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Reviews

OnPoint Community Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA 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.

OnPoint Community Credit Union’s checking account options

Basic Checking

Basic Checking is a free account with no minimum balance requirement, but online bill pay costs extra.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 at over 60,000 OnPoint, MoneyPass or CO-OP ATMs; $2 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: No refunds
  • Overdraft fee: $30

If you just want a basic checking account, this one is free and comes with a Visa debit card. The account does not pay any interest.

There is an extensive free ATM network, though OnPoint Community Credit Union will charge you a small fee for using any out-of-network ATMs. If you also incur a surcharge from that ATM’s owner, the credit union does not refund any of those fees.

You will not have free access to online bill pay with this account. There is a monthly charge for that service, which kicks in after an initial three-month free trial. Overdraft fees are high as well.

How to get Basic Checking

To get Basic Checking, you must first be a member of OnPoint Community Credit Union. If you are eligible for membership, you can select the Basic Checking option when you fill out the online membership application. You’ll need to provide your name and address, Social Security number and your driver’s license or other identification. You can fund the account with a credit or debit card, or a checking account.

There is a one-time credit union membership fee of $10. To join the credit union, you’ll need to open a Regular Savings account with at least $5.

If you are already a member of OnPoint Community Credit Union and want to add a Basic Checking account, you can do so by logging into online banking and selecting “Services,” then “Add Accounts.”

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Interest Checking

This checking account doesn’t pay much interest and charges a monthly fee if your balance dips below the minimum.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$0.01
0.05%
$1,000
0.05%
$5,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $7; waived with $500 average balance
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: No refunds
  • Overdraft fee: $30

The tiny amount of interest you might earn is barely worth the effort of this Interest Checking account. Despite advertised “tiered rates,” the APY is actually the same for any balance — and really doesn’t amount to much. You do get a free first order of checks with this account.

Another concern: You’ll need to take care to maintain a high enough average balance to avoid triggering a monthly fee. The credit union’s website lists a “$0” monthly fee for Interest Checking on its checking account product page, but if you read all the way down to the footnotes, it states there actually is a fee if you dip below the minimum monthly average balance. Overdraft fees are steep, too.

Perhaps the best feature of this checking account is the Visa debit card with free access to a 60,000-plus ATM network, with no fee from the credit union for using out-of-network ATMs. However, that doesn’t mean you can get cash from any ATM for free; the credit union does not refund any fees that the ATM owner might charge.

How to get Interest Checking

To open an Interest Checking account, you must first become a member of OnPoint Community Credit Union. You can join and open the account online. You’ll need to provide information like your name, address, Social Security number and driver’s license or other identification. You’ll also need a credit or debit card or bank account, with which to fund the new account.

If you prefer, you can also print out a membership application and send it in by mail with a $15 check to cover membership fee and the minimum opening balance.

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eChecking

This eChecking account is all digital, with no paper checks — and all free.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 at over 60,000 OnPoint, MoneyPass or CO-OP ATMs; $2 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: No refunds
  • Overdraft fee: $30

Designed for customers who want a purely digital account, this eChecking account doesn’t include any paper checks and has no minimum balance requirement. It does come with free online and mobile banking, including online bill pay.

The account pays no interest and charges no monthly maintenance fees. You get a Visa debit card and access to an extensive surcharge-free ATM network.

When you open an eChecking account, the credit union requires you to enroll in e-statements within 30 days, to avoid having the account converted to a Basic Checking account (which has additional fees).

How to get eChecking

To open an eChecking account, you must first be a member of OnPoint Community Credit Union. If you are eligible for membership and want to apply, you can simply select the eChecking account option when you fill out the online membership application.

If you are already a member, you can log into online banking and select “Services” then “Add Accounts,” and choose the option to add an eChecking account.

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Access Account

Access Account is a checking account that is free for members under 18 but charges a monthly fee for adults who need to reestabish a checking account with the credit union.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $7; waived if under 18
  • ATM fee: $0 at over 60,000 OnPoint, MoneyPass or CO-OP ATMs; $2 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: No refunds
  • Overdraft fee: $30

This checking account is designed for teens or anyone who want to establish or reestablish a checking account. It does not pay any interest but comes with a Visa debit card and free access to a broad network of ATMs. There is a fee if you use out-of-network ATMs though, and OnPoint Community Credit Union does not refund surcharges from out-of-network ATMs.

There is no minimum balance requirement. For members under 18, this is a free account. For adult members, there is a monthly fee that cannot be waived.

