file taxes separately will be ineligible to claim the student loan interest deduction (as well as some other tax benefits), which allows you to reduce your taxable income by interest paid on student debt.

On top of these formal changes to your student loans, payments and tax situation, you and your spouse will also want to discuss whether you’ll share responsibility for repaying student debt, and if so, how.

Start the conversation well before your wedding day, and keep communication open throughout your marriage, to make sure you’re on the same page about student loans. Talking about these issues can help them from causing or contributing to marital conflicts.

Can you consolidate student loans with a spouse?

If you decide to tackle your college debt together, you might want to consolidate student loans with your spouse. Student loan consolidation is any process that combines multiple student loans into a single, new student loan.

The two main options for consolidating student loans are a direct consolidation loan, which combines federal student loans, or private student loan refinancing, which can consolidate private or federal student debt.

Here’s a look at each option, with an eye toward which one is best to combine student loans with a spouse.

Not a solution: Couples can’t use direct consolidation loans to combine student loans

Previously, the Federal Student Aid Office did offer a way for spouses to combine student loans: the federal joint or spousal consolidation loan. This program ended in 2006, since then there has been no federal option for married couples to jointly consolidate their federal student loans.

Still, while you can’t use a direct consolidation loan to formally combine student debt with a spouse, it could still be worth considering as an option to simplify your own student loans.

Potential solution: Some private lenders can consolidate spouse student loans

While a federal direct consolidation loan is out of the question, it is possible to combine student loans with a spouse by refinancing with a private lender. Such joint student loan refinancing loans are very rare, however.

One major lender that does offer this option is PenFed Credit Union, where couple can apply together to have their combined student loans refinanced. The application is processed using your and your spouse’s combined income, and rates are set by whichever credit score is higher. Refinance rates started at 2.85% APR for variable-rate loans or 3.75% APR for fixed-rate loans.

Most likely solution: Consider cosigning a spouse’s student loan refinance

A more accessible option might be to refinance one person’s student loans and add the spouse as a cosigner. This move won’t combine your student debt with your spouse’s, but it provides some other benefits.

The lender will consider both your income and your spouse’s income when processing your application. This can improve your chances of getting approved if you earn far less than your spouse or have no income — for example, if you’re a stay-at-home parent.

If you have poor credit but your spouse has a higher credit score, adding them as a cosigner can also help you qualify to refinance student loans. In fact, lenders like Citizens Bank will not only allow you to add a cosigner, but will set your student loan refinance rate based on whoever’s credit score is higher.

If you’re interested in this option, make sure to shop around to find good rates and terms for your student refinance loan. And be careful when refinancing federal debt, as you will lose access to certain government programs, such as income-driven repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Is combining student loans with your spouse a good idea?

Married couples do have a few options to legally share responsibility for their student loans, but they should carefully evaluate whether it’s a good idea.

It might be smart to refinance student loans together, for example, if it could mean getting a much lower student loan rate — which could save hundreds or even thousands in interest charges over the life of the loan. Consolidating debt with a spouse might also seem like a smart way to simplify your student debt and manage it more easily.

However, there are some potential drawbacks to weigh. The first is whether it’s wise to mix responsibility for student loans, especially if they were taken out before you got married. If you consolidate student loans together or cosign to refinance your spouse’s student loans, both parties then become equally responsible for repaying this debt — no matter what. Even in the case of divorce, you’ll still be on the hook for any student loan you consolidated or cosigned with your former spouse.

In fact, you could be liable for repaying any student loans taken out after you get married. This could include any refinance student loan or direct consolidation loan that originates after your wedding date. Since these are new student loans that replace the old student loans, they could be considered community property — and you might be responsible for repaying a portion of them whether your name is on them or not.

Ultimately, though, combining student debt with a spouse doesn’t have to require more than an informal agreement between the two of you. Any couple can discuss their student debt repayment goals and how they can work together to achieve those. You don’t have to officially meld your student loans into one or have both your names on a loan in order to work as a team to manage and pay off this debt.

You and your spouse’s student loans are already part of your joint financial situation, both in the present and in the future. If you can handle your other financial issues together, the student debt shouldn’t be a problem, regardless of whose name or names are on which loans.

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Elyssa Kirkham
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Elyssa Kirkham is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Elyssa here

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Reviews

Comerica Bank Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1849
Total Assets$72.2B
LEARN MORE on Comerica Bank’s secure websiteMember FDIC

Headquartered in Dallas, Comerica Bank’s parent is one of the 25 largest financial holding companies in the U.S., with 434 banking centers located in seven of the country’s 10 largest cities. In addition to Texas, Comerica Bank branches can be found in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan. The bank offers numerous types of consumer-based financial products, including checking and savings accounts, CDs, IRAs and money market accounts.

Comerica Bank’s online application process is complicated and incomplete. Only four types of accounts can be opened completely online: the 270 day CD, 1 year CD, 2 year CD and 3 year CD.

Other accounts can be partially opened online. These include the Statement Savings, Access Checking, Money Market Investment and High-Yield Money Market Investment account. For those four types of accounts, a physical signature card must still be processed at a bank branch to fully open the account. All remaining types of accounts must be opened at a branch only.

For each applicant, the bank will request the following information:

  • Home address
  • Phone number
  • Driver’s license, ID card issued by a state DMV or U.S. passport
  • Social Security number or Taxpayer ID number
  • Identity Verification

All applicants must be U.S. residents at least 16 years of age and must have a valid U.S. driver’s license or state-issued ID card. Applicants with other forms of identification, such as military ID, cannot open an account online. Applicants ages 16 to 17 years of age must click on a separate link to apply for an account online.

Here’s a review of the features and benefits of the various Comerica Bank personal account options, including rates and requirements.

