BankDirect Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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Updated on Sunday, November 1, 2020

BankDirect’s checking account options

Checking with Interest

You can earn some interest with this account and enjoy ATM refunds.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$2,500-$9,999.99
0.10%$10,000+
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: none
  • ATM fee refund: Up to four per month, a maximum of $2.50 per transaction
  • Overdraft fee: $45

This checking account does earn you some interest, but it really isn’t that much. The minimum opening deposit is a bit higher than the Smart Checking, and you’ll need to pay a $15 monthly maintenance fee. However, you can get that waived if you maintain an average daily balance of $2,500.

You also get your first 50 personalized checks for free, along with free bill pay, limited ATM refunds and a Visa CheckCard. Considering the low APY and a $5 inactivity fee — you’ll be charged this per month if there’s no activity for more than 90 days — this is an account best suited for everyday transactions.

How to get the Checking with Interest account

You can open the Checking with Interest by filling out an application form. Once you indicate which account you want to open, you’ll need to provide personal details such as your name, address, employment information and Social Security number. Then you’ll need to print out their Master Deposit Agreement form (or they can mail you one), sign it and mail it to BankDirect along with your initial deposit. Once that’s complete, you’ll receive your welcome packet in the mail within 7 to 10 days.

You can also open an account by calling and apply over the phone or to request an application form through the mail.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BankDirect’s secure website

Member FDIC

Mileage Checking with Interest

This account gives you the opportunity to earn both interest and American AAdvantage® miles.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.01%$2,500-$9,999.99
0.01%$10,000+
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12
  • ATM fee: none
  • ATM fee refund: Up to four per month, a maximum of $2.50 per transaction
  • Overdraft fee: $45

This account is a great choice for those who want to earn some reward miles with a debit card rather than credit card. There are opportunities to earn one-time or ongoing monthly bonuses as long as you meet the bank’s requirements and are a member of the American Airlines AAdvantage® program.

Some of what you’ll receive include:

  • 1,000 AAdvantage® miles when you open a new account
  • 10,000 AAdvantage® miles for establishing direct deposit into your account
  • 5,000 AAdvantage® miles for using your Visa CheckCard at least 12 times, at least $500 each month
  • 100 AAdvantage® miles every month for each $1,000 you keep in your checking account

Your first 50 personalized checks are free, too.

The only downside to this account is that the APY is abysmal. But you do earn AAdvantage® miles, which can make up for it if you’re a frequent traveler.

How to get the Mileage Checking with Interest account

Head to BankDirect’s website and fill an online application form. You’ll need to indicate which account you want open then fill in personal details such as your name, address, employment information and Social Security number. Then, print out the Master Deposit Agreement (you can ask them to mail you one), sign it then mail it to the bank with your initial deposit. You’ll receive your welcome packet in the mail upon approval in 7 to 10 days.

You can also open an account by calling and apply over the phone or to request an application form through the mail.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BankDirect’s secure website

Member FDIC

Smart Checking

This free account gives you free checks but doesn’t earn you interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: none
  • ATM fee: none
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $45

This is BankDirect’s basic checking account and doesn’t earn any interest on balances. You do get your first 50 personalized checks for free and there’s no monthly maintenance fee. If you’re looking for an account just to do your everyday transactions, this is a good choice.

Other perks with this account include free online banking and bill pay. A free Visa CheckCard has a daily limit of $2,500 for purchases and a $500 limit at the ATM.

How to get the Smart Checking account

You can open the Smart Checking account online by completing an application form. You’ll need to indicate which account you want then fill your personal details, including your name, address, Social Security number and state-issued ID. After submitting the form, you’ll need to print out their Master Deposit Agreement form (or they can mail you one), sign it and mail it to BankDirect along with your initial deposit. You’ll then receive a welcome kit within 7 to 10 days.

