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Golden 1 Credit Union Review of Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Rates

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1933
Total Assets$12.3B
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Founded in Sacramento, California in 1933, Golden 1 Credit Union is now one of the largest credit unions in the country, with over $10 billion in assets and 900,000 members. The credit union serves members through with 80 branches in the Golden State and via the more than 30,000 CO-OP ATMs nationwide.

For most accounts, Golden 1 Credit Union allows customers to apply online. To continue with the online application process, you’ll need to have handy a government-issued ID, such as your driver’s license, and your Social Security number, along with your contact information.

Once you’ve become a member by opening a Regular Savings account, you can enroll in most additional accounts using your new online banking password. Some accounts, in particular some of the youth-oriented accounts, require customers to either visit a Golden 1 Credit Union branch or to call the Member Service Contact Center.

Here’s a look at the accounts offered by Golden 1 Credit Union, including notable features, benefits and rates paid, where applicable.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

Compare Rates from Similar Accounts

0.15%

Savings

Golden 1 Credit Union Regular Savings

2.20%

Barclays Online Savings Account

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Golden 1 Credit Union’s checking account options

Free Checking account

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Free Checking account is its bare bones, no-fee/no-interest checking account.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a savings or loan account is available

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Free Checking account is a basic, free checking account. The account charges no fees unless you overdraw the account without a backup savings or loan account, or if you use a non-network ATM. However, 240 Golden 1 Credit Union and 30,000 CO-OP ATMs are available to use surcharge-free. The account does offer some limited additional features, including:

  • Online, mobile and text banking services
  • Free first box of Golden 1 Credit Union custom image checks
  • Debit card
  • Mobile deposit
  • Online bill payment service
  • Popmoney® personal payment service

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Student Checking

Student Checking is a free account designed for students age 17 years and older.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a savings or loan account is available

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Student Checking account is essentially the same account as the credit union’s Free Checking option, with slight differences. In fact, after five years, the Student Checking account automatically converts into a Free Checking account.

The Student Checking account offers the same benefits as the Free Checking account, including mobile, online and text banking, mobile deposit and online bill pay. Customers also receive one free order of checks and a debit card. Like the Free Checking account, the Student Checking account doesn’t pay interest.

To qualify for a Student Checking account, applicants must provide proof of enrollment, acceptance or attendance at any college or university.

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Freedom Checking

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Freedom Checking account is another free, non-interest-bearing account targeted toward youths ages 16-17 with better-than-average grades.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a savings or loan account is available

Limited to students ages 16 or 17, the Freedom Checking account also requires a B-grade average or higher. The account allows youths the ability to withdraw and deposit funds without the oversight of a parent or legal guardian. Additional features are similar to the credit union’s other free checking accounts, including online and mobile banking access, mobile deposit, online bill pay and a debit card. When the account holder reaches age 18, the account automatically converts to a Free Checking account.

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New Generation Checking

Golden 1 Credit Union’s New Generation Checking account is the credit union’s third youth-based, free checking account. This one is for minors ages 13 to 17 who have a parent or legal guardian as a joint owner.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a savings or loan account is available

As with the credit union’s other free checking accounts, the New Generation account comes with the same basic features, from online and mobile banking to debit card access and online bill pay. However, one twist with the New Generation checking account is that ATM access is limited. For youths between ages 13 and 15, daily ATM withdrawals are capped at $40. For those between ages 16 to 17, the daily ATM limit is capped at $100. The account pays no interest.

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Premium Checking

Premium Checking is Golden 1 Credit Union’s flagship checking account, and the only one that pays interest.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$1,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5; can be waived with direct deposit of a recurring retirement or pay check, the maintenance of a $1,000 balance in the account, an aggregate daily savings balance of $5,000, or enrollment in the credit union’s Golden Prestige program
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a savings or loan account is available

Beyond the name, and the opening and maintenance requirements, Golden 1 Credit Union’s Premium Checking is similar to the credit union’s Free Checking account. In exchange for earning interest, the Premium Checking account drops the benefit of a free first box of checks.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Golden PrestigeSM package is available to qualifying clients age 62 or older. Direct deposit of a recurring check, or $5,000 on deposit in any combination of savings accounts at the credit union, are enough to qualify, along with the age requirement.

How to open Golden 1 Credit Union’s checking accounts

As noted earlier, Golden 1 Credit Union has an online application for its Free Checking and Premium Checking accounts. Customers looking to open a Student, New Generation or Freedom Checking accounts can visit a branch or call the Member Service Contact Center at (877) 465-3361.

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How Golden 1 Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

Although the Golden 1 Credit Union checking account roster is broad, it is not deep. While offering five types of checking accounts, three of those accounts are youth-focused twists on the credit union’s Free Checking account. Only the Premium Checking account pays interest, and the rate is low, falling well below the national average.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Premium Checking account has opening and maintenance requirements that the credit union’s free checking accounts do not carry, and although those hurdles are not too high to clear, the rate paid may not justify the effort for many prospective customers. When compared with the best national checking rates offered by competitors, Golden 1 Credit Union comes up well short.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s savings account options

Regular Savings account

The Regular Savings account is Golden 1 Credit Union’s traditional savings account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%
$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a checking or loan account is available

A $1 deposit into a Golden 1 Credit Union Regular Savings account is a mandatory requirement for membership in the credit union, in addition to the California regional requirement. A deposit of $100 is enough to trigger dividend payments.

