Columbia Bank Reviews: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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Updated on Sunday, November 1, 2020

Columbia Bank’s checking account options

Totally Free Advantage Checking

A basic checking account that discourages out-of-network ATM usage.
  • Minimum opening deposit: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

Columbia Bank’s basic checking account option may be great for those who don’t want to maintain a minimum balance. If you don’t intend on using the ATM much, this can also be a great option since you’ll pay ATM fees plus surcharges for machines outside of Columbia Bank. But this is not an interest-bearing account, so if you want to earn on your money, you should look at its other options.

Totally Free Advantage Checking also comes with free checks, online and mobile banking. The free Visa debit card also comes with Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

How to get the Totally Free Advantage Checking account

New Jersey residents can open an account by filling out an online application. After choosing which account you want to open and entering your ZIP code, provide personal details such as your name, address and Social Security number. Then you can go ahead and fund the account.

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Yield Plus Checking

Earn a fairly competitive rate, but only if you a high deposit amount.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$0.01
0.15%
$1,000
0.35%
$10,000
0.45%
$250,000
0.10%
$500,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: Up to six a month; maximum of $20
  • Overdraft fee: $35

This is Columbia Bank’s only interest-bearing checking account. It also offers free ATM usage nationwide. You also don’t need to pay any monthly maintenance fees, but you do need to meet the bank’s qualifications to get the rates mentioned above.

To qualify, you’ll need to make at least one direct deposit each month. Otherwise, your APY will drop to 0.10%. Just like the Totally Free Advantage Checking account, you get a free Visa debit card — with which users can utilize Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay — free checks, online and mobile banking.

How to get the Yield Plus Checking account

You can only open this account in person at a branch.

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Advantage Plus Checking

Get some neat perks like cashback rewards and free subscription services.
  • Minimum opening deposit: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $9 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: Up to 10 a month, maximum of $30
  • Overdraft fee: $35

Although you don’t earn any interest with the Advantage Plus Checking account, it does come with a whole host of perks. For one, you can get a rebate — up to $14 a month — on your monthly subscription to services such as Spotify, Netflix or Hulu. Account holders can also enroll in the uChoose Rewards program, where you can earn up to $120 cash back per year on qualifying purchases you make with your debit card.

Other benefits of this account include free checks, money orders, online statements, bonus rates for some CD terms and a rate discount on fixed-rate home equity loans. There’s also free online and mobile banking, as well as the ability to use Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay.

To waive the monthly maintenance fee, you’ll need to maintain a $500 daily minimum balance. If the primary account holder is younger than 23, there is no minimum balance.

How to get the Advantage Plus Checking account

You can only open an Advantage Plus Checking account at a branch.

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on Columbia Bank (NJ)’s secure website

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How Columbia Bank’s checking accounts compare

The rates for the Yield Plus Checking account are on par with some of those on our list of the best online checking accounts. But unlike many of those competitors, it does require a high minimum account balance. We also think the sign-up bonus, along with the cashback feature of the Advantage Plus Checking account, is pretty good if you believe you can maximize that feature. Otherwise, you may want to look elsewhere.

Columbia Bank’s savings account options

Advantage Plus Savings

Link this account to an Advantage Plus Checking account for free ATM access.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%
$10 ($100 for passbook holders)
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $10
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $4 (or $2 if you opt for passbook savings)
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

This savings account earns a small amount of interest and may differ in fees depending on the option you choose. If you opt for a passbook account — meant for those who don’t intend to access their account often — you can waive the monthly maintenance fee if you keep a $100 minimum daily balance. For the regular statement savings, you’ll only need to keep a $50 minimum daily balance.

For ATM access, you can link this account (not the passbook option) with the Advantage Plus Checking account. Remember that you’re allowed up to six certain withdrawals because of Regulation D. If you go over six, the bank will charge you a $15 excess transaction fee per withdrawal.

How to get the Advantage Plus Savings account

If you’re a New Jersey resident, you can browse the online application to open an account. You’ll need to indicate which account you want to open and your ZIP code, then fill in details such as your name, address and Social Security number. Afterward, fund the account.

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on Columbia Bank (NJ)’s secure website

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Kids Count Youth Savings

Your kids can get a higher rate than you.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.30%
$1
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

A parent or guardian can help their kids open this account — choose from a passbook or statement format. The rate is higher than the regular adult account. Columbia Bank will match your child’s initial opening deposit up to $15 as a bonus.

Because of Regulation D, this account is allowed up to six certain withdrawals a month. Columbia Bank will charge a $15 excess transaction fee for each withdrawal over six.

How to get the Kids Count Youth Savings account

Both the child and a parent or guardian need to be present to open this account at a branch.

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How Columbia Bank’s savings accounts compare

We’re not impressed with these savings accounts (even with the bonus on the kids’ option) because the rates fall way short compared to our list of the best online savings accounts. Most don’t have minimum balance requirements, so it looks like you may be better off going elsewhere.

Columbia Bank’s CD rates

Certificates of deposit

The longer terms on these CDs aren’t too bad.
Regular rates
TermAPY
7 days0.10%
28 days0.10%
91 days0.20%
182 days0.30%
9 months0.30%
12 months0.25%
12 months (Advantage Plus rate)0.60%
18 months0.35%
20 months0.45%
24 months0.35%
30 months0.50%
36 months0.35%
48 months0.40%
60 months0.70%
60 months (Advantage Plus rate)2.45%
72 months0.70%
84 months0.80%
Promo rates
TermAPY
20 months (Bump Up CD)1.75%
36 months (Home Saver)1.50%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500 (except for seven-day and 28-day terms, which is $2,500)
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500 (except for seven-day and 28-day terms, which is $2,500)
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on length of term:
    • Seven to 28 days: All interest earned
    • 91 days: 30 days’ interest
    • 182 days to nine months: 90 days’ interest
    • 12-20 months: 180 days’ interest
    • 24-84 months: 365 days’ interest

Columbia Bank offers some attractive promotional rates for those who are Advantage Plus Checking account customers. There’s also the Home Saver CD meant to help those who are saving for a home down payment. The Bump Up CD offers account holders the chance to increase their rate once upon request if it goes up during the term.

