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Affinity Plus 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, statements 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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
1.00%$5003 months
1.35%$5006 months
1.50%$50012 months
0.85%$112 month Wahoo
1.10%$10012 month Builder
1.75%
$50018 months
1.75%$50024 months
2.00%$50030 months
2.00%$50036 months
2.25%$50048 months
3.00%$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.

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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
0.50%$2,000
0.55%$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.

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A+ Money Market

The A+ Money Market account pays higher yields but requires larger deposits.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.75%$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.

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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
1.00%$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.

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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.

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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
1.50%$50012 months
0.85%$112 month Wahoo
1.10%$10012 month Builder
2.00%$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.

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

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Review of Edward Jones CD Rates

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements 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.

What are brokered CDs?

Edward Jones offers brokered CDs, which are a bit different from the standard bank-issued CDs that most investors are familiar with. Bank-issued CDs, as the name implies, are issued by individual banks for their customers. Since Edward Jones is a broker and not a bank, it cannot issue its own CDs. Instead, the firm offers a range of CDs issued by other banks and thrifts but sold via Edward Jones.

For the casual investor, it can be hard at first glance to tell the difference between bank-issued and brokered CDs. However, there are some important distinctions:

  • No early withdrawal penalties: Brokered CDs don’t have early withdrawal penalties. If you need to get out of your CD, you can usually sell it back to another investor through a brokerage firm. This means that brokered CDs carry some additional risk, as the price of these CDs may fluctuate on the open market.
  • Higher APYs: You can often get higher yields on a brokered CD than with a bank-issued CD. Brokers are able to negotiate higher CD rates since they can guarantee a large pool of buyers to CD issuers. In the era of online banking, however, even brokered CDs do not always garner the absolute highest rates.
  • Longer-term options: Brokered CDs often have longer-term options than are available with traditional bank-issued CDs, which are generally short-term investments only.

CD rates from Edward Jones

Edward Jones offers a fairly comprehensive range of CD maturities, ranging from three months to 10 years, although the firm doesn’t offer 6-year CDs, 8-year CDs or 9-year CDs. Rates and availability change frequently, oftentimes daily. The longer-duration CDs offered by the firm aren’t traditionally available at banks.
Edward Jones CD Rates
TermMinimum deposit to earn APYAPY
3 months$1,0001.95%
6 months$1,0002.00%
9 months$1,0002.00%
1 year$1,0001.95%
18 months$1,0001.90%
2 years$1,0002.05%
3 years$1,0002.15%
5 years$1,0002.20%
7 years$1,0002.45%
10 years$1,0002.60%

For all maturities, Edward Jones requires a $1,000 opening deposit, which is the same minimum required to earn the stated APY. As these are brokered CDs, there is no early withdrawal penalty. However, investors are subject to current market prices if they need to get out of a CD prematurely. If interest rates have risen since the date of purchase, you’re likely to get less money back than you originally invested in the CD.

One important difference between Edward Jones CDs and standard bank-issued CDs is that interest does not compound with Edward Jones CDs. All interest is paid directly into a money market or insured bank deposit at Edward Jones, unless you request it to be distributed. Either way, you can’t reinvest your distributions into your existing CD.

Unlike some banks, Edward Jones doesn’t offer any type of hybrid or alternative CD, such as a step-up CD or an adjustable-rate CD. There are also no bonus APR CDs available at the current time, just standard rates. Edward Jones also does not offer special rates for jumbo CDs, which traditionally require a $100,000 deposit. However, you can use the firm’s wide range of CD maturities for certain CD strategies, such as building a CD ladder. You can also buy their brokered CDs in an IRA.

Unlike bank-issued CDs, the brokered CDs offered by Edwards Jones do not automatically roll over into new CDs. At maturity, the banks that issued the CDs pay the proceeds to Edward Jones, which then forwards the money to your account. At that point, you can either select a new brokered CD to purchase, or keep the funds in your Edward Jones money market or insured bank deposit account.

How to get CDs from Edward Jones

You’ll need to open a brokerage account at Edward Jones to buy any CDs. The account minimum to open is $0, but as Edward Jones is a full-service brokerage, you’ll need to go into a branch and visit a financial advisor to open an account. There is no facility to open an account online.

