Advertiser Disclosure

Reviews

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA 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.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s checking account options

Better Than Free Checking

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s entry-level, no-fee checking account has a few neat perks.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35, up to $210 a day; one fee waived per year; free with overdraft protection

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s free checking account has no minimum opening deposit or monthly fee. Customers have access to over 50,000 fee-free ATMs in the CO-OP, MoneyPass, and SUM networks. Also, Better Than Free Checking offers the same benefits that all the credit union’s checking account customers enjoy, including:

  • Visa debit card with EMV chip technology
  • Free online bill pay
  • Online and mobile banking
  • Free mobile check deposits via an app
  • Overdraft protection transfers from a savings account
  • Access to the Stash Your Cash program, which rounds up purchase amounts to the nearest dollar and deposits the excess into an Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union savings account
  • MyPlus Rewards points for debit card transactions

The MyPlusRewards™ program earns cardholders 1 point for every $6 in debit card transactions, or 2 points in any month with 30 or more such transactions. Customers can also earn 1.25 points per $1 spent with a Premier Select Rewards Visa®, or 1 point per $1 spent with a Visa® Platinum Rewards card. Points can be used for various rewards, ranging from charitable donations and gift cards to travel, merchandise, cash back, fee reversals and rate reductions. Terms apply.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Interest Reward Checking

If you plan to keep at least $200 in checking, this account at least pays a little interest.
APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY
0.13%$200
0.10%$25,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $200
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $6; waived with balance of at least $200
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35, up to $210 a day; one fee waived per year; free with overdraft protection

Interest Reward Checking requires a higher opening deposit than the Better Than Free Checking account at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, but all balances at that level or higher earn interest. The account charges a modest monthly fee, but that fee is easily waived with a balance at least as high as the opening deposit requirement. Beyond these differences, the account is very similar to the credit union’s free checking account, from the lack of an ATM fee to the high overdraft fee that is waived with overdraft protection. The account carries all the added benefits offered by the free checking account, from online and mobile banking to the Stash Your Cash and MyPlus Rewards™ programs.

How to get Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts

You can open both Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union checking accounts online. You’ll need to upload a photo of a valid ID, such as your driver’s license, state ID or passport. You’ll also need to provide your Social Security number and a source of funds for the account, such as your savings account number or a credit or debit card.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

magnifying glass

How Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union offers a limited roster of checking accounts, but they all land in the low-fee camp, with either no monthly service charges or ones that are easily avoidable. The accounts have either no or low minimum balance requirements, and they carry no ATM fees. But only one account pays interest, and the rate is below the national average for checking accounts. Those looking for the best available national checking account rates can find much better options elsewhere.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s savings account options

Membership Savings

Opening a Membership Savings account is required for membership at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union.
APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY
1.00%$10
0.10%$500+
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35, up to $210 a day

Membership Savings is a basic savings account. For a small opening deposit and no monthly fee, account holders gain membership into the credit union and have access to an interest-bearing savings account that has no ATM fees.

Interest is paid in two tiers, but the highest rates are reserved for deposits of $500 or less. Interest accrues daily and is paid monthly. Certain withdrawals are limited by federal Regulation D up to six a month. Excess withdrawals are not permitted. Overdraft fees are high and cannot be reduced through overdraft protection.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Shares II Savings

The Shares II Savings account is an additional basic savings account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35, up to $210 a day

Customers looking to open additional basic savings accounts beyond the Membership Shares account can look towards the Shares II Savings account. This account carries the same fee structure as the Membership Savings account, with no monthly fees and no ATM fees. But watch out for a high overdraft fee that cannot be waived. Withdrawals from the Shares II Savings account are also limited to six a month. But the Shares II Savings account doesn’t offer the higher interest rate paid on balances of $500 or less that can be found with the Membership Savings account. Customers are allowed to open as many Shares II Savings accounts as they would like.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

WINcentive Savings

A unique, lottery-type account offered to residents of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35, up to $210 per day

The WINcentive Savings account is essentially a basic savings account with a major twist. Every month that account holders increase their savings balance by at least $25, they’ll earn an entry (up to four a month) in a statewide drawing. The grand prize is $5,000, and drawings are held monthly, quarterly and annually. On top of these drawings, Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union also holds its own monthly, quarterly and annual draws, increasing the opportunity to win.

