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SoFi Money Cash Management Account Review

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

SoFi Money review
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SoFi, the financial institution known for low rates and low fees on student loans and mortgages, is making a foray into consumer cash management accounts. SoFi Money™ will offer a high-yield checking account with no account fees.

We looked at every aspect of SoFi’s new checking account offering to see how it stacks up to competitors.

What sets Money apart from the competition is that SoFi clearly wants this account to be a one-stop shop for both savings and checking. Basically, the SoFi Money account will offer an interest rate that’s much higher than the rate on most checking accounts. This means you can keep your savings in your checking account rather than a savings account. This sounds convenient, but it’s not always the best idea.

Some people may manage to save more money when they separate their money into a different account, even if the account doesn’t have a great interest rate. And you can certainly find savings accounts with higher yields than the 1.60% APY SoFi Money is offering.

We dug into the details that are available at this time to see who should consider replacing their current checking account with SoFi Money.

SoFi Money vs Ally and Simple

The SoFi Money account offers an excellent blend of low fees and high interest rates, but it won’t be perfect for everyone. We’re highlighting a few accounts that shine where the SoFi Money account is a bit weaker.

“The important thing about this account is that it’s not a checking or savings account,” said Ken Tumin, editor of DepositAccounts.com, another LendingTree-owned site. “This appears to have more risk than a checking or savings account.” Why is it riskier? Instead of providing FDIC insurance directly, SoFi sweeps your deposits into one or more partner banks for the FDIC coverage. Your money isn’t FDIC-insured until the funds arrive at a partner bank, nor is it SIPC-insured when held with SoFi.

Banking with competitor Ally provides immediate and direct FDIC insurance for your banking deposits. “Its checking account rates may be a little lower than SoFi’s account for most balances, but they also offer savings and money market accounts which offer much higher interest rates. Savings and money market rates have risen much more than checking account rates since the Fed began raising interest rates.”

Bank

APY (Checking)

APY (savings)

SoFi Money

1.60%

N/A

Pros:

  • No monthly fee
  • No overdraft fees
  • High APY on checking
  • No ATM fees and unlimited ATM fee reimbursements, worldwide (as long as the ATM accepts Visa)
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons:

  • Honestly, we can't find any! Just be sure to read the fine print to thoroughly understand everything.
Checking Account + Protected Goals Account*

1.75%

N/A

Pros:

  • Connected Savings Goal
  • Zero fees, even for non-sufficient funds and overdrafts
  • Built-in budgeting tools
  • Free Allpoint® ATM use

Cons:

  • No ATM fee refunds
  • No check-writing abilities
Online Savings Account from Ally Bank

0.10% on account balances up to $14,999.99.



0.50% on account balances of $15,000 or more.

1.60%

Pros:

  • Up to $10 ATM reimbursement
  • Free use of Allpoint® ATMs
  • High-yield savings
  • Instant transfers between checking and savings (including free transfers to protect against overdrafts)

Cons:

  • $25 overdraft fee (one per item)
  • Up to 1% foreign transaction fees
  • ATM reimbursement only available in the United States

What’s exciting about the SoFi Money account

No account fees. This will be a huge benefit to people who tend to keep low balances or live paycheck to paycheck, as fee-free accounts are few and far between among traditional big banks these days. With SoFi Money, you won’t pay a monthly maintenance fee and you won’t have to worry about paying non-sufficient funds fee (NSF) or overdraft fees either. You’ll also get free checks, free automatic bill pay and free mobile funds transfers. SoFi won’t even charge you a foreign transaction fee whenever you use your debit card to make a purchase in a foreign currency. Very few banks offer this level of “fee free,” and those that do often offer paltry interest rates.

High yield without complicated account requirements. Some high-yield checking accounts require account holders to maintain minimum balances, use their debit card a certain number of times or set up direct deposit. SoFi has no such requirements. The interest rate on the account is currently 1.60% APY, and it is a variable interest rate that is subject to change. In a rising rate environment, you could easily see that rate go up over time, as many other banks have been raising their rates in response to the rising federal funds rate.