You can open your Edward Jones account as rapidly as you can fill out the paperwork and fund the account. As soon as your deposit clears, you are free to buy a CD through your Edward Jones broker. If you change your mind, you can generally withdraw your funds within 4-6 business days after deposit, although this hold period may extend to 11 business days for new clients. Once you buy a CD, you can sell it at any time on the open market. As noted above, the amount you receive may be less than the amount you originally paid.

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How do CD rates from Edward Jones compare?

Edward Jones CD rates are well above the national average, but they still fall considerably short when compared with the best available rates nationwide.

Unlike with many firms, Edward Jones doesn’t currently have any special-rate CDs, where certain maturities pay dramatically higher rates. Instead, rates at Edward Jones land along a traditional curve, gradually increasing in yield as maturities lengthen.

For example, as of July 3, 2019, the Edward Jones 2-year CD rate of 2.05% is far below the best available 2-year CD rates. Three-year CD rates top out nationally at 3.00%, but Edward Jones pays 2.15%. The pattern continues throughout the maturity curve, with the top 5-year CD rates nationally hitting 3.00% or more, while the 5-year at Edward Jones pays 2.20%.

As such, all rates at Edward Jones fall in the general area of being well-above national averages but still notably short of the best available rates.

Overall review of CDs from Edward Jones

You won’t be wasting your time investing in CDs from Edward Jones, as you’ll be earning rates far above the national averages. You’ll also benefit from the ability to construct a CD or overall investment strategy with the assistance of a full-service advisor. However, if you’re looking for the absolute best CD rates for your money, there are plenty of online banks that can pay you a higher rate.

CD investors who like a wide range of products may be disappointed at Edward Jones, as popular options such as step-up or no-penalty CDs are not currently available. However, Edward Jones CDs do benefit from offering brokered CDs. This provides a range of flexibility that standard bank-issued CDs cannot offer, as you can liquidate your CD position at any time without paying an early withdrawal penalty.

The bottom line is that yield-hungry investors that enjoy managing their own portfolios may be better suited at any number of online competitors. Those looking to incorporate decent-yielding CDs into their overall investment portfolio with the help of a full-service broker might prefer working with Edward Jones.

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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Wealthfront Cash Account Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements 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.

Fintech startups are challenging incumbents in every corner of the financial services industry. Robo-advisor Wealthfront is part of this trend, one of many new investing apps that also offer cash management accounts with high APYs and a mix of features offered by traditional bank accounts.

Cash management accounts combine features like easy access to your money and a decent interest rate, typically found separately in checking accounts and savings accounts, respectively.  Wealthfront admits that its Cash Account won’t replace your checking account, instead touting it as a place to stash your emergency savings or achieve other savings goals and enjoy a high 2.57% APY, all with the FDIC protections of a traditional bank account.

Wealthfront Cash Account Pros

Wealthfront Cash Account Cons

  • Offers a high APY compared to other online savings accounts
  • Charges zero fees, $1 minimum balance requirement
  • Deposits are covered by FDIC insurance up to $1 million
  • Ability transfer funds from Cash Account into Wealthfront's taxable investment account.
  • Takes 1-3 business days to access your funds
  • You cannot make payments from the account

Let’s take a closer look at how Wealthfront’s Cash Account compares to both traditional bank savings accounts, and similar cash management offerings from other fintech startups, so you can determine whether it’s right for your savings.

Wealthfront Cash Account vs. online savings accounts

Wealthfront markets its Cash Account as a place to deposit savings you plan on spending in the next five years, or as a good place for an emergency fund. For longer-term returns on your money, Wealthfront advocates investing in the stock market using its core robo-advisor functionality. As an additional incentive to do so, Wealthfront allows you to transfer money from your Cash Account into one of the company’s taxable investment accounts. However, there is nothing in Wealthfront‘s terms of service that would discourage you from treating this account like any other online savings account.

Here’s how Wealthfront’s Cash Account stacks up against the highest-earning online savings accounts from our best online savings accounts review:

Financial InstitutionAPYMinimum balance
Wealthfront

2.57%

$1 minimum, no monthly fee
Vio Bank

2.52%

$100 minimum, no monthly fee
Customers Bank

2.50%

$25,000 minimum, no monthly fee
Barclays

2.10%

None
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

2.15%

$1 minimum, no monthly fee
Ally

2.10%

None

Judged by APY alone, Wealthfront‘s Cash Account emerges as one of the strongest contenders out there, surpassed only by Vio Bank’s online savings account. Like many online savings accounts, there’s a limit to the liquidity of the money placed in Wealthfront‘s Cash Account.

