Advertiser Disclosure

Reviews

Square Cash App Review: What Is It and How Does It Stack up Against Its Competitors?

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.

Square Cash App Review
iStock

Square Cash, also known as the Cash app, is a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment service that’s part of the Square product portfolio. Headquartered in San Francisco, Square provides payment hardware and software solutions for individuals and businesses.

In this post, we’ll dig into the Cash app service to explain how safe it is to use, how it works and how it compares with other P2P payment products. Any fees and pricing mentioned below are accurate as of the date of publishing.

What is the Square Cash app?

The Cash app service is a simple way to split bills with family and friends. You just need an iPhone or Android to get started. There are a few extra bells and whistles that the Cash app has compared with other P2P payment services — and it’s starting to look more and more like a bank account with the ability to receive direct deposit payments and a companion credit card to make purchases or withdraw money at the ATM. The app can be used to buy and sell bitcoin. You can also use it for personal and business reasons. Cash for Business lets you accept money for goods and services. The Cash app just recently became available in the U.K.

How Square Cash works

The Cash app is remarkably easy to sign up for and use. You download the app onto your iPhone or Android. Next, you enter your phone number and email address to set up the account. Then you select if you want to use the account for personal or business transactions.

Keep in mind, signing up for the Cash for Business via the Cash app doesn’t afford you any significant merchant protections. The only real difference between a personal and business Cash app account is that you can issue refunds. You may want to consider Square Point of Sale instead if you need to do major transactions because it’s more robust.

How to send money with Square Cash

To send money, you hit the pay or request button. You type the name, $cashtag or phone number of the person who’s getting the money. The recipient will get an email or text message with the cash. You can also send money from a browser if you have the recipient’s $cashtag URL. Money can be sent from a debit card, credit card or from your Cash app balance.

How to receive money with Square Cash

To receive money, link your bank account or debit card to the app and select the cashout option. You can cash out the full amount of your balance or you can choose a specific dollar amount.

How long it takes to deposit money into a bank account

The Cash app offers instant and standard deposits:

  • Instant deposits are delivered to your bank account right away. There’s a 1.5% fee for this convenience.
  • Standard deposits are free but can take one to three business days to arrive in your bank account.

Square Cash app fees and fine print

Receiving money is free unless you choose the quick deposit option or you’re accepting money for business reasons. The quick deposit fee is 1.5%. For business transactions, the business owner pays a 2.75% fee for each payment received.

Sending money is free unless you use a credit card. The credit card transaction fee is 3%.

How does the Square Cash app make money?

The Cash app is free for P2P use but there are fees for extras that help the company make money. Fees for business transactions are one major source of revenue. Fees for quick deposits is another way Square makes money from the product.

Sending and receiving limits

If you send more than $250 in a week, you’ll be asked to verify your name, date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security number. The sending limit increases to $2,500 (in most states) after verification.

If you receive more than $1,000 within 30 days, you’ll also be asked to verify your name, date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security number. There’s no limit on receiving funds after your account is verified.

Other Square Cash limitations

You have to be 18 years or older to use the Cash app. It’s also only available to residents of the 50 states, though the Cash app recently launched in the U.K.

Square Cash safety

Square Cash and other cash apps are safe to use for the most part as long as you follow instructions and keep other people out of your account. Use the password lock on your phone and don’t share your account information with anyone. Cash itself has security locks including PIN entry, touch ID and facial ID. The app also uses encryption to protect data and stores bitcoin in a secure system.

The Square Cash app fraud protection

Cash app fraud protection is available for unauthorized payments. Unauthorized payments are transactions that show up on your financial statements without your approval. You should report these right away and in writing. You may get a temporary credit pending an investigation of the fraudulent transaction. The fraud investigation can take up to 45 days, and the credit may be revoked depending on the results.