Although the account offers unlimited ATM withdrawals, there is an excess withdrawal fee of $3 attached to in-branch cash withdrawals or transfers exceeding three per month. The account can be used as a basis for overdraft protection on the credit union’s checking accounts, and there are no monthly maintenance or minimum balance fees. In line with Federal Reserve regulations, there is a limit of six withdrawals/transfers a month with savings accounts. If you exceed the limit, it can lead to account closure.

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FlexSavings account

The FlexSavings account is designed to help customers save for a particular goal, such as a wedding or a vacation.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $20, or $5 with automatic transfer from another Golden 1 Credit Union account or payroll deduction
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a checking or loan account is available

Golden 1 Credit Union’s FlexSavings account is similar to holiday savings accounts at other financial institutions. After a small minimum opening deposit, the account pays interest on all balances until a date specified by the account holder. At that point, the money in the FlexSavings account is paid out to the member’s Regular Savings account at Golden 1 Credit Union. Payouts are on the first day of any month up to 20 years in the future. Withdrawals made before the specified date will result in the closure of the account.

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Youth Savings account

The Youth Savings account is designed to help those under age 18 learn how to handle their own money, although it must be opened with a joint account owner.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 for in-network ATMs, $2 for non-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a checking or loan account is available

The Youth Savings account at Golden 1 Credit Union allows minors to make withdrawals and deposits in their own savings account. The credit union will charge $3 per transaction for every in-branch withdrawal or transfer beyond three each month, Per Regulation D, six withdrawals/transfers is the limit per month. If you go over that, you may face account closure by the credit union.

Transactions can be made without the presence of a co-signer, although the account must have an adult joint owner until the youth reaches age 18. The account carries no monthly fee and pays dividends on all balances.

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Santa Saver account

The Santa Saver account at Golden 1 Credit Union is the FlexSavings account dressed up in a Christmas wrapper.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $20, or $5 with automatic transfer from another Golden 1 Credit Union account or payroll deduction
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Santa Saver account has the same requirements as the credit union’s FlexSavings account, with one specific difference: Santa Savers are required to take a distribution every year on Nov. 1. Other withdrawals or transfers are not allowed. This account also renews automatically every year.

How to open Golden 1 Credit Union’s savings accounts

Golden 1 Credit Union’s online application is available for all of the credit union’s savings accounts, if members have an online banking password. New members can sign up for the Regular Savings and Santa Savers account by joining the credit union online. Members can also open additional regular savings accounts as they wish using the online application process. Other options are to visit a branch or to call the Member Service Contact Center at (877) 465-3361.

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How Golden 1 Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

Golden 1 Credit Union’s savings accounts all pay the same rate, and it’s a rate below the national average. The bank’s flagship savings account is its membership account, as the other savings accounts are variations of holiday or youth accounts. While many other banks and credit unions offer additional high-yield savings accounts, Golden 1 Credit Union does not. As a result, its rates are well below those customers can get from competitors that pay the highest online savings rates available. On the plus side, none of Golden 1 Credit Union’s savings accounts charge monthly maintenance fees.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s CD rates

Term-Savings Certificate account

The Term-Savings Certificate account offers only standard rates; no promotional rates are currently available.
TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
3-5 months0.30%
$1,000
3-5 months0.30%
$10,000
3-5 months0.35%
$25,000
3-5 months0.35%
$50,000
3-5 months0.40%
$100,000
6-11 months0.60%
$1,000
6-11 months0.60%
$10,000
6-11 months0.60%
$25,000
6-11 months0.60%
$50,000
6-11 months0.65%
$100,000
12-17 months0.90%
$1,000
12-17 months0.90%
$10,000
12-17 months0.90%
$25,000
12-17 months0.90%
$50,000
12-17 months0.95%
$100,000
18-23 months0.90%
$1,000
18-23 months0.90%
$10,000
18-23 months0.90%
$25,000
18-23 months0.90%
$50,000
18-23 months0.95%
$100,000
24-35 months1.10%
$1,000
24-35 months1.10%
$10,000
24-35 months1.10%
$25,000
24-35 months1.10%
$50,000
24-35 months1.15%
$100,000
36-47 months1.20%
$1,000
36-47 months1.20%
$10,000
36-47 months1.20%
$25,000
36-47 months1.20%
$50,000
36-47 months1.25%
$100,000
48-59 months1.55%
$1,000
48-59 months1.55%
$10,000
48-59 months1.55%
$25,000
48-59 months1.55%
$50,000
48-59 months1.60%
$100,000
60 months1.90%
$1,000
60 months1.90%
$10,000
60 months1.90%
$25,000
60 months1.90%
$50,000
60 months2.00%
$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For terms of 3 months to 11 months, 90 days’ dividends; for terms of 12 through 23 months, 180 days’ dividends; for terms of 24 months or greater, 365 days’ dividends

Golden 1 Credit Union’s CDs range in maturity from 3 months to 5 years. Dividends are compounded and credited monthly. Rates are tiered, with balances of $100,000 or more earning the highest APY. The early withdrawal of CD deposits triggers an early withdrawal penalty of between 90 and 365 days of dividends. Golden 1 Credit Union’s CDs automatically renew, although there is a seven-day grace period after maturity during which account holders can withdraw their funds without a fee.