How to get Access Account

To get Access Account, you must be first be member of OnPoint Community Credit Union. If you are eligible for membership, you can select the Access Checking option when you fill out the online membership application. You’ll need to provide your name and address, Social Security number and your driver’s license or other identification. You can fund the account with a credit or debit card, or a checking account.

If you are under 18, you must open your account at a branch office. Those under 18 will need to list a parent or legal guardian as a joint owner of the account.

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How OnPoint Community Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

OnPoint Community Credit Union offers four different checking accounts, but none that really compares with the best online checking accounts in the market. Basic Checking is a free account, but you’ll have to pay a monthly fee to use online bill pay. The eChecking option has no monthly fee and includes free online bill pay, but it doesn’t pay interest or refund you for any out-of-network ATM fees. And Interest Checking barely pays any interest while requiring a fairly high minimum balance. All the accounts charge high overdraft fees.

You can find much better checking account options elsewhere. Other institutions offer free online checking accounts that let you earn more significant interest on your money while providing truly free ATM access, even if you use ATMs outside their network. There are many good ones to choose from on this list of the best online checking accounts.

OnPoint Community Credit Union’s savings account options

Regular Savings

To join OnPoint Community Credit Union, you’ll need to open and fund a Regular Savings account.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$5
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 at over 60,000 OnPoint, MoneyPass or CO-OP ATMs; $2 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: No refunds
  • Overdraft fee: $30

The Regular Savings account establishes your status as a member of the credit union. The account pays a below-average interest rate, but it does come with an ATM card, online banking and customer service by phone.

In accordance with the federal Regulation D, you can make unlimited withdrawals/transfers in person at a branch or ATM, but are restricted to six automatic, online or preauthorized transfers per month without penalty imposed by the credit union. The credit union can refuse or reverse any excess transactions.

How to get Basic Savings

You’ll get a Basic Savings account as part of the process of signing up for membership to the credit union, in person or online. You’ll need to provide your name and address, Social Security number and your driver’s license or other identification. You can fund the account with a credit or debit card, or checking account.

There is a one-time membership fee of $10 and a minimum deposit of $5 to establish the savings account.

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Bundle Reward Savings

Your APY on savings deposits goes up considerably when you sign up for multiple credit union services.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.00%
$0.01
1.15%
$50,000
1.30%
$100,000
1.50%
$250,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies; see table
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 at over 60,000 OnPoint, MoneyPass or CO-OP ATMs; $2 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: No refunds
  • Overdraft fee: $30

Members who have at least four financial products with the credit union — which can include a credit card, auto loan, mortgage or other services — qualify for this account, which earns them privileges including these better interest rates on savings. The interest rates are tiered and go up as your balance increases.

In accordance with the federal Regulation D, you can make unlimited withdrawals/transfers in person at a branch or ATM, but are restricted to six automatic, online or preauthorized transfers per month without penalty from the credit union. The credit union can refuse or reverse excess transactions.

How to get Bundle Reward Savings

Credit union members can upgrade their basic savings account to a Bundle Reward Savings through online banking, by visiting a branch or by calling customer service at 800-527-3932.

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How OnPoint Community Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

This credit union’s savings accounts are far from the best when it comes to earning interest on your money. Regular Savings is a very low-yielding account, though its main benefit seems to be to let you establish credit union membership.

The reward savings account pays significantly more in interest, but you won’t earn the top rate on Bundle Reward Savings without a six-figure balance. Even the top-tier rate isn’t that impressive, especially compared with the much higher rates paid by some of the best online savings accounts offered by other institutions.

OnPoint Community Credit Union’s CD rates

Certificates of Deposit

OnPoint Community Credit Union’s CD rates are definitely better than average, but they’re far from the highest available in the market.
TermAPYAmount
3 months
1.50%
$1,000
1.75%
$50,000+
6 months1.50%
$1,000
1.75%
$50,000
12 months1.50%
$1,000
1.75%
$50,000
18 months1.60%
$1,000
1.85%
$50,000
24 months1.60%
$1,000
1.85%
$50,000
36 months1.60%
$1,000
1.85%
$50,000
48 months1.65%
$1,000
1.90%
$50,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: Varies
  • Early withdrawal penalty: The penalty ranges from 90 to 270 days’ worth of interest depending on the term of the CD, as detailed below:
    • 3 to 14 month CDs: 90 days’ of interest
    • 15 to 24 month CDs: 180 days’ of interest
    • 25 to 60 month CDs: 270 days’ of interest

The credit union’s CDs pay interest rates that are well above national averages — about triple the average rates, in fact, for some of the short-term CDs. Members that have multiple credit union products (like credit cards, mortgages or car loans) are entitled to a higher Bundle Rewards APY, which works out to an additional quarter of a point in interest on all CDs.

