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Mercantil Bank Review: Checking, Savings, Money Market and CD Accounts

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Mercantil Bank’s checking account options

Value Checking

A checking account that bears no interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5, though this fee can be waived
  • ATM fee: None, unless you use an out-of-network ATM
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35 per item

Not only does Mercantil Bank’s Value Checking account not offer interest, but it can end up costing you money if you have to pay the monthly maintenance fee. You can avoid this fee by signing up for e-statements or direct deposit, or by making at least four debit transactions per month with your card.

None of Mercantil Bank’s checking options are overly desirable, but Value Checking arguably offers the least bang for your buck.

How to get Mercantil Bank’s Value Checking account

To open a Value Checking account, you will have to visit one of Mercantil Bank’s branches. You cannot open this account online.

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Interest Checking

A checking account with high minimum balance requirements.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies depending on desired APY
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15, though this fee can be waived
  • ATM fee: None, unless you use an out-of-network ATM
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35 per item

Mercantil Bank’s Interest Checking account does offer more in the way of returns than the Value Checking account. It offers interest, but the rates are not available on Mercantil Bank’s website. You’ll need to contact the bank for the current rates.

The account uses a tiered system for APY. If you have the minimum balance required for the highest APY, you’re better off stashing that money in a money market account.

You should also keep an eye out for the monthly account maintenance fee. To avoid this fee, you must keep an average daily balance of $2,500 in your Interest Checking account, which may be an unrealistic goal for many working Americans.

How to get Mercantil Bank’s Interest Checking account

To open an Interest Checking account, you will have to visit one of Mercantil Bank’s branches. You cannot open this account online.

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Relationship Interest Checking

A checking account requiring an extremely high balance to avoid the monthly fee.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $35, though this fee can be waived
  • ATM fee: None, unless you use an out-of-network ATM
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35 per item

If you don’t have an average daily balance of $50,000 in your Relationship Interest Checking account — or if you don’t have a combined monthly balance of at least $50,000 and have direct deposit set up or make at least 10 transactions a month — you’ll get hit with a whopping $35 account maintenance fee.

Mercantil Bank does not publish the rates for this account on its website, so you’ll need to check with it for further details. Having a Relationship Interest Checking account allows you to get the advertised APY with the Relationship Money Market account, which we will detail later in this review.

How to get Mercantil Bank’s Relationship Interest Checking account

To open a Relationship Interest Checking account, you will have to visit one of Mercantil Bank’s branches. You cannot open this account online.

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How Mercantil Bank’s checking accounts compare

Mercantil Bank’s checking account options are not competitive. It starts with the Value Checking account, where your money won’t bear any interest, and culminates in the potentially expensive Relationship Interest Checking account.

With this account, if you fall short on your daily account balance or monthly account balance (and extras), you’ll get hit with a massive maintenance fee, eating away at the APY.

But having a Relationship Interest Checking account could benefit you if you also plan to have a Relationship Money Market account.

There are higher-interest checking accounts on the market, and they come with lower or no maintenance fees and lower minimum balance requirements.

Mercantil Bank’s savings account option

Savings

Mercantil Bank offers only one savings account option.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5, though this fee can be waived
  • ATM fee: None, unless you use an out-of-network ATM
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35 per item

After the Great Recession, interest rates on deposit accounts plummeted. But, right around that time, online banking started becoming popular and more widely used. These online banks can afford to offer higher interest rates because they do not have the same overhead costs as banks with physical branches.

The bank has branches in Florida and Texas, and that’s where you will need to check for the interest rate on its Savings account because it’s not published online. There is also a monthly maintenance fee, though this can be avoided if you have at least $1 in a Mercantil Bank checking or money market account.

Savings accounts are federally regulated. One such regulation — Regulation D — mandates that savings account holders can make up to six certain withdrawals a month. Keep this in mind as you manage your money. Otherwise, you could be charged a $10 fee from the bank each time you make an extraneous transaction.

How to get Mercantil Bank’s Savings account

To open a Savings account, you will have to visit one of Mercantil Bank’s physical locations. You cannot open this account online.

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How Mercantil Bank’s savings account compares

Eliminating the monthly fee on Mercantil Bank’s Savings account is incredibly easy. But be sure to shop other savings account options to get the most return on your money.