Except for the seven- and 28-day CDs — where dividends are paid out at maturity — interest is credited quarterly or upon maturity. Interest earned differs depending on your CD term:

  • Seven to 182 days: Interest not compounded
  • Nine to 12 months: Interest compounded quarterly
  • 18-84 months: Interest compounded daily

Upon maturity, your CD will automatically be renewed for the same term, except for the seven- and 28-day CDs. You’ll have a seven-day grace period where you can make changes such as add additional funds, make withdrawals or renew for another term.

How to get Columbia Bank’s CDs

You can only open the 12-, 24- or 36-month CDs online. To do so, fill out the online application by providing details such as your name, address, phone number and a way to fund the account.

For all other terms, you’ll need to head to the nearest branch.

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How Columbia Bank’s CD rates compare

We noticed that some of these CD terms are fairly competitive compared to the ones on our list of the best CD rates. Fortunately, the ones you can open online are some of the higher ones. If you’re not a New Jersey resident though, you have no choice but to look elsewhere.

Columbia Bank’s money market account options

Advantage Money Market

These rates don’t do much for us.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%
$0.01
0.25%
$2,500
0.30%
$10,000
0.30%
$25,000
0.30%
$50,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $1 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

This account is best for those who want a hybrid savings account since there is ATM access without linking to a checking account. You’ll also get bill pay, e-statements and free online banking. But the monthly fee and minimum opening deposit seem a bit steep in comparison.

To waive the monthly maintenance fee, you’ll need to agree to receive e-statements and meet the $2,500 daily minimum balance. Since this is a savings account, Regulation D allows you up to six certain withdrawals each month. Exceed that threshold and you’ll face a $15 transaction fee for each one you go over from Columbia Bank.

How to get Columbia Bank’s money market account

You need to head to a local branch to open a money market account.

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on Columbia Bank (NJ)’s secure website

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How Columbia Bank’s money market accounts compare

Sadly, Columbia Bank is on a bit of a roll when it comes to low rates for its savings accounts. Combined with the fact that you can only open an account in person, you’re probably better off looking at competitors, such as the ones on our list of the best money market accounts.

Columbia Bank’s IRA account options

IRA CD rates

Some of the rates are pretty low on these retirement versions of CDs.
Fixed rates
TermAPY
91 days0.20%
4 months0.10%
5 months0.10%
182 days2.00%
7 months0.10%
8 months0.10%
9 months0.30%
10 months0.10%
11 months0.10%
12 months0.35%
14 months0.10%
18 months0.35%
20 months0.45%
24 months0.35%
30 months1.45%
36 months0.45%
40 months0.75%
42 months0.75%
48 months0.40%
60 months0.70%
72 months0.70%
84 months0.80%
Promo rate
TermAPY
20 months (Bump Up rate) 1.75%
Variable rate
TermAPY
18 months0.35% Variable
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500 ($100 for variable-rate CD)
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500 ($100 for variable-rate CD)
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on length of term:
    • 91 days: 30 days’ interest
    • Four to nine months: 90 days’ interest
    • 10-20 months: 180 days’ interest
    • 24-30 months: 270 days’ interest
    • 36-84 months: 365 days’ interest

The IRA CDs offer fixed-rate and variable-rate choices, along with a Bump Up option — you can request a one-time rate increase if it goes up during your CD term.

Interest is compounded depending on your term, except for the 91- to 182-day ones, where interest is not compounded. For terms of seven to nine months or 12 months, interest is compounded quarterly. For terms of 10 or 11 months, as well as between 14 and 84 months, interest is compounded daily. All CD terms credit interest earned either quarterly or at maturity.

When your CD matures, your account is automatically renewed for the same term unless you make changes within the seven-day grace period — additional deposits, withdrawals or renewing for another term.

How to get Columbia Bank’s IRA CDs

You can only open an IRA CD account in person.

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on Columbia Bank (NJ)’s secure website

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How Columbia Bank’s IRA CD rates compare

Most of these CD rates fall flat when compared to other places. Even with the Bump Up CD option, you’re probably not going to get nearly as high of a rate of return like the ones on our list of the best IRA CD rates. You may want to do yourself a favor and do some comparison shopping.

IRA savings account

You can choose between a passbook or distribution account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15% (distribution)$0.01
0.15% (passbook)$50
  • Minimum opening deposit: 1 cent
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: 1 cent or $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

You can choose from a passbook or distribution account — both offer the same rate. The main difference is that with a passbook account, you are expected to keep the money in the account or not access it as often. The distribution account is one where you want to make more withdrawals — though be careful as you may get penalized if you take money out before you’re 59½. The interest in the distribution account is compounded daily, while the passbook option interest is compounded quarterly.

Remember that Regulation D allows account holders up to six certain withdrawals a month, or else you’re looking at a $12 excess transaction fee from the bank for each one you go over.

How to get Columbia Bank’s IRA savings account

You’ll need to head to a local branch to open an IRA savings account.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on Columbia Bank (NJ)’s secure website

Member FDIC

Overall review of Columbia Bank’s banking products

Unfortunately, the rates for Columbia Bank’s deposit account products aren’t that great. They’re consistently lower than other competitors, except for a few of the fixed-rate CD terms. Besides, only New Jersey residents can open accounts here. Those living outside of the Garden State have to look elsewhere.