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AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Debit Card Review: High Fees Make This Card a Last Resort

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

accountnow prepaid debit

AccountNow is marketed as a prepaid debit card that is safer than cash, easy to load and use, and an alternative to a traditional checking account. But a MagnifyMoney review finds AccountNow’s Gold Visa Prepaid Card carries fees that may make it too prohibitively expensive for most people to use.

The fees associated with this card make it a risky bet for cash-strapped consumers looking for a checking account alternative. While it’s free to signup and activate the card, the monthly maintenance fee ($9.95/month) alone adds up to $119.40 per year. The card has also received quite a few complaints from cardholders with the Better Business Bureau, which raises a red flag.

In this review, we’ll go over the features of the AccountNow prepaid debit card, including the pros and cons. We’ll also get to the bottom of the fee structure and expose any hidden fees this card may have.

Why you should use prepaid debit cards

If you’re worried about overspending or you have a poor history with traditional bank accounts, prepaid debit cards can be an ideal alternative. Prepaid debit cards work similar to bank-issued cards because you can deposit and withdraw money and use the card to make purchases.

However, since you can only spend what you have loaded onto the card, it eliminates the risk of overdrafts and spending more than you can afford.

It’s important to know that not all prepaid debit cards are created equally. There are dozens of options to choose from and some cards carry fees that can quickly become expensive.

Overview of the AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Card

With the AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Card, you can add money to your card through a variety of different methods, shop everywhere and access thousands of different ATMs, send money and pay bills, and earn discounts and rewards.

Fees

While the AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Card may help you avoid overdraft fees that traditional banks have, there are many different fees to consider before signing up. These fees include:

  • Monthly service charge of $9.95
  • ATM withdrawal fees
    • U.S. ATM withdrawals – $2.50 per transaction
    • Non-U.S. ATM withdrawals – $4.95 per transaction
  • Teller cash withdrawal – 3% of amount withdrawn
  • Balance inquiry at ATMs – $1.50
  • Reload at retail locations – up to $4.95 (varies by retailer)
  • Automated Clearing House (ACH) debit fee (charged each time funds are withdrawn from your card account using your account and routing number) – $2.50 per transaction
  • Monthly paper statements – $1 per statement
  • Additional debit card – $10
  • Expedited shipping of replacement card – $25
  • Expedited Bill Pay service – $9.95 (whenever you request to have your funds delivered 1-4 business days faster using the Bill Pay service)
  • Foreign currency conversion – 3% of total transaction amount

According to AccountNow’s listing with the Better Business Bureau, they have hundreds of customer complaints, and many of them are complaints about the fees associated with this prepaid card.

Most customers complained that AccountNow didn’t disclose any of their fees when they signed up and the fees were very inconvenient. Imagine needing to withdraw cash from an ATM or wanting to expedite their Bill Pay service and being faced with an extra fee.

A quality prepaid debit card shouldn’t cost you much money each month.

Direct Deposit

While AccountNow states you can get your paycheck up to two days earlier when you sign up for direct deposit, that is not a guarantee.

How soon you receive your paycheck depends on your employer’s payment processing system and how soon they notify the bank of direct deposit paychecks. Prepaid card holders with AccountNow do receive account and routing numbers to set up direct deposit with an employer, but you will have to verify with your specific employer to make sure you can set up direct deposit. Speaking with them directly may also give you a better idea about how soon you’ll receive your funds.

Options to Load Money onto Your Card

Direct Deposit

Direct deposit is free to set up, and you can get paid up to two days faster (depending on your employer’s payroll process and timing). When you sign up for direct deposit, you may also qualify for a $15 bonus.

Use a Loading Network

You can also add cash by using a cash load network like Green Dot’s MoneyPak and Reload at the Register, Western Union, Visa ReadyLink, or MoneyGram. You can find many of these loading networks at locations like Walmart, 7-Eleven, CVS, Kmart, Walgreens, UPS, and more.

With any of these methods, your money will be available within 30 minutes. However, it’s important to keep in mind some stores may charge a small fee to load your card with one of these networks.

Using MoneyGram may be the most affordable option because most stores that offer MoneyGram only charge $3.95 to load your card.