Comerica Bank’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

Compare Rates from Similar Accounts

0.01%

Savings

Comerica Bank Statement Savings Account

1.90%

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

on American Express National Bank’s secure website

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0.35%

CD Rates

Comerica Bank 1 Year Fixed Rate CD

2.55%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 12 Month CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

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0.45%

CD Rates

Comerica Bank 3 Year Fixed Rate CD

2.85%

Synchrony Bank 36 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

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0.60%

CD Rates

Comerica Bank 5 Year Fixed Rate CD

3.10%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 5 Year CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

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Comerica Bank’s checking account options

Access Checking

Access Checking is Comerica Bank’s entry-level checking account, with basic services and features.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $13; $2 discount with eStatements AND suppression of paper statements upon request; $0 fee with either a $1,000.00 minimum daily balance, 1 direct deposit of at least $250 or more per statement cycle, status as a full-time college student up to the age of 26 or a business owner with a Comerica business checking account; active or retired members of the U.S. military or members of a Comerica Platinum Circle Checking household.
  • ATM fee: $0; $2.50 for non-Comerica ATMs in the U.S; $5.00 for international ATMs (non-U.S.)
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $26 for the 1st occurrence, $34 for occurences 2-4, $38 for occurrences 5+; with overdraft protection, $8 for occurences 1-4, $12 for occurrences 5-7, and $16 for 8+ occurrences

Access Checking may be a basic checking account, but the fee structure is high and a bit complicated. For an account that doesn’t have extensive features or pay interest, the monthly maintenance fee is astoundingly high.

Access Checking includes standard features such as ATM access, free online access and bill pay, and it even throws in additional perks such as a rate discount on a home equity line and a free savings account. However, if you agree to both eStatements and the suppression of paper statements, you only get a $2 discount on the high monthly fee. With many other banks, eStatements are enough to waive the fee altogether.

To drop the Access Checking fee to $0, you must meet one of the following qualifications: keep a minimum daily balance of $1,000.00; have a direct deposit; be a full-time college student; be a business owner with a Comerica business checking account; be a member of the U.S. military; or be a Comerica Platinum Circle Checking household.

This account also has a high overdraft fee that increases with the number of occurrences.

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on Comerica Bank’s secure website

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Rich Rewards Checking

Rich Rewards Checking is Comerica’s first-level interest-bearing account, with extra features on top of those offered by Access Checking.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.01%$1
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $18; $2 discount with eStatements AND suppression of paper statements upon request; $0 with a $5,000.00 minimum daily balance or a minimum combined balance of $7,500.00 each day in this account and/or up to 3 other related Comerica Bank accounts
  • ATM fee: $0; $2.50 for non-Comerica ATMs in the U.S; $5 for international ATMs (non-U.S.)
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $26 for the 1st occurrence, $34 for occurences 2-4, $38 for occurrences 5+; with overdraft protection, $8 for occurences 1-4, $12 for occurrences 5-7, and $16 for 8+ occurrences

The high-priced and convoluted fee structure found in Comerica Bank’s Access Checking account continues with the bank’s interest-bearing Rich Rewards Checking Account. With this account, the monthly fee is even higher, and the hurdles to get the fee waived are commensurately higher as well. The increasing overdraft fee structure is also in place with this checking account.

Although Rich Rewards Checking pays interest, the rate is extremely low. The account does come with additional service enhancements, however, including the following:

  • A waiver of the first-year, $65 annual fee on a home equity line, along with a 0.25% APY discount
  • A 0.50% APY discount on a home equity loan
  • A 0.50% APY discount on non-real estate installment loans
  • Enhanced interest rates on new-money CD and IRA deposits
  • Up to $50 off the cost of a safety deposit box rental, with an additional $5 discount with autopay

As with Access Checking, Rich Rewards Checking comes with a free savings account as well.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Comerica Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Premier Checking

Premier Checking is the next step up the checking account ladder at Comerica Bank, with enhanced services — and fees — when compared with the Rich Rewards Checking account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.01%$1
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $22; $2 discount applies with eStatements and suppression of paper statements; $0 with a $7,500.00 minimum balance each day, a revolving home equity Account, or a minimum combined daily balance of $20,000 in this account and/or up to 3 other related Comerica Bank Accounts or an open revolving home equity account
  • ATM fee: $0; $2.50 for non-Comerica ATMs in the U.S; $5 for international ATMs (non-U.S.)
  • ATM refund: Refund of first 4 fees per statement cycle. $2/transaction, including balance inquiries, thereafter
  • Overdraft fee: $26 for the 1st occurrence, $34 for occurences 2-4, $38 for occurrences 5+; with overdraft protection; $0 with overdraft protection

Premier Checking offers the same benefits as the bank’s Rich Rewards Checking account, with a few enhancements. Notably, Premier Checking offers another rate bump on CDs with maturities of one year or longer, along with free Comerica Advantage-style checks and a waiver of overdraft protection transfer fees. While the account has a small minimum opening deposit, the fee is another step higher than that on the Rich Rewards Checking account, and it can only be waived with large balances in this or other Comerica Bank accounts. The interest rate is not tiered and is noncompetitive as well.

LEARN MORE Secured

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Comerica Platinum Circle Checking

Platinum Circle Checking is the top-of-the-line checking account at Comerica Bank, with greatly increased services and the potential for higher interest rates.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$1
0.05%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0 with a $50,000 average daily balance in any combination of personal or business deposit accounts or a minimum combined balance of $2,500,000 each day in any combination of assets managed by Comerica Asset Management, in Comerica Private Banking loan balances or in Comerica Securities, Inc. account balances
  • ATM fee: $0; $5 for international ATMs (non-U.S.)
  • ATM refund: Unlimited per statement cycle
  • Overdraft fee: Waived for as long as you maintain your Comerica Platinum Circle Checking account.

Comerica Bank’s Platinum Circle Checking account is the queen bee when it comes to accounts at the bank. Unlike many banks, there’s actually no monthly maintenance fee for this top-level account; however, if you can’t maintain the significant required balances in the account, your account may be converted to a Rich Rewards Checking account, thereby disqualifying you from all of the benefits of the Platinum Circle account.

One of the main benefits of this account is that it qualifies account holders for higher interest rates on CDs and in the High-Yield Money Market Investment account. Other features, on top of those offered by the other checking accounts at the bank, include the following:

  • A Statement Savings account and a High-Yield Money Market Investment account for no monthly fee
  • Waived overdraft protection transfer fees
  • Free Comerica Bank checks of any style
  • A free checking account for a household member
  • A dedicated customer service number
  • Discounts on certain residential mortgage closing costs
  • Professional investment, insurance and banking services

This account also pays the best checking account interest rates at the bank, although they still remain low.

