The Columbia Bank Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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Updated on Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The Columbia Bank’s checking account options

Simply Checking

This basic checking account doesn’t bear interest and has no monthly fee.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: Fulton Financial Corporation ATMs are free (also includes ATMs at FNB Bank, Fulton Bank, Fulton Bank of New Jersey, Lafayette Ambassador Bank and Swineford National Bank). Transactions at ATMs outside of the Fulton Financial Corporation network will be charged a fee of $2.50 each.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $39

While The Columbia Bank’s Simply Checking account does not earn interest, it also doesn’t charge a monthly maintenance fee, so you’ll never have to worry about maintaining a minimum balance amount. You’ll also get access to the full range of mobile and online banking services free of charge.

This account is a good option for anyone who wants to avoid monthly fees and isn’t concerned about earning interest on their checking balance. The only major downside are the ATM fees for out-of-network ATM use, which can add up and aren’t refunded.

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Interest Checking

You’ll earn interest with this account but it charges a waivable monthly fee.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $12, can be waived
  • ATM fee: Fulton Financial Corporation ATMs are free (also includes ATMs at FNB Bank, Fulton Bank, Fulton Bank of New Jersey, Lafayette Ambassador Bank and Swineford National Bank). Transactions at ATMs outside of the Fulton Financial Corporation network will be charged a fee of $2.50 each.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $39

The Interest Checking account is The Columbia Bank’s standard interest-earning checking account. Rates are not publicly available, but you can call the bank for the most current rates. You’ll need to maintain a sizeable minimum daily balance in order to earn interest.

This account’s monthly fee isn’t small, but as long as you maintain the $1,000 minimum daily balance (which is also the amount required to earn interest), the monthly fee can be avoided; it can also be waived with a monthly direct deposit. However, it’s best to opt for free checking accounts so you don’t have to worry about your balance falling below this requirement. Apart from earning interest, this checking account doesn’t come with any other perks that you can’t get with the bank’s free checking option, so it may not be the best option for most customers.

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on The Columbia Bank’s secure website

Relationship Banking

A premium checking account with a monthly fee for customers with a higher balance.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10, can be waived
  • ATM fee: This account comes with unlimited free ATM transactions at both in-network and out-of-network ATMs. However, be aware that other institutions may impose a charge at their ATMs.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $39

This checking account earns tiered interest and is designed for customers who maintain high balances; you can call the bank for the most recent rates. If you’re unable to maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $2,000, you’ll be charged a monthly service fee. You’ll also need to maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,000 in order to earn interest. Because of these requirements, the Relationship Banking account isn’t our favorite checking option at this bank for most customers.

Still, it is worth noting that you get free unlimited ATM transactions with this account, which can save you a good amount of money over time. If you’re able to maintain a minimum of $15,000 in total deposits or $20,000 in deposits and consumer loan balances combined, you’ll also get occasional bonus rates on the bank’s CDs, one free order of specialty checks per year, and a discount on safe deposit boxes.

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Student Checking

A non-interest-bearing checking account for students ages 16 to 22.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: Fulton Financial Corporation ATMs are free (also includes ATMs at FNB Bank, Fulton Bank, Fulton Bank of New Jersey, Lafayette Ambassador Bank and Swineford National Bank). and The Columbia Bank. Student Checking account holders get 5 no-fee transactions per statement cycle at ATMs outside the Fulton Financial Corporation network. Each additional transaction at out-of-network ATMs will be charged a $2.50 fee.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $39

This checking account is available to students ages 16 to 22 with a valid student ID. It comes with no minimum account balance requirement and no monthly maintenance fee. In addition, you’ll also get your first five ATM transactions at out-of-network ATMs free each month. Although this account doesn’t come with unlimited free ATM transactions, this is still a relatively generous policy.

Along with minimal fees, you’ll also get all the online and mobile banking features of a standard checking account free of charge, including online statements, online bill pay and mobile check deposits. This account does not earn interest.

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Prime Life Interest Checking

A fee-free, interest-bearing checking account for folks 50 years of age and older.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: This account comes with unlimited free ATM transactions at both in-network and out-of-network ATMs. Be aware that other institutions may impose a charge at their ATMs.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $39

This account is designed for customers age 50 and older. If you qualify for this account, it is one of the bank’s best checking options — it earns interest but doesn’t come with a monthly maintenance fee. Interest rates for this account are tiered, meaning rates differ depending on the balance you maintain; to qualify to earn interest, you must maintain a minimum balance of $1,000. You can call the bank for the most recent interest rates.

