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Updated on Tuesday, April 14, 2015
EverBank is an Internet-only bank looking to compete in the checking account game. Its Yield Pledge Checking comes with a unique guarantee, but this promise may not be enough to give EverBank an edge against competitors.
About Yield Pledge Checking
Yield Pledge Checking is an online checking account for users anywhere in the United States. The standout feature is the yield pledge guarantee stating your checking account interest rate will always be in the top 5% of all competing checking accounts. EverBank does earn an “A” transparency score, because it discloses its fees and hoops, but keep in mind it isn’t quite as user friendly as some of the other Internet-only checking account options.
In addition, the account offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, but only if you maintain a minimum average daily balance of $5,000. If you keep that balance in your account, you can go to any ATM in the United States and EverBank will pay back 100% of the ATM fees charged by the other bank to use its ATM. But it must be a daily balance, which means if your average daily balance dips to $4,999 you revoke the right for a free trip to the ATM.
Some people worry about not having a bank branch nearby, but for the typical bank customer bank branch visits are rare. Like other Internet-only bank options, EverBank provides the ability to do anything you would in a bank branch, except deposit cash. Instead, deposits can be made from your phone, so you can deposit checks anywhere with the Android or iPhone app.
Pros and Cons of EverBank Yield Pledge Checking
Like all checking accounts, EverBank Yield Pledge Checking has both pros and cons. Here are some major benefits and drawbacks compared to the competition.
- Full featured online banking
- Deposit checks from your phone
- ATM fee reimbursement with minimum balance requirement
- No cash deposits
- Fee for out-of-network ATM when minimum balance not met
- Complicated, tiered interest rate structure
What Are the Fees?
For typical banking activity, there are no fees charged for your Yield Pledge Checking account, but there are a few hoops to jump through in order to qualify for all the perks
Yield Pledge Checking has no monthly fee and includes free bill pay. There is no minimum balance requirement to avoid the monthly fee, though a $1,500 deposit is needed to open the account.
EverBank never charges any ATM fees, though to qualify for the reimbursement you must keep an average daily balance of at least $5,000.
If you overdraw your account, you will be charged a $30 non-sufficient funds fee, though you can choose to decline NSF service or link an overdraft line of credit, or just never overdraft, to avoid this charge. If you deposit a bad check, you will have a $10 charge and if you stop a payment, you will be charged $30. If you do opt to keep overdraft service turned on, there is a cap of five overdrafts per day, or $150. After that, transactions will be declined. This policy is actually worse than all of the Big 4 Banks, so if you’re banking with EverBank you need to have overdraft protection.
You may also have to pay fees for infrequent requests such as cashier’s checks, replacing a lost debit card, or wiring funds out of your EverBank account, though there are no fees for an inbound wire.
How Does EverBank Yield Pledge Checking Compare to the Competition?
EverBank does tout being in the top 5% for interest rates, but its tiered structure makes it a bit complicated. As with most banks, EverBank lures you in with an intro rate of 1.40% on all funds under $100,000 in the first six months. Then APY reduces depending on your assets. Less than $10,000 and you’ll be earning 0.85% for the rest of year one. Into year two you’ll only earn 30%. Granted, most banks don’t focus on checking account interest rates and place a stronger emphasis on savings – we recommend you do too.
Ally Bank only offers .10% on balances less than $15,000 in Interest Checking and .60% on balances $15,000 or higher. Charles Schwab only offers 0.06% APY on its High Yield Investor Checking Account and Bank of Internet (Now Axos Bank) offers up to 1.25% APY, but with a rather complicated tiered structure.
EverBank’s Yield Pledge really loses the battle compared to the competition when you stack it up against other bank’s ATM fee offers. Ally, Charles Schwab and Axos Bank all reimburse 100% of ATM fees within the United States, with no minimum account balance requirements. Charles Schwab also reimburses international ATM fees.
EverBank also loses against competition when it comes to overdraft fees. Axos Bank automatically declines overdraft charges without a fee. Charles Schwab and Ally both offer no-fee overdraft protection. Without protection, Ally only charges $9 with a once a day cap. Charles Schwab automatically declines pin-based transactions without charging a fee. But if you wrack up overdraft charges on checks and ACH payments, they will cost $25 each with unlimited fees being charged in a day.
Most large banks now offer a mobile deposit feature and powerful online banking, and EverBank does as well. Features are comparable to any other large online bank such as Capital One 360 or Ally Bank.
You can also link your accounts to an EverBank mortgage loan and extensive investment account options including foreign currency bank accounts and precious metal investments. Most online banks do not offer these investment options, so if you are looking at currency diversification, EverBank is one of your only options in the United States.
How to Sign Up
Head to the EverBank website to begin the simple online application process.
You will need your typical personal information including an address, email address, and social security number. If you’ve lived at your current address for less than three months, you will need an additional proof of address such as a utility bill, bank or credit card statement, or mortgage statement clearly showing your address.
You will be required to submit a $1,500 opening deposit, so have that cash available in a checking account to be transferred into your new account as an opening balance.
If you get stuck or need time to find some required information, you can save your application and return to complete it later.
Is This the Right Account for You?
You know your personal finances better than anyone else, so only you can decide if an EverBank checking account is right for your situation.
If you keep a high balance in your checking account and like the convenience of online only banking, this is a great option and ranks among the top accounts available. Your account will offer the same features and benefits of the largest nationwide banks and regional banks, but with a higher interest rate than you will find at 95% of them.
If you like going into a bank branch and working with a live person or if you need to make frequent cash deposits, this is not your best option, but otherwise EverBank Yield Pledge checking should be able to handle any needs, and you can avoid lots of pesky fees while you’re at it.