Mercantil Bank’s money market account options

Money Market

This account is characterized by low APY offerings.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.03%$100
0.03%$5,000
0.03%$10,000
0.10%$25,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies depending on desired APY
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25, though this fee can be waived
  • ATM fee: You cannot access this account through an ATM
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: $35 per item

Mercantil Bank’s Money Market account offers low APY, especially for its minimum balance requirements. While it is not expensive to open, you will have to keep in mind that on top of low interest rates, you’re also subject to a relatively high monthly account maintenance fee. This fee can be avoided, though, if you have a $5,000 daily balance in your Money Market account or at least $25,000 across all your Mercantil Bank deposit accounts.

Money market accounts are technically savings accounts and therefore fall under Regulation D. Be sure to avoid making more than six withdrawals per month or you could get hit with a $10 fee for each subsequent withdrawal from the bank.

How to get Mercantil Bank’s Money Market account

To open a Money Market account, you will have to visit one of Mercantil Bank’s physical locations. You cannot open this account online.

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Relationship Money Market

A money market account with a high minimum balance requirement, available only through a branch.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.10% $25,000
    • Minimum opening deposit: $100
    • Minimum balance to earn APY: $25,000
    • Monthly account maintenance fee: $150, though this fee can be waived
    • ATM fee: You cannot access this account through an ATM
    • ATM fee refund: N/A
    • Overdraft fee: None

    Mercantil Bank’s Relationship Money Market account is not nearly as strong as its CD option. The amount you will need to keep in your account to earn interest is large.

    You can get the advertised interest rate on this account if you open a Relationship Interest Checking account with Mercantil Bank. You will also have to hold $50,000 in combined deposit accounts, investment accounts or loans with Mercantil Bank to qualify for this rate. This does bump up the rate to be more competitive, but the minimum required to earn interest is quite high.

    If you have a Relationship Interest Checking account, the $150 monthly maintenance fee will be waived. If you do not have a Relationship Interest Checking account and do not hold at least $50,000 with Mercantil Bank, interest rates will be the same as the regular Money Market account.

    Since money market accounts are savings accounts, they fall under Regulation D — a Federal Reserve rule that allows up to six certain withdrawals per billing cycle. If you make more than six withdrawals during this period, each transaction will trigger a $10 fee from the bank. Because this account does not come with an ATM card, you will have to complete all your transactions — including withdrawals — online. One advantage of the Mercantil Bank Relationship Money Market option is the absence of an overdraft fee, though if you are overdrawing your money market account, you’re likely not reaping the account benefits.

    As with all of Mercantil Bank’s accounts, you need to live in Florida or Texas to open this one.

    How to get Mercantil Bank’s Relationship Money Market account

    To open a money market account with Mercantil Bank, you will have to visit a physical location. You cannot open an account online, but you can make an appointment to visit one of Mercantil Bank’s branches.

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How Mercantil Bank’s money market accounts compare

Even if you have the Relationship Interest Checking account to get the rate with the Relationship Money Market account, the minimum balance amount is quite a barrier to entry. If you have this large sum available to throw into savings, the money market and checking account combination may be a good match. But if you don’t, you can find slightly lower interest rates with a far lower minimum balance requirement. Some of the best money market accounts have no minimum balance requirements at all.

Mercantil Bank’s CD rates

Certificates of Deposit

Phenomenal rates with limited availability.
TermAPY
12 months2.55%
18 months2.60%
24 months2.55%
36 months 2.85%
48 months2.75%
60 months2.80%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: On 12- to 36-month CDs, the early withdrawal penalty is three months’ interest; on 48- and 60-month CDs, the early withdrawal penalty is 12 months’ interest

To open an online CD with Mercantil Bank, you must have a permanent residence in Florida or Texas. On top of that, you can only open one of these CDs online if you live in an area without a physical branch. For example, if you live in Miami, where the bank does have physical locations, you would have to go to your branch to open up a CD. You will be offered another product called the Smart CD, but the rates may be lower and the account offers no advantage over the online CD. But if you ask the staff to honor the online rates, they most likely will. You will just have to come into a branch to open up your online CD since you are local.