The best defense against fraud is offense. Don’t open spam emails or click links that look sketchy to protect yourself from phishing. Phishing is a tactic fraudsters use to get a hold of your personal information. Lock your phone and don’t share your account. If you share your account with someone (i.e. your child, partner or family member), transactions they make without your permission could be considered authorized since you gave them access.

How to use Square Cash safely

Money scams are what tend to cause the biggest headache with P2P payment systems. Here are three scams to watch out for:

Scam #1: Someone sends you money in “error.”

This scam is when someone you don’t know sends you cash by “accident.” You, being a kind person, send the money back without knowing the initial transaction was from a stolen card or bank account. The fraudster is essentially getting you to send them clean money. The transfer sent “by mistake” is eventually reversed, and the scammer runs off with your cash.

Scam #2: Someone cancels your payment after receiving a product.

Product sellers beware; people can cancel their own payment. A payment can also be reversed if the money is from a stolen source. Cash is technically not yours until it’s deposited into your bank account.

A word of advice: Sign up for a Square business account if you’re doing business. Fortunately, Square has many other hardware and software products for merchants that offer more security for sellers than the Cash app. The Square Point of Sale app, for example, has no monthly fee, countless business features and chargeback protection of up to $250 each month. A chargeback is when a transaction is reversed because of a dispute or fraud. With the Square Point of Sale product, you may not get left completely empty-handed if a chargeback occurs.

Scam #3: Someone sells you a faulty product.

Buyers need to be careful as well. There are no buyer protections when you make purchases through the Cash App. Scammers are crafty. They could ask you to send them money for a knockoff product, counterfeit ticket or broken electronic. You may not notice your product isn’t the right item until it’s too late. There isn’t buyer protection offered through the app to reimburse you after fraud.

How to protect yourself from being scammed

The best way to protect yourself from Cash app scams is to only send money to people you know. This app is intended to help you transfer money back and forth between friends and family. Never send money to rectify an “accident” unless you trust the person.

Have you already been scammed? Report it to the company. You may not get compensation, but reporting new scams could help the company warn other users.

Square Cash app vs. other person-to-person payment networks

Here’s how Cash app stacks up against the competition as far as transfer speed, fees and security.

Square Cash app vs. PayPal

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

PayPal

1-4 days

$0.25 per instant transfer

2.9% + $0.30 fee in the U.S.

Sellers pay a 2.9% fee + $0.30 per sale

Yes, when payments are made for goods and services

PayPal is a payment service that was founded in 1998. For many, it’s considered the go-to for stateside and international transactions. You can connect your bank account, debit card or credit card to PayPal. Money can be sent directly from your PayPal balance or from one of the aforementioned funding sources.

Fees. Accepting money is free (unless you’re selling items). The cost to send money internationally is different from location to location. You can review the full fee table here.

Network reach. PayPal has a broader reach than the Cash app, though Cash recently expanded to the U.K. PayPal can be used in the U.S. and abroad.

Payment types. PayPal payment types are similar to the Cash app. You can send money from your available PayPal account balance or from a connected bank account, debit card or credit card.

Speed. The Cash App and PayPal have about the same standard deposit speed. Both instant transfer options happen right away, but the PayPal instant transfer is cheaper.

Safety. PayPal does let you file disputes for unauthorized personal transactions. PayPal also puts a big emphasis on protecting the safety of buyers and sellers. Both PayPal and Square have business solutions with merchant protections. You can review the PayPal terms in detail here.

Square Cash app vs. Zelle

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

Zelle

1-3 days for non-enrollees

Free transfers within minutes for current enrollees

None

None

There is no buyer or seller protection program; Users are protected from unauthorized activity

Zelle is a P2P payment system that’s offered by a network of banks such as Ally Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Wells Fargo and more. Zelle is easy to use if your bank offers it. It’s a feature right in your online account dashboard. Transfers between Zelle account holders can happen within minutes.

Fees. There’s no fee to use the Zelle service, but you should still double-check that your bank doesn’t charge its own fee for cash transfers.

