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Reviews, Student Loan ReFi

Review: Citizens Bank Parent PLUS Refinancing

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.

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Paying for college is a hefty burden for students right out of high school, so it’s no surprise many parents want to offer a helping hand. The Parent PLUS loan from the U.S. Department of Education is one option parents can rely on to fund an undergraduate degree.

Parent PLUS loans disbursed between July 1, 2015, to July 15, 2016, have a fixed rate of 7.24% for the life of the loan. That interest rate can be a bit steep when compared with refinancing options. Citizens Bank (RI) offers a refinance, which is a solution for those who can qualify for a lower rate once their dependent student graduates.

Basics of the Citizens Bank (RI) Parent PLUS Refinance

Citizens Bank (RI) has loan terms of 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. Fixed interest is available from 7.03% APR . The lowest rates include a 0.50% discount that’s made up of two offers.

First, you get a 0.25% loyalty discount if you have an open Citizens Bank (RI) account when you apply for the refinance. Then, you receive another 0.25% discount if you use autopay from any bank account. Citizens Bank (RI) will refinance up to $90,000 for bachelor’s degrees and below. But, you can’t consolidate loans taken out by parents with the loans taken out by students.

Qualification Criteria

The student must no longer be attending school for a Parent PLUS loan to qualify for refinancing, but a completed degree isn’t required. If the student hasn’t earned a degree, at least 12 full payments on the student loan must be made before it can be refinanced.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens with a Social Security number. U.S. resident aliens have to apply with a co-signer who is either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

As far as financial history, Citizens Bank (RI) considers borrowers with strong credit and you must make a minimum annual income of $24,000. Citizens Bank (RI) allows you to add co-signers to get approved or to secure a lower interest rate. Co-signers are eligible for release once 36 on-time payments are made on the loan.

Application and Funding Process

If you’re interested in this refinance, you’ll have to provide the following information:

  • Social Security number
  • Gross annual income
  • Employer information
  • Monthly rent or mortgage payment
  • Current loan account numbers, balances, monthly payments, due dates, interest rate type and last statement

All of the information you provide is verified once your application is submitted and Citizens Bank (RI) offers you a final decision. If the application is approved, you’ll choose your type of interest rate (fixed or variable) and your loan term length. At closing, you accept the loan terms and give your final sign off. Then, Citizens Bank (RI) pays off the Parent PLUS loan and you start paying your newly refinanced loan.

[5 Options to Refinance a Parent PLUS Loan]

Fees and Gotchas

The great thing about the loan process with Citizens Bank (RI) is the simplicity and doesn’t cost you anything. There’s no application fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties. Plus, the terms of the agreement are transparent. The one condition you should be mindful of is that you need to have an open Citizens Bank (RI) account before applying to qualify for the 0.25% loyalty discount.

Accounts that qualify for the loyalty discount include checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, automobile loans, home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, mortgages, credit card accounts, education refinances and other private student loans from Citizens Bank (RI). 

Pros and Cons

The big pro of using Citizens Bank (RI) is the fact that it will refinance Parent PLUS loans. Student loan refinancing is a major market right now, but not all lenders will refinance this type of federal loan. We’ll review a few of your other options in the next section. In addition, the lack of fees overall is a major plus.

The con of refinancing your Parent PLUS student loan is you give up the benefits of having a federal student loan. It’s true, Parent PLUS loans don’t qualify for some of the perks of other federal student loans like most income-driven payment plans (you could be eligible for ICR). But, Parent PLUS loans may be eligible for deferment, forbearance or discharge in certain circumstances like financial hardship or death. 

Citizens Bank (RI)

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Alternatives to a Citizens Bank (RI) Parent PLUS Refinance

There are two other Parent PLUS refinance options that have even lower interest rates.

Laurel Road Bank(formerly known as DRB)

The refinance at Laurel Road Bank offers variable interest starting at 3.23% APR and fixed interest starting at 3.50% APR. Like Citizens Bank (RI), the lowest rates include a 0.25% discount for making electronic payments. But, to get the discount you must make payments directly from a Laurel Road Bank checking account. Terms are available for 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. Laurel Road Bank doesn’t charge application fees or origination fees. The minimum amount you can refinance is $5,000 and you can refinance up to 100% of the Parent PLUS loan.

Laurel Road Bank

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SoFi

SoFi offers variable rates from 2.56% to 7.29% APR. Fixed rates range from 3.90% to 7.62% APR. Both variable and fixed rates include a 0.25% discount for using autopay. There are no application fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties. Loan terms are available for 5, 7, 10 and 15 years. The loan minimum is $$5,000 and the maximum is the amount of your entire loan.

SoFi

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 *Referral link

Who Will Benefit Most from a Citizens Bank (RI) Parent PLUS Refinance?