Up to $1.5 million in FDIC insurance. One of the unique features of the SoFi Money account is in its design. Money kept in the SoFi Money account is actually “swept” into one of six program banks. All six banks give account holders up to $250,000 in FDIC insurance, so SoFi Money™ holders get up to $1.5 million in total FDIC insurance. While not many people will need that much insurance, it is a notable feature.

ATM fee reimbursement. SoFi doesn’t charge any ATM fees. Plus, SoFi will reimburse you for any ATM fees you pay worldwide when you use your Visa Debit card at any ATM with the Visa, Plus or NYCE logos. In contrast, other banks may reimburse for ATM fees up to a set dollar limit, like $10 at Ally.

Membership with SoFi. Opening a SoFi Money account makes you a member of SoFi. SoFi isn’t an exclusive club, but it provides its members with unique services like career coaching, local networking events and an entrepreneurship accelerator. If you’re looking to grow in your career, spruce up your resume, network with local career-minded individuals or just put a face with your bank, SoFi provides events that can help you out.

Digital first banking. Most people will interact with their SoFi Money account through the digital app. The app will include mobile banking features such as bill pay, photo check deposit, and mobile cash transfers. Although SoFi promises a digital-first experience, it remains to be seen if they can deliver. SoFi had a rocky update to its current app at the end of 2017, but has resolved the issues. Hopefully, the addition of SoFi Money to the SoFi app goes smoothly.

No account minimums. You do not need to maintain any particular balance to avoid fees or to earn interest.

Free checks. Plenty of SoFi Money account holders will forgo physical checks altogether, but those that need them can request checks for free.

There isn’t much not to like about SoFi Money™, to be honest. But there are a few areas where we think taking a closer look at the fine print is necessary. Although, considering that SoFi doesn’t charge any fees, plus the relatively high APY it offers, some of the items in the fine print might be okay to overlook, depending on how you use your account.

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What’s in the fine print?

  • Visa 1% foreign transaction fee. Although SoFi won’t charge you for making purchases in a foreign currency with your SoFi Money Visa® Debit Card, Visa will. You’ll pay a 1% fee to have the transaction converted to U.S. dollars.
  • Note that SoFi offers unlimited reimbursement on ATM fees, but only when you use your SoFi Money Visa® Debit Card at any ATM with the Visa®, Plus® or NYCE® logos. SoFi can also choose to limit or revoke ATM reimbursements at any time without notice.
  • To open up a SoFi Money account, you must be 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Accounts with better interest rates

Smaller banks that have “reward” checking accounts offer superior interest rates to the rates offered by SoFi. These banks limit their high interest rates to a subset of balances. They also require account holders to meet certain account usage requirements (such as debit card use minimums or direct deposits). Despite these requirements, these checking accounts may be superior savings vehicles.

For example, people with low checking account balances should consider an account at America’s Credit Union rather than SoFi. America’s Credit Union offers a 5.00% APY on balances up to $1,000. (After that, rates drop to 0.10% on balances between $1,000.01 and $15,000 and 0.25% on balances over $15,000.01). This account doesn’t have any monthly service fee, but it doesn’t offer any ATM refunds. Plus, earning the high interest rate requires you to meet several standards including 10 monthly uses of the debit card, at least $15,000 in loans or deposits with ACU, and at least $500 in direct deposits monthly.

Still, with a massive 5.00% APY on the first $1,000, many people can earn more interest by checking with America’s Credit Union. You can learn more about the details, requirements and limitations of America’s Credit Union here.

People with larger account balances (up to $20,000) may prefer holding their account at Consumers Credit Union. This account has no monthly service fees, unlimited ATM reimbursement and high-yield accounts. You’ll earn 3.09% APY on balances up to $10,000, 4.09% APY on balances up to $15,000 and 5.09% APY on balances up to $20,000.

Consumers Credit Union requires account holders to meet four requirements to earn interest. The requirements include making 12 point-of-sale debit purchases (without using a PIN number), having a direct deposit or bill pay, signing onto the online banking system once per month and signing up for eStatements. The requirements may be annoying, but the interest is shockingly high. Learn more about the account here.

Comparable accounts that reimburse all ATM fees worldwide

One of the huge perks to the SoFi Money account is the unlimited ATM fee reimbursements per month. If you’re a heavy ATM user (especially while abroad), this should be a huge advantage for you.