If you meet the state residency requirement, the benefits are phenomenal. The minimum to open a Mercantil Bank CD is very low, and the interest rates are some of the best on the market. If you can open a CD here, you’re getting one of the best products available. There are very few financial institutions in the country that offer anything better.

How to get Mercantil Bank’s CDs

If you live in an area of Florida or Texas without a local branch, you can apply to open your CD online. If there is a branch in your area, you will have to go in and request that the online rates be honored. You can see if there’s a location near you by using this handy tool.

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How Mercantil Bank’s CD rates compare

While Mercantil Bank does have some stiff competition, it’s very rare that its rates don’t come out on top. Even among the best CD offers in the nation, Mercantil Bank offers similar or higher interest rates with a lower minimum deposit requirement than some. If you manage to find a financial institution that offers a higher rate with the same minimum deposit, you’ll have found one of the best rates you can get. They do exist, but CDs that outperform Mercantil Bank with such a low barrier to entry are extremely rare.

Overall review of Mercantil Bank’s banking products

Whether Mercantil Bank is a good fit for you depends on several factors. To begin with, you have to live in one of the two states in which the bank operates — Florida or Texas. From there, Mercantil Bank’s competitive advantage depends entirely on which product you are considering. You can skip checking and savings accounts as these products on their own will offer you very little value.

If you’re looking at opening a money market account, you will need to maintain a high balance to earn the best interest rates. If you want rates that are on par with the competition, you will need to go with the Relationship Money Market account. Because you can only open this account in person, the convenience of doing so depends entirely on your proximity to a branch.

But if you’re looking at CDs and you meet the residency requirements, Mercantil Bank is one of the best options around. A high APY combined with the ability to open a CD regardless of which part of Florida or Texas you live in makes this product more than enviable for those of us who live in the other 48 states.

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.

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Auto Loan, Reviews

LightStream Auto Loan Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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Reviewed By

If you’re in the market for a quick, affordable and hassle-free way to finance your next car, a LightStream auto loan should definitely be on your radar. It’s particularly well-suited for deal-seekers with good credit who don’t mind working with an online company when it comes to financing their cars. If you’d rather work with a local company that can offer in-person support, however, you might want to skip this lender.

How LightStream auto loans work

LightStream offers a wide range of options for financing your next ride, including:

  • Purchase of a new or used car, either from a dealer or an individual
  • Auto loan refinance (except it does not refinance its own loans)
  • Auto lease buyouts
  • Loans for motorcycles, as well as boats and RVs
  • Classic car loans

Auto loans at a glance:

  • Starting APR range: 3.49%–9.49%
  • Fees: None
  • Loan amounts: $5,000–$100,000
  • Terms: 24–84 months
  • Credit requirements: Minimum 660 credit score
  • Mileage or vehicle restrictions: None

LightStream offers the same starting rate whether you’re buying a new or used car from a dealer, something you don’t see at other lenders. But keep in mind that the lowest rates go to those with the best credit who opt for the shortest loan terms possible and use autopay to make their car payments.

Satisfaction guarantee

If you see a lower rate elsewhere, LightStream will beat any verified offer with a rate that is .10 percentage points lower. It also promises a $100 guarantee within 30 days if you aren’t satisfied with your loan experience.

How to apply for a LightStream auto loan

The only way you can apply for a LightStream auto loan is through its online form. It is an online lender, after all, so you should be comfortable with handling your business details — including the loan application — online. You’ll need to:

  1. Acknowledge receipt of LightStream’s statement on the use of electronic records.
  2. Agree to receive electronic records.
  3. Agree to use electronic signatures to sign your loan documents.

You’ll also need to have a Visa or Mastercard credit card to apply, which LightStream uses during the verification process.

You will be asked to provide:

  • The purpose, term and amount of desired loan
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Employment information
  • Annual income
  • Total amount of assets and equity in your home

From there, LightStream may contact you for more details and documentation. If approved, you’ll need to sign your loan documents electronically and provide LightStream with your bank account details. The money will then be deposited into your bank account, which means you’ll need to pass it along to the seller, whether that’s a dealer or private seller. LightStream will not send the money to the seller directly.

It’s important to note that LightStream doesn’t offer any preapproval options, but if you apply and are approved for a loan, you are under no obligation to accept the loan.