Deposit a Check

If you have a government, payroll, or personal check, you can deposit it for free from your smartphone by using the Ingo Money App. When you use the app to deposit a check, funds are available immediately for a small fee or within 10 days for free.

Making Purchases and Withdrawing Money

You can use your AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Card to make purchases anywhere Visa cards are accepted. You can use your card to shop online, reserve rental cars, pay for travel, and more.

AccountNow has a Visa Zero Liability policy. As long as you carry this card, it protects you from unauthorized purchases that can occur as a result of identity theft.

When it comes to withdrawing cash from your card, you can select any ATM, but you may be subject to a fee.

To reduce ATM fees, AccountNow suggests visiting surcharge-free ATMs, or you can request cash back when making purchases at the store.

Options to Send Money and Pay Bills

Paying bills is easy with the AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Card because cardholders can simply log on to their bill company’s online portal and enter their card number to pay bills online, or they can use the AccountNow Bill Pay feature to plan ahead and create a list of monthly bills and the due dates so they can be automatically paid each month.

Discounts and Rewards

If you set up direct deposit, you can get $15 credited to your account. In order to qualify for this offer, within six months after being approved for your AccountNow prepaid card, you must have at least $500 deposited into your account via direct deposit for two consecutive months.

AccountNow also has a refer-a-friend program where you can earn $20 and your friend can earn $10 when they sign up for an account using your referral code and add at least $10 to their card within 60 days of applying and signing up.

How to Get Approved

To open an account for a prepaid debit card with AccountNow, you need to be at least 18 years old. You can go to their website to sign up online or call the company at 866-925-2036 to sign up by phone.

The application process is free, and you need the following information: your name, phone number, email, address, mailing address (not a P.O. box), and Social Security number.

AccountNow also states on their website there is a 100% approval rate (subject to verification), and there are no credit checks or activation fees.

How to Access Your Account

Once you open an account and receive your prepaid Visa card, you can go to the Customer Center to view your account balance, transaction details, and user information.

You can also get information about your account on your cell phone via SMS alerts. Carrier message and data rates may apply, but you can set up automatic notifications to receive text messages any time money is deposited into your account.

Fine Print

The terms of this card come with quite a bit of fine print, and you’ll want to review all of it before opening an account.

Fees

Applying for and activating your card is free. It takes 5-7 days for your card to arrive after you sign up. There is no minimum balance requirement, but there is a monthly fee of $9.95, which is high compared to other leading prepaid cards. AccountNow also provides free monthly statements, but charges $1 for paper statements.

Loading Money onto Your Card and Making Withdrawals

The maximum daily limit is $10,000 for direct deposit and $1,500 for cash loads. Third-party money transfer services used to load funds to your card may have their own daily, weekly, or monthly limits on the frequency or amount of cash you can load.

AccountNow encourages cardholders to view their specific cardholder agreement for specific details.

There is a daily limit on how much you can withdraw from your card as well. AccountNow says these limits may vary and recommends cardholders refer to their specific cardholder agreement for more details.

Transaction fees and usage limits can also change without prior notice, except as required by law.

Using Bill Pay

Cardholders can make payments to anyone in the U.S and U.S. territories. However, AccountNow discourages people from making the following payments:

  • Tax payments to the Internal Revenue Service or any state or other government agency
  • Court-ordered payments, such as alimony or child support
  • Payments to insurance companies

Fees may apply for expedited requests.

If you are setting up automatic Bill Pay, you can choose from the following options:

  • Weekly
  • Every other week (payment will be made 14 days apart)
  • Twice a month (your first payment will be the same day every month, with the second payment 15 days later)
  • Monthly
  • Every two months
  • Every three months
  • Every six months

Pros and Cons

Pro: 100% approval rate and no credit check as long as you can verify your identity.

Con: Monthly fee of $9.95.

Pro: No minimum balance requirement, but if you don’t at least have enough money in your account to cover the monthly fee, it will go negative.

Con: Low ATM withdrawal limits.

Pro: Using the card is safer than cash because your purchases are protected.

Con: Expedited fees to pay bills faster or clear deposited checks quicker can be inconvenient and costly.

Pro: Ability to set up direct deposit and receive a $15 bonus.