The Charles Schwab High Yield Checking account is probably the best example of a comparable account with this feature. Not only will you receive unlimited ATM reimbursements, you’ll also avoid paying any foreign transaction fees. However, a huge downside is that this account has an APY of 0% compared with SoFi’s 1.60% APY.

Similarly, the Save & Spend Account at Aspiration Bank has unlimited reimbursement on ATMs worldwide. This account also offers a 1.00% APY on all balances. Aspiration also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or overdraft fees. However, SoFi’s rate is still higher.

Comparable accounts with no foreign transaction fees

The SoFi Money account doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, which some major banks have but often waive if you meet certain requirements. Once again, the Charles Schwab High Yield Checking account waives all foreign transaction fees. It also offers unlimited reimbursements on ATM fees worldwide. This is likely the premier account for international travelers, but it offers a paltry 0% APY, while SoFi Money stands out with a 1.60%.

Capital One also waives all foreign transaction fees on its checking accounts. However, these accounts carry a number of other fees and a lower interest rate than the SoFi Money account. Plus, Capital One won’t reimburse ATM fees charged by other banks.

Final take on SoFi Money

SoFi Money is a cash management account that will make a lot of sense for a lot of people. It’s one of the simplest accounts, and it offers unique benefits. The blend of no fees and higher interest rates should appeal to plenty of people. It’s an account that beats out most checking accounts from large banks, and it beats out accounts from most smaller banks, too (especially on the low-fee front).

If SoFi manages to implement the account without messing up its app, this account will quickly become a favorite account among people seeking accounts that don’t charge unnecessary fees.

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.

Hannah Rounds
Hannah Rounds |

Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

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Earning Cashback, Reviews

Chase Freedom or Discover it: Who is the King of 5% Bonus Cash?

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

Chase Freedom or Discover it: Who is the King of 5% Bonus Cash?

If you’re going to use a credit card, choosing one that rewards you for spending is a given. Choosing the right card? That’s another story. With so many cards offering similar cash back programs and terms it can be difficult to choose one over another.

For example, should you get the Chase Freedom® or Discover it® Cash Back?

Both offer 5% cash back categories that change each quarter, with that 5% limited to your first $1,500 in spending on those categories each quarter. Where they differ is in the actual 5% bonus categories, the introductory bonus offer, and some fine print.

In this post, we’re going to dissect both cards and how they stack up against each other.

Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

The information related to Chase Freedom® has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

With Chase Freedom®, you can Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

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Rates & Fees

Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.

You earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like grocery stores, gas stations, Uber and Lyft, restaurants, and Amazon.com up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. The 5% is limited to $1,500 spending per quarter, 1% after that.

  • January – March 2020 – Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS
  • April – June 2020 – Gas Stations, Uber and Lyft, wholesale clubs
  • July – September 2020 – Restaurants and PayPal
  • October – December 2020 – Amazon.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com

All other purchases get unlimited 1% cash back, automatically. You can redeem cash back for gifts cards, statement credits, charitable donations, deposits to an account or merchandise.

Aside from the cash back program, Discover it® has special introductory offers. There’s an intro APR of 0% for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers. There is a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

Pros and Cons

Now, let’s dive into the pros and cons of both cash back programs.

Chase Freedom®

Pro: A competitive intro bonus for small spenders. Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
This sign-on bonus is great perk for new customers.

Pro: Flexible points. While you can always use your points for cash back, the Freedom earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. That means you can also use them for travel, gift cards, and other items. In addition, if you have another card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points you can combine the points for more reward opportunities.

Con: You need to activate your 5% bonus. Another negative of the Chase Freedom® card is the 5% bonus category requires activation each quarter. If you forget to subscribe to the program, you’ll only get 1% cash back for all spending, so this is a card that you’ll have to actively manage. Plus, the 5% bonus categories are announced quarterly, so it can be difficult to plan ahead.

Discover it® Cash Back

Pro: A good introductory offer for big spenders. You can get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically (new cardmembers only). That can really add up if you tend to be a big spender, though the catch is that bonus double cash back doesn’t hit your account until the very end of your first year. The Chase Freedom®‘s introductory offer hits your account after just 3 months worth of spending.