How to qualify for the best rates

LightStream requires good credit at a minimum, but looks for excellent credit when giving the best rates. It defines excellent credit as:

  • Five or more years of significant credit history.
  • A credit history with a variety of account types such as major credit cards (for example, Visa, MasterCard, Amex), installment debt (vehicle loans) and mortgage debt if applicable.
  • An excellent payment history with no delinquencies or other problems repaying debt obligations.
  • A proven ability to save as shown by some or all of the following: liquid assets (stocks, bonds, bank deposits, etc.), cash down payments on real estate, retirement savings and little, if any, revolving credit card debt.
  • Stable and sufficient income and assets to easily repay current debt obligations and any new loan with LightStream.

Pros and cons of LightStream auto loans

LightStream offers the convenience of an online lender with the backing of a brick-and-mortar bank as the online arm of Truist, the bank created by the merger of  SunTrust Bank and BB&T. But it’s important to weigh all of your options carefully when choosing an auto loan. It’s one of the biggest purchases you’ll make, after all.

Pros

  • Wide variety of loans: New, used, refinance and lease buyouts loans are available on a wide range of vehicles. Unlike other lenders, LightStream doesn’t place restrictions on your vehicle’s age, make, model or mileage.
  • Decent rates: We’ve seen lower starting rates at credit unions, but you’ll have to meet membership requirements. LightStream has no membership requirements and provides the same starting rates for new and used vehicles as well as refinance loans.
  • No down payment required: LightStream finances up to 100% of the car’s cost. Of course, it’s always best to put down as much as you can afford on an auto loan. This will help you save money over the life of your loan and avoid becoming underwater on that loan.
  • Quick funding: If you complete the application process and are approved by 2:30 p.m. EST, you could receive funds the same day.
  • Good reviews: LightStream auto loan reviews are generally positive.

Cons

  • Good credit required: To qualify for a LightStream auto loan you’ll need a credit score of at least 660 or better.
  • No preapproval process: Unlike many lenders, you’ll have to complete a full application in order to see your rates and terms. Still, the process is fast, and if you complete your rate shopping within a certain time period, multiple applications should not impact your credit any more than a single application.
  • No face-to-face service: If you’re the type of person who likes to seal the deal with a handshake after signing the documents, you’ll want to stick with some place local.

LightStream vs. Capital One

If you’d like a bit more of a guided approach to the car-buying process,  Capital One’s Auto Navigator loan options might be better for you. Rather than sending you cash directly that you can use on whatever car you want to buy, Capital One’s Auto Navigator service lets you first get prequalified for financing, and then shows you which dealers in your area may offer based on the type of car you want to buy and the financing you can afford.

If any of the offerings pique your interest, you can then finish the application and buy the car. It’s still a good idea to compare the offer with other new and used car loan rates.

LightStream vs. Carvana

Carvana works similarly to Capital One Auto Navigator in that you can prequalify for financing and browse real cars in your area that you may then be able to buy. It’s important to remember that Carvana only sells used cars and its financing is only available on Carvana cars. But it is possible to finance here with poor credit — Carvana requires borrowers to be 18 years old, have no active bankruptcies on their credit report and earn at least $4,000 per year.

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.

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Credit Cards, Reviews

CreditStacks Mastercard Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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The CreditStacks Mastercard offers a unique opportunity for individuals with little or no U.S. credit history – such as recent college graduates or professionals relocating to the U.S. for employment – to be approved for a credit card.

That’s because instead of requiring a Social Security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) as most traditional credit cards do, the CreditStacks Mastercard allows applicants to apply using a valid passport or U.S. government-issued ID, a U.S. visa or a permanent resident “green” card (if applicable), as well as proof of income. The CreditStacks Mastercard also allows you to apply up to 60 days prior to starting your new job in the U.S.

We break down the pros and cons of the CreditStacks Mastercard, and show how it compares to the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, which is also designed to help individuals establish or rebuild credit.

CreditStacks Mastercard pros

No credit history required. With the CreditStacks Mastercard, you can apply without a Social Security number and with little or no U.S. credit history. Once you obtain your Social Security number, you must provide it within 60 days of account opening. At that point, CreditStacks will begin reporting your credit activity to the Equifax and TransUnion credit bureaus.