However, there is no option to withdraw funds or make payments from the account via check or ATM card. Your only way to get money into and out of the account is via ACH transfers to and from a separate checking account that’s held in your name. Transfers take one to three business days, and Wealthfront permits an unlimited number of transfers into and out of your Cash Account (with a daily limit of $250,000).

Wealthfront is not a bank, so it has deals with a network of regional banks that are FDIC insured. After you deposit your money in a Cash Account, your funds are swept into multiple accounts with Wealthfront’s bank partners, giving you FDIC insurance coverage up to $1 million (or $2 million if you have a joint Cash Account). This a big advantage that makes the Cash Account an attractive choice for anyone who wants FDIC coverage beyond the $250,000 limit available with a single online savings account.

Wealthfront Cash Account vs. robo-advisor cash management accounts

Many other robo-advisor firms offer cash management accounts. These accounts take varying forms: Some resemble a personal savings account, others have both savings and checking account features, while some are a type of investment account. Below we compare the Wealthfront Cash Account with cash management offerings from robo-advisors Betterment and SoFi.

Account nameFunctionFeesYield
Wealthfront Cash Account

FDIC-insured savings account

None

2.57% APY

Betterment Smart Saver

Low-risk bond investments

0.25% annual fee

2.14% APY

SoFi Money

FDIC-insured checking/savings hybrid account

None

An average of 2.25% APY

Wealthfront Cash Account vs. Betterment Smart Saver

Betterment‘s Smart Saver account is a low-risk investment account, not a deposit account, so it plays by a different set of rules than Wealthfront‘s Cash Account. For one, as an investment it does not have FDIC coverage. Betterment‘s website claims you could earn returns of 2.14% (which factors in the standard 0.25% Betterment charges for its services) — notice the word “could.” Money placed in the Smart Saver account is invested in a mix of treasuries and corporate bonds—fairly safe investment vehicles—but it still can’t guarantee the 2.14% return in the same way a deposit account can guarantee an APY.

The Smart Saver account does have some bells and whistles that may make it an appealing choice for your savings. These include:

  • Smart Sweep: This feature aims to maximize your investing returns by only maintaining as much cash in your linked checking account as you need for day-to-day spending. It works like this: After giving  access to your checking account, the app analyses how you spend money. Then it sweeps money above and beyond what you need to pay 35 days of expenses — up to $5,000 per sweep — into the Smart Saver investment account. Likewise, if the app thinks you’ll need more money to cover your expenses, it will sweep money from the Smart Saver investment account into your checking account. You can read more details here.
  • Tax relief: While you can’t avoid paying taxes entirely, the fact that 80% of the money placed in the Smart Saver investment account will be invested in U.S. Treasury bonds means that some of the earnings from the Smart Saver account won’t be subject to state and local taxes. You can read more details here.

Like Wealthfront’s account, there is an inconvenient waiting period to withdraw money from the account — four to five business days, which is longer than Wealthfront‘s one to three business days. This longer period accounts for the fact that your money is invested in bonds, making it less liquid than funds placed with Wealthfront in FDIC-insured deposit accounts.

Wealthfront Cash Account vs. SoFi Money

SoFi Money is a checking and savings hybrid account, meaning you earn both a high yield — 2.25% APY vs. Wealthfront‘s 2.57% APY — and enjoy instant access to your money with a debit card and paper checks.

Similarly to Wealthfront, SoFi Money spreads any funds you deposit across multiple FDIC-insured bank accounts — six in this case — providing up to $1.5 million in FDIC insurance vs. Wealthfront‘s $1 million.

SoFi Money may lag behind Wealthfront in terms of APY, but it makes up for this by providing the utility of both a savings and checking account. You can use your debit card to make purchases and withdraw money from ATMs (there is a daily limit of $610) just like you would with any other checking account. You can read more details on SoFi Money in our review.

Who should get a Wealthfront Cash Account?

If you’re looking for an FDIC insured account that provides one of the highest APY’s available, than the Wealthfront Cash Account may be right for you. However, you won’t have easy access to your funds like you would with a hybrid checking/savings account, such as SoFi Money. However the simplicity of the account, and the promise of additional features in the future such as a debit card and ATM withdrawals, could make it a compelling option for your savings.

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James Ellis
James Ellis |

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

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