You can also open an account by calling and apply over the phone or to request an application form through the mail.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BankDirect’s secure website

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How BankDirect’s checking accounts compare

As far as rates go, BankDirect’s checking accounts fall way short of other banks and credit unions on our list of the best current checking account rates. Other places offer rates that are more than 10 times what BankDirect is offering and typically include free checks and some ATM refunds. Most also don’t charge monthly maintenance fees.

However, where BankDirect shines is their Mileage Checking with Interest account. If you’re interested in earning travel rewards, this is a great choice, as long as you understand you’re not going to earn much interest.

BankDirect’s savings account option

Regular Savings Account

You earn a tiny bit of interest with this account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%none
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: none
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: none
  • ATM fee: none
  • ATM fee refund: Up to four per month, a maximum of $2.50 per transaction
  • Overdraft fee: none

If you’re looking for a savings account with ATM access, this can be an OK choice. You’ll need to request this option and can only make withdrawals with the card. Also, you’ll earn a little interest.

For savings accounts, you’re limited to six withdrawals a month, as per Federal Reserve Regulation D. If you make more than two withdrawals a month, BankDirect charges a fee of $2 per withdrawal. ATM withdrawals don’t count against the six-withdrawal limit.

How to get the Regular Savings Account

You can open an account by filling out an online application on BankDirect’s website. Once you pick which account you want to open, fill in personal information such as your name, address, employment details and Social Security number. You’ll then need to print out the Master Deposit Agreement (or have one mailed to you), and mail a signed copy along with your initial deposit. Once the bank receives your documents, you’ll get a welcome packet in the mail in about seven to 10 days.

Or you can call customer service to open an account over the phone or ask for an application form to be sent via mail.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BankDirect’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How BankDirect’s savings account compares

BankDirect’s savings account earns little interest, so accounts offered by a lot of competitors are better. Some advantages of this account are ATM access, ATM fee refunds and no monthly maintenance. Otherwise, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

To find a savings account with the best rates, check out our list of the best online savings accounts.

BankDirect’s CD rates

Certificates of Deposit

Earn a fix rate of return with these CDs.
TermAPY
90 days0.10%
6 months0.50%
12 months0.70%
18 months0.60%
24 months0.70%
30 months0.50%
36 months0.50%
48 months0.25%
60 months0.25%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $10,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on original maturity date:
    • Less than 91 days – 30 days interest
    • 91 days up to and including a year – 90 days interest
    • More than one year – 180 days interest

These fixed rate CDs are best for those looking for a conservative investment option. Interest is compounded daily and credited to your account either monthly or quarterly; for CD terms of less than a year, interest is credited when the account matures. The interest can either be kept in the CD or transferred to another BankDirect account.

When your account matures, you have a 10-day grace period where you can either withdraw funds, make additional deposits or renew for another term. If you do nothing, your account will automatically be renewed.

How to get BankDirect’s Certificates of Deposit

You can fill an online application form. Start off by choosing the account you want then fill in your personal information such as your name, address, employment details and Social Security number. Next, print out the Master Deposit Agreement and mail back a signed copy along with your deposit. Once approved, you’ll get a welcome packet within 7 to 10 days.

You can also call the bank to open an account or request an application form in the mail.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BankDirect’s secure website

Member FDIC

Mileage Certificates of Deposit

This CD allows you to earn both interest and AAdvantage® miles.
TermAPY
6 months0.10%
12 months0.10%
24 months0.10%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on original maturity date:
    • Less than 91 days – 30 days interest and 3% of principal
    • 91 days to one year – 90 days interest and 3% of principal
    • More than one year – 180 days interest and 5% of principal

This account is a great choice if you’re interested in earning reward miles. The APY is really low, but the points you earn could make up for it. This account charges you a $12 monthly service fee, so keep that in mind when thinking about opening this CD.