How to get Comerica Bank’s checking accounts

As mentioned above, only the Access Checking account can be opened online. Other account types can only be opened at a Comerica Bank branch.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Comerica Bank’s secure website

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How Comerica’s checking accounts compare

Comerica Bank offers a tiered range of four checking accounts, each with a higher level of service. The crown jewel of the bank is the Platinum Circle Checking account, which brings with it an assortment of enhancements, including much higher interest rates on the bank’s CD and money market products.

When it comes to the interest rates paid on the bank’s checking accounts, however, much is left to be desired. The two lower-level interest-bearing accounts, Rich Rewards Checking and Premier Checking, pay embarrassingly low rates. The best rates available for checking accounts nationwide are anywhere from 60 to 100 times as high as Comerica Bank’s rates. Even the top tier of the Platinum Circle Checking account pays just a fraction of the best available rates.

Comerica Bank’s savings account options

Statement Savings

Statement Savings is Comerica Bank’s only traditional savings account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.01%$1
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5; $0 with a Comerica personal checking account, if you maintain a $400 minimum daily balance, you’re a minor under 18 years of age or you’re age 62 or older with direct deposit of Social Security, pension or other federal recurring payments to your savings account or if you have a personal checking account.
  • ATM fee: $0; $2.50 for non-Comerica ATMs in the U.S; $5 for international ATMs (non-U.S.)
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $26 for the 1st occurrence, $34 for occurences 2-4, $38 for occurrences 5+; with overdraft protection, $8 for occurences 1-4, $12 for occurrences 5-7, and $16 for 8+ occurrences.

Statement Savings is a basic savings account, with features you’d expect from most entry-level accounts. A Comerica Bank ATM card gives you 24-hour access to Comerica ATMs, although you’ll pay a fee for non-network machines. The high overdraft fees of the bank’s checking accounts apply to the savings account as well. After six debit transactions per month, Comerica Bank will charge a $5 fee per additional transaction.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Comerica Bank’s secure website

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Health Savings Account

Comerica Bank’s Health Savings account is a standard HSA, providing tax-advantaged savings for eligible health expenses.

Per bank representative on Oct. 9, 2018:

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

As with any HSA, Comerica Bank’s Health Savings account can only be opened by individuals with a HSA-qualified, high-deductible health plan, or via rollover from another HSA. Per IRS rules, contributions may be tax-deductible, and distributions can be tax-free when used for qualifying medical expenses. Unlike come corporate-sponsored health plans, there is no “use-it-or-lose-it” provision with an HSA; balances can be maintained regardless of the change in calendar.

How to get Comerica Bank’s savings accounts

The Statement Savings account can be opened online using the application on the bank’s website. To open a Health Savings account, you’ll have to contact the bank directly.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Comerica Bank’s secure website

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How Comerica Bank’s savings account compares

Comerica Bank’s only true, stand-alone savings account doesn’t offer much by way of additional features. If it paid a high interest rate, that could probably be overlooked, but the current APY on the savings account is more of a token interest rate than anything. The Statement Savings APY is dwarfed by even the average national APY. The nation’s best available savings rates simply put it to shame.

Comerica Bank’s CD account options

Fixed-Rate CDs

Comerica Bank’s Fixed-Rate CDs pay a different APY depending on the type of checking account relationship you have with the bank.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
7-29 days0.01%$1
7-29 days0.01%$2,500
7-29 days0.01%$10,000
7-29 days0.01%$25,000
7-29 days0.01%$50,000
7-29 days0.01%$100,000
7-29 days0.01%$250,000
7-29 days0.01%$500,000
30-59 days0.02%$1
30-59 days0.02%$2,500
30-59 days0.02%$10,000
30-59 days0.02%$25,000
30-59 days0.02%$50,000
30-59 days0.02%$100,000
30-59 days0.02%$250,000
30-59 days0.02%$500,000
60-89 days0.02%$1
60-89 days0.02%$2,500
60-89 days0.02%$10,000
60-89 days0.02%$25,000
60-89 days0.02%$50,000
60-89 days0.02%$100,000
60-89 days0.02%$250,000
60-89 days0.02%$500,000
90-179 days0.03%$1
90-179 days0.03%$2,500
90-179 days0.03%$10,000
90-179 days0.03%$25,000
90-179 days0.03%$50,000
90-179 days0.03%$100,000
90-179 days0.03%$250,000
90-179 days0.03%$500,000
180-364 days0.29%$1
180-364 days0.29%$2,500
180-364 days0.29%$10,000
180-364 days0.29%$25,000
180-364 days0.29%$50,000
180-364 days0.29%$100,000
180-364 days0.29%$250,000
180-364 days0.29%$500,000
1 year0.35%$1
1 year0.35%$2,500
1 year0.35%$10,000
1 year0.35%$25,000
1 year0.35%$50,000
1 year0.35%$100,000
1 year0.35%$250,000
1 year0.35%$500,000
2 years0.40%$1
2 years0.40%$2,500
2 years0.40%$10,000
2 years0.40%$25,000
2 years0.40%$50,000
2 years0.40%$100,000
2 years0.40%$250,000
2 years0.40%$500,000
3 years0.45%$1
3 years0.45%$2,500
3 years0.45%$10,000
3 years0.45%$25,000
3 years0.45%$50,000
3 years0.45%$100,000
3 years0.45%$250,000
3 years0.45%$500,000
4 years0.50%$1
4 years0.50%$2,500
4 years0.50%$10,000
4 years0.50%$25,000
4 years0.50%$50,000
4 years0.50%$100,000
4 years0.50%$250,000
4 years0.50%$500,000
5 years0.60%$1
5 years0.60%$2,500
5 years0.60%$10,000
5 years0.60%$25,000
5 years0.60%$50,000
5 years0.60%$100,000
5 years0.60%$250,000
5 years0.60%$500,000
6 years0.60%$1
6 years0.60%$2,500
6 years0.60%$10,000
6 years0.60%$25,000
6 years0.60%$50,000
6 years0.60%$100,000
6 years0.60%$250,000
6 years0.60%$500,000
7-10 years0.65%$1
7-10 years0.65%$2,500
7-10 years0.65%$10,000
7-10 years0.65%$25,000
7-10 years0.65%$50,000
7-10 years0.65%$100,000
7-10 years0.65%$250,000
7-10 years0.65%$500,000
*You’ll earn different rates with Rich Rewards Checking/Premier Checking/Platinum Circle Checking. You need to call and verify interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1-$500,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 1 month’s interest for CDs with a term of less than 90 days; 3 months’ interest for terms of 90-179 days; 6 months’ interest for terms of 180 days or longer.

