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USALLIANCE Financial Review: Checking, Savings, CD and Money Market 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.

USALLIANCE Financial’s checking account options

MyLife Checking

A non-interest bearing account with various perks and no fees.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: Up to $15 per month in non-US Alliance ATM fees
  • Overdraft fee: $5 with Overdraft Protection, $35 per transaction up to $1,000 total with Overdraft Privilege (more details below)

Although this checking account doesn’t earn interest, it could be a good option for those who simply want a reliable place to manage their money while not having to worry about fees or balance requirements. Some bonus perks that come with it include getting your paycheck up two days early if you’ve set up a direct deposit, and a free monthly credit score update. The account also offers two overdraft services, which have to be enabled by the account user:

  • Overdraft Protection allows funds from another USALLIANCE Financial account to be transferred to your checking account when you have insufficient funds (also charging you a $5 fee),
  • Overdraft Privilege allows accounts in good standing after 30 days of opening to overdraw up to $1,000 with a $35 fee applied to each overdrawn transaction.

The good news is that there is no fee to simply enable these services; you’ll only ever be charged the fee if you actually overdraw. If you do not opt into either of these services, your attempted debit card and ATM transactions will simply be denied.

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MyLife Checking for Teens

A teen version of the traditional MyLife Checking account, minus a few of the perks available to adults.
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: None; debit and ATM transactions will simply be declined if there are insufficient funds in the account.

This non-interest bearing account is virtually the same as the MyLife Checking account; the main difference is that if the teen account holder is under the age of 16, he or she will just have access to an ATM card, which will be upgraded to a debit card once they turn 16. As with the regular checking account, the teen account has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements and provides online and mobile banking services. This account would benefit teens who want to efficiently keep track of their own spending money while developing key money management skills.

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How USALLIANCE Financial’s checking accounts compare

What USALLIANCE Financial’s checking accounts have going for them is the fact that they don’t have any monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, they have easy-to-navigate online and mobile banking services, and the main account offers additional perks like free monthly credit score updates and non-USALLIANCE Financial ATM fee refunds.

But many other checking accounts out there offer these things too, along with the ability to earn interest, and do so at a high rate, at that. If that last factor is important to you, you’re better off opening a checking account elsewhere.

US ALLIANCE Financial’s savings account options

MyLife Savings

A described as a “rainy day fund” that starts out with a great rate that doesn’t last.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
3.05%First $500
0.02%Any amounts over $500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1.50 per transaction after 8 free monthly transactions
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: None; savings accounts simply won’t let you go negative or overdraw.

If you simply want a place to put aside some emergency or vacation savings, this account may be a good option. It offers a decent “specialty” APY rate on your first $500, but then drops significantly after that, which seems like a step backwards to us and is sure to be seen as a disadvantage to many people.

As with the credit union’s other products, this account does come with online and mobile access. This account is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain transactions and withdrawals up to six per month.

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MyLife Savings for Kids

A simple account to help teach your children money management skills while they’re young.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
3.05%First $500
0.02%
Any amounts over $500
  • Minimum opening deposit: $1
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1.50 per transaction after 8 free monthly transactions
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: None; savings accounts simply won’t let you overdraw.

This account is simply a kids’ version of USALLIANCE Financial’s regular MyLife savings account, allowing kids to put money away and watch it grow before they’re old enough to manage it themselves in a teen checking account when they turn 13. It comes with the same initially high APY on the first $500 as the regular savings account, which might not matter as much to parents who simply want to have the account to teach their kids healthy money saving habits. As an added bonus, kids get a free $10 deposited in their account on their birthday.

Online and mobile banking services are also available for this account. Lastly, this account is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain transactions and withdrawals up to six per month.

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on USALLIANCE Financial’s secure website

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How USALLIANCE Financial’s savings accounts compare

USALLIANCE Financial’s savings accounts offer a very competitive APY rate… in the beginning, at least. As we mentioned above, once you’ve saved more than $500, the rate drops drastically, so if you’re looking to actually build up your savings funds — regardless of what you’re saving up for — it just makes more sense to go with one of the many other savings account options out there that will actually accumulate more interest in the long-term.

