FNBO Direct Review of Savings, Checking, and CD Rates

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Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

FNBO Direct’s checking account options

Online Checking Account

This checking account offers a good rate, but not the ability to write paper checks.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.40%

$0.01

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for any ATM, whether in-network or not. However, you may still be charged an ATM surcharge fee by the ATM’s owner if you use an out-of-network ATM.
  • ATM fee refund: None.
  • Overdraft fee: $33 per item, up to four per day. However, FNBO Direct will waive one overdraft charge in each 12-month period.

If you’re a true digital citizen looking to earn a good rate on the money in your checking account, this might be the right account for you. While this account has a decent interest rate and low minimum opening deposit, it doesn’t come with the ability to write paper checks.

Instead, you can make payments via debit card, online transfer, FNBO Direct’s BillPay service (as long as you’re making a payment of $5 or more), or by the fancy new personal payment service PopMoney. And if you need cold, hard cash, FNBO Direct lets you use any ATM without charging you a fee. You may still be charged a surcharge fee by the ATM’s owner, but with a network of two million ATMs across the world, it shouldn’t be hard to find a free one wherever you are.

One other handy feature of this account is that you can set up custom banking alerts. For example, if you find yourself paying too many overdraft fees, you can set up an alert to notify you when your balance is below a certain level. FNBO Direct will also give you a free pass on one overdraft fee during each 12-month period (counting from your last overdraft fee waiver).

How to get FNBO Direct’s Online Checking Account

To open this account, you’ll need to complete an application online. It typically takes 10-15 minutes, and you’ll need a few pieces of information, such as your driver’s license, employment info, and personal identification information, including Social Security number. It can take up to two days to receive a decision from FNBO Direct, after which time you can fund your account with an online transfer or by sending them a check.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on FNBO Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How FNBO Direct’s checking account compares

The biggest drawback with this account is that it doesn’t come with paper checks. That might not be too big of a deal these days, but it’s still not uncommon to find businesses or people that only accept cash or checks for payment.

Even so, FNBO Direct’s ATM policies make it relatively easy to get cash. There are plenty of in-network ATMs to be found around the world, and no FNBO Direct fees to use out-of-network ATMs.

With its 0.40% APY interest rate, the account is competitive, although it is possible to find checking accounts elsewhere that offer higher interest rates with the ability to write physical checks, if you so choose.

FNBO Direct’s savings account options

Online Savings Account

FNBO Direct’s online savings account has some unusual rules about when your money is available to use and which external accounts you can link to.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.60%

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for any ATM, whether in-network or not. However, you may still be charged an ATM surcharge fee by the ATM’s owner if you use an out-of-network ATM.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $33 per item, up to four per day.

Pay attention to some of the restrictions on this account. Your first deposit may be placed on a 10-day hold before you can withdraw it or move it to another account, even though it’ll still be earning interest. Checks deposited via FNBO Direct’s app will face a similar 10-day hold, but with the funds earning interest during this period.

There is also a restriction on which accounts you can add on as linked accounts: You can only link accounts in which you are the sole owner, and by opening an account, you give FNBO Direct the right to ask for account ownership information for your linked accounts at other banks.

Like other savings accounts, Federal Reserve Regulation D limits you to just six phone, online, or preauthorized transfers to other banks each month from this account. However, unlike most other savings accounts, FNBO Direct doesn’t charge you a fee if you go over these limits. Beware, though, as FNBO may choose to close your account and move the money to another one, which could be a non-interest-bearing account.

How to get FNBO Direct’s Online Savings Account

To open this account, the online application typically takes 10-15 minutes to complete. You’ll need to provide a copy of your driver’s license (or state-issued ID) and other personal information. FNBO Direct will usually make a decision on your account within two days of receiving your application, and from there you can fund your account with an online transfer or via check.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on FNBO Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How FNBO Direct’s savings account compares

Despite its rules about deposit holds and account ownership, FNBO Direct does offer a competitive interest rate on its online savings account. We also like that it has a low minimum deposit, so it should be easy to start saving while earning a reasonable rate with this account. However, if you’re looking for better rates with more-typical terms, consider one of these top online savings accounts instead.

FNBO Direct’s CD rates

CDs

FNBO’s CDs are callable, and they don’t earn a very good rate.

Term

APY

6 month

0.16%

9 month

0.26%

12 month

0.31%

18 month

0.41%

24 month

0.50%

36 month

0.70%

48 month

0.90%

60 month

1.15%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • For the 6-month and 12-month CDs, you’ll pay 3 months of interest.
    • For CDs over 12 months, you’ll pay 6 months interest.

The first thing to note with this account is that you must keep at least $500 in the account at all times. If you make an early withdrawal and the balance dips below $500, FNBO Direct may close the entire account and charge you an early withdrawal penalty.

FNBO Direct also reserves the right to call the CD to maturity at any time after giving you 30 days’ notice. Often, if a bank offers callable CDs, it’ll pay you a premium if you select this option. At FNBO Direct, however, that’s just its standard operating procedure, and you don’t get a premium APY with it.

After your CD matures, it’ll automatically renew for another CD of the same term, but with the interest rate current on the day of renewal. If you don’t want the CD to be automatically renewed, you can notify FNBO Direct not to do so. Even if it does renew and you change your mind, however, you get a 10-day grace period to make any changes to the CD account, including withdrawing the money.

How to get FNBO Direct’s CDs

It typically takes only take 10-15 minutes to open a new CD account, and you’ll need a few pieces of information such as your government-issued ID, and personal identification information, including Social Security number or tax ID.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on FNBO Direct’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How FNBO Direct’s CDs compare

FNBO Direct lags far behind the top competitors in its class in terms of best CD rates. Furthermore, the bank doesn’t offer any premium for its privilege of being able to call these CDs, as is common practice in the banking industry.

We do like the low minimum deposit threshold and reasonable early withdrawal fees. Just don’t withdraw enough to bring the balance below $500, or the account will be closed and you’ll pay a fee.

Overall review of FNBO Direct’s banking products

FNBO Direct’s accounts are attractive because the interest rates offered on both the online checking and savings accounts are right on-par with the frontrunners in its class. However, there are a lot of quirky rules that make us hesitate to recommend these accounts.

For example, its CDs are callable, but for that right, FNBO doesn’t offer you a higher interest rate as is typical with many other banks. It’s checking account doesn’t offer actual check writing privileges, and its savings account has some cumbersome rules on deposit holds.

FNBO Direct does have liberal ATM policies and offers ATM machine access in many locations. Whether that’s enough to overcome the other shortcomings of this account is for you to decide.

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