Fixed-Rate CDs at Comerica Bank have a complicated payment structure. Each maturity is broken down into eight payment tiers, between $1 and $500,000, although each tier currently pays the same APY for each maturity.

If you have a Rich Rewards Checking account, you’ll earn more on maturities of longer than one year; rates increase even more if you have a Premier Checking account. Customers with a Platinum Circle Checking account earn the highest rates of all.

The bank offers a wide range of maturities, from seven days to 10 years. Interest is generally paid or compounded monthly, except for terms of seven to 29 days, where interest is paid at maturity. Maturing CDs automatically renew for the same term at the then-current rate. The grace period to withdraw funds after maturity is three days, for maturities of less than 30 days, and 10 days for longer maturities.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Comerica Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Flexible-Rate CDs

Flexible-Rate CDs are misnamed: It’s not the rate that’s flexible, but rather than contribution and withdrawal structure.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1 year0.05%$1
1 year0.05%$2,500
1 year0.07%$10,000
1 year0.07%$25,000
1 year0.07%$50,000
1 year0.10%$100,000
1 year0.10%$250,000
1 year0.10%$500,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1-$500,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ interest

Comerica Bank’s Flexible-Rate CDs come in a single maturity of one year. Rates are tiered, but the APY paid doesn’t vary much between tiers — and it’s extremely low across the board. The main advantage of this CD is the ability to add money to it at any time, in increments of $100 or more, and its flexible withdrawal structure.

Unlike most regular CDs, the Flexible-Rate CD allows you to take a one-time withdrawal of up to 50% of your account balance without penalty, as long as the withdrawal comes after seven days of opening the account or making an additional deposit.

As with the bank’s regular CDs, Flexible-Rate CDs automatically renew, but there’s a 10-day grace period during which you can withdraw your maturing funds.

How to get Comerica Bank’s CDs

You can open a Fixed-Rate CD using the bank’s online application, but for a Flexible-Rate CD, you must contact the bank directly.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Comerica Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Comerica Bank’s CD rates compare

The good news is that the low rates available on Comerica Bank’s regular CDs can be greatly enhanced by opening a higher-level checking account at the bank. The bad news is that even with the bank’s top-tier Platinum Circle Checking account, rates far fall below both the national averages and the best available national CD rates, for every maturity. The Flexible-Rate CD is a nice option for those who don’t want to be tied down for the entire term of the CD, but rates are extremely low, and the withdrawal feature can only be used once, for 50% of the account balance.

Comerica Bank’s money market account options

Money Market Investment account

Comerica Bank’s Money Market Investment account is a check-writing account that allows you to earn a higher rate than the bank’s savings account — but just barely.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$1
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12; $0 with a $2,500 minimum daily balance, a $5,000 average daily balance, a Comerica Platinum Circle Checking account or a Premier Checking account while not selecting a Statement Savings account as your no-fee savings account.
  • ATM fee: $0; $2.50 for non-Comerica ATMs in the U.S; $5 for international ATMs (non-U.S.), according to bank representative
  • ATM refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $26 for the 1st occurrence, $34 for occurences 2-4, $38 for occurrences 5+; with overdraft protection, $8 for occurences 1-4, $12 for occurrences 5-7 and $16 for 8+ occurrences

Comerica Bank’s entry-level money market account offers ATM access and a check-writing option, although checks and certain other debits are limited to six per month. There’s a $5 fee per withdrawal after six transactions per month.

The minimum opening deposit is quite small for a money market account. But to avoid the high monthly fee, customers need to increase their minimum deposit to a more traditional level. The fee can also be avoided through various checking account relationships with the bank, such as having a Comerica Platinum Circle Checking account. Overdraft fees are quite high, although they can be reduced a bit with overdraft protection.

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High-Yield Money Market Investment account

The High-Yield Money Market Investment account pays much higher interest rates than the bank’s regular money market account, but only if you also have a Platinum Circle Checking account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$1
0.04%$15,000
0.06%$100,000+
*You’ll earn different rates with Platinum Circle Checking. You need to call and verify interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25; $0 with $15,000 minimum balance each day
  • ATM fee: $0; $2.50 for non-Comerica ATMs in the U.S; $5 for international ATMs (non-U.S.)
  • ATM refund: None, per bank representative
  • Overdraft fee: $26 for the 1st occurrence, $34 for occurences 2-4, $38 for occurrences 5+; with overdraft protection, $8 for occurences 1-4, $12 for occurrences 5-7 and $16 for 8+ occurrences.

Comerica Bank’s High-Yield Money Market Investment account is really designed for customers that also have a Platinum Circle Checking account. This entitles account holders to much higher yields on their balances. However, this account also has a much higher monthly fee than the regular money market account, and it requires a much larger maintaining balance to eliminate the monthly fee. As with the regular money market account, Comerica Bank assesses a $5 fee per withdrawal from this account, after six debits that are allowed per month.

How to get Comerica Bank’s money market account

You can get Comerica Bank’s regular money market account via the online application. For the High-Yield Investment Money Market account, you’ll need to contact a branch.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Comerica Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Comerica Bank’s money market accounts compare

Comerica Bank’s basic money market account has a low minimum balance to open but requires a much higher balance to waive the monthly fee. Although the account pays interest, it’s an extremely low rate, far below the national average and not even close to the best available money market rates nationwide. The High-Yield Money Market Investment account does much better in the yield department, but only with a complementary Platinum Circle Checking account. Even at its top tier, this account still doesn’t match up with the best rates you can find in competitor accounts.

