Online-only banks have emerged in recent years as an alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar financial institutions. Many customers are willing to sacrifice branch locations for the opportunity to earn high APY on their savings balance. One such bank is UFB Direct.
UFB Direct advertises high-interest rates on savings and money market accounts with the ability to manage all of your accounts virtually.
To learn more about if UFB Direct is right for you, check out our in-depth review below.
About UFB Direct
UFB Direct is a division of Axos Bank, which used to be called Bank of Internet USA. They opened their doors in 2000 and are headquartered in San Diego, CA. They offer two FDIC-insured high-yield accounts to help build your savings.
UFB Direct operates as an online-only bank, which means they do not have any brick-and-mortar locations. However, the lack of overhead costs associated with an online-only operation means that they are able to offer higher APY rates to their customers.
There is also a UFB Direct mobile app that can help you manage your finances on the go. It includes some stellar features, including mobile deposit, bill pay, budgeting tools, and more. You can also connect your account to Apple Pay or Google Pay to make paying for things even easier.
UFB Direct offers fewer account options than other online banks, but they are still a viable option for customers seeking high-interest rates on savings accounts. Here are the accounts that you can open through UFB Direct.
Current UFB Direct Rates
UFB Preferred Money Market
UFB Preferred Savings
UFB Preferred Savings
UFB Direct only has one savings account option, the UFB Preferred Savings high yield savings account. Account-holders are able to manage their account on the go through the UFB Direct mobile app and online. If you do not have access to Wi-Fi, you can also use SMS text messaging to check your balance and account activity.
UFB Direct’s UFB Preferred Savings account features a competitive interest rate of 5.02% APY on all balances.
Account-holders are eligible for free transfers between direct deposit accounts and a debit card. This is among one of the highest APYs out there, so it will benefit those that want to build up their savings balance through interest.
The savings account features no maintenance or service fees. The only catch is that UFB Direct requires that you make a deposit within 30 days of opening your account. If you do not, UFB Direct may close your account.
The UFB Direct Savings account comes with a complimentary ATM card, which is a relatively rare feature for savings accounts. If you are interested in getting money quickly from your savings through an ATM, this feature can help you accomplish this.
Like many savings accounts, customers are limited to six withdrawals per month. If you continuously surpass the limit, your account may be closed. If this happens, your balance will be transferred to another account that allows you to withdraw funds more frequently.
UFB Preferred Money Market Account
UFB Direct does not offer a checking account, but account holders can access some of the same benefits of a checking account through their Money Market account.
UFB Direct’s UFB Preferred Money Market account offers high interest rates of 5.02% APY on all balances. It’s important to note that if your balance drops below $5,000 you’ll be hit with a $10 monthly maintenance fee.
In addition to a competitive interest rate, UFB Preferred Money Market account holders have access to a debit card, free transfers between direct deposit accounts, and free paid-postage envelopes.
Requirements and Fees
Even though there are no minimum balance requirements for this account, you will need at least $5,000 in order to open a money market account. This account comes with a $10 monthly fee that will be applied if you have a balance below $5,000. This is something to keep in mind before you think too seriously about opening a money market account.
Many people are curious about what kinds of fees are associated with their bank accounts. UFB Direct does charge a few fees.
Account-holders are subject to an overdraft fee of $25 for each item over $25 up to a maximum of $75 per day. This can add up if you aren’t mindful.
Additionally, UFB does not have its own network of ATMs, and they do not reimburse for ATM fees. You will likely be responsible for a fee when you take out money from an ATM. If you don’t want to face an ATM fee, you can always request an ACH transfer or wire transfer to your checking account or ask for a mailed check.
If you are interested in getting started, you can begin the process on UFB Direct’s website. In order to become a member of UFB Direct, you must be at least 18 years or older.
You’ll need some information on hand, including a valid government-issued ID, a social security number, residential address, and other basic information.
UFB Direct performs a credit check before you can be approved for an account. If you have any security freezes on your credit, you will need to remove it. You can do this by contacting the credit bureau directly.
UFB Preferred Money Market
UFB Preferred Money Market account offers competitive rates on all balances with a relatively low initial deposit requirement for MMAs.
All UFB Direct accounts are insured by the FDIC up to $250,000. This is standard for financial institutions and provides protection in case anything happens to UFB Direct.
As an online bank, UFB Direct values cybersecurity and data protection. Their website is protected with 128-bit encryption, and UFB Direct monitors accounts for fraudulent activity. They will also log you out after a certain period of time to ensure that no one can access your account after you walk away from your computer.
UFB Direct offers customer service through phone, email, and an online secure messaging system. Their team is available 24/7 and can answer any questions regarding their accounts or capabilities.
There are separate phone numbers for U.S. customers (1-800-472-9200) and international customers (1-858-350-6200). If you prefer not to call, you can use the mobile app to send a direct secure message to their team. UFB Direct customers can also contact the team through text message in case they do not have access to internet.
Pros and Cons
We are committed to providing the full picture in our reviews, which is why we believe in the importance of pros and cons. Here are some of the pros and cons of holding an account with UFB Direct.
- Competitive rates: UFB Direct’s Savings and Money Market accounts offer annual percentage yields of 5.02% with interest compounding daily.
- No minimum balance requirements or fees on savings account: Even though you need a certain amount in your account to earn interest, you are not required a have a minimum balance in order to maintain your account. All that UFB Direct requires is that you make a deposit with 30 days of opening an account.
- 24/7 customer support: Having access to customer support all hours of the day is a rare offering for many online banks. Luckily, UFB Direct recognizes the importance of getting help when you need it, so they offer 24/7 customer support over the phone, through email, and through direct messages.
- Few account options: UFB Direct doesn’t offer any accounts beyond Savings and Money Market accounts. If you are interested in having all of your accounts under one roof, UFB Direct is not the best choice for you.
- No branch locations: Some people still want the opportunity to go to a brick-and-mortar branch to handle their banking needs. Unfortunately, UFB Direct does not have any physical locations that you can visit. All of their banking operations are conducted online to avoid overhead costs associated with branches in exchange for higher interest rates.
Alternatives to UFB Direct
UFB Direct is a great online bank, but they may not be the best choice for everyone. If you are searching for alternatives to UFB Direct, be sure to check out the companies below.
If you are looking for a bank that offers rewards on checking accounts, you may want to look into Axos Bank.
Axos Bank is the parent company of UFB Direct, and they have much of the same benefits. Account-holders can earn high interest on their Rewards Checking, High Yield Savings, and Money Market Accounts as long as they meet certain requirements.
Unlike UFB Direct, Axos offers domestic ATM reimbursements. This can prevent you from having to pay ATM fees out of pocket every time you withdraw cash. They also don’t charge overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees on their checking accounts.
Capital One 360
Capital One is a familiar brand when it comes to credit cards, but they also offer top-notch checking, savings, and CD accounts.
Capital One does not require a minimum balance on their checking, savings, or CD accounts. In fact, they even regularly offer a sign-up bonus for their savings account. This is relatively rare and can help you get a jumpstart on your savings.
Capital One is a primarily online operation, much like Axos and UFB Direct. However, they do have a handful of branch locations in about 10 states. If you are desperate for an in-person experience, you may be able to visit a Capital One branch near you.
Is UFB Direct For You?
UFB Direct seeks to satisfy the needs of customers who are interested in trading physical branches for higher interest rates, satisfied having minimal account options, comfortable with online banking, and desire a high APY.
If you want to visit a branch location, UFB Direct will not benefit you.
Everyone has the capability of building their savings with high-interest rates. Be sure to check out some of our other reviews to find the best banking accounts for your financial needs and goals.
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