Empower Review: Checking and Savings Accounts

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Empower checking account options

Empower Checking Account

This checking account has practically no fees and comes with generous a cash reward debit card — but no interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: One out-of-network transaction per month, full reimbursement of the fees charged by the ATM owner.
  • Overdraft fees: None

The Empower Checking account does not have a minimum deposit requirement, and there’s no minimum balance to maintain. This account also does not charge a monthly fee. However, it does not earn any interest.

Empower is part of the MoneyPass network which gives you access to 25,000 free ATMs in the world. If you use an out-of-network ATM, the bank will not charge a fee. They will also reimburse any ATM owner fees for one out-of-network transaction per month. If the ATM owner charges $3, the bank will reimburse $3, etc. This only applies to the first out-of-network transaction per month and you’ll need to cover the ATM owner fees afterwards.

Another nice feature is that this account doesn’t charge overdraft fees. Finally, if you use the debit card outside the United States, there’s no foreign transaction fee.

Though the Empower Checking account does not earn interest, you can earn cash back by using the account’s debit card. You receive 1% cash back on spending up to $1,000 per month, which earns a maximum of $10 per month if you spend to the limit.

If you’d like to open an Empower Checking account, you’ll need to join a waitlist through their website or their app. The bank is gradually approving people who sign up. Once you’re approved, you can deposit money by bank transfer. You can set this up by linking another bank account through the app or by asking your existing bank to transfer the funds to Empower directly.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Empower’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Empower’s checking accounts compare

When it comes to avoiding fees, this checking account is one of the best in the business. There’s no monthly fee, no out-of-network ATM fee and no foreign transaction fees. There is also no overdraft fee, a great, standout feature if you’re worried about overspending by accident. Other banks charge $30 or more each time this happens.

For ATM access, Empower is good but not great. You can make fee-free withdrawals from 25,000 ATMs in the MoneyPass network, and Empower will reimburse all the ATM owner fees for one out-of-network transaction per month. That’s OK, but there are other checking accounts with more generous refunds.

Another downside is that the checking account doesn’t earn interest. Instead, you can earn a respectable cashback rate for debit card purchases. It’s a good account if you like spending on your debit card, but not if you just want to keep money sitting in your account. If earning interest is one of your goals, try one of these top checking accounts instead. They pay excellent rates and have better ATM access than Empower.

Empower savings account options

Empower Savings Account

A free savings account with a remarkable interest rate.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
2.15%$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: One out-of-network transaction per month, full reimbursement of the fees from the ATM owner.
  • Overdraft fees: None

Empower also offers a savings account with no minimum opening deposit requirement. Like the checking account, the Empower Savings account does not have a balance requirement or a monthly fee.

The savings account does earn interest — and the rate is spectacular. There’s no minimum amount needed to earn interest; as long as you have money in the account, you’ll qualify. The bank only pays one flat rate, so you won’t earn more by depositing more.

With the debit card, you can make free withdrawals from MoneyPass ATMs. If you use an out-of-network ATM, Empower will not charge a fee. They will also reimburse all the ATM owner charges for one out-of-network transaction per month.

To sign up for the Empower Savings account, you need to put your email down on their waitlist. You can do this on their website or their app. The bank will let you know when you have been accepted to open the account. At this point, you can add money via bank transfer, either on the Empower app or by requesting a transfer through your existing financial institution.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Empower’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Empower’s savings accounts compare

We love the Empower Savings account. It pays one of the best interest rates we’ve seen on a savings account, even better than your typical CD. But since it’s a savings account, you also have the flexibility to take money out when you want without an early withdrawal penalty.

Besides the great return, the Empower Savings account has no minimum balance requirement, no monthly fee and it gives you access to thousands of free ATMs through the MoneyPass network — all nice features.

It’s a great account and one you’d be happy with. But this isn’t the only company out there paying an excellent rate. These savings accounts are just as generous. They could be worth a look if you want to work with a company that has brick-and-mortar branches or you don’t want to spend time on Empower’s waiting list.

Overall review of Eastern Bank’s banking products

Empower has only been offering banking products for a few months and you can tell they are still working things out. Their website is a little vague on details, and you can’t sign up for their accounts right away: You need to put your name on a list and wait for them to get back to you.

But from what they’ve done so far, they seem on track to deliver some great results. These deposit accounts do a fantastic job forgoing fees. Not only do they have zero ATM or monthly fees, they also don’t charge overdraft and foreign transaction fees. That’s something you won’t see just anywhere. In addition, their checking account has a solid cashback debit card while their savings interest rate is one of the highest in the country.

Empower’s banking customers also get access to a cutting-edge AI financial assistant for help with budgeting and finding ways to save money. When you add the latest fintech to high-quality products, that’s a powerful combination. If Empower keeps it up, they are going to give traditional banks a serious run for their money.

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David Rodeck
David Rodeck |

David Rodeck is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email David here

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