Comerica Bank’s IRA account options

IRA Fixed-Rate CDs

Comerica Bank’s IRA Fixed-Rate CDs are carbon copies of the bank’s non-IRA CDs, including the enhanced yield paid with certain checking account relationships.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
7-29 days0.01%$1
7-29 days0.01%$2,500
7-29 days0.01%$10,000
7-29 days0.01%$25,000
7-29 days0.01%$50,000
7-29 days0.01%$100,000
7-29 days0.01%$250,000
7-29 days0.01%$500,000
30-59 days0.02%$1
30-59 days0.02%$2,500
30-59 days0.02%$10,000
30-59 days0.02%$25,000
30-59 days0.02%$50,000
30-59 days0.02%$100,000
30-59 days0.02%$250,000
30-59 days0.02%$500,000
60-89 days0.02%$1
60-89 days0.02%$2,500
60-89 days0.02%$10,000
60-89 days0.02%$25,000
60-89 days0.02%$50,000
60-89 days0.02%$100,000
60-89 days0.02%$250,000
60-89 days0.02%$500,000
90-179 days0.03%$1
90-179 days0.03%$2,500
90-179 days0.03%$10,000
90-179 days0.03%$25,000
90-179 days0.03%$50,000
90-179 days0.03%$100,000
90-179 days0.03%$250,000
90-179 days0.03%$500,000
180-364 days0.04%$1
180-364 days0.04%$2,500
180-364 days0.04%$10,000
180-364 days0.04%$25,000
180-364 days0.04%$50,000
180-364 days0.04%$100,000
180-364 days0.04%$250,000
180-364 days0.04%$500,000
1 year0.10%$1
1 year0.10%$2,500
1 year0.10%$10,000
1 year0.10%$25,000
1 year0.10%$50,000
1 year0.10%$100,000
1 year0.10%$250,000
1 year0.10%$500,000
2 years0.15%$1
2 years0.15%$2,500
2 years0.15%$10,000
2 years0.15%$25,000
2 years0.15%$50,000
2 years0.15%$100,000
2 years0.15%$250,000
2 years0.15%$500,000
3 years0.20%$1
3 years0.20%$2,500
3 years0.20%$10,000
3 years0.20%$25,000
3 years0.20%$50,000
3 years0.20%$100,000
3 years0.20%$250,000
3 years0.20%$500,000
4 years0.25%$1
4 years0.25%$2,500
4 years0.25%$10,000
4 years0.25%$25,000
4 years0.25%$50,000
4 years0.25%$100,000
4 years0.25%$250,000
4 years0.25%$500,000
5 years0.35%$1
5 years0.35%$2,500
5 years0.35%$10,000
5 years0.35%$25,000
5 years0.35%$50,000
5 years0.35%$100,000
5 years0.35%$250,000
5 years0.35%$500,000
6 years0.35%$1
6 years0.35%$2,500
6 years0.35%$10,000
6 years0.35%$25,000
6 years0.35%$50,000
6 years0.35%$100,000
6 years0.35%$250,000
6 years0.35%$500,000
7-10 years0.40%$1
7-10 years0.40%$2,500
7-10 years0.40%$10,000
7-10 years0.40%$25,000
7-10 years0.40%$50,000
7-10 years0.40%$100,000
7-10 years0.40%$250,000
7-10 years0.40%$500,000
*You’ll earn different rates with Rich Rewards Checking/Premier Checking/Platinum Circle Checking. You need to call and verify interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1-$500,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 1 month’s interest for CDs with a term of less than 90 days; 3 months’ interest for terms of 90-179 days; 6 months’ interest for terms of 180 days or longer.

Even the IRA Fixed-Rate CDs have a complicated payment structure at Comerica Bank. Currently, rates are the same in each of the eight payment tiers that are available for each maturity. Rates improve on the 1 year or longer CDs if you have a Rich Rewards Checking account, then bump up again if you have a Premier Checking account. Customers with the top-tier Platinum Circle Checking account earn the highest rates of all.

Maturities span a wide range, from seven days to 10 years. Interest is generally paid or compounded monthly, except for terms of seven to 29 days, where interest is paid at maturity. Maturing CDs automatically renew for the same term at the then-current rate. The grace period to withdraw funds after maturity is three days for maturities of less than 30 days, and 10 days for longer maturities.

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IRA Flexible-Rate CDs

IRA Flexible-Rate CDs allow contributions at any time, along with a one-time, penalty-free withdrawal.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1 year0.05%$1
1 year0.05%$2,500
1 year0.07%$10,000
1 year0.07%$25,000
1 year0.07%$50,000
1 year0.10%$100,000
1 year0.10%$250,000
1 year0.10%$500,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1-$500,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ interest

Comerica Bank’s Flexible-Rate IRA CDs are only available in a one-year maturity. Although the APY you can earn increases slightly across the eight tiers, from $1 to $500,000, rates are very low across the board. You can add money to this IRA CD at any time, in increments of $100 or more. The highlighted feature of the Flexible-Rate IRA CD is the ability to withdraw up to 50% of your IRA CD balance without penalty, as long as the withdrawal comes after seven days of opening the IRA CD or making an additional deposit. Bear in mind that the money can come out of the IRA CD product but must remain within the IRA account as a whole to avoid additional taxes and possible IRS penalties. Flexible-Rate IRA CDs automatically renew, but there’s a 10-day grace period during which you can withdraw your maturing funds.

How to get Comerica Bank’s IRA accounts

IRA accounts cannot be opened online at Comerica Bank. You must visit contact the bank directly.

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How Comerica Bank’s IRA accounts compare

Comerica Bank’s IRA CD rates are low in every category. Yields can be greatly enhanced if you open a higher-level checking account at the bank. However, even with this rate boost, the bank’s best yields are well below both the national average and the best available national IRA CD rates. The Flexible-Rate CD is a great idea for those who don’t want to be tied down for the entire term of the CD, but the withdrawal feature can only be used once, for 50% of the account balance, and the interest rates paid are anemic.

Overall review of Comerica Bank’s products

Comerica Bank certainly can’t be accused of having an insufficient number of accounts to offer customers, and the bank is to be commended for offering higher yields and reduced fees on some accounts to customers who open other accounts. However, the end result is a complicated web of relationship banking that makes it hard to determine which accounts you should choose, and how they affect others.