Network reach. There are more than 100 banks and credit unions that offer Zelle. Check out the full list of financial institutions that offer Zelle here.

Payment types. Money is transferred from bank account to bank account unless one person doesn’t have Zelle available via online banking. Someone who doesn’t have Zelle through their bank can still sign up to send and receive money by adding an eligible debit card to their account. Credit card usage isn’t available. In comparison, the Cash app does allow credit cards.

Speed. You can get money from both the Cash app or Zelle in up to three days. Both offer instant transfers. In Zelle’s case, instant transfers are free between people who are already enrolled.

Safety. Fraud protections for Zelle are slim. If you believe your account may be compromised, you must report it immediately to get any type of coverage. Zelle has no buyer and seller features or protections. Square is a larger platform with additional products for merchants which could made it more appealing if you need more than just P2P capabilities. In the terms and conditions, Zelle makes it clear that you should only be receiving from, or sending money to people you know.

Square Cash app vs. Google Pay Send

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

Google Pay Send

2-3 days

Instant when using a debit card

Cannot use credit cards or prepaid cards

None

100% Fraud protection covers unauthorized purchases from your account

Google Pay Send is the P2P payment app that was once called Google Wallet. Google Pay Send can be used to send and receive money using someone’s email address or phone number.

Fees. Google Pay Send is free to use.

Network reach. Google Pay Send can be used on mobile and desktop.

Payment types. Google Pay Send must be used strictly with a debit card or bank account. The Cash app offers the credit card option when needed.

Speed. Most debit card transfers can happen within minutes, but it can take up to 24 hours to see a charge or credit to your account. Google recommends that you use the debit card option because of its speed. Google Pay Send bank account deposits can take up to three days.

Safety. Unauthorized transactions are covered 100% by Google Pay if they’re verifiable and reported within 120 days. The terms and conditions state the app should be used for only P2P payments with trusted individuals. You shouldn’t be making transfers for purchases. There’s no mention of coverage for purchase scams.

Square Cash app vs. Popmoney

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

PopMoney

1-3 days

No

Does not accept credit cards

Free to receive money or pay a request;
$0.95 to send or request funds

Varies by state; Limited liability for unauthorized purchases if you notify Popmoney of lost or stolen password immediately

Popmoney is another P2P payment service that’s offered through the online account dashboard of participating banks. Like Zelle, Popmoney can do deposits that go directly to your bank account. Money can be sent using someone’s email address, phone number or bank account information.

Fees. Popmoney costs $0.95 when you send or request money. In comparison, the Cash app is always free to send peers money as long as you don’t choose the credit card option. Receiving money through Popmoney is free.

Network reach. You can still send and receive money through the website if you don’t have Popmoney available through your online bank account. However, using Popmoney through a participating bank is the simplest way to use the service. About 2,500 financial institutions currently offer Popmoney. You can see if your bank is in the network here.

Payment types. Payments can be made from an eligible bank account or debit card.

Speed. There’s no instant transfer option available for Popmoney like there is with the Cash App.

Safety. The fraud coverage for Popmoney is limited like with most P2P payment apps. There may be coverage for fraud if you tell Popmoney well in advance that your account could be compromised. You may only receive partial reimbursement if Popmoney finds that reporting your compromised account earlier could have stopped fraud. You should avoid buying and selling through this app because there aren’t purchase protections or merchant protections.

Square Cash app vs. Venmo

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

Venmo

1-3 days

$0.25 per instant transfer

3% fee, except for authorized merchants

None

Unauthorized transfers covered protection if verifiable and reported within 60 days; Authorized merchant payments may be eligible for protection

Venmo is a P2P payment system owned by PayPal. PayPal and Venmo have similar payment processes. You can connect your bank account, debit card or credit card to send money. Money can also be sent from your Venmo balance.

Fees. Venmo isn’t completely free. There’s a pricey 3% fee if you use a credit card to make a payment, unless you’re using a credit card to send a payment to an approved business. There’s also an instant transfer fee of $0.25 if you want money received deposited in your bank account right way.