How much you can earn depends on the CD term and your deposit amount:

  • 6 month term — 250 AAdvantage® miles for each $1,000 you invest up to $50,000 and 25 miles per $1,000 over $50,000
  • 12 month term — 500 AAdvantage® miles for each $1,000 you invest up to $50,000 and 25 miles per $1,000 over $50,000
  • 24 month term — 1,000 AAdvantage® miles for each $1,000 you invest up to $50,000 and 25 miles per $1,000 over $50,000

In other words, the longer the term and the more you deposit, the more you can earn. As well, interest is compounded daily and credited monthly. When your account matures, you have a 10-day grace period where you can withdraw funds or renew for another term. Otherwise, the CD will automatically be renewed.

How to get the Mileage Certificates of Deposit

You can open an account online by filling out BankDirect’s online application form. Choose the CD term you want and fill in your personal details such as name, address, employment information and Social Security number. Then you’ll need to print out the Master Deposit Agreement and mail back a signed copy with your opening deposit. You’ll receive a welcome packet in the mail in 7 to 10 days, once the bank receives your documents.

You can also call the bank open an account or request an application form in the mail.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BankDirect’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How BankDirect’s CD rates compare

Some of the terms of BankDirect’s Certificates of Deposit are comparable to competitors. Their best rates are for CD terms ranging from 12 to 24 months, while other terms are much lower than online peers.

Both CDs require a $10,000 opening deposit, which is one of its shortcomings. The mileage CD also has a steep $12 monthly maintenance fee. If you’re interested in earning reward miles, you’re better off opening its Mileage Checking account, as it requires a lower minimum deposit amount. Otherwise, for higher rates, check out our list of the current best CD rates.

BankDirect’s money market account options

Money Market Plus

This account offers ATM access and limited check-writing capabilities.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.60%$10,000+
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: none
  • ATM fee: none
  • ATM fee refund: Up to four per month, a maximum of $2.50 per transaction
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

If you’re looking for a hybrid of a checking and a savings account, this money market is your best bet. You earn a much-higher interest rate than the checking account options, and you get an ATM card and 50 free personalized checks.

Federal Reserve Regulation D mandates that you’re allowed a maximum of six withdrawals per month, though ATM withdrawals don’t count. If you make more than six withdrawals, BankDirect will charge you a $10 excess transaction fee for each one you make.

How to get the Money Market Plus account

U.S. residents can open an account by filling out an application form online. You’ll need to choose the type of account you want and provide personal information such as your address, employment information and Social Security number. Afterward, print the Master Deposit Agreement (or have the bank mail you one), and send a signed copy with your opening deposit. Then you’ll get a welcome packet in the mail when BankDirect receives your documents.

You can also call the bank to open an account or request an application form in the mail.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BankDirect’s secure website

Member FDIC

Mileage Money Market

Earn American Airlines AAdvantage® miles with this account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$500-$9,999.99
0.05%$10,000+
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: none
  • ATM fee refund: Up to four per month, a maximum of $2.50 per transaction
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

This money market account is best for those who want a hybrid checking and savings account and the ability to earn reward miles. If you want to maximize the number of points you want to earn though, you’re better off opening the Mileage Checking account. Otherwise, this account does offer a slightly higher APY and you can waive the maintenance fee if you can maintain a $10,000 minimum daily balance.

Here are how many AAdvantage® miles you can earn:

  • 1,000 AAdvantage® miles for opening an account
  • 50 AAdvantage® miles every month for each average daily balance of $1,000, up to $50,000
  • 15 AAdvantage® miles every month for each average daily balance of $1,000 over $50,000

Like the Money Market Plus account, you also get your first 50 personalized checks for free and an ATM card. You’re also limited to six withdrawals per month, as mandated by regulation. You’ll be charged $10 for each excessive withdrawal you make. ATM withdrawals don’t count toward this withdrawal limit.