The unfortunate bottom line is that even with the enhanced yields customers can pick up by opening complementary accounts, rates paid by Comerica Bank are low in every category. The Platinum Circle Checking account, for example, offers some impressive bells and whistles, but the interest rates it pays aren’t competitive with the highest rates you can get elsewhere. The bank’s stand-alone savings account can’t even reach the national average savings rate, and the same is true of the bank’s CD offerings, even with the enhanced rates offered with a companion Platinum Circle Checking account. The same refrain can be sung for the bank’s money market accounts and IRA CDs.

When you combine the relatively confusing interplay of accounts at Comerica Bank with the bank’s underwhelming interest rates, most customers are probably better served by shopping around for more competitive options.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

John Csiszar
John Csiszar |

John Csiszar is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email John here

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Reviews

Sharonview Federal Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1976
Total Assets$1.6B
LEARN MORE on Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s secure websiteNCUA Insured

Sharonview Federal Credit Union, a financial co-op based out of the Carolinas, started in 1955 when 20 employees from Celanese decided to pool their resources to fund a credit union. They named the organization after two neighboring roads near the initial location in Charlotte: Sharon Road and Fairview Road.

It now has 18 branches, mostly throughout North and South Carolina, including one in New Jersey. In 2018, Forbes rated Sharonview Federal Credit Union as the best credit union in South Carolina. We decided to investigate further to see how its personal deposits compare to the competition, using the latest rates and product information available through its website.

Since it is a credit union, you need to qualify for membership to use its accounts. You could be eligible if:

  • You live, work, worship, attend school or volunteer in one of its charter areas through North Carolina or South Carolina
  • You are a current or retired employee of one of its employer groups, mainly located in the Carolinas
  • You are related to or live with someone who is a Sharonview Federal Credit Union member or who is eligible for membership

If none of these apply to you, Sharonview Federal Credit Union lists several associations on its website that you can join online to qualify for membership. But are its deposit accounts worth this effort? Read on to find out.

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

Compare Rates from Similar Accounts

0.10%

Savings

Sharonview Federal Credit Union Regular Share

1.90%

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

1.25%

CD Rates

Sharonview Federal Credit Union 12 Month CD

2.55%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 12 Month CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

1.75%

CD Rates

Sharonview Federal Credit Union 36 Month CD

2.85%

Synchrony Bank 36 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

3.00%

CD Rates

Sharonview Federal Credit Union 60 Month CD

3.10%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 5 Year CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s checking account options

Free Anywhere Checking

With this checking account, there’s never a monthly fee. It earns rewards on debit card purchases and refunds up to $10 a month for out-of-network ATM withdrawals. The only downside is it doesn’t earn interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: Up to $10 a month for ATMs in the United States; no refunds for international ATM use
  • Overdraft fees: $32

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s Free Anywhere Checking account doesn’t have an opening deposit requirement. You can set this up with a deposit of any amount, or even without adding money at first. This account also does not have a minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fee.

But the Free Anywhere Checking account does not earn interest. If you spend on the account’s debit card, you’ll earn reward points that can be used for all kinds of rewards such as travel, merchandise, cash and discounts on loans at Sharonview Federal Credit Union.

If you use an out-of-network ATM, Sharonview Federal Credit Union does not charge a fee. It will also refund up to $10 a month in fees charged by other ATM owners. To qualify for the refund, you must be enrolled in online and mobile banking. Each month, you also need to make at least one purchase on the debit card and have one direct deposit come into your account. The refund only applies to withdrawals in the U.S. International transactions do not qualify.

Before you can open the Free Anywhere Checking account, you must join Sharonview Federal Credit Union. You can apply online or by visiting one of its branches.

The membership application will ask for your personal information, Social Security number and your driver’s license or other state ID. You also need to open a Regular Share account with a $5 deposit. Every credit union member needs this account.

You can apply for Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s Free Anywhere Checking account at the same time using this information. You can add money at this point, but you don’t have to since there’s no initial deposit requirement.

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How Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s checking account compares

For a free checking account, Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s Free Anywhere Checking does a nice job handling regular banking needs. It offers a respectable up to $10 refund for out-of-network ATM use per month, the debit card earns rewards on your purchases and there’s no minimum balance requirement, so you never have to worry about how much money is in your account.

At a time when some banks are slashing quality and raising fees on their checking accounts, Sharonview Federal Credit Union looks pretty good. But if you were hoping to earn interest, you’ll have to look elsewhere. The credit union does not offer an interest-earning checking account.

This isn’t a sacrifice you have to make. There are free checking accounts out there that pay spectacular interest rates. While Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s checking account is decent, with a little research you can find something even better.

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s savings account options

Regular Share

Anyone who joins Sharonview Federal Credit Union must open this savings account. Its interest rate is quite low, so we don’t see many customers depositing more than the minimum.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.10%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

When you apply to join Sharonview Federal Credit Union, you need to open one of its Regular Share accounts to complete the process. This account requires an opening deposit of $5.

This account does not charge a monthly maintenance fee, so there’s never a cost for keeping your account open. The Regular Share account pays interest on all balances, but the rate is low. It always stays the same and does not increase when you deposit more.

Since this is a savings account, there’s a limit to how often you can take out money because of federal Regulation D. Each month, you are allowed to make up to six transactions such as debit purchases, transfers to other accounts, wires and automatic withdrawals. If you make more than six, Sharonview Federal Credit Union charges a $20 fee for each transaction. This rule doesn’t apply to ATM or in-person withdrawals, so you can make as many of these as you want without a fee.

If you have a specific savings goal in mind, you can set up a separate account called a Special Share. There’s no minimum deposit to open this side account, and it earns the same interest rate as Regular Share.

Before you can open the Regular Share savings account, you must join Sharonview Federal Credit Union. You can apply online or by visiting one of its branches.

The membership application will ask for your personal information, Social Security number and your driver’s license or other state ID. You will also need to make your $5 minimum deposit. At this point, you could open other Sharonview Federal Credit Union deposit accounts.