How to get Golden 1 Credit Union’s CD rates

Current members of Golden 1 Credit Union can open certificate accounts online by logging in to their account and clicking on the “Open an Account” tab. Non-members can either join the credit union and apply online, in-person at a branch, via the Member Service Contact Center at (877) 465-3361, or by mailing in a paper application.

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How Golden 1 Credit Union’s CD rates compare

CD rates at Golden 1 Credit Union are well above the credit union’s savings rates but can’t compare with the best CD rates available from other banks. For all maturities, Golden 1’s CDs are also below the national average rates. Rates are tiered, but they don’t increase until deposits hit the $100,000 figure, and then only by a small amount. Early withdrawal penalties can also be significant.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s money market account option

Money Market account

Golden 1 Credit Union’s Money Market savings account is a traditional money market account, which is something of a hybrid between a checking account and a savings account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25%
$0
0.40%
$10,000
0%
$50,000
0%
$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5, $0 with monthly balance of $2,500+
  • ATM fee: $0; access at Golden 1 Credit Union ATMs only
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: $29.50, but free overdraft protection from a checking or loan account is available

Larger deposits into Golden 1 Credit Union’s Money Market pay a higher rate than the credit union’s savings account. The highest APY is paid on balances of $100,000 or more. The account has ATM access, but only at Golden 1 Credit Union ATMs.

Dividends are compounded monthly and are variable. Account holders are restricted to six withdrawals per month; otherwise, the account may be closed. Although dividends are paid on any amount, balances below $2,500 are assessed a monthly fee.

How to get Golden 1 Credit Union’s money market account

As noted earlier, Golden 1 Credit Union has one online application for most account types, and the Money Market savings account qualifies for an online application for existing members with an online banking password. New members will have to join the credit union first before being offered online access to the money market account application. Otherwise, customers can visit a branch or call the Member Service Contact Center at (877) 465-3361.

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How Golden 1 Credit Union’s money market account compares

Golden 1 Credit Union’s money market account rates are middle-of-the-road. Balances above $50,000 pay more than the national average money market rate, while smaller deposits earn below-average rates. The highest available money market rates at other banks are much higher than even Golden 1 Credit Union’s best rates, while minimum deposit levels are much lower at most of the best-paying banks.

Golden 1 Credit Union’s IRA rates

Regular IRA CDs

TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
3-5 months0.30%
$500
3-5 months0.30%
$10,000
3-5 months0.35%
$25,000
3-5 months0.35%
$50,000
3-5 months0.40%
$100,000
6-11 months0.60%
$500
6-11 months0.60%
$10,000
6-11 months0.60%
$25,000
6-11 months0.60%
$50,000
6-11 months0.65%
$100,000
12-17 months0.90%
$500
12-17 months0.90%
$10,000
12-17 months0.90%
$25,000
12-17 months0.90%
$50,000
12-17 months0.95%
$100,000
18-23 months0.90%
$500
18-23 months0.90%
$10,000
18-23 months0.90%
$25,000
18-23 months0.90%
$50,000
18-23 months0.95%
$100,000
24-35 months1.10%
$500
24-35 months1.10%
$10,000
24-35 months1.10%
$25,000
24-35 months1.10%
$50,000
24-35 months1.15%
$100,000
36-47 months1.20%
$500
36-47 months1.20%
$10,000
36-47 months1.20%
$25,000
36-47 months1.20%
$50,000
36-47 months1.25%
$100,000
48-59 months1.55%
$500
48-59 months1.55%
$10,000
48-59 months1.55%
$25,000
48-59 months1.55%
$50,000
48-59 months1.60%
$100,000
60 months1.90%
$500
60 months1.90%
$10,000
60 months1.90%
$25,000
60 months1.90%
$50,000
60 months2.00%
$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For terms of 3 months to 11 months, 90 days’ dividends; for terms of 12 through 23 months, 180 days’ dividends; for terms of 24 months or greater, 365 days’ dividends

Golden 1 Credit Union’s IRA CDs follow the same maturity range and pay the same rates as the credit union’s non-IRA CDs, with the exception of the special offered on the 12 month CDs. Minimum deposits are $500, but rates are tiered, so deposits of $100,000 or more pay a higher APY. Early withdrawal penalties apply and can be significant.

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12 Month IRA Certificates

TermAPYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
12 months0.90%
$25
12 months0.90%
$10,000
12 months0.90%
$25,000
12 months0.90%
$50,000
12 months0.95%
$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $25
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ dividends

Golden 1 Credit Union offers a special 12 month IRA certificate for account holders with smaller initial deposits. As opposed to the credit union’s traditional $500 IRA CD minimum, the special 12 month CD carries a minimum opening deposit of just $25. As with the credit union’s other CDs, rates are tiered, and a slightly higher rate is offered for deposits of at least $100,000. The early withdrawal penalty, if triggered, is significant.

