Vio Bank Review

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If you’re looking into Vio Bank as a short-term savings vehicle, you’re on the right track.

Vio may not be a household name among savers just yet, but this online bank is becoming increasingly popular due to its competitive annual percentage yields (APY).

So, is Vio Bank right for you? Let’s take a look and find out.

About Vio Bank

While you may not have heard of Vio Bank, you’re probably familiar with its parent company, Oklahoma City-based MidFirst bank, which is one of the largest privately-owned banks in the United States.

Vio is MidFirst’s online banking division, meaning there are no ATMs or brick-and-mortar locations. It is a purely internet-based bank.

Vio Bank has a relatively simple approach to banking, providing high-yield savings accounts (HYSA) and certificates of deposit accounts (CDs). You will not, however, find any other types of financial offerings — like credit cards, for example — at Vio Bank.

Here is a breakdown of Vio Bank’s CD and HYSA offerings.

Vio Bank

Overall Rating

9

Bottom Line

Vio Bank is a reliable and trusted online bank, backed by parent company MidFirst bank out of Oklahoma. While Vio Bank may not have the brand recognition of some competitors, it offers one of the best HYSA interest rates on the market.

Pros

  • Competitive Interest Rates
  • Great Mobile Support
  • Easy to use platform

Cons

  • No ATMs or Branches
  • No CD Ladders

Interest Rates

10.0

Mobile Support

9.5

Products

9.0

ATM Access

7.5

Vio Bank Certificates of Deposit (CD)

A Certificate of Deposit, CD, in case you’re not aware, is a type of money market account that promises a fixed interest rate for a certain period of time. Customers are required to keep their money in the CD for the specified time period in order to receive the full interest yield.

Vio’s CD rates vary depending on the length of each term. For example, six-month CDs currently have a 0.20% APY. The maximum length, 10 years, comes with an APY of 0.80%.

Interest is compounded daily and applied at the end of each monthly cycle.

Vio Bank High-Yield Savings Accounts (HYSA)

In my opinion, the vast majority of savers would be well-advised to skip over CDs and opt for their high yield online savings account instead, which is currently offering a competitive rate of 1.21% (about 20 times the national average when compared with traditional banks).

The only way I could justify ever using Vio Bank’s CDs would be if you are concerned about touching your savings and would prefer to have the money remain inaccessible for a significant amount of time.

Personally, I can’t imagine ever putting money away in a CD for 10 years, but that’s just me — especially when considering that Vio Bank doesn’t offer CD ladders, with graduated earnings structures.

Vio Bank’s HYSA plan also offers daily compound interest, which is credited monthly. And with no monthly fees or ongoing maintenance fees, you won’t have to worry about your profits being offset.

Of course, some people may be concerned about the Federal Reserve cutting rates again, which would lower returns across all HYSAs. However, interest rates are unlikely to plunge below zero.

And personally, I would rather bank on interest rates staying where they are for the time being versus locking your money into a long-term CD and losing out when they eventually shoot back up. For example, last year, Vio Bank had an APY of 2.52%.

Only you can make that call, though. Next, let’s take a closer look at Vio Bank’s pricing structure.

Fees

Vio Bank offers free mobile banking and (mostly) free savings, so long as you maintain a $100 minimum balance. There is no monthly service charge, and the $100 opening deposit is relatively low compared to some other plans on the market.

Excessive Transaction Fees

Though, there are other fees associated with Vio Bank. For example, you’re looking at a $10 excessive transaction fee after six monthly transactions. This applies to checks, debit card purchase transactions, preauthorized payments to any third party (including ACH withdrawals or bill payments), online wire funds or funds transfers, overdraft protection transfers, online or mobile payments, and telephone transfers.

Keep in mind that federal law requires banks to adhere to Regulation D, which limits monthly transfers in savings accounts. Banks have the right to convert violators’ accounts to checking plans — or even shut them down entirely. So if you need to make regular transfers, keep that money in a separate checking account. Savings accounts are for saving, not moving money.

Paper Statement Fees

Another thing to watch out for are statements. Vio Bank does not charge for electronic statements. However, the company charges $5 for paper statements and $2 for additional statement requests.

Additional Fees

Additional fees to be aware of include:

  • $7 for a returned deposit item (a returned check)
  • $30 to stop payment (either check or ACH transfer)
  • $30 fee for outgoing domestic wire transfers

Getting Started

Like any bank, you’ll need to provide basic information including your name, Social Security number, driver’s license, and mailing address.

Signing up is relatively simple and only takes about five minutes. There’s no lengthy approval time or delay, and a credit check is not required to open an account.

Security

Vio Bank is FDIC insured for up to $250,000 in deposits. However, it’s important to keep in mind that they operate as part of MidFirst Bank. This means that the FDIC insurance applies to both accounts, as a combined total. So, if you have $220,000 in another MidFirst account and $100,000 in Vio Bank, the extra $70,000 may not be protected.