How to get the Mileage Money Market account

You can open an account online by heading to BankDirect’s website and completing an application form. After choosing the account you want, fill in your personal details. The bank will then require you to print a copy of the Master Deposit Agreement and send back signed copy along with your initial deposit. You’ll then receive a welcome packet in the mail in 7 to 10 days.

Otherwise, you can call customer service to open an account or request an application form in the mail.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BankDirect’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How BankDirect’s money market accounts compare

The Money Market Plus account has a fairly comparable rate when measured against other online banks. However, you only get the stated APY with a $10,000 minimum daily balance; other competitors don’t typically have such requirements and offer slightly higher rates. If you can meet the high balance requirement and find it important to get ATM and limited check writing capabilities, then this account is a good choice.

The Mileage Money Market account is a unique choice for those wanting to earn rewards miles, but the APY is less than desirable. If you only care about the points, then this could be the account for you. Otherwise, look at our list of the best money market rates to do some comparison shopping.

BankDirect’s individual retirement account options

IRA Certificate of Deposit rates

This IRA option doesn’t offer great rates.
TermAPY
12 months0.25%
18 months0.25%
24 months0.25%
30 months0.25%
36 months0.25%
48 months0.25%
60 months0.25%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days interest

The IRA CD is a good option for those looking for a retirement account that offers a guaranteed rate of return. The $1,000 minimum balance requirement is pretty low but you are limited to how much you can deposit in a year as per IRS regulations.

Earned interest is compounded daily and credited monthly or quarterly. If you make an early withdrawal, remember that you may also face IRS tax penalties if you’re under the age of 59½ in addition to BankDirect’s early withdrawal penalties. When your account matures, you have a 10-day grace period where you can make additional deposits, renew for another term or make withdrawals. Otherwise, it’ll be automatically be renewed.

How to get BankDirect’s IRA Certificates of Deposit

You can’t open an IRA CD account online, only by mail or over the phone. You can find a list of the appropriate forms, so you can print them out and mail it back to the bank. Otherwise, you can call customer service to complete an application or ask them to mail you an application packet.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BankDirect’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How BankDirect’s IRA CD rates compare

BankDirect’s IRA CD rates fall way short when compared to our list of the current best IRA CD rates. Competitor rates are more than double what BankDirect is offering and some even offer shorter terms. All this to say, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

IRA Money Market account

You’re getting pretty low rates with this IRA account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%$0.00 to $9,999.99
0.15%$10,000+
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: none
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: none
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

This is a simple money market account that doesn’t offer a high rate so it’s best for those who need an account for retirement savings but offers some sort of liquidity. Keep in mind that there is no ATM or check-writing capabilities, so the only way to access your cash is through a bank transfer or having a check mailed to you.

Because this is a saving account, Federal Reserve Regulation D limits account holders to six withdrawals a month. BankDirect will charge you a $10 excessive withdrawal fee for each one you make over six a month. Also you may be penalized by the IRS if you make distributions before you’re 59½ .

How to get BankDirect’s IRA Money Market account

You can only open a IRA Money Market account over the phone or by mail. Head over the BankDirect’s website to find a list of application forms you can print and fill out so you can mail it to the bank. Alternatively, you can call the bank to complete an application over the phone or to request an application packet in the mail.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BankDirect’s secure website

Member FDIC

Overall review of BankDirect’s banking products

BankDirect does offer some good choices for banking products. For one, the mileage-earning checking and money market accounts are pretty unique in that you can earn a significant amount of American Airlines AAdvantage® miles just for doing the regular banking transactions you do anyway.

Their CDs and money market accounts also offer some pretty great rates. Although not the highest we’ve seen, they’re still pretty high, so they’re worth considering. The money market account also offers limited check-writing capabilities and ATM access which is great for those wanting more convenience.

However, where the bank falls short is with their checking account and IRA options. These rates are extremely low compared to other online banks. If you’re after the highest rates, you’re better off shopping around and seeing what else is out there.

Overall BankDirect has some pretty competitive products and is worth taking a second look.