In addition to earning interest, you’ll also get free online and mobile banking services and a discount on safe deposit boxes. Finally, this account comes with unlimited free ATM transactions whether at in-network or out-of-network ATMs, which is a feature we like to look for in checking accounts.

How to get The Columbia Bank’s checking accounts

You can apply for any of this bank’s checking accounts online by providing your social security number, a government-issued ID, and your opening deposit. Your account can be funded online with a checking account, savings account, debit card or credit card.

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How The Columbia Bank’s checking accounts compare

Overall, The Columbia Bank has a few checking options worth considering. While a few of their accounts charge monthly fees that we don’t think are worth it for most customers, their Student Checking, Simply Checking and Prime Life Interest Checking are all free.

The Prime Life Interest Checking is The Columbia Bank’s most competitive offer because it earns interest, charges no fees, and offers unlimited free ATMs; the rest of the bank’s checking accounts are less competitive. The best online checking accounts are not only fee-free, but they also offer unlimited free ATMs, and many of them bear interest with no minimum balance amount required.

The Columbia Bank’s savings account options

Statement Savings

This interest-bearing savings account comes with a monthly fee that can be waived.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $6, can be waived
  • ATM fee: Fulton Financial Corporation ATMs are free (includes ATMs at FNB Bank, Fulton Bank, Fulton Bank of New Jersey, Lafayette Ambassador Bank and Swineford National Bank). Transactions at ATMs outside of the Fulton Financial Corporation network will be charged a fee of $2.50 each.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $39

The Columbia Bank’s standard savings account is open to all customers; it bears interest on balances of $100 or more, though you’ll have to call the bank for the most recent rates. This account does come with a monthly maintenance fee — but while it can be waived by maintaining a minimum daily balance of at least $100, we always prefer savings accounts with no monthly fees. The monthly fee is also waived if the account holder is less than 19 years old.

Remember that Federal Reserve Regulation D limits all savings accounts up to 6 certain electronic transfers or withdrawals per month.

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Student Statement Savings

A fee-free savings account for students up to 22 years of age.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: Fulton Financial Corporation ATMs are free (includes ATMs at FNB Bank, Fulton Bank, Fulton Bank of New Jersey, Lafayette Ambassador Bank and Swineford National Bank). Student Checking account holders get 5 no-fee transactions per statement cycle at Non-Fulton Financial Corporation ATMs. Transactions at ATMs outside of the Fulton Financial Corporation network will be charged a fee of $2.50 each.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $39

This interest-bearing savings account for students age 22 or younger has no monthly account maintenance fee, so you don’t have to worry about keeping a minimum balance. Interest rates vary, but you can call the bank for the latest rates. You’ll get access to all of The Columbia Bank’s mobile and online banking services with this account as well, including mobile check deposit, online statements, and 24/7 access to your accounts.

With a student account, you’ll also get your first 5 ATM transactions at non-Fulton Financial Corporation ATMs free each month. After that, a small fee will be charged by The Columbia Bank on out-of-network ATM transactions.

According to Federal Reserve Regulation D, because this is a savings account, you’re only allowed up to 6 certain electronic transfers or withdrawals each month.

How to get The Columbia Bank’s savings account

Applications are available online for both of The Columbia Bank’s two savings accounts. You’ll need to provide your social security number, a government-issued form of identification, and an opening deposit for your account. Your deposit can be funded online using a checking or savings account or a debit or credit card.

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How The Columbia Bank’s savings accounts compare

All of The Columbia Bank’s savings accounts earn interest, which is a plus. Keep in mind that the best online savings accounts tend to offer significantly higher APYs than traditional brick-and-mortar banks. You should call The Columbia Bank to obtain their current savings account rates and compare them to the competition.

The biggest advantage of the best online savings accounts is that many of them don’t charge any monthly fees, don’t have account minimums, and some even offer unlimited free ATMs. In comparison, The Columbia Bank’s Statement Savings account does come with a monthly fee and only earns interest if your balance stays above the minimum requirement, and they doesn’t waive ATM fees at out-of-network ATMs. If you qualify for it, the Student Statement Savings account offers a more generous ATM fee policy, but it does still charge a monthly fee.