That said, Vio Bank offers a variety of cutting-edge cybersecurity safeguards like anti-virus, firewall, and intrusion detection. In short, Vio Bank is as safe as any other online bank — potentially more so, having the protection of MidFirst which has a stellar reputation for security and customer support.

Customer Support

Again, Vio Bank is online-only, and so customers do not have access to brick-and-mortar service. However, the company offers a full range of customer service features, including automated after-hours support and an online contact form.

One downside is there is no live chat option.

Pros

Competitive APY for HYSA

At 1.21% APY, the Vio Bank high yield online savings account is probably its best selling point. Earlier this spring, Vio Bank was hovering at 1.50% before the Fed slashed its rates. Expect this rate to spike again when the Fed raises its interest rates at some point in the future. Even still, 1.21% is not a bad rate.

Mobile Support

Vio Bank offers a safe and user-friendly mobile app, enabling on-the-go banking for both Android and Apple customers. It’s free with a Vio Bank account and allows customers to view account information — including transaction and balance history. It can also be used to transfer funds between linked accounts.

Straightforward Delivery

One thing that I really like about Vio Bank is it’s relatively straightforward. They only offer two services, and both are easy to understand. It’s a nice change of pace from some banks that offer a dozen different services and continuously try to upsell customers to plans that serve their own interest. With Vio Bank, what you see is what you get.

Cons

Early Withdrawal Penalty (CDs)

Depositing money into a CD account is a bit like putting your money in jail. You can get it out, but you’re going to pay a hefty bail.

Vio Bank offers a tiered penalty system for its CDs. If you withdraw your money after 7 to 31 days, you will lose all the interest earned on the amount being withdrawn. If you withdraw your money after 32 days, but before 12 months, you will lose 1% of the amount withdrawn, plus a $25 fee. And after 12 months, you will pay 3% of the amount withdrawn, plus a $25 fee.

If you use Vio Bank’s HYSA, you get a higher (but variable) interest rate, and you are free to move your funds up to six times in any monthly billing cycle without penalty.

No CD Ladders

Some banks will offer CD ladders, which mature at staggered intervals — not so at Vio Bank. If you are looking for an advanced CD policy that will earn interest at different rates, you’ll have to look at another bank.

No ATMs or Branches

Since Vio Bank is an online-only bank, there are no ATMs or physical branches. This means you have to transfer money to a separate checking account if you want to access it.

This is actually a good thing because it encourages you to park your money and keep it there. Remember: An HYSA is not a checking account, and it shouldn’t be treated as one. It’s for growing your money short term.

FAQs

Is Vio Bank Legit?

Vio Bank is a reliable and trusted online bank, backed by parent company MidFirst bank out of Oklahoma. While Vio Bank may not have the brand recognition of some competitors, it offers one of the best HYSA interest rates on the market.

Is Vio Bank Safe?

Vio Bank offers a variety of cutting-edge security safeguards, including anti-virus, firewall, and intrusion detection. Vio Bank is as safe as any other competitive offering.

Is VIO Bank FDIC insured?

Vio Bank is FDIC-insured up to $250,000. As I mentioned, though, Vio Bank is connected to MidFirst, and so customers need to be aware of this when opening an account.

“Vio Bank is a division of MidFirst Bank,” the company explains on its website. “Deposits held at Vio Bank are deposits of MidFirst Bank and are combined with any other MidFirst Bank deposits for FDIC insurance purposes. MidFirst Bank deposits include deposits at MidFirst Bank and any of its divisions including Vio Bank, MidFirst Private Bank, 1st Century Bank, and MidFirst Direct.”

Who is Vio Bank owned by?

Vio Bank is a division of MidFirst Bank, which is one of the largest privately-owned financial institutions in the United States.

Alternatives to Vio Bank

Some of Vio Bank’s top HYSA competitors include:

Is Vio Bank Right For You?

Vio Bank is a solid option for people who are looking to either put money aside and forget about it for the foreseeable future or maximize their short-term savings with an industry-leading APY.

Vio Bank is an excellent supplementary addition to any portfolio, offering savings rates that are about 20 times higher than the national average. It’s an excellent choice for people who are just getting started saving or people who are approaching their golden years.

The journey toward financial independence looks different for everyone. While it may make sense for a number of savers to open an account with Vio Bank, others might be better off looking elsewhere.

Still, an HYSA should be a critical component in any serious investor’s financial toolbelt. Use an HYSA to set aside funds for a down payment on a house, a car, or that next life-changing vacation you’re looking forward to. An HYSA is also a great place to park an emergency fund so you’re well-prepared to respond to whatever curveballs life throws your way.

You know your financial situation better than anyone else. Research your options and see what makes the most sense for your risk tolerance and your individual financial situation. You’ll make the right decisions, and I’ll be rooting for you every step of the way.

Additional Disclosures: Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings and creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money, CardRatings and creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or financial offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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