You may add more money to some of the CDs during the term. If you have a CD with a term of 3, 6, 12, 18 or 24 months, you can make subsequent deposits, with a $100 minimum.

OnPoint Community Credit Union members under the age of 18 are exempt from the high opening deposit requirement. Kids can open CDs with a minimum deposit of just $100, and are allowed to make subsequent deposits of $100 minimum each.

How to get OnPoint Community Credit Union’s CDs

To open a CD, you must first be a member of OnPoint Community Credit Union. Members can open a CD through online banking. After logging in, select “Services,” then “Add Accounts” to establish a new CD.

You can also open a CD by visiting a branch or calling customer service at 800-527-3932.

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Annual Withdrawal CD

Typical CDs require you to lock up your money for the entire term, but this one permits one penalty-free withdrawal per year.
TermAPYMinimum Amount to Earn APY
60 months1.70%
$1,000
1.95%
$50,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: Varies
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Penalty may be imposed if you make a withdrawal of any amount during the first year, or a withdrawal in excess of 20% of the original principal after the first year
    • The penalty is equal to 270 days’ worth of interest.

OnPoint Community Credit Union’s Annual Withdrawal CDs have a 5 year term and pay interest rates that are well above the national averages. Members with multiple credit union products are entitled to the higher Bundle Rewards APY, which pay an additional quarter of a point in interest.

This CD allows a bit of flexibility when it comes to accessing your money. After the first year, you are allowed to make one penalty-free withdrawal from the CD per year. You can withdraw up to 20% of the original amount of the CD.

How to get OnPoint Community Credit Union’s CDs

To open an Annual Withdrawal CD, you must first be a member of OnPoint Community Credit Union. Members can open a CD through online banking. After logging in, select “Services,” then “Add Accounts” to establish a new Annual Withdrawal CD.

You can also open the special CD by visiting a branch or calling customer service at 800-527-3932.

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How OnPoint Community Credit Union’s CD rates compare

The CD offerings are better than average, especially if you’re a member who already has, say, a mortgage and a car loan through OnPoint Community Credit Union and can qualify for the interest rate boost.

But even with the special relationship rate, these CDs are still far from the best ones available. Many internet banks offer CDs that pay much higher rates, and don’t have minimum deposit requirements. To get the most for your money, considering choosing from this list of the best CD rates in the market.

OnPoint Community Credit Union’s money market account options

FlexSmart Money Market Account

Even with a six-figure balance, the interest paid by this money market account really doesn’t amount to much.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$0.01
0.05%
$5,000
0.10%
$10,000
0.15%
$50,000
0.20%
$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0 at over 60,000 OnPoint, MoneyPass or CO-OP ATMs; $2 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: No refunds
  • Overdraft fee: $30

This money market account pays a tiered interest rate that steps up slightly as your balance goes up. However, it’s almost not worth the bother since even high balances earn relatively little.

The account does come with an ATM card and access to a substantial surcharge-free ATM network. However, there is a fee if you go outside the network, and OnPoint Community Credit Union doesn’t offer refunds on any fees charged by other ATM owners.

Per Regulation D, you can make unlimited withdrawals/transfers from the account in person or at an ATM, but are limited to only six automatic, online, mobile or phone transfers per month without penalty from the credit union. The credit union may refuse or reverse transfers that are in excess of that limit.

How to get FlexSmart Money Market Account

To open a FlexSmart Money Market account, you must first be a member of OnPoint Community Credit Union. Members can open a money market account by logging into online banking, selecting “Services” and clicking on “Add Accounts” to select the account they want to open.

You can also open the account by visiting a branch or calling customer service at 800-527-3932.

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How OnPoint Community Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

FlexSmart Money Market does pay a little more interest than Regular Savings, but if you’re serious about earning interest, this account doesn’t amount to much. You can get much better rates elsewhere.

If you really want your nest egg to earn meaningful interest, you would be better off searching for a high-yield account at an online bank. You can check this list of the best money market accounts to see some better-paying options.