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IRA Savings account

The IRA Savings account at Golden 1 Credit Union is essentially a holding place for funds until they can be invested elsewhere for retirement.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: n/a
  • ATM fee refund: n/a
  • Overdraft fee: n/a

The IRA Savings account at Golden 1 Credit Union is an interest-bearing account for cash deposits. There are no interest rate tiers, so all deposits earn the same rate. The account carries no monthly maintenance fees.

How to get Golden 1 Credit Union’s IRA rates

IRA products at Golden 1 Credit Union are available to members only. However, new customers can join online, enroll in online banking and use the same online application available for other Golden 1 Credit Union accounts, as noted earlier. Applicants can also choose the mail-in option by obtaining a paper application from the credit union’s website. Applicants for IRA products can also call (877) 465-3361 or visit a branch.

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How Golden 1 Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

Like their non-IRA counterparts, Golden 1 Credit Union’s IRA CD rates are disappointing. There is no significant boost in yield for making larger deposits, and the rates paid on the CDs are below both the national averages and the best IRA CD rates available from competitor institutions.

To be sure, the 12 month CD is unique in that it has a lower minimum balance requirement, but the rate is not much different than those available in the credit union’s regular CD schedule. The credit union’s IRA Savings account pays a moderate amount of interest but is more of a waiting place for funds until they can be invested in higher-rate options.

Overall review of Golden 1 Credit Union’s banking products

Golden 1 Credit Union has a broad range of products, from checking and savings accounts to a money market account and CDs. However, none of the individual accounts stand out as being particularly attractive. Fees are generally quite low, except for the possibility of overdraft charges, but the rates paid on the credit union’s entire roster of products, from checking and savings through to money market and CD accounts, is average at best, and in many cases, low. Without any noteworthy additional features or benefits offered by Golden 1 Credit Union’s accounts, customers can likely find better choices elsewhere.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

John Csiszar
John Csiszar |

John Csiszar is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email John here

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Reviews

Simple Bank Review — a Simple Way to Budget

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1964
Total Assets$90.1B

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Like most things in the world of “adulting,” managing your finances isn’t always as simple as it should be. This is where online bank Simple stepped in seven years ago, providing customers with a mobile bank account rolled into a budgeting app.

Acquired by Spanish bank BBVA in 2014, Simple was founded in Portland, Ore. in 2009 and launched commercial operations three years later. The money in a Simple account is held by BBVA Compass, the American subsidiary of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A., and FDIC-insured up to $250,000.

Though Simple offers only one type of bank account — consumer checking — it promises a simple way to save and budget while offering features found at bigger banks, such as photo check deposit, plus additional features, including Goals, Expenses, and Safe-to-Spend(R). In an effort to attract new banking customers, Simple is offering a 2.02% APY return on balances of $2,000 or greater in a Protected Goals Account. Otherwise, the APY is the normal 0.01%.

We’ll review Simple’s bank account, its pros and cons and what else you need to know to determine if it’s a good fit for you.

Simple’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

2.02%

Checking

Simple Checking Account + Protected Goals Account*

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What is Simple?

The Simple bank account is a checking account that incorporates budgeting tools into a consumer’s everyday banking.

Simple banking is provided through both desktop and mobile applications, although you will need to download the app to deposit checks using a photo. The free mobile app is available for Android and iOS-powered devices. You can complete all other necessary banking tasks on both platforms.

The Simple account

Minimum deposit amount to open

$0

Annual percentage yield

0.01% ($0 - $2,000)
2.02% ($2,000+)

Overdraft fee

$0

Monthly service fee

$0

ACH transfer fee

$0

ATM fee

$0

Out of network ATM fee

$0

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Simple Visa debit
Simple customers are issued a Simple Visa debit card for daily purchases and to use at more than 40,000 ATMs in the Allpoint network. In-network ATMs won’t charge you a fee, and are easily found using the ATM finder both online and in the app. Simple doesn’t charge you a fee for using an out-of-network ATM, but you may be charged by other banks and ATM owners.

Simple bank review
Simple

Safe-to-spend
Simple’s Safe-to-Spend(R) feature helps you resist the temptation to spend every dollar in your bank account when those funds should be reserved for more important and urgent things. The budgeting algorithm sets aside funds for spending categories in your budget and your savings goals. The app subtracts the amount of money you’ve set aside from your total account balance so you can easily see how much money you have left to spend — your safe-to-spend number.

Goals
The Simple bank account makes it easy to set aside money for long- and short-term goals. The feature also serves as a digital envelope budgeting system for your monthly budgeting needs.

A warning to chronic overspenders: Although the amount set aside for goals is subtracted from your total balance so you know what’s safe to spend, the goal money is kept in the same account as the rest of your funds, so you can spend the money if you really need to. We will address how to use goals to save and budget in the following section.

Simple bank review
Simple

Analytics
Simple provides spending reports to give you more insight on how you’re spending your money. You can use the graphs and breakdowns Simple creates to analyze trends in your spending. With that information, you can evaluate whether or not your budget is meeting your needs or if you need to make adjustments in your spending habits. You can also add hashtags, notes and images to each transaction.
You will need to go online to view reports as the feature isn’t yet available in the Simple app.