Network reach. You need to be physically in the U.S. with a U.S. mobile phone to use Venmo. You must also have a bank account to deposit funds.

Payment types. You can make payments from your Venmo balance, credit card, bank account or debit card.

Speed. The Cash app and Venmo both have similar regular transfer speeds and an instant transfer capability. However, the Cash app instant transfer is more expensive.

Safety. Venmo does let businesses use the system to accept payments, but only merchants that are approved. When using Venmo, stick to sending money to family and friends unless you’re buying from an authorized merchant. If you’re an independent seller, there are conditions you have to meet in order to sell with Venmo. One example of a condition is that you can’t receive payment for goods or services in person. Square merchant products may be easier to sign up for and may have fewer limitations.

Square Cash app vs. Circle Pay

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

Circle Pay

1-4 days

Instant when using a linked debit card

Does not accept credit cards

None

Certain unauthorized transactions may be eligible for reimbursement, must report within 60 days

Circle Pay is one of the few payment systems that can be used internationally, and it has no fees or exchange markups. The preferred Circle Pay currencies are U.S. dollars, British pounds and euros. When you need to send money from the U.S. to friends or family abroad, PayPal, Circle Pay and Facebook Messenger (we’ll cover that option next) are payment options to consider.

Fees. Circle Pay is completely free to use. Instant deposits to your debit card are also free.

Network reach. Circle Pay can be used to send money from one country to another. With that said, be sure to shop around for exchange rates whenever sending money internationally. Search the web to check the exchange rate before choosing a payment service.

Payment types. Circle Pay only accepts debit cards or bank accounts to make payments. Square Cash accepts credit cards.

Speed. Instant transfers can happen when depositing money from Circle Pay to a debit card for free.
Bank transactions can take one to four business days or even longer if you’re moving money during the holidays. The Cash app could be just slightly faster.

Safety. Like other P2P payment services, Circle Pay does offer some coverage if unauthorized transactions are made with your account. The fraud has to be caught and reported in a timely manner to get reimbursement. No buyer and seller protections.

Square Cash app vs. Facebook Messenger

 

Transfer speed

Faster transfer?

Credit card fees

Other fees

Fraud protection?

Square Cash

1-3 days

1.5% fee for instant deposit

3% fee

Sellers pay a 2.75% fee for each swipe, 3.5% + $0.15 for manually entered transactions

Coverage for unauthorized transactions made from your account; chargeback protection for sellers who sign up for Square Point of Sale

Facebook Messenger

Up to 5 days

No

Does not accept credit cards

None

Facebook is not liable for payments via Messenger

Facebook users will probably find Facebook Messenger one of the easiest P2P payment systems to get started with because the payment feature is right in the Facebook Messenger app.

Fees. There’s no fee to use Facebook Messenger.

Network reach. The Facebook Messenger app is primarily for U.S. residents. In 2017, Facebook Messenger expanded to let users in France and the U.K. send and receive money within their borders. You can’t send money from one country to another.

Payment types. Debit cards or PayPal accounts are currently the only type of accounts you can connect to Facebook Messenger.

Speed. Facebook Messenger may be the slowest of all the payment apps we’ve covered. It can take up to five days depending on your bank while Cash app can deposit to debit cards instantly with a small fee.

Safety. Facebook puts in the terms that this app should only be used for peer transfers with people you know. If there are any disputes, you have to take them up with the other person in the transaction. Facebook takes no responsibility. The one shiny spot is that Facebook collects information from users like their legal name and birthdate for an added level of security. The name and date of birth on your ID must match your Facebook account to use payments.

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

Advertiser Disclosure

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

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

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 Unionlet 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

Advertiser Disclosure

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

magnifying glass

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on GTE Financial’s secure website

NCUA Insured

magnifying glass

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

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

NCUA Insured

magnifying glass

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

magnifying glass

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

magnifying glass

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.

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