A Parent PLUS refinance is particularly useful for parents who’ve spent a lifetime building excellent credit. Excellent credit will qualify you for a lower interest rate than the Parent PLUS loan provides. This can save you money on interest over time and lower your monthly payment. Head over to the Citizens Bank (RI) savings calculator page to see exactly how much you can save.

*We’ll receive a referral fee if you click on offers with this symbol. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations. You can learn more about how our site is financed here.

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.

Taylor Gordon
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Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Reviews

Rising Bank Review: Savings and CD 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 Established1906
Total Assets$1.9B
LEARN MORE Rising Bank’s secure websiteMember FDIC

Rising Bank is a brand-new, online-only bank that got started in 2018. However, it traces its roots all the way back to 1906, when a charter was issued to its parent bank Midwest BankCentre, known at the time as Lemay Ferry Bank. Midwest BankCentre is a community banking leader in its home of St. Louis and Rising Bank was designed to expand the reach of its parent bank.

Although Rising Bank is a division of a long-established bank, as a new entity itself, it offers a limited roster of accounts. For example, you still can’t open a checking account at Rising Bank as of February, 2019. Your savings and investment options are limited to three types of CDs and one type of savings account.

As an online-only bank, you can only open Rising Bank accounts online. The process involves providing basic personal and financial information, confirming your identity, funding the account, and submitting the completed application. Information you’ll be required to provide includes your name, email address, phone number and Social Security number, along with information about the bank you’ll be using to fund the account.

Here’s a look at the limited roster of Rising Bank account offerings, including information such as minimum balance requirements, monthly fees, and other features and benefits.

Rising Bank’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

Compare Rates from Similar Accounts

2.45%

Savings

Rising Bank High Yield Savings Account

2.10%

American Express National Bank High Yield Savings Account

on American Express National Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.85%

CD Rates

Rising Bank 1 Year Term CD

2.75%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 12 Month CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.95%

CD Rates

Rising Bank 2 Year Term CD

2.90%

Synchrony Bank 36 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

3.00%

CD Rates

Rising Bank 3 Year Term CD

3.10%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 5 Year CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

Rising Bank’s savings account options

High-Yield Savings Account

This account is the only savings account option in the Rising Bank lineup.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
2.45%$1,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

Rising Bank’s High-Yield Savings account is the bank’s only savings account option, but it makes up for this limitation by offering a quality product. There’s no monthly maintenance fee with the High-Yield Savings account, and the minimum opening deposit requirement is quite low for a high-yield product. The high rate offered by the account is paid on all amounts above the $1,000 minimum deposit requirement, with no tiers paying additional interest on larger deposits. While not affecting most customers, there is an account maximum of $500,000.

The High-Yield Savings account is strictly a savings-only product. There is no ATM access with this account, and the account cannot be overdrawn. Interest is paid monthly, and deposits are FDIC-insured up to the insurance limit.

As with all Rising Bank accounts, you can sign up for online banking for free and access your High-Yield Savings account online 24/7.

How to get Rising Bank’s savings accounts

As an online-only account, the High-Yield Savings account can only be opened online. The process involves providing basic personal and financial information, confirming your identity, funding the account, and submitting the completed application. Information you’ll be required to provide includes your name, email address, phone number, and Social Security number, along with information about the bank you’ll be using to fund the account.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Rising Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Rising Bank’s savings accounts compare

Rising Bank only has a single savings account option, but it is exceptional. With no fees, a low minimum opening balance requirement, and an extremely high yield, Rising Bank’s High-Yield Savings account is tough to beat. In fact, the rate paid is not only well above the national average, it’s higher than some of those offered by the nation’s best available savings accounts.

Rising Bank’s CD account options

Term CDs

Rising Bank’s Term CDs are for customers saving for a goal at least one year away.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
2.85%$1,0001 year
2.95%$1,0002 years
3.00%$1,0003 years
  • Minimum balance to open account: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 90 days’ interest for terms of one year; 180 days’ interest for terms of two years; 180 days’ interest for terms of three years

Rising Bank’s Term CDs are straightforward, with limited options. You can only open a regular Rising Bank CD for one year, two years, or three years. Each maturity has the same $1,000 minimum to open and to earn interest. However, all CDs also have a $500,000 maximum.

Early withdrawal penalties are either 90 days or 180 days on these Term CDs, depending on the maturity selected. For each maturity, interest is credited every three months. All CDs are FDIC-insured up to the insurance limit and renew automatically upon maturity. Upon notice of maturity, funds can be withdrawn within a 10 calendar-day grace period.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Rising Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Jumbo CDs

Rising Bank’s Jumbo CDs are for larger deposits only.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
2.95%$100,0002 years
  • Minimum balance to open account: $100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ interest

These Jumbo CDs are even more limited in scope than the bank’s Term CDs, with just a single, two-year maturity available. As a jumbo CD, you’ll have to deposit at least $100,000 to open the account and earn interest. Early withdrawal penalties amount to 180 days’ interest.