USALLIANCE Financial’s certificate account rates

Step-Up Rate certificate accounts

Share certificates that allow you to make a one-time rate increase before maturity.
TermAPY
12 month2.05%
24 month2.25%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ loss of dividends if maturity date is less than 18 months; 360 days’ loss of dividends if maturity date is over 18 months.

USALLIANCE Financial designed the Step-Up share certificate accounts for people hesitating to open a CD because they’re afraid rates will go up after they do so. But with these certificates, there’s nothing to fear: the credit union will allow you to take advantage of a rate increase one time prior to maturity to match its rates for its regular certificates of the same maturity length.

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Fixed Rate certificate accounts

Standard share certificate accounts with decent rates.
TermAPY
3 month1.60%
6 month1.85%
9 month2.00%
12 month2.30%
18 month2.25%
24 month2.50%
25 month2.85%
35 month3.00%
36 month2.60%
48 month2.60%
60 month2.60%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 180 days’ loss of dividends if maturity date is less than 18 months; 360 days’ loss of dividends if maturity date is over 18 months.

USALLIANCE Financial’s standard Fixed Rate certificates are available in terms ranging from three to 60 months. The credit union requires the same $500 minimum deposit and balance amount for all term lengths, which is lower than many other CD products out there. Rates for all terms lengths exceed the national average.

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How USALLIANCE Financial’s share certificate rates compare

USALLIANCE Financial’s share certificate rates aren’t the highest out there, but they’re still pretty good, with all of its options exceeding the national average. In addition, the certificates’ minimum opening deposit and balance requirements are lower than most other available CD options as well.

The Step-Up share certificates might look appealing in the beginning because you have the option to increase your rate if you see them go up on its regular products, but we don’t see why you wouldn’t just choose a CD with a higher rate to begin with if that’s what you’re after. If you want to invest more than the $500 minimum, you’re probably better off just choosing a CD with a higher rate from another bank.

USALLIANCE Financial’s money market accounts

MyLife Money Market account

A more worthwhile savings account option that allows you to earn higher dividends the more you save.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
1.75%$250,000 - $99,999,999.99
1.35%$100,000 - $249,999.99
1.15%$50,000 - $99,999.99
0.75%$10,000 - $49,999.99
0.50%$2,000 - $9,999.99
0.05%$0 - $1,999.99
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: Varies
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $35 per transaction up to $1,000 total; after that transactions will be denied.

USALLIANCE Financial’s MyLife Money Market account is definitely a huge step up from the credit union’s regular savings account. While it doesn’t have a minimum balance or opening deposit requirement, you’re able to earn higher dividends depending on money you put away, unlike the regular savings account. Like all savings products, this account is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain withdrawals and transactions up to six per month.

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on USALLIANCE Financial’s secure website

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How USALLIANCE Financial’s money market account compares

USALLIANCE Financial’s money market account rates stack up pretty evenly against most of the best money market options out there. Many other banks actually require a set balance and minimum deposit amount for their accounts, though, so if you’re looking for more flexibility in that regard and want to add more funds based on your own ongoing preferences, USALLIANCE Financial’s MyLife Money Market account may be suitable for you.

How to get USALLIANCE Financial’s banking products

As we mentioned earlier, USALLIANCE Financial has an extensive list of different eligibility requirements. We suggest consulting the online application to make sure you meet one of these criteria before considering opening any of its products. Eligible individuals can apply for membership and for USALLIANCE Financial’s checking, savings and money market accounts and CDs either online, in person at a branch location or over the phone by calling 800-431-2754. You’ll need a government-issued form of ID such as a driver’s license, as well as your Social Security number.

Overall review of USALLIANCE Financial’s banking products

Even if you’re eligible to join this credit union, if getting the best rates out there is your top priority (and you want to earn some interest on your checking account funds), you’re definitely better off banking elsewhere.

While the credit union gets points for offering more flexibility on its options than other banks — such as no minimum deposit amounts or balance requirements on a number of its products — the rates on most of USALLIANCE Financial’s products aren’t the best out there.

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.

Emilia Benton
Emilia Benton |

Emilia Benton is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Emilia here

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Reviews

Review of Edward Jones CD Rates

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.