Con: You need to activate your 5% bonus. Like the Chase Freedom® card, Discover it® makes you subscribe to the 5% bonus place each quarter. You can set up email reminders, but it’s still a hassle to actively opt-in instead of being about to set that on auto pilot. So, again, this isn’t a card where you can passively earn cash back.

When to Consider Both Cards

Now, it’s possible to have the best of both worlds if it makes sense.

You can get both cards and alternate use throughout quarters so you can take advantage of both card’s 5% bonus categories to get 5% on more of your spending.

Of course, you’ll have to remember to activate each bonus category and label the cards in your wallet to know which one to use at what time.

But, if you spend in these areas anyway why not earn cash back for doing so?

There’s no annual fee for either card.

Other Cash Back Card Options

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Regular Purchase APR
11.00% - 15.00% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter).

The Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union let you Earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter). Rates are 11.00% - 15.00% Variable APR with no balance transfer fee. There’s an intro 5% APR Intro Rate for all Balance Transfers (first six cycles after card opening).

Even better, you don’t have to activate the categories each quarter. Here are the 5% cash back categories in detail:

  • January to March – Groceries and gas expenses
  • April to June – Movies, restaurants and home improvement
  • July to September – Gas and education expenses
  • October to December – Restaurants, hotels and airfare

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.74% - 25.24%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!

The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has a rewards program that’s a little different than all three offers above. With this card you can earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!

Which Card Will Benefit You the Most?

Overall, the Chase Freedom® and Discover it® Cash Backare similar cards. Both earn 5% cash back in revolving categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter you activate). If you’re making a choice of one over the other, your choice would ultimately depend on your spending habits, so you can use the card (or a combination of both cards) to maximize your regular purchases.

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
Taylor Gordon |

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

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Reviews

GTE Financial Reviews: 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.

GTE Financial’s checking account options

Go Premium with GTE Secure

Hands-down one of the highest-yielding checking accounts on the market. Just make sure you can meet deposit and transaction requirements.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.00%
None (Max: $3,000)
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $4.95 if you do not deposit at least $500 a month, enroll in eStatements and make at least 15 transactions per month that don’t involve using your debit PIN.
  • ATM fee: $3 at all out-of-network ATMS
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

GTE Financial’s Go Premium with GTE Secure checking account comes with a phenomenal dividend rate for all balances less than $3,000. The account also provides fraud-fighting and resolution services, prescription drug and vision savings, and a points reward program. To earn those dividends without a monthly maintenance fee, though, you want to make sure you cross all your t’s and dot your i’s.

First, you need to ensure you deposit at least $500 a month. Those with a regular paycheck should be able to do this by setting up direct deposit. You will also have to enroll in eStatements, and make sure you’re making at least 15 transactions a month.

If you can meet all these requirements, this is one of the highest-yielding checking accounts on the market.

How to get GTE Financial’s Go Premium checking account

You can easily open this checking account online, though if you live close to a branch, you can open it in person, too.

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Go Full Access

This is a bare-bones checking account that bears no dividends.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $4.95 unless you are enrolled in eStatements and do one of the following: deposit $500-plus per month or have 15 transactions per month that don’t involve using your debit PIN.
  • ATM fee: $3 at all out-of-network ATMS
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

Go Full Access is your standard checking account, but it doesn’t bear any dividends. You must be enrolled in eStatements to avoid a monthly maintenance fee, but unlike Go Premium accounts, you only have to deposit $500 a month or make 15 transactions. If you can do both, you’d be far better off opting for the Go Premium account, though.

How to get GTE Financial’s Go Full Access checking account

As with all of GTE Financial’s checking accounts, you can open a Go Full Access checking account either in person or online.

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Go Student

An account for students that waives many common fees.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $3 at all out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: One per month from outside financial institution
  • Overdraft fee: $35

While GTE Financial’s Go Student checking account does not yield any dividends, it does waive a lot of fees as students get comfortable managing money on their own. It’s the only checking account at this credit union without any monthly maintenance fee. It also comes with one waived nonsufficient funds or overdraft fee per month, and it is the only account here that offers any refund of ATM fees charged by outside financial institutions or ATM owners.

How to get GTE Financial’s Go Student checking account

Students can open their account at a branch or online.