Con: ATM fees are unavoidable unless you get cash back or find a surcharge-free ATM.

Pro: Automatic Bill Pay.

Con: Many different fees to consider that can add up, such as calling customer service or checking your balance.

Pro: Referral bonuses for signing up friends.

Con: Daily limit for direct deposit and cash deposits.

Other Prepaid Card Options

Given the pros and cons of the AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Card, their high fees overshadow most of the benefits leaving much to be desired in terms of a good prepaid card. Below are two alternative options with much lower fees.

Kaiku Visa Prepaid Card

Kaiku is a prepaid Visa card that allows you to load money onto your card easily and even transfer funds from PayPal and Amazon. The Kaiku card has a $3 monthly maintenance fee that is waived as long as you load at least $750 onto the card each month.

There are also no ATM fees when using this card as long as you use in-network Allpoint ATMs.

American Express Serve

American Express has three different Visa prepaid cards, including a cashback card that provides cardholders with unlimited 1% cash back for every dollar spent in-store and online.

American Express Serve’s basic card provides free early direct deposit, free online bill pay, and free ATM withdrawals at over 24,000 MoneyPass ATMs, along with helpful tools to help you manage your money.

While the American Express Serve cashback card has a $5.95 monthly fee, the basic American Express Serve prepaid card has a $1 monthly fee that is waived as long as you set up direct deposit for at least $500 every month.

Final Word

The AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Card seems like a last resort option for people who don’t qualify for a regular checking account at a traditional bank and want to control their spending.

If you want to deposit money for a large purchase or withdraw cash from the ATM, you may not like encountering some of their daily deposit or withdrawal fees either.

Overall, the fact that cardholders can pay their bills easily on time, set up direct deposit, earn small rewards, and use their prepaid card just like a bank debit card to make purchases at their favorite stores and online can make this card look attractive.

However, there are much better prepaid cards on the market with lower fees and less limitations even if you have a poor banking history.

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.

Chonce Maddox
Chonce Maddox |

Chonce Maddox is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Chonce at [email protected]

Advertiser Disclosure

Best of, Reviews

The Top 7 Second Chance Bank Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Some banks don’t like giving second chances to customers who have less-than-stellar financial histories, especially since it could expose them to expensive risks. A record of bounced checks or debit card overdrafts could easily lock you out of the conveniences of modern banking.

Fortunately, banks also like making money, and some offer special “second chance” accounts that minimize their risk while allowing consumers to stay in the banking system. A second chance bank account gives customers with troubled records a fresh opportunity to demonstrate they can bank responsibly.

When it comes to a second chance account, fees are an unfortunate reality. But some accounts offer customers a better deal than others, and we’ve researched our database to find the second chance accounts with the most reasonable fee structures, while also factoring in whether they provide online and mobile banking, and how accessible accounts are throughout the country.

Account Name

Monthly Fee

Minimum to open

Availability

Chime$0$0Nationwide
Peoples Bank Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking$4.95$30Nationwide
GoBank Checking Account$8.95, can be waived if you meet requirements$20Nationwide
Radius Essential Checking$0$10Nationwide
Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts$10, can be waived if you meet requirements$2539 states (plus Washington D.C.) that have a Wells Fargo location.
BBVA Easy Checking$13.95$25Nationwide, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii
Woodforest National Bank Second Chance Checking$9.95 monthly maintenance fee if you use a direct deposit; $11.95 without a direct deposit$25Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia

Second chance account basics

With a second chance bank account, customers shut out of traditional bank accounts get the opportunity to win their way back into a bank’s good graces. Similar to credit bureaus, financial services company ChexSystems maintains records of consumers’ banking histories. Bounced checks, overdrawn accounts or instances of fraud can all end up on your ChexSystems record; if you accumulate enough black marks on ChexSystems, banks could deny your application to open a new account.

Because second chance accounts are meant for customers who have demonstrated bad banking behavior, some lack features of traditional accounts, such as overdraft protection. In the eyes of the bank, you represent too much of a risk for them to extend you such courtesies.

Nobody likes paying fees, and we generally advise consumers to avoid needless banking fees due to the many fee-free banking options available. But fees are the price you pay for access to banking when you have a poor record. Plus, the second chance accounts listed below give you access to online and mobile banking, which is always a plus.

