Santander Bank Review of Checking, Savings, CD, and Money Market Accounts

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Santander Bank’s checking account options

Santander Premier Plus Checking

The Santander Premier Plus Checking Account offers the highest level of service of any checking account offered by the bank.

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

0.01%

Any Amount

  • Minimum opening deposit: $50
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $35 if not waived through a combined $75,000 in deposits or investments at the bank or $6,000 in monthly direct deposits
  • ATM fee: Free for Santander ATMs, $3 for domestic non-Santander ATMs, $6 for international ATM usage, with the exception of Santander ATMs in Mexico
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $12 with Overdraft Protection

The fee is high on the Santander Premier Plus Checking account, but it can be waived for customers with high account balances or those who make large direct deposits. Premier Plus customers enjoy a suite of premium services, including a Premier debit card with higher spending limits, savings on Santander Premier Plus Money Market accounts and priority phone service.

Premier Plus customers also benefit from access to a dedicated banker who can coordinate daily banking needs with a team of financial service experts.

Account holders also benefit from the standard features and benefits offered to all Santander customers, including mobile and online services, free statements, and thousands of ATMs.

On the downside, while the Premier Plus Checking account does pay interest, the rate is extremely low, and far below national averages. Larger deposits are of no benefit, as the rate applies to all balances, regardless of size.

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Santander Basic Checking

Basic checking has a low fee, but it doesn’t pay interest and the fee cannot be waived.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $3, non-waivable
  • ATM fee: Free for Santander ATMs, $3 for domestic non-Santander ATMs, $6 for international ATM usage, with the exception of Santander ATMs in Mexico
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $12 with Overdraft Protection

Santander refers to its Basic Checking account as “an account with a low, predictable monthly fee.” This is true, as the fee is modest. However, Santander offers no way to avoid this fee, unlike many checking accounts offered by its competitors.

For that fee, you get an account with a low minimum opening balance that provides access to free online statements. You’ll also have your foot in the door as a client of Santander, which provides access to a host of benefits that apply to all accounts, including the following:

  • Online and mobile banking
  • Access to over 600 branches and 2,000 Santander ATMs, including many CVS locations
  • Mobile check deposit
  • A debit MasterCard
  • Customizable alerts
  • FDIC insurance
  • Apple Pay

All of Santander’s checking accounts, including Basic Checking, offer overdraft protection. You’ll need to link up a Santander savings or money market account to benefit from this service, but the bank will then automatically transfer enough money to cover the overdraft in your checking account. You’ll still pay a fee, but it’s less than the standard overdraft fee.

As a Basic Checking customer, you can also benefit from a waiver of the fee to open a savings or money market account at the bank.

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Simply Right Checking

The Simply Right Checking account doesn’t pay interest but offers an easy way to avoid the monthly fee.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10 if not waived via any transaction
  • ATM fee: Free for Santander ATMs, $3 for domestic non-Santander ATMs, $6 for international ATM usage, with the exception of Santander ATMs in Mexico
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $12 with Overdraft Protection

Santander’s Simply Right Checking account can be considered the bank’s “standard” account, with basic services attached and multiple ways to avoid the monthly fee. As long as you make a single transaction in the account in any given month, you won’t have to pay the account maintenance fee. Santander has a broad definition of “any transaction,” which includes any withdrawal, deposit, transfer, or bill payment that posts to the account.

Simply Right customers get all the benefits of the bank’s Basic Checking account, from mobile and online access to free paperless statements and fee waivers for savings or money market accounts opened at the bank.

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Student Value Checking

As the name implies, Santander’s Student Value Checking is an account designed for students, with low fees and minimums.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0, if you’re a student ages 16-25
  • ATM fee: Free for Santander ATMs, $2 for domestic non-Santander ATMs, $6 for international ATM usage, with the exception of Santander ATMs in Mexico
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $12 with Overdraft Protection

With no monthly fees, a modest minimum opening deposit, free paperless statements and mobile banking, Santander’s Student Value Checking lives up to its name. Even fees for domestic, non-Santander ATMs are reduced over the bank’s other checking accounts.

On top of this low fee structure, the Student Value Checking account offers the same standard benefits enjoyed by the full range of Santander’s checking accounts, including mobile and online access, Apple Pay and ATM/debit card access. However, you won’t earn interest on this account.