As with the bank’s regular Term CDs, interest is credited every three months, all CDs are FDIC-insured up to the insurance limit and there’s a $500,000 account maximum. Jumbo CDs automatically renew unless funds are withdrawn within 10 calendar days after maturity date.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Rising Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Rising CDs

Rising CDs is the name that Rising Bank dubs its bump-up CDs.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APYTerm
2.85%$25,00018 months
3.00%$25,00036 months
  • Minimum balance to open account: $25,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $25,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ interest for 18-month maturity; 180 days’ interest for 36-month maturity

Rising Bank’s Rising CDs come in two maturities — 18 months and 36 months. The CDs require $25,000 to open the account and earn interest, which is compounded every three months. The twist with these CDs is that you can bump up your CD rate once per term if rates rise. Additionally, you can deposit additional funds into a Rising CD one additional time during your original term; this additional deposit must be at least $5,000.

As with other Rising Bank CDs, Rising CDs automatically renew unless you withdraw your funds within 10 calendar days after maturity. Rising CDs are also FDIC-insured.

How to get Rising Bank’s CD accounts

As mentioned above, you can only open a CD account online. You’ll need to provide personal and financial information, including a funding source, along with your Social Security number and identifying documents.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Rising Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Rising Bank’s CD accounts compare

All of Rising Bank’s CDs pay rates well above the national averages. Currently, there’s no advantage in ponying up the $100,000 required to open one of Rising Bank’s Jumbo CDs, as those 2-year CDs pay the same rate as the bank’s ordinary 2-year Term CDs. However, regardless of which Rising Bank CD you select, you’ll be earning an excellent rate. The bank’s 1-year CD is one of the best CD rates in the country, and the 2- and 3-year Term CD rates are not far behind.

Overall review of Rising Bank’s products

Rising Bank is not the institution you want to bank with if you need comprehensive financial planning and products. However, if you have selective needs and only want the best available accounts, Rising Bank might have some valuable offerings for you.

Money market accounts, IRAs and checking accounts are not available at Rising Bank, at least as of February 2019. But the high yields offered by the bank’s High-Yield Savings account and its three types of CDs are enough for even the most dedicated yield chasers. Carrying no monthly account fees and reasonable minimum deposit requirements, these products offer the complete package, with yields right at the top of their class, across the board.

Rising Bank’s bump-up CD, dubbed the Rising CD, starts customers at a top-tier interest rate right off the bat while still allowing them to raise the rate one time during the CD’s term. In fact, customers with at least $25,000 to invest are better served in the bank’s Rising CDs than its Term CDs, since both types of account pay the same initial rate but the Rising CDs offer the potential to raise that rate even further. Terms apply.

The bottom line is that Rising Bank may not be a one-stop shop that can cater to your every financial need. But if you’re just looking for low-cost products with some of the best rates in the nation, Rising Bank has a lot to offer.

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

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Reviews

Review of Netspend Prepaid Card

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.

If you cannot get a traditional bank account, you may have few options but to manage your money via a prepaid card. That’s where companies like Netspend come in. Netspend issues prepaid cards which allow you to receive your paycheck, government benefits and tax refunds via direct deposit. You can also use Netspend to pay bills, conduct financial transactions online, track your spending automatically via Netspend’s app and complete most other tasks you would be able to with a traditional checking account. In this review, we’ll explain what Netspend has to offer, fees and fine print and how it compares to other prepaid options out there.

Netspend Prepaid Card features

Your name is embossed on your card. If a cashier ever asks you for an ID to match to your card, but your card says “Valued Customer” or something of the like on it in lieu of your name, you could be denied the purchase. It would also prevent you from receiving funds via MoneyPak, and could cause other disruptions in your financial life. The fact that the Netspend Prepaid Card has your name printed on it alleviates a lot of friction.

Free direct deposit. If you want to receive your paycheck, government benefits or tax refund on your Netspend card, you can do so at no cost.

You will also be able to use the app to send money to anyone with Netspend FlashPay. While the app does offer mobile check deposit, there may be fees charged by the service provider Netspend partners with in order to enable this feature. That being said, Netspend does not charge any fees for this service directly.

Cashback rewards. Netspend issues these rewards when your spending lines up with sponsored offers, which are preselected for you based on your spending habits.

NetSpend also has a refer-a-friend feature which rewards you both with a $20 when your friend uses your referral link to open a new card and loads at least $40 onto it.