The 7 best second chance bank accounts

1. Chime

Chime

Fintech app developer Chime is not a bank, however their online checking account product is open to everybody no matter how bad your record is with ChexSystems. Chime does not check on applicants with ChexSystems, plus they offer lots of non-traditional features to help you get your financial life back on track. Best of all is the fact that they charge no fees at all, and require neither a minimum opening deposit or a minimum balance.

Chime account features:

  • No opening balance or minimum balance requirements.
  • Set up direct deposit for your paycheck, and the funds from each pay period will be deposited as soon as the transaction is initiated, giving you access to your pay up to two days earlier than conventional checking accounts.
  • Automatic savings features to help you save in your connected Chime Savings account.
  • The app sends you daily bank account balance notifications, and sends transaction alerts every time you use your debit card.
  • You can disable the debit card from the app.
  • Send 15 fee-free “friend transfers” P2P payments each month.
  • Nominal 0.01% APY on all deposits.

Fees to watch out for:

  • Chime’s service is almost entirely fee-free: No monthly charges, no ACH transfer fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no ATM fees if you withdraw funds from MoneyPass or Visa Plus Alliance network ATMs.
  • If you make an ATM withdrawal outside of these networks, there is a $2.50 fee.
  • Overdrafts are not permitted, so there is never an overdraft fee.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Chime’s secure website

Member FDIC

2. Peoples Bank Cash Solutions Second Chance Checking

Peoples Bank Cash Solutions

This Texas-based bank offers a second chance bank account that is available nationwide, and so long as you don’t have a record of bank or checking fraud on your record, you should be approved for this account. You’ll need to deposit at least $30 before the bank activates your account and provides you with checks and a debit card.

Fees to watch out for:

  • $4.95 monthly maintenance fee
  • $27.50 overdraft fee
  • $27.50 nonsufficient funds fee
  • $3.95 printed statement fee (which can be avoided with electronic statements)
  • $2.00 ATM withdrawal fee at machines not owned by Peoples Bank
  • $25 stop payment fee
  • $20 account closure fee (if within 90 days of opening account)

LEARN MORE Secured

on Peoples Bank Cash Solutions’s secure website

Member FDIC

3. GoBank Checking Account

GoBank

A brand of Green Dot Bank, GoBank does not run a background check for new checking customers on ChexSystems, and it does not require a credit check. The account comes with a free debit card and fee-free access to a large network of ATMs, although be warned that out-of-network ATM withdrawals carry a $3 fee, on top of whatever the ATM operator charges. GoBank’s $8.95 monthly fee is high. However, this fee can be avoided with a monthly $500 direct deposit.

Account Features:

  • A free debit card
  • 24/7 mobile and online banking
  • Simple budgeting and spending tracker tools
  • Mobile check deposits

Fees to watch out for:

  • $2.95 sign-up fee, waived if you set up your account online
  • $8.95 monthly maintenance fee, waived each month your account receives payroll or government direct deposits totaling at least $500
  • Fees of up to $4.95 charged by retailers to make cash deposits
  • $3 out-of-network ATM withdrawal fee
  • $5 card replacement fee
  • Foreign transaction fee is 3% total transaction

LEARN MORE Secured

on GoBank’s secure website

Member FDIC

4. Radius Essential Checking

Radius Bank

Products from online bank Radius are available to customers nationwide, and accessibility is a strong point in its favor. This second chance bank account only requires customers to deposit $10 to open an Essential Checking account, which is lower than some other accounts on this list.

Account Features:

  • A free debit card
  • 24/7 mobile and online banking
  • Access to Radius’s budgeting and personal finance tracking apps
  • Eligibility to upgrade to Radius’s Reward Checking account after 12 months of positive banking history

Fees to watch out for:

  • $9 monthly maintenance fee
  • $25 per item non-sufficient funds fee (waived on all overdraft items $5 or less)
  • $5 daily overdraft fee

LEARN MORE Secured

on Radius Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

5. Wells Fargo Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts

Wells Fargo Bank

Wells Fargo’s Opportunity Checking and Savings Accounts are tailor-made for folks with a lackluster credit or banking history. With a $25 opening deposit, you’ll get access to a second chance bank account that offers most of the bells and whistles of a traditional bank account. The account does come with a monthly fee, although it’s possible to waive it if you meet a few requirements (see below).