What are brokered CDs?

Edward Jones offers brokered CDs, which are a bit different from the standard bank-issued CDs that most investors are familiar with. Bank-issued CDs, as the name implies, are issued by individual banks for their customers. Since Edward Jones is a broker and not a bank, it cannot issue its own CDs. Instead, the firm offers a range of CDs issued by other banks and thrifts but sold via Edward Jones.

For the casual investor, it can be hard at first glance to tell the difference between bank-issued and brokered CDs. However, there are some important distinctions:

  • No early withdrawal penalties: Brokered CDs don’t have early withdrawal penalties. If you need to get out of your CD, you can usually sell it back to another investor through a brokerage firm. This means that brokered CDs carry some additional risk, as the price of these CDs may fluctuate on the open market.
  • Higher APYs: You can often get higher yields on a brokered CD than with a bank-issued CD. Brokers are able to negotiate higher CD rates since they can guarantee a large pool of buyers to CD issuers. In the era of online banking, however, even brokered CDs do not always garner the absolute highest rates.
  • Longer-term options: Brokered CDs often have longer-term options than are available with traditional bank-issued CDs, which are generally short-term investments only.

CD rates from Edward Jones

Edward Jones offers a fairly comprehensive range of CD maturities, ranging from three months to 10 years, although the firm doesn’t offer 6-year CDs, 8-year CDs or 9-year CDs. Rates and availability change frequently, oftentimes daily. The longer-duration CDs offered by the firm aren’t traditionally available at banks.
Edward Jones CD Rates
TermMinimum deposit to earn APYAPY
3 months$1,0001.95%
6 months$1,0002.00%
9 months$1,0002.00%
1 year$1,0001.95%
18 months$1,0001.90%
2 years$1,0002.05%
3 years$1,0002.15%
5 years$1,0002.20%
7 years$1,0002.45%
10 years$1,0002.60%

For all maturities, Edward Jones requires a $1,000 opening deposit, which is the same minimum required to earn the stated APY. As these are brokered CDs, there is no early withdrawal penalty. However, investors are subject to current market prices if they need to get out of a CD prematurely. If interest rates have risen since the date of purchase, you’re likely to get less money back than you originally invested in the CD.

One important difference between Edward Jones CDs and standard bank-issued CDs is that interest does not compound with Edward Jones CDs. All interest is paid directly into a money market or insured bank deposit at Edward Jones, unless you request it to be distributed. Either way, you can’t reinvest your distributions into your existing CD.

Unlike some banks, Edward Jones doesn’t offer any type of hybrid or alternative CD, such as a step-up CD or an adjustable-rate CD. There are also no bonus APR CDs available at the current time, just standard rates. Edward Jones also does not offer special rates for jumbo CDs, which traditionally require a $100,000 deposit. However, you can use the firm’s wide range of CD maturities for certain CD strategies, such as building a CD ladder. You can also buy their brokered CDs in an IRA.

Unlike bank-issued CDs, the brokered CDs offered by Edwards Jones do not automatically roll over into new CDs. At maturity, the banks that issued the CDs pay the proceeds to Edward Jones, which then forwards the money to your account. At that point, you can either select a new brokered CD to purchase, or keep the funds in your Edward Jones money market or insured bank deposit account.

How to get CDs from Edward Jones

You’ll need to open a brokerage account at Edward Jones to buy any CDs. The account minimum to open is $0, but as Edward Jones is a full-service brokerage, you’ll need to go into a branch and visit a financial advisor to open an account. There is no facility to open an account online.

You can open your Edward Jones account as rapidly as you can fill out the paperwork and fund the account. As soon as your deposit clears, you are free to buy a CD through your Edward Jones broker. If you change your mind, you can generally withdraw your funds within 4-6 business days after deposit, although this hold period may extend to 11 business days for new clients. Once you buy a CD, you can sell it at any time on the open market. As noted above, the amount you receive may be less than the amount you originally paid.

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How do CD rates from Edward Jones compare?

Edward Jones CD rates are well above the national average, but they still fall considerably short when compared with the best available rates nationwide.