High-yield savings account. As long as you’re not currently subject to IRS backup withholding, another perk Netspend offers is access to a savings account with an APY of 5.00% for balances under $1,000. This can be a huge perk for those who are having trouble opening a bank account as it could potentially establish a more positive banking history. Beyond that, the APY is phenomenal.

Netspend Prepaid Card fees and fine print

Monthly fees range from $5 to $9.95 per month. Although the Netspend Prepaid Card comes with a lot of benefits, it comes with a lot of fees, too. Different plans will incur different monthly fees. For example, the FeeAdvantage Plan, which allows you to circumvent a $1 charge for every purchase requiring a signature and a $2 fee for every purchase requiring a PIN, will run you $9.95/month. If you have a regular direct deposit of at least $500/month set up, you qualify for the Netspend Premier FeeAdvantage Plan, which does the same thing at a much lower price point of $5/month.

Reload fees can sting. While there are no activation fees or check deposit fees charged by Netspend, you will have to contend with reload fees everytime you want to put cash on your card.

Lots of miscellaneous fees. There are fees if your purchase is declined, fees if you want to stop a pre-authorized payment, ATM fees, foreign transaction fees and account inactivity fees should you let your account sit for 90+ days without any transactions, withdrawals or deposits.

Checking your balance via text, email or your online account center is free. However, checking via ATM or a customer service agent will incur a $0.50 fee. You will also be charged this fee if you make a balance inquiry via the automated telephone service, though the $0.50 fee is waived in this instance if you have a Netspend Premier FeeAdvantage Plan.

Overdraft protection plan is limited. While you can opt into overdraft protection to protect yourself from declined purchase fees, you will have to go through the steps of enrollment in the program first. You will only be allowed three overdrafts per calendar month, and each one will cost you $15. Unless you’re getting your purchases declined 15 times or more per month, this service may not be worth it.

Try not to lose your card. If you lose your card, there is a $9.95 fee to replace it. If you need your replacement card within less than seven business days, you will have to pay $20 to $25 in shipping costs depending on how quickly you need it.

NetSpend Prepaid Card Fees
Activation feeNone
Monthly Plan FeePay-As-You-Go Plan: None; FeeAdvantage Plan: $9.95/month; Netspend Premier FeeAdvantage Plan: $5/month
Reload feeVaries depending on location and deposit type.
Check deposit feeNone
ATM fees$2.50 at domestic ATMs; $4.95 at foreign ATMS
ATM decline fee$1.00
Foreign transaction fee3.5% of withdrawal or purchase in USD, in addition to the $4.95 foreign ATM fee
Account-to-account transfer fee$4.95 when initiated by customer service representative
Bill payment feeVaries
Stop payment fee for ACH debit/preauthorized payment transactions$10
ACH debit/Preauthorized payment transaction decline fee$1
Card replacement fee$9.95
Balance inquiry fee$0.00 to $0.50 depending on plan and modality of deposit.
Account inactivity fee$5.95/month after your account has been inactive for 90 days

Using the Netspend Prepaid Card mobile app

Netspend’s mobile app allows you to deposit checks via mobile, send or receive money from anyone with Netspend’s FlashPay and find the lowest-cost reload locations near you.

If you’re looking for the more advanced budgeting features some financial institutions offer to their mobile users, you’re out of luck. But you will still be able to monitor your account balance and transaction history.

Opening a Netspend Prepaid Card Account

Ordering a card is easy and can be done online You simply provide your name, address and email and your card will be shipped to you in 7-10 days.

However, in order to activate your card, you’ll have to meet some eligibility requirements. First, you must be 18 years of age and not live in Vermont. You will also be required to verify your identification by supplying your name, address, date of birth and government-issued ID number. In some cases, Netspend will require you to provide your actual ID in order to verify your identity.

Your credit history and checking history will not be run as a part of the application process.

Overall review of Netspend Prepaid Card Account

There is no way around it: Netspend Prepaid Cards are loaded with fees that will eat into your paycheck or any other source of income. If you can get a traditional checking account, you should as it is extremely likely that it will be leagues cheaper to manage your money.

However, Netspend isn’t built for those who can easily get a bank account. It is built for those who have been shut out of the traditional financial system. If you need a way to get your money into digital form to conduct financial transactions, cards like Netspend’s can be one of the few ways to take care of business, despite the dramatic fees. A better option would be to find a prepaid card option with lower fees, like Walmart’s Bluebird by American Express Prepaid Debit Card or the Chase Liquid Prepaid Card.

Do note that if your employer offers to pay you via a prepaid card, you do not have to accept. Specific laws vary by state, but regardless of where you live, your employer must give you the option of either a paper check or direct deposit. If you have access to a bank account, it’s likely not to your advantage to accept your paycheck via prepaid card. If you don’t, you may still choose to use cash checking services if they end up being cheaper than the fees on a card like Netspend’s Prepaid 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.

Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here

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