Protected Goals
You can set up separate savings goals and an emergency fund within the Protected Goals account. Unlike the money for your short-term goals, money in the “protected” account is separate from your main Simple bank account. If you need to use your money, you can make unlimited transfers from a Protected Goals account to your regular Simple checking account. That means there’s no need to worry about hitting the six withdrawals per month limit most other savings accounts have under Regulation D, and the common fees associated with making excessive withdrawals.

If you are looking for a high-yield account, the Simple bank account may be the one for you. Right now, you can earn up to 2.02% APY if you maintain a balance of $2,000 or more in the entire Protected Goals Account. If you choose to set up an Emergency Fund or Savings Goal under the Protected Goals Account and the amount combined is $2,000 or more, you’ll still qualify for the 2.02% APY. If you don’t, a Protected Goals account with Simple earns 0.01% APY, which is lower than the national average yield on checking accounts. So if you’re looking to earn a return on your savings and can’t make maintain a balance of $2,000 or more, you may want to look elsewhere.

Although they may lack the bells and whistles Simple incorporates, there are many alternative high-yield checking accounts that earn a much higher yield on your money with no minimum deposit. You can also compare rates and terms on the best savings options currently available here that also have higher rates than this account.

Simple Shared
Simple offers joint accounts it calls Simple Shared accounts. The Simple Shared account is a separate Simple bank account that you co-own with someone else. The joint Simple Shared account allows pairs to plan budgets and complete savings goals together. Couples can even save for an emergency under the Shared account. Emergency Funds are now available for Simple Shared accounts.

Both co-owners of a Simple Shared account must have individual Simple accounts, too, and they have to keep the individual accounts open in order to have a shared account. Your individual accounts stay private.

Simple Instant
Simple Instant is a peer-to-peer payments system exclusive to Simple users. It’s the quickest way to send money to other Simple account holders instantly, for free. After you add the Simple user to your Instant contacts, you can send money to them using an email address or phone number.

Simple bank accounts work with most third-party p2p payment services like Venmo and Square Cash, too, so you can still send money to your friends who don’t use Simple, although you may be required to pay for instant transfers.

Where Simple falls short

A 1% fee for foreign transactions
Simple doesn’t charge you any fees for making foreign transactions, but Visa does. Each time you swipe your Simple card overseas, you may be required to pay a 1% International Service Assessment fee to Visa. That fee may not be a deal breaker for some frequent travelers, but it’s a bummer to pay any more than you have to, ever.

Additionally. there is a $1,000 daily spending limit for international transactions, but you can have that temporarily raised to $6,000 if you let Simple know you’ll be traveling.

No checkbooks
Simple users are not issued checkbooks to write paper checks. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to send a personal check or pay a bill, you can use Simple’s free bill pay service to have Simple send a check on your behalf. The bill pay feature is found online and in the app. You may also request a treasurer’s check — similar to a cashier’s check — from Simple.

Simple mobile app

When you don’t know exactly how much you have to spend on the things you want but don’t need, you’re either constantly running out of time, money or both. When you’re running around living your life most of the time, keeping track of your money can become a chore.

The Simple mobile app incorporates features that help you keep track of how much money you have left to work with for the month while on the go. You can even get instant push notifications that will send you spending updates in real-time.

Features that stand out

The goals feature is what sets the Simple app and account apart from other mobile-first fintech startups and online banks, which we will get into in detail below.

Using Goals to save money
When you create a goal in Simple — after naming it and adding an optional memo — you’ll set the amount and date by which you would like to complete it. You can fund the goal in two ways: (1) set aside money right away, or (2) elect to save over time.

When you save over time, an algorithm will calculate how much money to move over incrementally from your safe-to-spend amount to the savings goal so it’s fully funded by your preset completion date. You can move money each day, or set a custom funding schedule so the app only moves money on predetermined days.

Using Expenses to budget
You can use the Simple Expenses feature to mimic old-fashioned envelope budgeting. Envelope budgeting is a method in which you set aside cash in physical envelopes for each budgeting category. You set aside what you think you’d need to cover categories like gas, groceries or shopping for a period and if you run out of money for that category, you stop buying in that area. Simple offers a digital version.

You would create an expense and name them for each spending category in your budget for the month and determine how much to set aside for purchases made from that category. Here’s an example budget from Simple:

Simple bank review
Simple

Ideally, you would fund the expense immediately and not over time. That’s what Simple really focuses on doing. It’s a “set it and forget it” mentality. This feature runs off of “Funding Schedules”. So, once you create an expense through this feature, Simple will recreate the expense for you so that it’s paid off again the next month. You can set this up by creating an Expense and choosing the category you want the Expense to automatically come out of. You only need to set this up once. After you’ve set up all of your expenses, the funds will be automatically debited from the appropriate Expense each month.

What if I overspend?
As mentioned earlier, you can intentionally or accidentally spend money set aside for your goals if you go over your safe-to-spend amount. Of course, dipping into your goal money may cut into your progress. If you fall behind on saving or need to edit a goal, you can always edit the target date and/or amount, or delete the goal. On the flip side, if you complete a goal and want to save more money, you can choose to automatically save more over time.