How to get Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts

You can open any of Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts online. As with the bank’s other accounts, you’ll need to provide your Social Security number, funding source and a copy of a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, state ID or passport.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

magnifying glass

How Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

Except for the relatively high interest rate paid on balances of $500 or less in the Membership Savings account, all savings accounts at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union pay the same low interest rate, which falls below the national average savings rate. The enhanced rate paid for small balances in the Membership Savings account is more of a competitor with the best rates available on savings accounts nationwide, but it still falls short of those lofty levels. On the plus side, none of the savings accounts carries a monthly maintenance fee.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s CD account options

Certificates

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union has standard offerings, plus a CD designed for people just starting to save.
APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
1.25%$5003 months
1.35%$5006 months
2.00%$50012 months
1.50%$112 month Wahoo
1.75%$10012 month Builder
2.50%
$50018 months
2.50%$50024 months
2.25%$50030 months
2.50%$50036 months
2.75%$50048 months
2.75%$50060 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $500 for most accounts; $1 for Wahoo CD; $100 for Builder CD
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $500 for most accounts; $1 for Wahoo CD; $100 for Builder CD
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ interest for terms 12 months or less; 180 days’ interest for terms of 13 to 36 months; 365 days’ interest for terms greater than 36 months

Basic Certificates at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union have a $500 minimum and terms from three to 60 months. Then the credit union has two additional products designed for people with smaller opening deposits.

Certificate Builder CDs have a 12-month term but allow for unlimited contributions until maturity. The minimum balance for these CDs is just $100.

Wahoo CDs have the smallest minimum deposit at just $1. Wahoo CDs have 12-month terms, but total contributions are limited to $25,000.

For all CDs at the credit union, interest accrues daily and is paid monthly. Likewise, all CDs are subject to the early withdrawal penalty outlined above.

How to get Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s CD accounts

You can open any Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union CD online. Applicants must provide their Social Security number and funding source, as well as upload a copy of their government-issued ID.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

magnifying glass

How Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s CD accounts compare

Nearly all the CDs at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union pay rates above the national average. The exceptions are the Certificate Builder and Wahoo CDs, which pay below-average rates but carry special features. None of the rates at the credit union is competitive with the best CD rates available around the country.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s money market account options

Capitol Money Market

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s entry-level money market account has the smallest minimum deposit.
APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY
0.75%$2,000
0.80%$5,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: $35, up to $210 a day

A traditional money market account, the Capitol Money Market account carries a $2,000 minimum opening deposit requirement and has no monthly fees. Interest accrues daily and compounds monthly, with deposits of $5,000+ earning the highest rates. The account has check-writing privileges but no ATM access. Certain withdrawals are limited by Regulation D up to six a month.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

A+ Money Market

The A+ Money Market account pays higher yields but requires larger deposits.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.00%$10,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $20; waived with $10,000 balance
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: $35, up to $210 a day
The second tier in Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s money market lineup is occupied by the A+ Money Market account. This account carries the same basic features as the entry-level Capitol Money Market, but it carries a higher minimum opening deposit requirement and pays a higher interest rate. The A+ Money Market account also has a relatively large monthly fee that can be avoided by maintaining the minimum opening deposit balance. As with the Capitol Money Market account, there is no ATM access with this account, only check-writing. Withdrawals are limited to six a month. The overdraft fee remains high, with no overdraft protection services offered.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Nova Money Market

The top-tier money market account offered at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union pays above-average rates.
APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY
1.25%$25,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $20; waived with $25,000 balance
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: $35, up to $210 a day

The Nova Money Market account at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union is for customers with high balances seeking the highest yields. The account has a very high minimum opening deposit requirement, and it also carries a steep monthly fee that can only be avoided by maintaining this high balance. Interest is only earned if the account balance remains above the opening deposit requirement. You can write up to six checks per month in this account, but there is no ATM access. Overdraft fees remain high, with no overdraft protection program reducing the fee.

