Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

Washington Mutual's New High Yield Savings Account

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It looks as if WAMU is following Citibank in offering a no-minimum high-yield savings account. The current rate is 4.75% APY which is not quite as good as Citibank's 5.00% APY. Like Citibank, you must open a checking account.

This 4.75% savings account offering is shown in the WaMu Free Checking account application page. The page provides a checkbox for this Statement Savings account with a 4.75% APY for deposits of over $1. It has no monthly fees and a minimum deposit of $1. It states you must apply for both accounts to take advantage of this offer so it doesn't look like those who already have a WaMu Free Checking account can open the Statement Savings account with this rate. I wasn't able to get through to a CSR today. I'll try again Monday. The standard rate for the Statement Savings Account is only 0.40% APY for all balances.

One thing that analysts were worried about Citibank's online savings account was that it would hurt profits since many current customers would move their money from the very low interest standard savings and checking accounts into this high-yield online savings accounts. So far I think Citi has reported that about a third of the deposits into the high-yield online savings accounts have been from current customers. If WaMu isn't going to allow current checking account customers to open this new account, this could be the reason. I don't see this savings account advertised anywhere on WaMu's website. So WaMu may be trying to carefully introduce it.

Citibank has shown for the last several months that it is intent to keep the savings account rate competitive. It's too early to know if WaMu will do the same thing. But with no minimum balance requirements, there's nothing to lose. For those mostly interested in a free checking account, WaMu may have the best deal. Unlike Citibank's checking, there are no minimum balance or direct deposit requirements. WaMu also gives free checks, free outgoing wire transfers, one free overdraft/NSF waiever per year and a reward debit card (see post). Now with a high-yield savings account connected to the free checking, there's another nice perk.

Thanks to the reader who mentioned this savings account special in the finding deals post.


Comments
17 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
This has been in the works for awhile.

From a Seattle article dated November 16, 2005

"The company announced on Tuesday Wamu Direct, a pilot project in which it will sell high-rate savings accounts through the Internet. While the accounts will be available to customers anywhere, Wamu plans to concentrate its promotional efforts in two markets where it currently has retail branches -- Atlanta and Phoenix -- and two where it doesn't -- Philadelphia and Boston."


Source: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/248474_wamu16.html

After some Googling, I've found one person who apparently must have been in one of the test markets. Here's a post dated May 9th:

"At the beginning of this year, I opened a direct savings account with WAMU (Washignton Mutual). The rate was pretty good then (4.0%)"

Source: http://www.pocketchangeblog.com/tried-to-transfer-money-from-wamu.htm#more-14

So this has been in the works awhile. With luck current Free Checking people will be offered this soon (like me), and perhaps once this rolls out more noticably the rate can go up a bit to match Citibank or HSBC?

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Poor WAMU. I use them as a holding account to push/pull money from HSBC, ING and Emigrant. Over the past 30 days I must have moved 40k through their bank. Cash only sits there for 3 or 4 days max. They must know that the money is going to the big 3 high yield accounts out there.

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Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Well, at least WaMu seems to be making an effort to compete with some of these banks. They're already better than Ing's rate. I'll be more impressed if they can get up a little bit more. They should at least mah Citibank's 5.00$, since they both are tying their savings products to checking accounts. And WaMu's checking is actually pretty decent.

Now Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Chase, etc. are the ones that will really be suffering if they don't improve.

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Comment #4 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
I just called WaMu. Looks like you have to be a new checking account customer to qualify for this 4.75% rate.

I posted on update here.

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Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Does anyone know when they do a credit check if it is a hard pull or a soft pull ?

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Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I just opened this WAMu account here in Oregon. It's a guaranteed 5.00% APY for 6 months if you put in at least $10,000. They called it a Platinum Savings acct. and said the APY is actually higher if over $50,000, and even higher if over $100,000, but it was confusing figuring out exactly how much the guaranteed above and beyond the 5.00%.

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Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The WaMu online savings is available to current customers. You just have to open another new free checking account at the same time. And hey... it's free! No min bal or dir dep... so it's not a big deal.

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Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It looks as if WaMu has added a minimum account balance of $300 to their Statement Savings account.

I found this in their Statement of Fees:

Statement Savings
The minimum deposit to open a Statement Savings account is the amount of the Monthly Service Charge.
The minimum deposit to open an Individual Development Account is $1.00.
Monthly Service Charge: $3.00
Accounts with daily ending balances of less than $300.00 on any day of the monthly cycle are subject to the Monthly Service Charge.
The Monthly Service Charge may be waived for accounts held by persons 18 years of age and under, upon request.

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Comment #9 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Are you sure this would apply if you open the savings account and checking account online? From the application page it still says the following:

The above APY and monthly service fee waiver apply to Statement Savings only when opened online with WaMu Free Checking. If your checking account is closed for any reason (by you or us), or transferred to another kind of account, standard APYs/rates and standard monthly fee described in the Account Disclosures (including Statement of Fees and Rate Information) applicable to Statement Savings will apply.

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Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Well, I'm about to open it anyway so I'll let you know. I never saw what you posted on their website. I'll post my results.

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Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
5% apy Statement Savings is available only when opening Checking account online.

$1 to open checking, no minimum on savings.

Can link to several different external accounts.

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Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have had an account with WAMU for 18 months. And only today I saw the 5% APY. Strange - nonetheless, I went through the application process, and it asked if I already had a WAMU username/password. So I clicked Yes, input my user/pass credentials and in 5 minutes, I had 2 checking accounts and 2 savings account! One savings with 5% APY. Real nice.

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Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I am an existing customer - and during the online application you can enter your existing WAMU user/pass. This instantly creates the account and links your existing CHQ and SAV with another CHQ and high yield SAV account.

So now I have 2 checking and 2 savings! No need but its the only way for existing customers. Its easy and worth it.

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Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The savings account requires a $300 daily balance or there is a monthly service fee. I called WaMu and spoke with a representative who confirmed this as a charge

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Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
That $300 min. balance is only on the regular, low-interest savings account, not the high-yield one - I know from experience! Current customer. I let $300 'rot' in the regular 0.25% savings account, and let the rest grow nice and big in the 5% online savings account. Keep $1 in the linked checking account and do not use, still use my 'old' checking account. Working so far so good.

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Comment #16 by ShraZZy (anonymous) posted on
ShraZZy
I have had a free checking account for a long time and decided to finally open this saving account. The saving account was opened instantly and I could transfer money to it from my checking.

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Comment #17 by Nenny Derex (anonymous) posted on
Nenny Derex
Hi. Nice blog. I do not want you to think that I do not like Washington Mutual but I think that is not the best of the existing financial institutions. I browsed the net and looked through this great site which I love www.****edconsumer.com and found out that the company does not satisfy lots of its clients. The reasons for that are numerous.

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