How to open Santander Bank’s checking accounts

Applying for a checking account is easy through Santander’s online portal. You can open any type of checking account within about 10 minutes. If you’re already a customer, this process can move more quickly, as the bank already has your important personal and financial information.

To apply, you’ll need the following:

  • Social Security number
  • A government-issued ID
  • A valid email address
  • A funding source
  • A phone number

The online application will ask you for additional information as you click through it, such as your employment status and your full address. After agreeing to standard regulations, you can provide a username and password to access your accounts in the future.

Since Santander Bank is only based in the northeastern U.S. and Florida, an online application can often be the easiest method. However, if you’re near a branch, you can walk in and provide the same personal and financial information to a Santander Bank representative in person.

You’ll need to fund your account at the time you open it, although Santander Bank’s minimum opening deposits are small. If you ever need help, you can call the bank’s customer service line at (877) 768-2265.

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How Santander Bank’s checking accounts compare

Santander Bank’s checking accounts offer numerous freebies that are commonplace in today’s competitive market. However, the bank’s checking accounts can’t compete with top online banks in terms of interest rates and ATM fee reimbursement.

Santander’s Basic Checking and Simply Right Checking are very similar accounts, but there’s no way to waive the Basic Checking account fee. This makes the Simply Right account more appropriate for customers that make even one transaction per month in their accounts.

On the high end, Santander’s Premier Plus Checking offers a host of services for customers who are more likely to need them. However, interest rates are nearly nonexistent and are not tiered, meaning customers with large deposits might want to look elsewhere for higher-paying options.

Santander Bank savings account options

Santander Savings Account

The Santander Savings Account is best used in conjunction with a Santander checking account. It offers low fees and typical online services.

APY

Minimum Opening Deposit

0.03%

$25

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $1, waived with a $100 balance or an open Santander checking account
  • ATM fee: Free for Santander ATMs, $3 for domestic non-Santander ATMs, $6 for international ATM usage, with the exception of Santander ATMs in Mexico
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $12 with Overdraft Protection
  • Excess activity fee: $5 for each transaction above six per month

This basic savings account is a good companion to one of Santander Bank’s checking accounts. The account pays interest and can be used as a source for overdraft protection funds for a checking account, or vice versa. Opening a companion Santander Bank checking account will waive the monthly fee, as will a small maintaining balance.

Santander Bank offers an AutoSave feature, which will automatically transfer funds from your checking account to the savings account on a regular basis. You can also consolidate your checking and savings accounts onto one monthly statement.

As with any savings account, you’ll have to be wary of Regulation D restrictions put in place by the Federal Reserve. This regulation restricts withdrawals from savings accounts to six per month. If you exceed this requirement, Santander Bank will assess an excess activity fee. If you’re a repeat offender, the bank will convert your account into a non-interest bearing checking account.

Although the Santander Savings Account pays interest, the rate is well below the national average. Rates do not vary based on the size of the deposit.

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Santander Youth Savings Account

The Santander Youth Savings account, like the Student Value Checking account, is designed to appeal to students with its low minimums and simplified fee structure.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: N/A
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: Free for Santander ATMs, $2 for domestic non-Santander ATMs, $6 for international ATM usage, with the exception of Santander ATMs in Mexico
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $12 with Overdraft Protection
  • Excess activity fee: $5 for each transaction above 6 per month

Santander Bank’s Youth Savings account mirrors its Student Value Checking account in many ways. Both accounts carry the same opening deposit amount, charge no monthly fees, and carry the same ATM fee structure. The account is open to children under age 18. The account also requires a parent or guardian as a joint owner.

This account offers the standard bells and whistles, such as bill pay, mobile check deposit, Apple pay and access to a debit MasterCard. However, the account does not pay any interest. It is merely a place for young savers to accumulate deposits.

How to open Santander savings accounts

The process for opening Santander Bank’s savings accounts is the same as if you’re opening a checking account. You can visit the bank’s online portal to start the process, which only takes a few minutes. Applying is a bit quicker if you’ve already got your information on file with the bank as an existing customer.

To apply, you’ll need the following:

  • Social Security number
  • A government-issued ID
  • A valid email address
  • A funding source
  • A phone number

After answering some additional questions during the application, your last step will be funding the account.