The Columbia Bank’s CD rates

Certificates of Deposit

Certificates come in a variety of options, from variable rate CDs to no penalty CDs.
TermAPY
  3 Month0.05%
  6 Month0.05%
  9 Month No Penalty0.05%
  9 Month No Penalty Promo Relationship Banking  0.30%
12 Month0.05%
  12 Month Variable Rate0.05%
  15 Month0.20%
  18 Month Promo Relationship Banking1.45%
  2 Year0.45%
  30 Month0.45%
  3 Year0.45%
  4 Year0.80%
  5 Year Promo Relationship Banking1.81%
  72 Month0.80%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For terms of up to 6 months, the early withdrawal penalty is equal to 7 days of interest or all interest accrued, whichever is greater. For terms of 6 months to 36 months, the early withdrawal penalty is 182 days of interest. For terms of 36 months or more, the penalty is 12 months of interest.

The Columbia Bank builds a lot of flexibility into their CD offerings. Not only can you choose from terms as short as 3 months and as long as 72 months, but they also offer no penalty certificates, variable rate certificates, and promotional CD rates.

Their 9 Month No Penalty CD allows you to withdraw your money at any time without incurring a penalty as long as you wait at least 7 days after opening. The 12 Month Variable Rate CD comes with an APY that can change at any time after account opening, while the other CD options maintain the same APY throughout the full term of the CD. Finally, the 9 Month No Penalty Promo Relationship Banking CD, 18 Month Promo Relationship Banking CD, and 5 Year Promo Relationship Banking CD offers higher promotional rates for Relationship Banking account holders who maintain a minimum at least $15,000 in total deposits or $20,000 in deposits and consumer loan balances combined.

The bank also offers promotional CD rates at times on certain certificates that offer higher rates than listed above. You can call the bank or visit their website for current promotions.

How to get The Columbia Bank’s Certificates

You can open a Certificate of Deposit by visiting any of The Columbia Bank’s branch locations and applying in person.

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Member FDIC

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How The Columbia Bank’s Certificate rates compare

You’ll find a wide range of CD options at The Columbia Bank. Their No Penalty CDs and Promo Relationship Banking CDs are unique offerings worth looking into, and you should also consider any promotional CD rates that are currently on offer. Their minimum opening deposit and minimum balance to earn APY requirements are reasonable and on par with other banks.

When compared to best CD rates, though, most of The Columbia Bank’s CDs lag behind. Some of their CDs, such as the 3 Month CD, 6 Month CD, and 9 Month No Penalty CD, have APYs so low you likely won’t even notice as interest accumulates. That being said, if you’re a Relationship Banking customer and meet the account requirements to earn Promo Relationship Banking rates, they are much higher. Keep in mind that several banks offering the best CD rates outearn even The Columbia Bank’s promotional rates, and with minimum balance requirements that are easier to meet.

The Columbia Bank’s money market account options

Money Market Account

Earn interest while maintaining easy access to your funds.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.16%
$1,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $10, can be waived
  • ATM fee: Fulton Financial Corporation ATMs are free (includes ATMs at FNB Bank, Fulton Bank, Fulton Bank of New Jersey, Lafayette Ambassador Bank and Swineford National Bank). Transactions at ATMs outside of the Fulton Financial Corporation network will be charged a fee of $2.50 each.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $39

This money market account charges a monthly maintenance fee, although it can be waived as long as you maintain a minimum daily balance of $1,000 or more. You’ll need to maintain this balance in order to earn interest anyway.

This account gives you the opportunity to earn a small amount of interest and build your savings while still maintaining easy access to your money. But while you can access your funds immediately, money market and savings accounts are still limited to 6 certain electronic withdrawals each month according to Federal Reserve Regulation D.

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Member FDIC

Platinum Money Market

Earn tiered interest rates with a higher minimum daily balance.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.18%
$10,000 - $24,999
0.24%
$24,999.01 - $49,999
0.26%
$49,999.01 - $74,999
0.27%
$74,999.01 - $99,999
0.32%
$99,999.01 - $249,999
0.33%
$249,999.01 - $999,999
0.34%
$999,999.01 - $1,999,999
0.34%
$1,999,999.01 or more
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $10,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $25, can be waived
  • ATM fee: Fulton Financial Corporation ATMs are free (includes ATMs at FNB Bank, Fulton Bank, Fulton Bank of New Jersey, Lafayette Ambassador Bank and Swineford National Bank). Transactions at ATMs outside of the Fulton Financial Corporation network will be charged a fee of $2.50 each.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $39

If you’re able to commit to maintaining a large balance in your account, the Platinum Money Market account will help you earn slightly higher rates than those offered by their regular money market account. You will need to maintain a minimum daily balance of at least $10,000, or else you’ll be charged a pretty steep monthly maintenance fee. Balances below that amount won’t earn interest either.