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Go Further

An account to help you reboot your financial life.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $9.95 if you are not enrolled in eStatements. You must also make a minimum of $500 in deposits per month and make 15 transactions that don’t involve using your debit PIN each month if you want this fee waived.
  • ATM fee: $3 at all out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

If you’ve had a spotty banking history in the past — whether due to circumstances in or beyond your control — your financial institution may have added you to the CHEXSystem. Once in the CHEXSystem, it can be extremely difficult to get another bank account. Because credit unions are community-focused, some offer checking accounts specifically to give you the opportunity to prove you can do better and re-enter the mainstream banking system.

GTE Financial is one of those credit unions, and the Go Further checking account is their account to help. It does not come with any dividends, but it does allow you full access to a traditional checking account without any check-cashing fees. It has a $9.95-a-month maintenance fee, which will be waived if you enroll in eStatements, make a minimum of $500 in deposits per month or make 15 non-debit card/PIN transactions per month.

If you’re meeting all these requirements anyways, after you rebuild your banking reputation you may even be able to qualify for those high APY rates on the Go Premium account.

How to get GTE Financial’s Go Further checking account

You can easily open your Go Further checking account online or in person.

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How GTE Financial’s checking accounts compare

In a world of online banks, most often it’s the financial institutions with no brick-and-mortar overhead costs that can offer the highest rates. GTE Financial’s checking account options buck that norm.

With rates that top even the best online checking accounts, Go Premium checking is one of the best on the market. While the Go Student checking account doesn’t offer any dividends, it is extremely generous in the fees it waives as young people learn how to responsibly manage their finances, and Go Further checking gives a second shot to those who would normally be shut out of the conventional financial system.

While the Go Full Access checking account doesn’t carry the same bragging rights as GTE Financial’s other checking accounts — especially as it bears no dividends — it is nice that the credit union offers a checking account with more flexible ways to evade the monthly maintenance fee.

GTE Financial’s savings account options

Member Owner Share

A standard savings account necessary to establish credit union membership. Also standard is the small dividend earned.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $3 at all out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

When you join GTE Financial, your Member Owner Share savings will anchor your membership. You will not earn any APY until you reach a balance of $100, and even then, the rate isn’t anything to write home about. But this account does avoid monthly maintenance fees.

Opening this account is a requirement of membership, so it doesn’t matter if you’re in love with the APY. You have to have it.

You also must know that savings accounts, in general, are regulated by the federal government. Specifically, Regulation D dictates that you are allowed to make up to six certain withdrawals per month from your savings account, unless they’re made in person, at an ATM or as part of a GTE Financial loan payment. If you exceed the six withdrawal-per-month limit, GTE Financial will not let you make any further transactions that month unless you’re doing so at an ATM, in person or via fax. This rule applies to all savings accounts and not just Member Owner Share account.

How to get GTE Financial’s Member Owner Share savings account

You will be prompted to open this account when you sign up for membership, whether you do so online or at your local branch.

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Special Savings

An additional share savings account to set aside money for an independent goal.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $3 at all out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

If you want to set aside money for a specific goal — such as a wedding, new car or holiday gift purchases — you can do so by opening an additional share savings account. This Special Savings account is identical to regular share savings in terms of APY and fees, though there is no minimum opening deposit requirement.

While setting up a second account with GTE Financial may be convenient, it’s not your best option. You can get far higher rates elsewhere, and unlike the Member Owner Share savings product, this is not a mandatory account.

How to get GTE Financial’s Special Share Savings

Should you opt to open a Special Share Savings account, you can do so online or in person.

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Future Change Savings

Round up your purchases to throw extra money at your loans.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10%
$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $3 at all out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

Future Change Savings is a unique account. At first glance, it looks identical to the Special Savings account, but under the hood there’s a lot more going on.

This account links with your checking account to round up your daily purchases to the nearest dollar. The extra change is then deposited into your Future Change Savings account. With the account’s corresponding app, you will then be able to view how applying the money from this savings account to your GTE Financial auto loan or mortgage would affect your finances long term.

If you do decide to apply the savings from this account toward your debt, remember that you are allowed up to six certain withdrawals/electronic transfers per month or you risk violating Regulation D.