Unlike with many firms, Edward Jones doesn’t currently have any special-rate CDs, where certain maturities pay dramatically higher rates. Instead, rates at Edward Jones land along a traditional curve, gradually increasing in yield as maturities lengthen.

For example, as of July 3, 2019, the Edward Jones 2-year CD rate of 2.05% is far below the best available 2-year CD rates. Three-year CD rates top out nationally at 3.00%, but Edward Jones pays 2.15%. The pattern continues throughout the maturity curve, with the top 5-year CD rates nationally hitting 3.00% or more, while the 5-year at Edward Jones pays 2.20%.

As such, all rates at Edward Jones fall in the general area of being well-above national averages but still notably short of the best available rates.

Overall review of CDs from Edward Jones

You won’t be wasting your time investing in CDs from Edward Jones, as you’ll be earning rates far above the national averages. You’ll also benefit from the ability to construct a CD or overall investment strategy with the assistance of a full-service advisor. However, if you’re looking for the absolute best CD rates for your money, there are plenty of online banks that can pay you a higher rate.

CD investors who like a wide range of products may be disappointed at Edward Jones, as popular options such as step-up or no-penalty CDs are not currently available. However, Edward Jones CDs do benefit from offering brokered CDs. This provides a range of flexibility that standard bank-issued CDs cannot offer, as you can liquidate your CD position at any time without paying an early withdrawal penalty.

The bottom line is that yield-hungry investors that enjoy managing their own portfolios may be better suited at any number of online competitors. Those looking to incorporate decent-yielding CDs into their overall investment portfolio with the help of a full-service broker might prefer working with Edward Jones.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

John Csiszar
John Csiszar |

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

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Reviews

Wealthfront Cash 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.

Fintech startups are challenging incumbents in every corner of the financial services industry. Robo-advisor Wealthfront is part of this trend, one of many new investing apps that also offer cash management accounts with high APYs and a mix of features offered by traditional bank accounts.

Cash management accounts combine features like easy access to your money and a decent interest rate, typically found separately in checking accounts and savings accounts, respectively.  Wealthfront admits that its Cash Account won’t replace your checking account, instead touting it as a place to stash your emergency savings or achieve other savings goals and enjoy a high 2.57% APY, all with the FDIC protections of a traditional bank account.

Wealthfront Cash Account Pros

Wealthfront Cash Account Cons

  • Offers a high APY compared to other online savings accounts
  • Charges zero fees, $1 minimum balance requirement
  • Deposits are covered by FDIC insurance up to $1 million
  • Ability transfer funds from Cash Account into Wealthfront's taxable investment account.
  • Takes 1-3 business days to access your funds
  • You cannot make payments from the account

Let’s take a closer look at how Wealthfront’s Cash Account compares to both traditional bank savings accounts, and similar cash management offerings from other fintech startups, so you can determine whether it’s right for your savings.

Wealthfront Cash Account vs. online savings accounts

Wealthfront markets its Cash Account as a place to deposit savings you plan on spending in the next five years, or as a good place for an emergency fund. For longer-term returns on your money, Wealthfront advocates investing in the stock market using its core robo-advisor functionality. As an additional incentive to do so, Wealthfront allows you to transfer money from your Cash Account into one of the company’s taxable investment accounts. However, there is nothing in Wealthfront‘s terms of service that would discourage you from treating this account like any other online savings account.

Here’s how Wealthfront’s Cash Account stacks up against the highest-earning online savings accounts from our best online savings accounts review:

Financial InstitutionAPYMinimum balance
Wealthfront

2.57%

$1 minimum, no monthly fee
Vio Bank

2.52%

$100 minimum, no monthly fee
Customers Bank

2.50%

$25,000 minimum, no monthly fee
Barclays

2.10%

None
Marcus by Goldman Sachs

2.15%

$1 minimum, no monthly fee
Ally

2.10%

None

Judged by APY alone, Wealthfront‘s Cash Account emerges as one of the strongest contenders out there, surpassed only by Vio Bank’s online savings account. Like many online savings accounts, there’s a limit to the liquidity of the money placed in Wealthfront‘s Cash Account.