Note, if you have been living in the U.S. for more than one year, you will be required to provide a Social Security number when applying for the card. A credit check may also be performed.

Decent credit limit. The CreditStacks Mastercard offers a credit line of up to $5,000 – which is a generous amount for an unsecured credit card that doesn’t require credit history.

Your credit limit will be determined by the proprietary underwriting procedures of CreditStacks, which will consider your current employment situation and additional factors, instead of your credit score.

No annual fee. The CreditStacks Mastercard comes with a $0 annual fee.

Additional CreditStacks Mastercard benefits:

  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection(™). Access free identity theft resolution services, as well as Mastercard ID Theft Alerts(™).
  • Extended warranty. Receive an extended warranty of up to one year past a manufacturer’s warranty of 12 months or less.
  • Purchase protection. If you are dissatisfied with a purchase, you may be eligible to receive a full refund for up to 60 days from the date of purchase.
  • Price protection. Get reimbursed for the difference if you find a lower price for an eligible new item within 60 days of purchase using your CreditStacks Mastercard.
  • Purchase assurance. Cardholders receive coverage if an item is lost, damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase.
  • Travel protections. The CreditStacks Mastercard offers a MasterRental(R) collision damage waiver, lost or damaged luggage insurance, travel accident insurance, baggage delay insurance and trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. Plus, receive access to exclusive experiences and offers through Priceless Cities and special travel offers through Mastercard’s online booking tool.
  • Cellphone insurance. If you use your CreditStacks Mastercard to pay your monthly cellphone bill, you can receive coverage against theft or damage of up to $600 per claim and up to $1,000 per 12-month period.

CreditStacks Mastercard cons

No rewards program. The CreditStacks Mastercard does not offer a sign-up bonus or rewards on the purchases you make using the credit card. That said, when trying to build or rebuild credit, it’s best to focus on paying your bill on time and in full (when possible) each month, rather than racking up rewards.

No intro APR on purchases. The CreditStacks Mastercard does not offer a 0% intro APR on purchases – meaning, if you don’t pay your balance in full each month, you will be subject to interest charges at a rate of 15.49% Variable APR.

That said, the card’s ongoing APR for purchases is reasonable – considering that some cards designed for individuals with little or no credit come with APRs upwards of 26.99% (variable).

Compare it to the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Similar to the CreditStacks Mastercard, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is designed for individuals with little or no credit. However, because it is a secured credit card, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® requires a refundable security deposit of $49, $99 or $200, for an initial credit line of $200.

If you deposit more money before your account opens, you may be eligible for a higher credit line, up to $1,000. Additionally, you can be given access to a higher credit line after demonstrating responsible card usage by making your first five monthly payments on time.

While the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® does not require U.S. citizenship to apply, it does require a valid SSN or ITIN, as well as a residential address in the U.S. or a U.S. military location.

See how the cards compare side-by-side in the table below.

CreditStacks Mastercard vs. Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

 CreditStacks MastercardCapital One® Secured Mastercard®
Annual fee$0$0
Rewards rateN/AN/A
Credit lineUp to $5,000$200-$1,000
Deposit requiredNone$49, $99 or $200
Regular purchase APR15.49% Variable26.99% (Variable)

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® also comes with a number of benefits, including auto rental collision damage waiver, travel accident insurance, extended warranty and 24-hour travel assistance services. As a Capital One member, you will also have access to virtual card numbers and account alerts from Eno, as well as access to your credit score and fraud monitoring through CreditWise.

But if you plan to carry a balance on your card, you’ll be better off with the CreditStacks Mastercard, since the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® comes with a substantially higher APR of 26.99% (Variable).

Read our: Capital One Secured Mastercard review

Which credit card is best for me?

If you haven’t yet established credit in the U.S., the CreditStacks Mastercard could be a good fit. In addition to not requiring a Social Security number for approval, the card helps build your credit by reporting to two major credit bureaus.

But if you’re in the market for a secured credit card and already have a SSN or ITIN, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a good alternative. While the card offers a much lower credit line than the CreditStacks Mastercard, it does offer a variety of useful benefits that aren’t common for a secured credit card.

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.