If you prefer opening an account in person, you’re welcome to visit any Santander branch. Remember that Santander Bank is only based in the northeastern U.S. and Florida, however, so this is only a realistic option for customers living in those areas. For additional assistance, or if you have any questions before you apply, you can contact the bank directly at (877) 768-2265.

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How Santander Bank’s savings accounts compare

Essentially, Santander Bank only offers one savings account. The account pays interest, but the rate is far lower than national averages and well below the top savings account rates you can find at online banks.

The savings account does have low fees and minimums, and can be used as a backstop in case you overdraw your checking account. You can also still access the full range of services offered to all Santander clients, such as free mobile and online access.

The bank’s student savings account can be a good way to get young investors involved in the savings process. However, as the account pays no interest, it is merely a place to store money rather than to earn savings.

Santander CD rates

Santander only offers one main type of certificate of deposit account, its “Choose-Your-Term” CD product. Higher rates are available to those with Premier Plus Checking relationships.

Term

Standard APY*

Premier Plus Checking APY*

3 - 5 months

0.01%

0.11%

6 - 7 months

0.01%

0.11%

8 - 11 months

0.01%

0.11%

12 - 17 months

0.10%

0.20%

18 - 35 months

0.20%

0.30%

36 - 120 months

0.30%

0.40%

*All rates are current as of 7/31/2018

  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Three months’ interest for maturities of less than one year; six months’ interest for maturities between one and five years; one year’s interest for maturities of five years or longer

Santander’s “Choose-Your-Term” CD product offers maturities ranging from three months to 10 years. You won’t be able to buy a longer-dated CD at Santander, unlike with some other banks.

Premier Plus Checking customers benefit from higher rates across the board.

When interest hits your Santander account, you can choose to either re-invest the funds in your CD account or transfer the money to your checking, savings or money market account.

If you need to withdraw money from your CD before it matures, you’ll face an early withdrawal penalty that will cost you some of your interest.

Promotional CD rates

Santander offers promotional rates to customers with any type of checking relationship, from Basic Checking to Premier Plus Checking, on particular CD maturities.

Term

APY

9 months

0.15%*

12 months

0.20%*

15 months

0.10%

18 months

2.65%

24 months

1.01%*

36 months

2.50%

48 months

0.40%*

50 months

0.40%*

60 months

2.40%

*These rates are current as of 7/31/2018

  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Three months’ interest for maturities of less than one year; six months’ interest for maturities between one and five years; one year’s interest for maturities of five years or longer

Promotional rates may vary from branch to branch and can be offered, changed or removed at any time. While some promotional rates are published on the general bank website, you may have to visit or call a local branch to get additional rates.

How to get Santander’s CDs

Santander doesn’t allow CD accounts to be opened online. To buy a CD, you’ll need to contact the bank directly at (877) 768-2265. You can also call an individual branch directly. This might give you better access to that particular branch’s current promotional CD rates. You can also visit a branch and open a CD account in person.

The application process for buying CDs at Santander is similar to opening checking or savings accounts. You’ll need to provide personal and financial information including your Social Security number, address and birth date, and occupational information.

Note: Santander Bank doesn’t publicly promote all of the CD rates on its website, so we had to call the bank to get the current rates. We advise that you do the same prior to applying for a CD from this bank.

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How Santander’s CD rates compare

Santander’s promotional CD rates are high and well above the national averages, but they aren’t the best CD rates you can find. Although you need a checking relationship to get Santander Bank’s best rates, you don’t have to sign up for the bank’s highest-tier checking account to receive them, unlike with some banks. Even a free checking account at Santander Bank gives you access to the bank’s promotional rates.

Santander’s CD rates are not tiered, so all customers get the same rates. If you’re a customer with a large account balance, this might work against you, as a higher deposit won’t garner you any additional interest. However, this is of great benefit to Santander customers with smaller account balances, as rates are the same whether you buy a $500 CD or a jumbo CD.

As with most banks, you can generally earn Santander’s highest CD rates by selecting the longest maturities. Things vary a bit with the bank’s promotional CDs, as there are rate dips with the 24-, 48- and 50-month maturities.

Santander’s Money Market Account Options

Santander Money Market Savings Account

At most deposit levels, you can earn an APY far above the national average with the Santander Money Market Savings account.

