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Another New 5% Online Savings Account - Grand Yield Direct

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Apple Bank for Savings has started a no-minimum online savings account called the Grand Yield Direct which currently has a 5% APY. Just like EmigrantDirect, the APY applies to $1 and up and there are no monthly service charges.

I've already found a few drawbacks about this savings account. First, according to this account's terms and conditions, there's a fee for outgoing ACH transfers of $3. Sometimes fees listed in a generic disclosure don't apply to a new account, so I sent Apple Bank this question along with others through their Contact-Us page. I sent it on mid-day Friday and haven't received a response yet. Another negative is that the bank's customer service number doesn't seem to be toll-free.

Apple Bank is based in Manhasset, New York with dozens of branches. It seems Apple Bank is trying to copy its New York competitor, Emigrant Savings. With so much competition now, Apple Bank is going to have to do what EmigrantDirect did when it started and that was to offer a very high rate that was around 0.50% higher than its competitors. Or it should consider what MyBankingDirect tried when it started last year (another New York bank that started an online unit), and offer a sign-up bonus.

Since the rate is no better than EmigrantDirect or HSBC Direct, there's no reason for people to give them a try. You're better off going with a known entity and avoiding potential problems like ACH charges. New online banks will need to give evidence that their bank-to-bank ACH transfer systems work easily, quickly and without charges. The bank OneUnited started offering 5% on its new online savings account last month. OneUnited seemed to have all the online savings account features that you would expect. However, a reader who tried this account was very disappointed in the bank's ACH transfer system (see comment).

Even though there doesn't seem to be any good reason to give Apple Bank a try, another 5% no-minimum savings account should only help encourage banks (like ING Direct) to raise deposit rates.

Apple Bank for Savings is FDIC insured. Theapplebank.com web address is listed in the FDIC entry so you know it's legit. The bank has $7.6 billion in total assets and total liabilities of $7.0 billion. Bankrate.com gives the bank 4 out of 5 stars (sound).


Comments
2 Comments.
Comment #1 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
I received the email response from Apple Bank today. One important detail: There are no fees for standard outgoing ACH transactions as a grand yield depositor, however next day transactions have a $10 fee imposed.

There's no sign-up bonus, but the CSR said that the rate will be going up at the end of this week.

Here is the entire email response:

Apple Bank for Savings was established in 1863 and has been doing business in New York since that time. The grandyielddirect account is brand new venture for Apple Bank. It was the bank's opportunity to offer an online account with a high paying yield in new markets.

The account is a statement savings account. ATM cards and checks are not available.

There are no fees for standard outgoing ACH transactions as a grand yield depositor, however next day transactions have a $10 fee imposed.

Funds transfer has an online verification procedure that does not require mailing of information unless exceptions are found in the processing. Other accounts cannot be linked to the grand yield direct account. It is a stand alone relationship.

There are no additional bonuses as the rate we are currently paying is quite significant on its own and it will be going up by week end.

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Comment #2 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Latest rate is 5.15%. See post for more info along with a detailed description of the account opening process and the ACH linking.

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