OnPoint Community Credit Union’s IRA account options

Traditional and Roth IRA Certificates of Deposit

These CDs pay better-than-average interest rates for your retirement savings.
TermAPYMinimum Amount to Earn APY
3 months1.50%
$1,000
1.75%
$50,000
6 months1.50%
$1,000
1.75%
$50,000
12 months1.75%
$1,000
2.00%
$50,000
18 months1.60%
$1,000
1.85%
$50,000
24 months1.85%
$1,000
2.10%
$50,000
36 months0.95%
$1,000
1.20%
$50,000
48 months1.65%
$1,000
1.90%
$50,000
60 months1.70%
$1,000
1.95%
$50,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Penalty ranges from 90 to 270 days’ worth of interest depending on the term of the CD, as detailed below:
    • For 3 to 14 month CDs: Penalty of 90 days’ of interest
    • For 15 to 24 month CDs: Penalty of 180 days’ of interest
    • For 25 to 60 month CDs: 270 days’ of interest
    • Exceptions to the penalty apply, including normal distributions taken by an IRA owner who is age 59 1/2 or older.

OnPoint Community Credit Union’s traditional and Roth IRA Certificates of Deposit pay virtually the same interest rates as the regular CDs, but there are some small differences between them. For one thing, the 5 year IRA CDs do not offer the annual withdrawal privilege. Also, there are no limits on subsequent deposits for IRA CDs.

The IRA CD rates generally are well above national averages, but the 12, 18 and 24 month IRA CDs also come with a special “Booster Rate” feature. They allow you to elect to adjust your rate to the credit union’s current offered rate, one time during the term of the CD. This option can work to your advantage if market rates happen to rise while your money is tied up in the CD.

Members that also have credit cards, car loans, mortgages or other products from OnPoint Community Credit Union may qualify for the higher Bundle Rewards rate, which is a quarter of a percentage point higher than the normal rate.

How to get OnPoint Community Credit Union’s IRA CDs

To open IRA CDs you must first be a member of OnPoint Community Credit Union. Members can research their retirement account options, including the pros and cons of Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs using the credit union’s Retirement Central planning tools.

You can open IRA CDs online through the credit union’s IRA Service Center. You’ll need to provide personal information such as your address, Social Security number and other information.

You can also open the account by visiting a branch or calling customer service at 800-527-3932.

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How OnPoint Community Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

OnPoint Community Credit Union’s IRA CDs pay interest rates that are well above national averages, especially for members that use several credit union products and qualify for the higher Bundle Rewards APY. However, the CD rates are far from the best available in the market. You can find much better offerings on this list of the best IRA CD rates, many with significantly lower minimum deposit requirements to boot.

IRA savings

This basic IRA savings account pays just a miniscule amount of interest.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0.01
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: $30

IRA Savings has no minimum balance requirement, and it’s free. However, it offers just a tiny amount of interest, so it’s probably not the best choice for your retirement money long term. It may make sense for some customers to use as a holding account for funds that are going to be invested elsewhere within a short time frame.

Per Regulation D, you are limited up to six certain withdrawals/transfers per month from the account without penalty from the credit union. OnPoint Community Credit Union may refuse or reverse transfers that are in excess of that limit.

How to get IRA Savings

To open IRA Savings, you must first be a member of OnPoint Community Credit Union. Members can research their retirement account options using the credit union’s Retirement Central planning tools.

Then, when you’re ready, you can open an IRA Savings account online through the credit union’s IRA Service Center. You’ll need to provide personal information such as your address, Social Security number and other information.

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Money Market IRA

Even at the highest balances, this Money Market IRA pays a fairly low interest rate.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%
$0.01
0.10%
$10,000
0.10%
$25,000
0.15%
$50,000
0.20%
$100,000
0.25%
$250,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: $30

This Money Market IRA offers a tiered interest rate that steps up with your account balance, but even at the highest tier, the interest rate doesn’t amount to much. This account might benefit someone who has all their accounts in OnPoint Community Credit Union and needs to park some retirement funds for a short period before investing it elsewhere.

As with the credit union’s other savings accounts, there are transaction limits per federal Regulation D. You are limited up to six certain withdrawals/transfers per month without penalty from the credit union, and OnPoint Community Credit Union may refuse or reverse transfers that are in excess of that limit.

How to get a Money Market IRA

To open Money Market IRA you must first be a member of OnPoint Community Credit Union. Members can research their retirement account options using the credit union’s Retirement Central planning tools.

Then, you can open a Money Market IRA account online through the credit union’s IRA Service Center. You’ll need to provide personal information such as your address, Social Security number and other information.

You can also open the account by visiting a branch or calling customer service at 800-527-3932.