This money market account gives you easy access to your funds, although you won’t get any ATM fee waivers if you’re withdrawing money from out-of-network ATMs. Keep in mind that you’re limited to 6 certain electronic transfers or withdrawals per month according to Federal Reserve Regulation D.

How to get The Columbia Bank’s Money Market accounts

You can open The Columbia Bank’s Money Market accounts online by filling out their online application form. It will require that you submit your social security number and a government-issued form of identification, and you can fund the account using funds from a checking or savings account or a debit or credit card.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Columbia Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How The Columbia Bank’s money market accounts compare

The monthly maintenance fees charged by The Columbia Bank’s money market accounts are rather high, and although they can be waived, it’s often best to go with accounts that have low or no fees.

In terms of rates, even the Platinum Money Market account earns an APY that’s far lower than the best money market rates. Some of the best money market rates are roughly ten times higher than those offered by The Columbia Bank, and there are even a few online banks that offer higher rates with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fees.

The Columbia Bank’s IRA account options

IRA Certificate rates

The IRA CDs earn interest and offer promotional rates for Relationship Banking customers.
TermAPY
3 Month0.05%
6 Month0.05%
12 Month0.05%
15 Month0.20%
18 Month Promo Relationship Banking1.45%
2 Year0.45%
30 Month0.45%
3 Year0.45%
4 Year0.80%
5 Year Promo Relationship Banking1.81%
72 Month0.80%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: For terms of up to 6 months, the early withdrawal penalty is equal to 7 days of interest or all interest accrued, whichever is greater. For terms of 6 months to 36 months, the early withdrawal penalty is 182 days of interest. For terms of 36 months or more, the penalty is 12 months of interest.

The Columbia Bank’s IRA CDs all have reasonable minimum opening deposit and minimum balance amount to earn APY requirements. There are no penalty free CDs available as IRA accounts, but you can access promotional APYs if you qualify for their 18 Month Promo Relationship Banking IRA CD or their 5 Year Promo Relationship Banking IRA CD. You’ll need to be a Relationship Banking customer in order to access these rates, and you’ll also have to have a minimum balance of at least $15,000 across all deposits or $20,000 across deposits and consumer loans.

How to get The Columbia Bank’s IRA CDs

You can open an IRA CD with The Columbia Bank by visiting them in person at one of their branch locations.

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on The Columbia Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How The Columbia Bank’s IRA CD rates compare

When compared to the best IRA CD rates, most of The Columbia Bank’s IRA CD rates are notably lower. The bank’s most competitive IRA CDs are those that offer promotional rates for Relationship Banking customers, but those are only available in 18-month and 5-year terms, and you have to keep a fairly high balance in your The Columbia Bank accounts in order to qualify for these rates.

IRA money market account

Earn interest with a low minimum deposit.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.08%
$10
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $10
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: ATM cards are not available to IRA money market account holders.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $39

If you’re looking for a tax-advantaged retirement savings account, The Columbia Bank offers free IRA money market accounts that give you the opportunity to take advantage of changes in interest rates. Interest is compounded daily on these accounts.

Keep in mind that withdrawal options from your IRA money market account might be limited, given that it is a retirement account. Typically, any money withdrawn before you hit age 59 ½ is considered premature, and you may have to pay an early withdrawal penalty on those amounts.

How to get The Columbia Bank’s IRA accounts

Head into your local The Columbia Bank branch to talk about getting an IRA account. It’s recommended that you consult a tax professional before opening an IRA.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on The Columbia Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Overall review of The Columbia Bank’s banking products

The Columbia Bank offers a handful of personal banking products that come with low fees, and a few of their checking accounts charge no monthly fees at all. That being said, many of the best online banks offer checking and savings accounts that are completely fee-free, regardless of the balance you maintain. You’ll also find that The Columbia Bank’s rates on all of their accounts are relatively low when compared to the competition.

This bank’s best products are those designed specifically for students and seniors, including Prime Life Interest Checking, and their Student Checking and Student Statement Savings accounts. They also offer CDs and money market accounts with premium rates for certain customers, but those rates are less than impressive when you consider the minimum account balances required to earn them.

On the whole, this bank might be worth banking with if you’re looking to build a relationship with them or prefer brick-and-mortar banks and live near one of their branches, but they’re not the best option if you’re seeking high interest rates and want to avoid fees.

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