I just saw a post on FatWallet that talks about the Provident Direct online high yield savings account that’s currently paying 4.50% (edit: now only 3.75%)! It seems like a good deal especially given today’s market conditions. However, the Fed is expected to drop rates again tomorrow so who knows how long this rate is going to stay competitive. Currently, it’s the highest that I know of. It’s also FDIC insured at Provident Bank which has been around since 1886. The online portion has been around since November 2007.
It says that there are no minimum balance requirements and no monthly fees. You only need a dollar to open. The major downside is that withdrawals are limited to $5000 per transaction but you can do multiple transactions per day. However, savings accounts are government regulated and cannot exceed more than 6 transfers out in a month. Any withdrawals after that will be charged a $5 fee. You can bypass the $5000 limit by “pulling” from another account rather than “pushing” from the Provident account. Apparently there’s also a $25 fee for closing the account within 180 days and a$5 monthly fee if the balance dips below $300.
I’ll have a full review when I open an account in a little bit. I’m going to wait and see what happens to the rate first. It would be a great place to park my emergency fund which is currently only earning 3.85% at FNBO Direct.
In other news, there’s a new concept in the online savings space that I stumbled onto today. It’s called SmartyPig and it basically combines an online savings account with social networking. The basic premise is that you need to set goals that are funded by monthly deposits into SmartyPig. The goal is active until it is reached. The social aspect comes in when you make your goal public. People can help fund your goal by using a credit or debit card (with a $4.95 processing fee). Once goals are met, you can “withdraw” the money via MasterCard debit card or a gift card from participating retailers. At this time, there is no way to receive that money via ACH transfer in cash. This is apparently done so that it’s harder to use the money since the purpose is to save it.
Deposits are FDIC insured and held at West Bank, which has $1.3 billion in assets. Deposits also earn a very competitive 4.30%, albeit with some limitations. I think it’s a good idea, but I definitely wouldn’t use it to hold my emergency fund because it’s not liquid enough. However, I don’t think it was intended for that purpose either. I think there’s a market for this and if it helps people to set savings goals and encourages them through the social aspect, it could be a winner. I’m holding off on it for now, but maybe I’ll revisit it later. Maybe I can set up a public goal to get out of debt and you guys can contribute!
Like the post? Subscribe to this feed!