Interest Rate for the First Six Months

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

0.30%

0.25%

$0 - $9,999.99

1.70%

1.35%

$10,000 - $49,999.99

1.70%

1.38%

$50,000 - $99,999.99

1.70%

1.41%

$100,000 - $399,999.99

1.70%

1.41%

$400,000 - $4,999,999.99

1.70%

1.41%

$5,000,000 - $9,999,999,999,999.99

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1; $10,000+ for highest rates
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10, waived if daily average balance is $10,000 or if a Santander checking account is opened
  • ATM fee: Free for Santander ATMs, $3 for domestic non-Santander ATMs, $6 for international ATM usage, with the exception of Santander ATMs in Mexico
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $12 with Overdraft Protection
  • Transaction limitations: Six transactions per period
  • Excess activity fee: $5 for each transaction above six per month

Santander’s Money Market account has a modest fee that is easily avoidable. Rates begin high and climb from there, with deposits over $10,000 earning generous interest rates, far above national averages. You can use the money market account as a backstop to prevent overdrafts in your checking account, although you’ll still pay a reduced fee for an overdraft.

As with savings and money market accounts nationwide, you’ll have to limit your withdrawals, checks or transfers out to six per month with the Santander Money Market account. In addition to violating federal rules if you exceed this amount, Santander will assess an excess activity fee and may convert your account to a non-earning checking account.

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Santander Premier Plus Money Market Savings Account

Rates for the Premier Plus Money Market Savings account are identical to those of the regular Money Market Savings account.

Interest Rate for the First Six Months

APY

Minimum Deposit Amount

0%

0.25%

$0 - $9,999.99

0.50%

1.35%

$10,000 - $49,999.99

0.75%

1.38%

$50,000 - $99,999.99

0.75%

1.41%

$100,000 - $399,999.99

0.75%

1.41%

$400,000 - $4,999,999.99

0.75%

1.41%

$5,000,000 - $9,999,999,999,999.99

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1; $10,000+ to earn highest rates
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: Free for Santander ATMS and non-Santander domestic ATMs; $6 for international ATM usage, with the exception of Santander ATMs in Mexico
  • ATM fee refund: none
  • Overdraft fee: $35; $12 with Overdraft Protection
  • Transaction limitations: 6 ACH withdrawals per period
  • Excess activity fee: $5 for each transaction above 6 per month

Santander’s Premier Plus Money Market Savings account offers a high level of service and is free of charge. However, you can only open this account if you have a Santander Premier Plus Checking account. This means that you’ll need either $6,000 in monthly deposits or $75,000 in combined balances to have access to this account.

The main benefit of the Premier Plus account is that it comes with the services of a dedicated banker. This banker can assist you with coordinating your entire financial picture.

As a money market account, the Premier Plus account comes with the same restrictions on monthly withdrawals as the regular Santander Money Market Savings account. However, a key benefit lies in the ability to avoid fees at non-Santander Bank domestic ATMs.

How to get Santander Bank’s money market accounts

Unlike with the bank’s other accounts, you can’t open a Santander Money Market account online. For both the Money Market Savings and the Premier Plus Money Market Savings accounts, you’ll have to visit a local branch to open your account.

You can begin the process on the bank’s website by finding the location nearest you. You can call the local branch for more information, or you can call the bank’s general customer service number at (877) 768-2265. However, you’ll have to physically go in to a branch to complete all the paperwork.

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How Santander’s money market accounts compare

Money market rates for both Santander accounts run on the high side. In fact, rates on both money market accounts run near the highest available, even from online banks. Decent rates can be had for a minimum deposit amount, good rates kick in at the $10,000 deposit level, and the best rates are available for deposits of at least $100,000.

Between the two Santander accounts themselves, there are a few distinctions. Although both accounts pay the same high interest rates, there’s no scenario in which you’d pay a monthly fee with the Premier Plus account. You also get the services of a private banker, and you can avoid all ATM fees.

Overall review of Santander Bank products

Santander is geographically limited to the northeastern U.S. and Florida. However, the bank offers some compelling account options. Rates for both CD and money market accounts run very high. Checking options are a bit limited, but it’s easy to get a standard account for no fee. High-service checking and money market accounts are also available, with fee waivers for larger account holders. For those just starting out, there are student checking and saving options as well. However, these accounts don’t share the high interest payouts offered by the bank’s CDs and money market accounts. Overall, the bank has standout options in some account categories, but not in all of them.

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