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Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Opening an account
You can open a Dollar Savings Account™ online by providing your basic information, like your tax identification number and your address. Customers have to be age 18 or older. And you have to have a personal checking account with a US Bank that you can link to your new Dollar Savings Account. To open an account, you need to transfer at least $1.00 from your current bank.
If your online application is approved, you will be able to log into your account and view your balance immediately. However, DollarSavingsDirect needs more information, it will contact you within a few business days. The initial deposit amount will not be available to you for five business days after opening the account, or 10 days if you fund the account via check.
Funding your account
A linked checking account can be used to fund your new Dollar Savings Account. You can also choose to fund your account with a physical check by mail, but in that case you won’t have access to your funds for 10 business days.
If you want to open an account with a check, you must select this option during the application process. Then you will receive instructions about where to mail your check. Your check must be written from your linked checking account. Checks are only accepted for your initial deposit, after which making any future deposits or withdrawals is via electronic transfer, or Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer.
An initial minimum deposit of $ is required to open your Dollar Savings Account, after which no minimum balance is needed to maintain the account. However, a minimum balance of $1,000 is required after the account has been established in order to earn the APY disclosed (at the time of publishing).
Accessing your money
After you’ve opened and funded your Dollar Savings Account, you can transfer funds electronically in or out by logging into your account online. Online access is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, you may feel disappointed by the digital experience offered by Emigrant Bank and its subsidiaries, including Dollar Savings Direct. There is no mobile app you can use to access your account easily, and the website itself has a dated look and feel.
Keep in mind that your Dollar Savings Account is subject to the Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation D, which mandates certain types of telephone and electronic withdrawals, including transfers from savings accounts up to 6 per statement cycle. If you make more than the amount mandated by Federal Law, your bank may charge you a fee, convert your account to a checking account or simply close it.
If you funded your account with a check, there is a 10-business-day hold before you may withdraw your funds. All electronic transfers, or ACH deposits, have a five-business-day hold, no matter if it’s your initial deposit or a future deposit.
After you initiate your withdrawal online, it can take from two to four business days for the funds to appear in your connected external checking account. It will also take the same amount of time to transfer money into your Dollar Savings Account.
Why DollarSavingsDirect may not be the best choice
DollarSavingsDirect offers the Dollar Savings Account with no minimum deposit required and no fees or service charges. This, combined with a solid APY, makes the account seem like an attractive option to new customers.
However Emigrant Bank, the parent of DollarSavingsDirect, has a habit of using high interest rates to attract new customers and deposits to its sub-brands before lowering the rates significantly once they’ve achieved their goals. In their websites account disclosures, you will find the phrase “The Bank, at its sole discretion, may change the APY and interest rate on the Account at any time.”
DollarSavingsDirect and Emigrant Bank, along with any other bank, are within their legal rights to change the APY on savings accounts at any time. If you can find a bank with more transparent pricing practices, you may be better suited — even if the APY is lower. That’s because as a general principle, a more stable APY will generate more interest over the lifetime of an investment.
If you do decide to open a Dollar Savings Account, keep an eye on the interest rate over time. You may want to withdraw your funds and store them elsewhere if rates drop significantly, as they have done historically.