Account features:

  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • Free transfers are available between Opportunity Checking and Savings accounts
  • You can choose to opt into overdraft protection
  • Free access to bill pay
  • “My Spending Report with Budget Watch” is available if you want to pay extra attention to where your money is going
  • Free debit card with access to more than 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs throughout the country

Fees to watch out for:

  • $10 monthly service fee, waived if any of the following are true:
    • You make 10 posted debit card purchases or payments
    • You keep a minimum daily balance of $1,500 in the account
    • You receive $500 total in direct deposits each statement cycle
  • $35 overdraft and returned item fee
  • $12.50 overdraft protection transfer fee
  • $15 fee for excess activity (exceeding withdrawals from your savings account)
  • 3% foreign transaction fee with your debit card
  • $5 for money orders
  • $31 for stop payments

LEARN MORE Secured

on Wells Fargo Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

6. BBVA Easy Checking

BBVA
BBVA’s Easy Checking product is available as a second chance account to customers in the Lower 48 (sorry, residents of Alaska and Hawaii, you’ll have to look elsewhere). Note that you must open the account at one of the bank’s branch locations, or by phone outside of the branch network footprint; you cannot open this account via their website. There is a $13.95 monthly service charge to maintain the account. You can request that BBVA upgrade your account one of their regular checking products after 12 months — and ditch that high monthly fee — so long as the Easy Checking account remains active and has a positive balance.

BBVA Easy Checking features::

  • Online and mobile banking, customized alerts, and a free debit card (with option to personalize)
  • $25 minimum deposit to open
  • Free BBVA ATM withdrawals

Fees to watch out for:

  • $3 fee for out-of-network ATM withdrawals
  • $38 insufficient funds fee ($32 in California)
  • $15 deposit item returned fee
  • $32 stop payment fee made over the phone or in person ($30 in California); $25 if made online
  • No fee for closing your account within 180 days of opening

LEARN MORE Secured

on BBVA’s secure website

Member FDIC

7. Woodforest National Bank Second Chance Checking

Woodforest National Bank

This regional bank has a checking account aptly named Second Chance Checking, to help people rejected by other banks access — provided they live in one of the 17 states where a physical branch exists and can meet the $25 minimum opening deposit requirement. Those states are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Fees to watch out for:

  • $9.95 monthly maintenance fee if you use a direct deposit (or $11.95 without a direct deposit), $3.00 monthly paper statement fee (which can be avoided if you sign up for electronic statements)
  • $9 one-time account set-up fee
  • $2.50 ATM withdrawal fee when used at a non-Woodforest network ATM
  • $15 debit card set-up fee
  • $29 overdraft fee (for each charge)

LEARN MORE Secured

on Woodforest National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Alternatives to a second chance bank account

Get a prepaid debit card

Tired of the traditional banking experience? You could opt for a prepaid debit card instead. With a prepaid card, you can load money onto it and spend at merchants that accept major credit and debit cards. But if you try and spend more money than what’s on the card, the transaction is declined — although this prevents you from accruing any overdraft or insufficient funds fees. This is useful if you feel you may still have trouble managing your spending and need an extra layer of security to prevent you from getting into trouble.

Some prepaid cards offer extra perks like advance direct deposit and free ATMs so long as you stay in their network.

Open a secured credit card

You may also have better luck applying for a secured credit card if your credit score is in good enough shape. Usually, this requires depositing cash with the lender, who then gives you the credit card for the same amount. Each month that you make on-time payments, the bank will report that good behavior to the credit bureaus, helping you boost your credit score. At the end of the payment period (generally 12 months, though it varies by banks), you’ll get the full deposit back.

Secured cards can come with high interest rates and many don’t feature the enticing rewards other high-end cards do, but they get the basic job done for consumers who don’t need a card with a high credit limit.

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.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at [email protected]

James Ellis
James Ellis |

James Ellis is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email James here

Advertiser Disclosure

Reviews, Strategies to Save

American Express® Personal Savings Account Review: A Solid Choice for Online Banking

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

American Express Personal Savings Account

This account is a great option for anyone who wants the flexibility of earning a high interest rate without the withdrawal restrictions that come with a CD.