Other features that deserve an honorable mention:

  • You can deposit checks — This is the only feature exclusive to the app and may be in found in the “Move Money” tab. Simple recommends submitting the deposit before 5 p.m. EST, as it allows the bank to process the deposit on the same day. However, if you submit the deposit after 5 p.m. EST, the deposit won’t be processed until the next business day. Keep in mind that “processing” is not the same as “funding”. For example, if you make a Photo Check Deposit before 5 p.m. EST on a Monday, the deposit will be processed the same day, but won’t be posted to your account until Tuesday at 3 a.m. EST. If you make the deposit after 5 p.m. EST on a Monday, the funds won’t post to your account until Wednesday at 3 a.m. EST.

The limit on how much money you can deposit using a photo check will depend on factors such as how long you’ve been with Simple and the number of checks you’ve recently deposited, so it varies by individual user. You can find out your current check limit under “Deposit a Check.” If the check is too large, you can deposit it by mail.

  • You can block and unblock your debit card — Blocking your card is useful if you lose your card or think it’s been stolen. Go to your profile and select “Your Simple Cards” then block the Simple Visa card. If you see any unauthorized transactions made on your account, you may be covered by Visa’s Zero Liability policy if you report it in time.

How to open a Simple Bank account

Opening a Simple bank account is a quick and easy process (see how I didn’t use the word “simple” there? I saved you from a very punny sentence). Signing up takes all of about five minutes. Simple requires applicants to be U.S. citizens and 18 years or older with a Social Security number.

The company also recommends you have access to a device that can run its mobile app. The device will need to be running on either Apple iOS 10.0 or higher or Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher.

You can open an account online or on the Simple mobile app. The application requires you to create a username and password for your Simple bank account, and indicate how you plan to use the account. Then, it asks for personally identifying information like your name and Social Security number.

Simple bank review
Simple

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Who could benefit from the Simple bank account?

The Simple bank account would be most beneficial to individuals and household budgeteers who want to be able to manage their budgeting and bank account in one place, in real time.

Most household money managers are well aware how much their bills will come up to each month and what their short- and long-term monetary goals are. However, it’s naturally difficult to keep the numbers you’re juggling on the top of your head when you are busy and often on the go. Other budgeting apps may keep you organized, but you have to make an effort to keep them on track with your actual spending.

Simple makes keeping up with bills and savings goals effortless.

Simple’s safe-to-spend feature allows even the busiest among us to easily keep track of how much money you actually have available to spend freely. You can use Simple from virtually anywhere, desktop or on your phone, so there are no excuses. Just checking your bank account balance and seeing the difference between the total balance and your safe-to-spend will remind you of your budget and savings goals.

With Simple, you can create and automatically contribute to an emergency fund account, one separate from your other financial goals, so that it actually gets done this time around. The amount you want to save in your Emergency Fund is based on how much money you want to save in a certain period of time. Based on those two things, Simple will put together a daily contribution amount.

Simple’s Goals system can help you stay organized, compartmentalize your budget and keep your financial priorities straight. If you don’t immediately fund a goal, the app has your back. It calculates and makes small transfers to get you closer to your goal for you.

Alternatives

Simple is one of many fintech companies that have recently released a mobile-first or mobile-only banking option. Next, we take a look at how Simple compares with its peers: the Aspiration Summit account, Chime, Beam and Finn by Chase. Rates are as of  the date of publication.

Simple vs. Aspiration Summit account
 SimpleAspiration Summit

Overdraft fee

$0

$25

APY on Checking

Up to 2.02% APY

2.00% APY

APY on Savings

n/a

n/a

The Aspiration Summit account is the mobile-only banking option for those trying to be a bit more socially conscious. Aspiration’s standout feature is its Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM), which measures your social impact based on where you spend your money.

You get a personal AIM score, calculated based on the businesses you choose to support, which also each get an AIM score. For businesses, the AIM score is split in two: a “people score” based on factors like employee pay and access to health care, and a “planet score” based on things like the company’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to knowing how the money you spend affects the world around you, you can feel confident knowing Aspiration donates $0.10 of every dollar it makes to financially-focused charities.

Like the Simple bank account, the Aspiration Summit account is a checking account. While the Simple bank account earns up to 2.02% APY, the Aspiration Summit account earns a slightly lower 2.00% APY on all balances. But, Aspiration doesn’t give you the opportunity to open a separate account to set aside savings like Simple does. Aspiration also doesn’t provide any budgeting and goal-setting features on its account, while Simple does. Aspiration requires a $10 minimum deposit to open an account, but no minimum balance to maintain the account.

Aspiration charges is a $25 overdraft fee and a $5 daily fee for each day your balance remains negative. Meanwhile, Simple charges no fees but won’t allow a transaction if it will overdraft your Simple bank account. Like Simple, Aspiration doesn’t charge its users a fee to access ATMs anywhere in the world but goes a step further by fully reimbursing you (on the 10th of each month) if you’re charged a fee by an out-of-network ATM. If you’re traveling overseas, you’ll be charged a fee equal to 1.1% of the transaction using the Aspiration Mastercard debit card.