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Holiday Share

The Holiday Share savings account is like the Regular Share account, except it comes with an extra fee for withdrawals. That’s a downgrade we wouldn’t accept.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.10%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

Sharonview Federal Credit Union also offers a Holiday Share savings account. It’s nearly identical to the Regular Share account. There’s no monthly fee and it earns the same interest rate. This account also does not have a minimum opening deposit requirement, so you can set things up for any amount.

The main difference with this account is it’s designed to motivate you to save for the holidays. You are only supposed to make withdrawals during the holiday season from Oct. 15 to Jan. 31. If you make a withdrawal outside this period, Sharonview Federal Credit Union charges a $5 penalty for each transaction.

Since this is a savings account, there’s a limit to how often you can take out money because of federal Regulation D. Each month, you are allowed to make up to six transactions such as debit purchases, transfers to other accounts, wires and automatic withdrawals. If you make more than six, Sharonview Federal Credit Union charges a $20 fee for each transaction. This rule doesn’t apply to ATM or in-person withdrawals, so you can make as many of these as you want without owing the bank fee.

Before you can open the Holiday Share savings account, you must join Sharonview Federal Credit Union. You can apply online or by visiting one of its branches.

The membership application will ask for your personal information, Social Security number and your driver’s license or other state ID. You also need to open a Regular Share account with a $5 deposit. Every Sharonview Federal Credit Union member needs this account.

You can apply for Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s Holiday Share account at the same time using this information. You can add money at this point, but you don’t have to since there’s no initial deposit requirement.

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on Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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How Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts are disappointing. The problem is they pay the same low interest rate. Every Sharonview Federal Credit Union member needs to open a Regular Share account for $5. Our guess is people set these up with the bare minimum deposit for membership and then move on to other products.

Its Holiday Share savings account is even worse because it keeps the same rate while adding an extra penalty for taking out money.

If you’re going to hit your savings goal, you need a real interest rate, and that won’t happen with the options at Sharonview Federal Credit Union. But if you use one of these top online savings accounts, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly your money grows with a respectable rate.

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s CD rates

Share Certificates

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s short-term Share Certificate rates are just OK. For longer commitments, the credit union is much more generous. It also offers some lengthy terms, which you don’t see at the average lender.
TermAPY
12 months1.25%
24 months1.50%
36 months1.75%
48 months2.00%
60 months3.00%
72 months3.15%
84 months3.25%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For terms of less than 12 months, the penalty is 90 days’ interest on the amount withdrawn; for terms of 12 months to less than 72 months, the penalty is 180 days’ interest on the amount withdrawn; for terms of 72 months and higher, the penalty is one year of interest on the amount withdrawn

Sharonview Federal Credit Union offers eight types of Share Certificates, which range from seven months to 84 months (seven years). You must deposit $500 to open a Share Certificate and keep at least this much in your account to earn the APY.

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s short-term rates are average, but it pays more generous amounts for longer terms, especially once you get to 60 months or longer.

If you take any of your deposit out of the Share Certificate before the maturity date, Sharonview Federal Credit Union will charge an early withdrawal penalty. The penalty depends on your Share Certificate’s term:

  • For terms of less than 12 months, the penalty is 90 days’ interest on the amount withdrawn
  • For terms of 12 months to less than 72 months, the penalty is 180 days’ interest on the amount withdrawn
  • For terms of 72 months and higher, the penalty is one year of interest on the amount withdrawn

Before you can open a Share Certificate, you must join Sharonview Federal Credit Union. You can apply online or by visiting one of its branches. The membership application will ask for your personal information, Social Security number and your driver’s license or other state ID. You also need to open a Regular Share account with a $5 deposit. Every Sharonview Federal Credit Union member needs this account.

Once you’re a member, you can set up a Share Certificate. These accounts cannot be opened online. You can apply at a branch or by mailing in the new account forms to the credit union. You can make your initial deposit by transferring money from another Sharonview Federal Credit Union account or by sending in a check.

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How Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s CD rates compare

If you want a long-term CD that lasts five years or longer, Sharonview Federal Credit Union has some appealing offers. Its long-term rates are very competitive. It also offers terms as long as 84 months, an option you don’t see with every lender.

For short-term CDs, Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s rates are not quite as impressive. They’re OK, but you can find better deals elsewhere.

If you want a more generous short-term CD or to check out some other quality options, we’ve tracked down the best CD rates for every timeline. By comparing here, you can decide whether you’re best off with Sharonview Federal Credit Union or somewhere else.

Sharonview Federal Credit’s Union money market account options

Money Market

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s main money market account has a lot of quality features: no monthly fee, a low deposit requirement and a decent interest rate. But it doesn’t pay quite enough be rated a top-tier account.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.75%$500
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s Money Market account does not have a minimum opening deposit requirement. You can open one up for any amount — you can even start an account without making a deposit.

After you open, this account does not charge a monthly fee, regardless of your balance. If your balance stays above $500, you earn a rate that is above average.

Since this is a money market account, there’s a limit to how often you can take out money because of federal Regulation D. Each month, you are allowed to make up to six certain transactions to take money out of your account. This includes debit purchases, transfers to other accounts, wires and automatic withdrawals. If you make more than six, Sharonview Federal Credit Union charges a $20 fee for each transaction.

Before you can open a Money Market account, you must join Sharonview Federal Credit Union. You can apply online or by visiting one of its branches.

The membership application will ask for your personal information, Social Security number and your driver’s license or other state ID. You also need to open a Regular Share account with a $5 deposit. Every Sharonview Federal Credit Union member needs this account.

You can apply for the Money Market account at the same time using this information. You can add money at this point, but you don’t have to since there’s no initial deposit requirement.

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on Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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Investor Money Market

After you become a Sharonview Federal Credit Union customer and develop a relationship with an investment adviser, you could be eligible for this higher-paying money market account.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.75%$0.01
1.00%$5,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: Determined by your Sharonview Financial Services investment adviser
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $32

If you plan on keeping a balance of $5,000, Sharonview Federal Credit Union offers an Investor Money Market account with a higher rate. This account is only available after you open a Sharonview Financial Services investment account and develop a relationship with one of its advisers. The adviser needs to refer you to this account and will set your opening deposit.

