Considering Open Another Savings Account: GMAC or UFB
I have four online savings accounts already (all join accounts with my wife): ING Direct, Emigrant Direct, HSBC, and Virtual Bank. ING Direct used to have all my deposits when it offered superior rates than other online banks did. Now it fell far behind with a 4.50% APY. At one time early this year, I put all our cash at Virtual Bank when it was hot. With an interest rate of 4.60%, it’s only better than ING Direct and I only have a little over $100 with them now, just to keep the account alive (I am too lazy to close the account).Currently, Emigrant Direct and HSBC are our primary savings banks. Tied at 5.05% APY, there’s no better or worse between these two. I have $300 automatically transferred to Emigrant Direct on every pay day (biweekly) and my Treasury Direct account is linked to HSBC for weekly T-Bill purchases. Other than these, Emigrant Direct and HSBC are the same to me. I don’t really care their interfaces, or whether they have easy to use web site, or if they offer any extra security features. Except once-in-a-while manual fund transfers, I don’t even log into my accounts. I am only interested in rates, nothing else.
At 5.05% APY, they are OK, but not great. There are quite a few banks offers higher rates. For example, E-Loan has a 5.38% APY (did they have a 5.50% APY just a month ago?), but its $5,000 minimum amount to open an account isn’t something that I like. I want to have the option to keep the account with a low minimum required balance so I can switch back and forth based on the rates. $5,000 is too high for this purpose. Actually, when I checked the rate list on BestCashCow.com, I found that there are only two banks offer high than 5.05% APY and require low minimum balance ($1,000 is the maximum I can accept). One is GMAC Bank (5.25% APY, $500 minimum balance), the other is UFB Direct (5.32% APY, $1 minimum balance).
I have heard a lot about GMAC, but UFB Direct is relatively new to me. After a quick glance on their website, I found their Free ATM Reimbursement Program quite attractive. According to the policy, not only UFB Direct doesn’t charge customers any fees to use other banks ATM to withdraw cash, it also reimburse fees imposed by other banks for using their ATMs. For the money market savings account, monthly reimbursement is $4.50 (probably good for only one withdraw, but it’s enough as it will be only for emergency). On the other hand, GMAC doesn’t have this policy and only offers check-writing ability, which I don’t think is very essential for a savings account.
From what I see so far, UFB Direct appears to be a better option (higher rate, free ATM) than GMAC. The only problem is I know nothing about it. But as long as the deposit is FDIC insured, there isn’t much to worry about. Probably I should go with UFB Direct.
Update: For latest rates and discussions on UFB Direct, GMAC and other banks, check out the Savings Account Deals page.
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