Simple vs. Chime Bank
 SimpleChime Bank

Overdraft fee

$0

$0

APY on Checking

Up to 2.02% APY

n/a

APY on Savings

n/a

0.01% APY

Chims is a fee-free, mobile-first banking option that features automated savings, but doesn’t come with the analytics and goal-setting features that Simple has.

With Chime, you can automatically save 10% of each paycheck in a savings account and, if you’re enrolled in direct deposit, you can get access to your paycheck up to two days earlier than the money would become available with most other standard checking accounts. Once enrolled in Chime’s automatic savings program, Chime will automatically round up each purchase made with your Chime Visa Debit Card to the nearest dollar and save the difference in your savings account.

If you ever need to split a bill, Chime does the math for you and lets you send a text to a friend with a link to pay you back using Venmo, or Chime’s in-app peer to peer payments feature (Pay Friends) if the friend is a Chime Member. Money sent between two Chime members is received instantly. Simple doesn’t do the math for you, but you can send money instantly to other Simple users using its built-in p2p system, Simple Instant.

Chime offers both a checking account and a designated savings account, unlike Simple, which offers a checking account and the option to save emergency funds in a “protected goals” account.

If your savings are in a Chime savings account, you won’t be granted more than a 0.01% yield on your funds. On the other hand, if you place your savings in Simple’s Protected Goals Account, you earn up to 2.02% APY on balances of $2,000 or more. Neither Chime nor Simple charge overdraft fees. While Simple doesn’t charge you for using out-of-network ATMs, Chime charges $2.50. You can find more than 38,000 in-network ATMs using the ATM map in the Chime app.

Simple vs. Beam
 SimpleBeam

Overdraft fee

$0

n/a

APY on Checking

Up to 2.02% APY

n/a

APY on Savings

n/a

2.00% APY; up to 4.00% APY

Beam is a fee-free, mobile-only high-interest deposit account. You can earn a much higher yield on your savings than you would with Simple. Beam accounts promise a minimum 2.00% APY compared with Simple’s 0.01% APY. Beam also gives its customers the opportunity to claim rewards that can earn them up to 4.00% APY on their funds daily. Beam calls its rewards “billies” and they can be earned by engaging with the app and doing things like referring a friend to Beam. The “billies” are awarded daily between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time. Neither service requires a minimum balance to earn interest on funds.

Beam doesn’t issue users a debit card or give users ATM access like Simple does. Beam is intended for use alongside a primary checking account as a supplementary bank account, while Simple is intended to be used as a primary checking account. If you want to use your money in a Beam account, you must first transfer it out to a primary checking account, which can take up to two days. Beam also doesn’t have any special saving or budgeting features and doesn’t show you spending analytics like Simple does.

As of this writing, Beam is not yet available for widespread use, but Simple is. Beam is still in a “private beta” stage, so it can only accommodate a limited number of customers. If you want to use Beam, you’ll have to sign up on the waiting list, which currently has more than 126,000 names.

Simple vs. Finn by Chase
 SimpleFinn by Chase

Overdraft fee

$0

$0

APY on Checking

Up to 2.02% APY

n/a

APY on Savings

n/a

0.01% APY; up to 0.04% APY

Finn by Chase is a free mobile-first banking option from Chase Bank. Finn by Chase offers checking and savings accounts, and you are required to have both types. For comparison, Simple only offers a checking account. Simple and Finn by Chase users earn the same 0.01% APY on balances below $10,000. For balances that are $10,000-$25,000, Finn users earn 3%, then 0.04% APY on higher amounts. Simple doesn’t offer increased interest on larger balances. Finn does not offer joint accounts, but Simple does.

Both banks issue users Visa debit cards for daily purchases and to use at the ATM. Finn charges $2.50 if you use an out-of-network ATM, while Simple doesn’t charge a fee at all. Finn says its users have access to more than 29,000 in-network ATMs while Simple advertises more than 38,000 in-network ATMs.

The banks both show users’ spending analytics and offer automatic saving features but differ in how their features work.

Finn lets users rate each transaction as a “want” or “need” and how it makes the user feel. Users can choose happy, sad or indifferent faces. Finn also provides users analytics via charts and graphs that summarize their spending habits.

Finally, Simple lets you send money instantly to other users using Simple Instant, but Finn by Chase lets you send money to anyone in the Zelle network, even if they are with a different bank, instantly for free. Both services let users send money with third-party platforms like Venmo, Google Wallet and PayPal.

The bottom line

The Simple bank account is a solid one-stop shop for hassle-free banking and budgeting. Simple, the company, doesn’t charge any fees, but BBVA Compass may charge fees. Make sure you to read the Simple Deposit Account Agreement. Fortunately, it won’t cost you to use their budgeting and analytics system if budgeting and saving is what you’re really after. Additionally, the 2.02% APY on balances of $2,000 or more is a huge perk if you can meet and maintain that balance requirement.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brittney Laryea
Brittney Laryea |

Brittney Laryea is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brittney at [email protected]

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Earning Interest, Reviews

Discover Bank CD Rates Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Discover Bank
Most people know Discover as a credit card company, but it also operates an online bank and offers some of the best rates and terms on checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).