How to get GTE Financial’s Future Change Savings

To open this account, you will have to download the app from Google Play or the iTunes App Store. From there, you’ll be prompted to enter your checking account and loan information to link to your new account.

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Early Saver

GTE Financial offers higher rates for children who save.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
1.00%
$0.01
0.10%
$500
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $3 at all out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

If you want to teach your child about savings, GTE Financial offers an option for that. Children younger than 17 can open an Early Saver account, which offers a much higher APY on balances up to $500 before reverting to the same rate as a regular share savings account.

This higher rate is encouraging as it will better illustrate how interest works for your child, though it will be a bummer when they turn 18 and the account converts into a regular share savings account with a lower rate of return.

How to get GTE Financial’s Early Saver Account

Accounts for children ages 12 and younger must be opened in person, but children 13 through 17 can open an account online.

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How GTE Financial’s savings accounts compare

Funnily enough, kids are the only ones getting a decent rate out of GTE Financial savings accounts. The Early Saver Account rates are extremely competitive, though that doesn’t much help the adults in the room.

The dividends on adult accounts also pale in comparison to the competition. You will need some money in your regular share savings to maintain membership, and the Future Change Savings account is an innovative product. But at the end of the day, you’re getting the short end of the stick with GTE Financial’s offered APY and terms on savings. Shop around to find better savings account rates.

GTE Financial’s CD rates

Share Certificates

A fairly competitive certificate product with a low barrier to entry.
TermAPY
6 Months1.26%
12 Months2.02%
18 Months2.27%
24 Months2.53%
30 Months2.68%
60 Months3.04%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • 3 months’ worth of interest for certificates with terms up to 12 months
    • 6 months’ worth of interest for certificates with terms greater than 12 months

Share Certificates are the credit union equivalent of certificates of deposit, or CDs. GTE Financial’s rates are relatively competitive, but they’re not the best on the market, either. One thing that does make them abundantly attractive, though, is that the minimum opening deposit is on the far low end for CDs offering similar rates of return.

How to get GTE Financial’s CDs

You can open your Share Certificate at a branch or online. If your opening balance will be $5,000 or more, you’ll be required to make that in-person visit or call 888-871-2690, ext. 40535.

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on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Jumbo Share Certificates

Even more competitive rates but with a high barrier to entry.
TermAPY
6 Months1.51%
12 Months2.27%
18 Months2.53%
24 Months2.78%
30 Months2.94%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $100,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • 3 months’ worth of interest for certificates with terms up to 12 months
    • 6 months’ worth of interest for certificates with terms greater than 12 months

Have some extra money to throw at your Share Certificate? If you can get a balance of $100,000 or more, you will qualify for Jumbo Share Certificate rates on terms of up to 30 months, which are 0.25% higher than those of regular Share Certificate. This small bump is enough to start closing the gap between GTE Financial and the competition, though with a $100,000 minimum, the pool of people who will be able to access this increased rate will be small.

How to get GTE Financial’s Jumbo Share Certificate

All Jumbo Share Certificates must be opened in person or via phone by calling 888-871-2690, ext. 40535.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Youth Share Certificate

Teach your child valuable money lessons on the cost of APY.
TermAPY
12 Months0.75%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 3 months’ worth of interest

Youth Share Certificates offer extremely low rates, but also allow your child to open a certificate with as little as $100. They will also be able to add up to $6,000 in additional funding throughout the 12-month term. Opening a Youth Share Certificate is likely something you’d do as a hands-on lesson for your child rather than a gift. The yield simply isn’t high enough unless you’re taking the hit to impart an experiential lesson.

How to get GTE Financial’s Youth Share Certificate

Your child can open a Youth Share Certificate at a branch or online.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

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How GTE Financial’s CD rates compare

Overall, GTE Financial’s certificate options are just all right. While rates on Share Certificates and Jumbo Share Certificates are relatively competitive, they’ve got some stiff CD competition. Given the fact that the competition doesn’t always have the same low minimum deposit requirement as GTE Financial, though, regular Share Certificates may be able to take a small hit in APY and remain competitive.

Youth Share Accounts aren’t a great product if you’re looking only at yield, but if you’re trying to give your child their own financial experiences before they leave home, it can be a good product to achieve that goal.