How to get Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts

Only the Capitol Money Market account can be opened online. Unlike most other accounts at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, you’ll have to visit a branch to open an A+ Money Market or a Nova Money Market account. You’ll need your Social Security number, a funding source and a color copy or picture of your valid ID, such as a passport, driver’s license or state ID, to open an account.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

magnifying glass

How Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

All three of Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts provide standard services, such as check-writing. But none of the accounts has ATM access, and there is no way to reduce the high overdraft fee. Fees can be avoided, but only by maintaining high balances with the A+ and Nova Money Market accounts. But yields are above average for all accounts, with the Nova Money Market paying more than double the national average. Even the best rates, however, fall well short of the best available money market rates in the nation.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s IRA options

IRA Savings Account

The IRA Savings account is a parking place for money that is not invested elsewhere, such as in the credit union’s CDs.
APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY
0.50%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0.01
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

The IRA Savings account is where Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union customers can keep money that is not deployed elsewhere. There’s no minimum deposit or monthly fee, but there is also no ATM access. Interest is paid on all balances — at a rate that triples the credit union’s standard savings rate.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

IRA Certificates

Only a sampling of the CDs available in non-IRA accounts are IRA options at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
2.00%$50012 months
1.50%$112 month Wahoo
1.75%$10012 month Builder
2.75%$50036 months
3.00%$50060 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $500 for most products; $1 for Wahoo CD; $100 for Builder CD
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $500 for most products; $1 for Wahoo CD; $100 for Builder CD
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ interest for terms 12 months or less; 180 days’ interest for terms of 13 to 36 months; 365 days’ interest for terms greater than 36 months

Features of CDs in IRAs at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union are the same as in the credit union’s taxable accounts. But the CD roster is limited in the credit union’s IRAs. There are only three regular CD terms of 12, 36 and 60 months. The 12 month Wahoo and Certificate Builder CDs are still available in IRA format.

Basic Certificates still have a $500 minimum. Certificate Builder CDs, which allow unlimited contributions, have a $100 minimum opening deposit. Wahoo CDs carry a small $1 minimum but limit deposits to $25,000.

For all IRA CDs, interest accrues daily and is paid monthly. IRA CDs carry the same early withdrawal penalties as the credit union’s non-IRA CDs.

How to get Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s IRA products

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union IRAs cannot be opened online. You’ll need to bring your Social Security number, valid ID and funding source to a branch to open an IRA.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s secure website

NCUA Insured

magnifying glass

How Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s IRA products compare

Most IRA CDs at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union pay rates above the national average. The exceptions are the Certificate Builder and Wahoo CDs, which pay below-average rates in exchange for their special features. On the whole, the IRA CD rates at the credit union can’t compete with the best available IRA CD rates.

Overall review of Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union’s products

Customers looking for free or low-fee checking accounts will appreciate the roster at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union since both accounts offer either no monthly service charges or ones that can be avoided with small balances. Like all Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union accounts, these checking accounts carry no ATM fees.

People seeking the highest possible yields on their accounts might want to take a pass on the checking accounts and instead move to the savings, CD or money market accounts. All these account types offer at least one option that tops the national average for APY. The best account, from a rate-paying perspective, is the Membership Savings account, which competes on a national level with APY — but only for balances of $500 or less. The credit union’s standard CDs and money market accounts all pay above-average rates across the board, although even higher rates can still be found at other institutions.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union offers a respectable lineup of accounts in all categories that are likely to appeal to the average customer. Many rates are above average, meaning local customers who appreciate the credit union’s regional focus may be happy here. But yield hunters might want to keep shopping for a more interest-oriented institution.

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

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.

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.

Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

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