To qualify for the money market rate, you must have a balance of $5,000 or more. If your balance falls below $5,000, you earn the Regular Share rate instead. This account does not charge a monthly fee, even if you fall below the balance requirement.

Since this is a money market account, there’s a limit to how often you can take out money because of Regulation D. Each month, you are allowed to make up to six certain transactions to take money out of your account. This includes debit purchases, transfers to other accounts, wires and automatic withdrawals. If you make more than six, Sharonview Federal Credit Union charges a $20 fee for each transaction.

Before you can open an Investor Money Market account, you must join Sharonview Federal Credit Union. You can apply online or by visiting one of its branches.

The membership application will ask for your personal information, Social Security number and your driver’s license or other state ID. You also need to open a Regular Share account with a $5 deposit. Every credit union member needs this account.

You also need to have an investment account with Sharonview Financial Services before you can open the Investor Money Market account. After you meet these requirements, you can apply at a branch by meeting with your investment adviser. This account is not available online.

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How Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts are both respectable. Money market accounts typically come with high balance requirements and monthly fees, but the credit union keeps both its options free.

You can open its regular Money Market account and qualify for the better rate with a balance of just $500, which is also low for these types of deposit accounts. If you plan on making a larger deposit, you could receive a rate upgrade with its Investor Money Market account. Keep in mind that you’ll also need a Sharonview Financial Services investment adviser to qualify for the higher-paying money market rate.

But while Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts are decent, we’ve found others that pay even more. These top money market accounts pay nearly twice as much as Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s best offer — and they won’t require you to sign up with an investment adviser.

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA Certificates

All the Sharonview Federal Credit Union Share Certificates can be used for an IRA. Its short-term IRA CD rates are average, but the long-term rates are excellent.
TermAPY
12 months1.25%
24 months1.50%
36 months1.75%
48 months2.00%
60 months3.00%
72 months3.15%
84 months3.25%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For terms of less than 12 months, the penalty is 90 days’ interest on the amount withdrawn; for terms of 12 months to less than 72 months, the penalty is 180 days’ interest on the amount withdrawn; for terms of 72 months and higher, the penalty is one year of interest on the amount withdrawn

You can open any of Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s Share Certificates as part of an IRA. It offers terms that range from seven months up to 84 months (seven years).

You must deposit $500 to open Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s IRA Certificate and keep this much in your account to earn the APY. The credit union’s IRA CD rates are just OK for its short-term options, but they are very competitive for terms of 60 months or longer.

If you take any of your deposit out of the IRA Certificate before the maturity date, Sharonview Federal Credit Union will charge an early withdrawal penalty. The penalty depends on your IRA Certificate’s term:

  • For terms of less than 12 months, the penalty is 90 days’ interest on the amount withdrawn
  • For terms of 12 months to less than 72 months, the penalty is 180 days’ interest on the amount withdrawn
  • For terms of 72 months and higher, the penalty is one year of interest on the amount withdrawn

Before you can open an IRA Certificate, you must join Sharonview Federal Credit Union. You can apply online or by visiting one of its branches. The membership application will ask for your personal information, Social Security number and your driver’s license or other state ID. You also need to open a Regular Share account with a $5 deposit. Every credit union member needs this account.

Once you’re a member, you can set up an IRA Certificate. You can open these accounts online or by visiting a Sharonview Federal Credit Union branch. You will need to make your deposit of $500 along with your application.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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IRA Savings

With an IRA Savings account, you earn less in exchange for more access to your money. Sharonview Federal Credit Union still offers an excellent rate for this type of account.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.75%$500
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None

Sharonview Federal Credit Union also offers an IRA Savings account to go along with its IRA Certificates. With an IRA Savings account, there isn’t a set timeline for depositing your money. You can take funds out without owing Sharonview Federal Credit Union an early withdrawal penalty.

In exchange, these accounts pay less interest than IRA CDs. But Sharonview Federal Credit Union pays an excellent rate for this type of IRA account.

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s IRA Savings account does not have a minimum opening deposit requirement. You can start one with any amount. But if your balance is below $500, you only earn the lower savings account rate. To earn the higher rate, your balance must stay above $500, but there’s no fee if you fall below.

Before you can open an IRA Savings account, you must join Sharonview Federal Credit Union. You can apply online or by visiting one of its branches. The membership application will ask for your personal information, Social Security number and your driver’s license or other state ID. You also need to open a Regular Share account with a $5 deposit. Every credit union member needs this account.

Once you’re a member, you can set up an IRA Savings account. You can open these accounts online or by visiting a Sharonview Federal Credit Union bank branch.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

If you’d like to grow your retirement nest egg, Sharonview Federal Credit Union has some attractive products. Its long-term IRA CDs, lasting 60 months or longer, are particularly impressive. Not only are the rates extremely competitive, but Sharonview Federal Credit Union offers some terms you don’t see that often with IRA CDs, such as 72 or 84 months. Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s short-term IRA CD rates are not quite as strong. They’re OK, but we’ve seen better deals elsewhere.

The credit union also has an excellent IRA Savings account. It offers one of the highest rates we’ve seen for these types of accounts. While an IRA Savings account will not earn as much as an IRA CD, Sharonview Federal Credit Union is a good choice if access to your money is a priority.

Overall, we are quite pleased with Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates and believe it could be a good choice for an IRA. But if you want a second opinion to make sure it’s the right place for your retirement plan, these are some of the other best IRA CDs on the market today.

Overall review of Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s banking products

Sharonview Federal Credit Union does a nice job with all its banking products. In our opinion, its best accounts are its Share and IRA Certificates because they offer the most competitive rates, especially for long-term deposits of 60 months or longer.

Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s checking and money market accounts are also respectable. Both accounts are free. The checking account has a generous ATM refund program, while the money market account has an above-average interest rate.

The only account we didn’t like was the mandatory savings account because of its mediocre rate. If you want to join the credit union, you’ll need to open one for $5, but we wouldn’t contribute more than the bare minimum.

Besides this one weak account, the rest of Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s products are excellent. It definitely earned its rating from Forbes as the best credit union in South Carolina in 2018.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

David Rodeck
David Rodeck |

David Rodeck is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email David here

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