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Overall review of OnPoint Community Credit Union’s banking products

OnPoint Community Credit Union offers membership only to residents of selected counties in Oregon and Washington, or people who have family members in eligible counties. If you happen to live near a branch, it might be a convenient choice for you, but the accounts and features aren’t especially attractive.

OnPoint Community Credit Union offers a wide variety of deposit accounts, though the checking and savings account options aren’t the best. If you just want a free digital checking account with online bill pay, the eChecking account might do just fine, but the checking accounts in general don’t stand out. The overdraft fees do stand out, however, for being fairly steep.

The savings accounts pay low interest rates. Even with a six-figure balance, you won’t earn that much interest, especially compared with other internet banks in the market.

Possibly the credit union’s best offerings are its CDs, which pay interest rates that are higher than at many other institutions, and some of the CDs have extras like an annual penalty-free withdrawal option. However, they are still not the best rates you can find in the market.

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Reviews

Simple Bank Review — a Simple Way to Budget

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.

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

1.75% ($0.01-$9,999.99)


1.75% ($10,000+)

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 1.75% APY on balances of $10,000 or more in the entire Protected Goals Account. If your balance is less than $10,000, you’ll still earn an outstanding APY of 1.75%. If you choose to set up an Emergency Fund or Savings Goal under the Protected Goals Account, the combined amount will earn up to 1.75% APY.

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.

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 now order checkbooks Simple used to not offer checkbooks to customers, which we saw as a downfall. Fortunately, Simple now offers a book of 25 paper checks for $5. Before, if you needed or wanted to pay a bill via a personal check, you would have to do so through the bill pay feature. Simple would send the check on your behalf. Now, you’re able to order a checkbook online and write the checks yourself. The company says that once you order your checkbook, your order should arrive in five to seven business days.
  • 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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on Simple’s secure website

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

1.75% APY ($0 - $9999.99)

1.00% 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 1.75% APY, the Aspiration Summit account earns a slightly lower 1.00% 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

1.75% APY ($0-$9999.99)

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% yield on your funds. On the other hand, if you place your savings in Simple’s Protected Goals Account, you earn up to 1.75% APY on balances of $0.01 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

1.75% APY ($0-$9999.99)

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 with Simple than you would with Beam. Beam accounts promise a minimum 2.00% APY compared with Simple’s 1.75% APY. However, Beam 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

1.75% APY ($0-$9999.99)

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. Finn by Chase users earn 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 1.75% APY on balances up to $9999.99 is a huge perk as you don’t have to maintain a balance requirement to earn the high APY.

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.

Advertiser Disclosure

Auto Loan, Reviews

The Best Auto Loans: 2020 New & Used Car Loan Rates

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.

Just because cars are getting more expensive, it doesn’t mean your car loan has to break the bank. Car debt and car payments have been hitting new highs recently, so it’s more important than ever that you do your research for the best rate. To that end, we researched the best auto loans of 2020, whether you’re purchasing or refinancing, or if you’re a credit union loyalist or an online-only type of shopper.

Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.49% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $292.98.

Overview of the best auto loans in 2020

Company

APR Range

Term

Amounts

Best for Comparison Shopping

No. 1

LendingTree

As low as 3.99%

24 - 84

$5,000 - $300,000

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company

Best Purchase

Top Credit

LightStream

3.49% - 10.84%*

24 - 84*

$5,000 - $100,000

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on Lightstream’s secure website

Fair Credit

Capital One

As low as 3.39%

36 - 84

$4,000 Minimum

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Best Credit Union

No. 1

Penfed

2.49% - 17.99%

36 -84

$500 - $100,000

No. 2

Navy Federal CU

As low as 2.49%

12 - 96

$250 Minimum, No Maximum

Best Online-Only Lender

No. 1

Carvana Auto Loan

NA

12 - 72

Any vehicle on website

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on LendingTree’s secure website

How we picked the best auto loan rates

Using information from LendingTree, we compiled auto loan data over a six-month period across 31 auto lenders. We analyzed new and used auto lending, as well as refinance loans, selecting lenders from among those that consumers chose most often and offered the lowest average APRs.

Start with LendingTree

LendingTree
APR

As low as
3.99%

Terms

24 To 84

months

Fees

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company

Advertiser Disclosure

LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that they allow you to compare multiple, auto loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online. LendingTree is not a lender, but their service connects you with up to five offers from auto loan lenders based on your creditworthiness.


Advertised rate is for new and used auto loans for 36 month term.