APY (%)

1.90% Variable

Minimum Deposit Amount to Open Account

$0

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

$1

Permitted Monthly Withdrawals

6

Annual Fee

$0

FDIC Insured?

Yes

Mobile App?

No

Transfer Time

Deposits will be available within five business days.
Transfers from savings to a checking account
take one to three business days.

In an American Express® Personal Savings account, your money earns 1.90% variable APY. It’s currently one of the best rates you can earn from an online savings account. The account does not have a monthly fee and they don’t require a minimum deposit, which makes it an affordable account to open. You will have to fund your account within 60 days of applying, and the FDIC insures your deposits up to full legal limit.

How the American Express Personal Savings account works

The American Express savings account compounds daily at a variable 1.90% APY, and interest earned is credited to your account on your monthly cycle date. The rate is variable, so American Express can raise or lower the interest rate at any time without notice to you before or after the savings account is opened.

Account holders must fund the account within 60 days, which you can do by setting up a bank transfer or direct deposit to the savings account, as well as by sending a check.

What we like about the American Express Personal Savings account

  • High interest rate The 1.90% variable APY is better than what you would earn putting your money in the accounts most brick-and-mortar banks offer. While there are higher rates to be had, American Express has a good offer.
  • Automatic savings It’s easy to make saving automatic when you have an online savings account. With the American Express Personal Savings account, you can easily set up a recurring deposit to pull funds from an external savings or checking account. To make it even easier to resist touching your savings, you can even have a portion of your paycheck directly deposited to the account.
  • Discourages spending With your money in an online account like the American Express Personal Savings account, you can only get your cash after making a transfer to an external checking account to which you have debit card access. The inconvenience makes it that much more difficult to spend your savings.

What we don’t like about the American Express Personal Savings account

  • No ATM card Not having card access is great when you need to prevent yourself from spending your savings, but the hassle of setting up and making an ACH transfer from your online American Express Personal Savings account can be problematic in a pinch. (American Express says transfers will take one to three business days for funds to become available in your checking account.) If you’re worried about this, you can instead turn to an online bank like Synchrony Bank that makes it easier to access your savings by issuing an ATM card tied to your high yield savings account.
  • Variable interest rate The annual yield rate American Express is offering on this savings account is high at 1.90%, but the bank can change that rate at any time for any reason, as the rate is variable. If you’re looking for a more predictable rate of return, consider a certificate of deposit.
  • Limited withdrawals Because this is a high yield savings account, banks are limited by Federal Reserve Board Regulation D to a maximum of six withdrawals and/or transfers from your online savings account per statement cycle without penalty. With that in mind, before you decide how much you’ll put away each month, make sure it’s not more than you can afford to, so you aren’t repeatedly reaching into your savings.

How the American Express Personal Savings account compares

As indicated earlier, the American Express Personal Savings account offer is strong, but how does it compare to other savings accounts?

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
American Express National Bank
High Yield Savings Account from American Express National Bank

1.90%

$1

LEARN MORE Secured

on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Partner Offer

Member FDIC

Synchrony Bank – 1.90% APY and no minimum balance

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Synchrony Bank
High Yield Savings from Synchrony Bank

1.90%

$0

LEARN MORE Secured

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

With $0 to open the account, you can earn an annual yield of 1.90% on savings account balances through Synchrony Bank and there are no monthly fees.

Savings accounts through Synchrony interest is compounded daily and is credited to the account monthly. An ATM card is offered through this account and you can still easily transfer or deposit funds through an ACH transaction or online.

Goldman Sachs Bank USA – 1.90% APY* and $0 minimum to open

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Goldman Sachs Bank USA
High-yield Online Savings Account from Goldman Sachs Bank USA

1.90%

$0

LEARN MORE Secured

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC


Goldman Sachs Bank USA currently offers an APY of 1.90% on their Marcus Online Savings Account. You don’t need to deposit a minimum amount to open the account, but you will need to have a minimum balance amount of $1* to earn the APY. Interest on the Marcus Savings Account starts accruing the business day you deposit funds into the account. Goldman Sachs Bank USA doesn’t apply any service charges to their savings accounts.