Savings account bonus offer: Earn up to $200 on your first Discover savings account

As a bank, Discover offers some of the best products on the market. Currently, they’re offering a major deal on their online savings account, which currently earns 2.10% APY. If you apply for their savings account for the very first time by 06/03/19 and deposit a balance of at least $15,000 by 06/17/19, you can earn a $150 bonus. If you deposit a balance of at least $25,000 by the same date, you can earn a $200 bonus. Applying for the account is easy as you don’t need to go to a branch. The bonus will be credited to your account by 07/01/19. You can apply online or over the phone. Just be sure to enter or mention the promo code MM519 when you apply.

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If you’re looking for CDs in particular, Discover is currently considered to have some of the best CDs due to their customer service and digital tools.

Discover Bank CD rates

CD term

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

3 months

0.35%

6 months

0.65%

9 months

0.70%

12 months

2.65%

18 months

2.65%

24 months

2.70%

30 months

2.70%

3 years

2.75%

4 years

2.80%

5 years

3.00%

7 years

3.05%

10 years

3.10%

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How do Discover Bank CD rates compare?

While Discover Bank CD rates aren’t always the highest available, they are consistently among the top offers across all terms. However, you may be able to find a similar or even better rate with a CD that has a lower minimum deposit than Discover’s $2,500 requirement. Currently, several nationwide banks offered a 12-month CD at a rate higher than Discover’s 12-month CD APY, while requiring a lower minimum deposit. For example, at the same time the above rates were available at Discover, there were 12-month CDs with rates as high as 2.70% APY with a lower minimum balance amount to earn the APY.

It’s always great to go for the highest interest rates possible, but keep your CD investing strategy in mind. If you’re investing in CDs using the ladder strategy, it might be easier to keep everything in one bank since you’ll be switching in and out of CDs frequently.

Discover also stands out from its competition in the CD space with its mobile app and 24/7 U.S.-based customer service. If you value such features, keep those particulars in mind when weighing Discover CD rates against others’.

What you need to know about Discover Bank’s CDs

Discover Bank is very transparent in terms of fine print. It’s not difficult to understand what’ll happen with your money after you invest it. We’ll cover the basics here about what you need to know to invest in Discover Bank’s CDs.

How to open a CD

It’s very simple to open up a CD with Discover Bank. Go to their CD webpage and click on the orange “Open an Account” button near the top right of the page. You can then choose which accounts you’d like to open. Select “CD,” choose a CD term and enter how much you’d like to deposit.

You’ll then need to complete the application by providing your name, address, date of birth, phone number, Social Security number, employment status and possibly even your driver’s license. Once your application is complete and accepted, you’ll need to fund the account.

How to fund the CD

You’ll need to fund it within 45 days of submitting your application, which you can do in one of three ways:

  • Transfer funds from another bank account over the phone. (You can only do this when you first fund your account.)
  • Transfer funds from another bank via online transfer.
  • Write a check to yourself and send it to the following address:Discover Bank
    P.O. Box 30417
    Salt Lake City, UT 84130

The minimum deposit amount for each of Discover Bank’s CDs is $2,500. Once you open a CD, you can’t deposit more money later, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have all the cash you want to invest before you open the account.

Withdrawing funds from the CD

When you want to withdraw money from your CD, the biggest thing to consider is whether that CD has matured yet, or finished its term.

If your CD has not matured, you’ve got options: You can take the interest out penalty-free at any time, or you can withdraw the principal (or the money you deposited) at any time as long as you pay an early-withdrawal penalty. This penalty varies depending on the original term of your CD:

  • less than one year: three months’ worth of simple interest
  • one year to less than four years: six months’ worth of simple interest
  • four years: nine months’ worth of simple interest
  • five years to less than seven years: 18 months’ worth of simple interest
  • seven years or longer: 24 months’ worth of simple interest

If your CD has finished its term, you can withdraw your money penalty-free, allow the CD to renew or roll it into a CD of a different term length. (More on that in a bit).

Earning interest on a Discover CD

Your CD will start earning interest on the same business day that you fund the account. The interest will be added to your account once each month, however.

When it comes to what to do with your interest, you have two options: The default option is to allow it to compound within the CD (meaning you’ll earn interest on that interest), or you can have it automatically deposited each month into another Discover bank account.

What happens once the CD matures?

You’ll get a heads-up notice about a month before your CD matures so you can decide what to do with the money. You have two main options: Either reinvest it into another CD (of the same term length or a different term length), or withdraw the money from the CD and put it into another account (such as a checking or savings account, or perhaps a CD at a different institution).

If you don’t let Discover know what you want to do with the maturing CD, the CD will automatically renew into another one of the same term length. You have a nine-day grace period after your CD automatically rolls over to make any changes or withdrawals penalty-free.

The bottom line

As far as big-name banks go, Discover offers great CD products. Wells Fargo, for example, only offers interest rates as high as 1.55% APY on a $5,000 deposit for a 58-month CD. Chase Bank offers even lower maximum rates — an abysmal 1.05% APY, and only if you can commit a minimum of $100,000 for 10 years.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to keep your finances in one place, Discover also has great credit cards, as well as competitive online savings and checking accounts. No matter how long you’re considering putting money in a CD, Discover is worth a look. Even if it doesn’t have the best available rate, it’s usually within several basis points of the top offerings and well above the average APY.

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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here

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