With LendingTree, you can fill out one short online form, and there are dozens of lenders ready to compete for your business. Upon completing the form, you can see real interest rates and approval information instantly. Some auto lenders will do a hard pull on your credit and this is common with auto lending. It’s important to remember, multiple hard pulls will only count as one pull, so the best strategy is to have all your hard pulls done at one time.

Best purchase for top credit: LightStream

LightStream
APR

3.49%
To
10.84%

Terms

24 To 84

months

Fees

No Origination Fee

APPLY NOW Secured

on Lightstream’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

*Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay may be higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.49% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $292.98.

LightStream is the online-only division of SunTrust Bank, which recently merged with BB&T. It offers auto loans for people with good to great credit (660-plus). It even has a Rate Beat Program in which LightStream will offer a rate 0.10 percentage points lower than the rate offered by a competing lender.

Its lowest rates assume you will enroll in AutoPay, which automatically deducts your monthly payment from your bank account or charges it to your credit card. Enrolling in AutoPay means a 0.50% APR discount; if you do not enroll in AutoPay when you accept the loan offer, your APR will increase by 0.50%.

Best purchase for fair credit: Capital One

Capital One
APR

3.39%
To
11.25%

Terms

36 To 84

months

Fees

No Origination Fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Capital One is one of the largest banks in the U.S., and offers rates competitive with other large lenders. It has several hundred branch locations and works with more than 12,000 dealerships. It also offers pre-qualification with the Capital One Auto Navigator, which can help you to find a car and get approved for a car loan before going to a dealer.

However, it may offer a relatively low maximum amount you could borrow, up to $40,000 in the past ( spokesperson recently declined to provide a maximum). Other lenders offer up to $100,000 auto loans.

Best credit union auto loan: PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union
APR

3.99%
To
17.99%

Terms

49 To 60

months

Fees

No Origination Fee

PenFed Credit Union can offer its membership some of the lowest rates available on new and used auto financing and refinancing. Qualified borrowers may be able to finance up to 110% of the vehicle’s value.

However, because PenFed is a credit union, you must be a member before accepting a loan. But wile the credit union has historical ties to the U.S. military, the only requirement to become a member is to have a valid Social Security number or a Tax Identification Number (TIN).

Runner-up for best credit union auto loan: Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union
APR

2.49%
To
17.99%

Terms

12 To 96

months

Fees

No Origination Fee

Navy Federal Credit Union also has some of the lowest auto loan rates available. Its prices for auto loan add-ons, such as GAP insurance, are also very low. However, you will have to have ties to the U.S. military to join Navy Federal.

Best online-only lender: Carvana

Carvana
APR

3.00%
To
6.00%

Terms

12 To 72

months

Fees

No Origination Fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Carvana may be enticing for people who want to do the entire car-buying process online. It offers used cars as well as financing for those cars, but only those cars — you could not finance a car you bought from another seller with Carvana.

The average APR in the six-month period we examined was nearly 12%, higher than the average 9.6% for used vehicles, but Carvana financing may be a possibility for those with fair credit. Its auto loan calculator lists “below average” credit scores of 588, but it doesn’t have a credit score option lower than that.

Understanding the auto loan process

Most people apply for an auto loan through a dealership after they’ve picked out a vehicle, but there’s a smarter way to go. Dealers tend to make more money setting up auto loans than selling cars. Here are some tips to help you keep your money in your account by obtaining your own auto loan.

Tips when shopping for a car loan

Know what you can afford. You’re going to pay more for a car than what’s on the car’s price sticker. Government taxes, dealership fees and auto insurance can have a sizable impact on what you pay. MagnifyMoney suggests following a 50/30/20 rule when setting your budget.

Don’t let the dealer be the middleman. Dealers often raise customer auto loan APRs for their own profit. One of the best things to do is to apply to a few lenders directly, without the dealership being in the middle, so you know what APR you deserve.

Apply to a few lenders. It does not hurt your credit to apply to several auto lenders any more than it does to apply to one, as long as you do all applications within a 14-day window. You are not obligated to accept any of the loan offers you get and most are good for at least 30 days.

Consider a cosigner. If your credit score or income is low, a cosigner could make a big difference on your being approved for an auto loan and in getting a good auto loan offer.

Get a preapproval. This way, if you know you qualify for a 4% APR auto loan, you’re not likely to accept a dealership offer of a 7% APR auto loan. And if you have a preapproved auto loan when you walk into the dealership, you could even ask the dealer to beat the rate you got.

Finalize the loan offer. Once you choose a car, contact the lender with the car’s information to finalize the loan offer. And if it suits you, follow the lender’s directions regarding how to sign off on the loan.

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.