GTE Financial’s money market account options

Money Market

Low rates and excess maintenance fees make it acceptable to overlook this money market option.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.15%
$2,500
0.25%
$10,000
0.35%
$50,000
0.55%
$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies depending on desired rate
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $6 every month your account has no activity
  • ATM fee: $3 at all out-of-network ATMS
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35

GTE Financial’s Money Market account is lackluster. First of all, the rates are not competitive. In fact, they’re extremely low. On top of that, GTE Financial is one of the few financial institutions that charge maintenance fees on its money market accounts without minimum balance restrictions. If you have no account activity, you’ll get charged. You cannot set and forget your money market account with this credit union.

You also need to remember that money market accounts are technically savings accounts, and are thus subject to the same rules and restrictions under Regulation D. That means you are allowed to make up to six certain withdrawals from your money market account per month — even if you’re trying to keep it active to avoid that monthly maintenance fee.

How to get GTE Financial’s Money Market Account

Should you choose to open a money market account with GTE Financial, you can do so at a branch or online.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How GTE Financial’s money market account compares

Frankly, GTE Financial’s Money Market account isn’t in the same league as the best options on the market. By shopping around for other money market accounts, you’ll be able to find rates that are up to seven times greater than that offered by this credit union, and many of these accounts offer these higher rates without any maintenance fee.

GTE Financial’s IRA options

IRA CD rates

IRA Share Certificates

GTE Financial’s certificate rates start to look less attractive when placed into the realm of IRA certificates.
TermAPY
6 Months0.65%
12 Months1.00%
18 Months1.26%
24 Months1.41%
30 Months1.46%
60 Months1.76%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • 3 months’ worth of interest for certificates with terms up to 12 months
    • 6 months’ worth of interest for certificates with terms greater than 12 months

GTE Financial’s Share Certificates aren’t a bad choice when you’re looking outside of your IRA. But their rates are carbon copied into the credit union’s IRA certificate, where they start looking a bit less competitive. The low minimum balance requirement is still attractive, but it only goes so far when you’re looking at long-term growth on an already conservative portfolio holding.

How to get GTE Financial’s IRA CDs

To set up an IRA Share Certificate, call 813-871-2690.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

Youth Share Certificate

Low rates on tax-advantaged accounts for children.
TermAPY
12 Months0.75%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $100
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • 3 months’ worth of interest for certificates with terms up to 12 months
    • 6 months’ worth of interest for certificates with terms greater than 12 months

Yes, even your child can open an IRA — a Roth IRA specifically. Your child must have earned income to contribute. Keep in mind that if they’re using baby-sitting or landscaping income, they’ll have to report it to the IRS on a Schedule C to use it toward their Roth IRA contributions.

While they will be able to withdraw earnings from their Roth IRA to pay for qualified educational expenses without paying a penalty, they may have to pay income taxes on their earnings when they make this kind of withdrawal. Because this account will be custodial with a parent or guardian, it could also adversely affect their chances for financial aid.

On top of it all, the rates on GTE Financial’s Youth Share Certificates leave much to be desired. A Roth IRA is not the place to teach lessons about certificates. If you’re going to open a custodial account anyways, you might as well look at other options and find an account with a higher yield.

How to get GTE Financial’s Youth Share Certificates

All IRA products must be opened by calling 813-871-2690.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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How GTE Financial’s IRA CD rates compare

Youth Share Certificates and Share Certificates are not a great way to go when it comes to IRA CDs. But rates on Jumbo Share Certificates are relatively competitive if you have the money to finance one for the higher rates. Regardless, be sure to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible on an IRA CD.

Overall review of GTE Financial’s banking products

GTE Financial is a mixed bag when it comes to personal deposit accounts. Its money market accounts can be passed over, as can a couple of its savings accounts. Its IRA certificates are only worth investigating at the jumbo level, and certificates outside of an IRA barely squeak by as competitive.

But most of the credit union’s checking accounts are worth a closer look, whether they’re offering some of the best rates on the market, limiting fees on young people or welcoming back those who have been pushed out of the traditional banking system. It also has some innovative products, such as Future Change Savings, and offers children great rates on their savings accounts.

GTE Financial has some interesting products. Definitely include it in your search, but make sure you investigate each product individually before deciding it’s the right match for you.

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Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

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