However, there is no option to withdraw funds or make payments from the account via check or ATM card. Your only way to get money into and out of the account is via ACH transfers to and from a separate checking account that’s held in your name. Transfers take one to three business days, and Wealthfront permits an unlimited number of transfers into and out of your Cash Account (with a daily limit of $250,000).

Wealthfront is not a bank, so it has deals with a network of regional banks that are FDIC insured. After you deposit your money in a Cash Account, your funds are swept into multiple accounts with Wealthfront’s bank partners, giving you FDIC insurance coverage up to $1 million (or $2 million if you have a joint Cash Account). This a big advantage that makes the Cash Account an attractive choice for anyone who wants FDIC coverage beyond the $250,000 limit available with a single online savings account.

Wealthfront Cash Account vs. robo-advisor cash management accounts

Many other robo-advisor firms offer cash management accounts. These accounts take varying forms: Some resemble a personal savings account, others have both savings and checking account features, while some are a type of investment account. Below we compare the Wealthfront Cash Account with cash management offerings from robo-advisors Betterment and SoFi.

Account nameFunctionFeesYield
Wealthfront Cash Account

FDIC-insured savings account

None

2.57% APY

Betterment Smart Saver

Low-risk bond investments

0.25% annual fee

2.14% APY

SoFi Money

FDIC-insured checking/savings hybrid account

None

An average of 2.25% APY

Wealthfront Cash Account vs. Betterment Smart Saver

Betterment‘s Smart Saver account is a low-risk investment account, not a deposit account, so it plays by a different set of rules than Wealthfront‘s Cash Account. For one, as an investment it does not have FDIC coverage. Betterment‘s website claims you could earn returns of 2.14% (which factors in the standard 0.25% Betterment charges for its services) — notice the word “could.” Money placed in the Smart Saver account is invested in a mix of treasuries and corporate bonds—fairly safe investment vehicles—but it still can’t guarantee the 2.14% return in the same way a deposit account can guarantee an APY.

The Smart Saver account does have some bells and whistles that may make it an appealing choice for your savings. These include:

  • Smart Sweep: This feature aims to maximize your investing returns by only maintaining as much cash in your linked checking account as you need for day-to-day spending. It works like this: After giving  access to your checking account, the app analyses how you spend money. Then it sweeps money above and beyond what you need to pay 35 days of expenses — up to $5,000 per sweep — into the Smart Saver investment account. Likewise, if the app thinks you’ll need more money to cover your expenses, it will sweep money from the Smart Saver investment account into your checking account. You can read more details here.
  • Tax relief: While you can’t avoid paying taxes entirely, the fact that 80% of the money placed in the Smart Saver investment account will be invested in U.S. Treasury bonds means that some of the earnings from the Smart Saver account won’t be subject to state and local taxes. You can read more details here.

Like Wealthfront’s account, there is an inconvenient waiting period to withdraw money from the account — four to five business days, which is longer than Wealthfront‘s one to three business days. This longer period accounts for the fact that your money is invested in bonds, making it less liquid than funds placed with Wealthfront in FDIC-insured deposit accounts.

Wealthfront Cash Account vs. SoFi Money

SoFi Money is a checking and savings hybrid account, meaning you earn both a high yield — 2.25% APY vs. Wealthfront‘s 2.57% APY — and enjoy instant access to your money with a debit card and paper checks.

Similarly to Wealthfront, SoFi Money spreads any funds you deposit across multiple FDIC-insured bank accounts — six in this case — providing up to $1.5 million in FDIC insurance vs. Wealthfront‘s $1 million.

SoFi Money may lag behind Wealthfront in terms of APY, but it makes up for this by providing the utility of both a savings and checking account. You can use your debit card to make purchases and withdraw money from ATMs (there is a daily limit of $610) just like you would with any other checking account. You can read more details on SoFi Money in our review.

Who should get a Wealthfront Cash Account?

If you’re looking for an FDIC insured account that provides one of the highest APY’s available, than the Wealthfront Cash Account may be right for you. However, you won’t have easy access to your funds like you would with a hybrid checking/savings account, such as SoFi Money. However the simplicity of the account, and the promise of additional features in the future such as a debit card and ATM withdrawals, could make it a compelling option for your savings.

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.

James Ellis
James Ellis |

James Ellis is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email James here