Barclays Bank – 1.90% APY and no minimum balance

Institution
APY
Minimum Account Balance to Earn APY
Barclays
Online Savings Account from Barclays

1.90%

$0

LEARN MORE Secured

on Barclays’s secure website

Member FDIC


With $0 to open the account, you can earn an annual yield of 1.90% on savings account balances through Barclays. While there are no monthly fees, an account that has a balance that is less than $1 for 180 days or more may be closed by Barclays. Savings accounts through Barlcays will start accruing interest the day your initial deposit posts to your account, and interest is compounded daily. While an ATM card is not offered through this account, you can easily transfer or deposit funds through an ACH transaction or online through your account.

American Express CD Rates

These CDs are great for those who don’t have a lot of money to deposit, but the rates are slightly lower than the best CD rates available.

Term

APY

6 months

0.40%

12 months

0.55%

18 months

1.90%

24 months

2.00%

36 months

2.05%

48 months

2.10%

60 months

2.15%

CDs from American Express do not come with a minimum deposit amount. You’re free to deposit as little or as much as you want to begin earning interest on any of its CD terms. This is great for individuals who don’t have a lot of money to deposit in CDs offered by other online banks. The downside is that you won’t be receiving as high of an APY as you could at other online banks. While the rates aren’t terribly low, they just don’t compare to most of the best CD rates currently available.

How CDs offered by American Express work

American Express offers terms spanning from 6 months to 5 years. Interested is credited on a monthly basis and compounds until it matures. You can choose to have the interest transferred out of the CD and into the American Express Personal Savings Account on a monthy basis, transferred into a linked account, or mailed to you monthly, quarterly, or annually via a check. If you touch the principal, however, you’ll incur an early withdrawal penalty. The penalty is based on your CDs term:

  • For CDs with a term of less than 12 months: 90 days worth of interest
  • For CDs with a term of 12 months, but less than 48 months: 270 days worth of interest
  • For CDs with a term of 48 months: 365 days worth of interest
  • For CDs with a term of 60 months: 540 days worth of interest

If you’re able to keep your principal and interest within the CD, you’ll receive notice, either by mail or email, that your CD is about to mature in ten days. If you don’t tell American Express that you do not wish to renew your CD, they’ll automatically renew the CD with the same term unless they no longer offer that term. You can call American Express any time before your maturity date to tell them that you do not wish to have your CD automatically renewed.

Online banks vs. brick-and-mortar banks

Online banks have been having a moment not only because of the rise in mobile banking among consumers, but also because they can simply offer consumers more benefits because they don’t have to worry about as many overhead expenses as brick-and-mortar banks. An August 2017 study by DepositAccounts.com, another subsidiary of LendingTree, shows the annual percentage yield internet banks offer on savings accounts is more than four times what brick-and-mortar banks or credit unions offer. The same analysis shows annual percentage yields on internet bank savings accounts have surged 29 percent since January 2016.

Simply put, the main benefit of putting your money in an online savings account is your money does more for you. To show this, DepositAccounts provided an example, based on the average APYs in those savings categories: If a saver were to put $100,000 in a savings account and leave it alone for 10 years, they would earn $8,338.79 at an online bank versus $1,747.04 in a brick-and-mortar bank and $1,895.28 in a credit union, assuming a fixed APY.

Overall Review of the American Express Personal Savings Account and CDs

Overall, the American Express Personal Savings Account is a solid online savings option. The interest rate they offer is high and the features of the account are comparable to other online banks’ savings accounts. While there are certain aspects of the Personal Savings account that could use improvement, other online banks present the same obstacles. As was mentioned earlier, the American Express Personal Savings account is one of the best options available.

The CDs American Express offers, on the other hand, aren’t quite as good. The 6 and 12-month CDs are nowhere near the best rates offered by other online banks and the 18 – 60-month CDs fall short of the other rates offered. The only feature that makes American Express stand out from most of the other online banks is that this bank doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open an account or start earning interest. If you’re not quite ready to deposit a huge chunk of money into a locked account, you may want to start out with on of the CDs offered by American Express.

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Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at [email protected]