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E*TRADE Savings Account Yield Back Up To 5.05% - Bonus and Account Review

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E*TRADE Bank
Update: The bonus has ended, and the Complete Savings account rate has plummeted. As of 10/01/09, the rate is 0.50% APY.

E*TRADE Bank just increased the yield on its Complete Savings Acocunt from 4.70% to 5.05% APY. I've seen cases where banks make mistakes on their websites, so I called and confirmed that this new rate is correct. As is typical, there's no guaranteed period of time in which this will last.

E*TRADE Bank also raised yields on their CDs for the 3, 6 and 12 month terms. The top yield is now 5.25% APY on the 6-month term. As you can see below, this is a big jump in the rates:

Term Old APY New APY
3-month 4.60% 5.10%
6-month 4.75% 5.25%
12-month 4.55% 5.15%

These rate increases remind me of what Countrywide Bank did in August after news came out about its mortgage problems. Earlier this month, similar news came out about E*TRADE (see post).

I think it's always a good idea to stay below the FDIC limits regardless of the bank. Bank deposits held at E*TRADE Bank are FDIC insured (E*TRADE Bank's FDIC page). There are many ways to extend FDIC coverage past $100K such as with POD beneficiaries. Note, to add beneficiaries you're required to mail or fax a signed letter of instructions to E*TRADE. This can't be done online. If these beneficiaries are being used to qualify for additional FDIC coverage, make sure E*TRADE Bank adds these beneficiaries in the account title. For more info, please refer to this post.

As we learned with the closure of Netbank (see post), there's not much to worry about if you keep under the FDIC limits. For more facts about FDIC deposit insurance, please refer to this FDIC article .

ETRADE Sign-Up Bonus

Update 1/7/08: There's a new $25 bonus. Please see this post for more details.

There is still a $25 sign-up bonus for the Complete Savings Account. The expiration date is 12/31/07. For more details on this promotion, please see my April ETrade post. I received this $25 bonus without any problems in March. However, several commenters have mentioned that they had to call before the bonus was credited. So be sure to track when you sign up, keep a copy of the promo page and if you don't receive the bonus in 30 days after funding the account, be sure to call. The last commenter to mention receiving this bonus was in October.

Complete Savings Account Review

E*TRADE started the Complete Savings Account in November 2006 (see post). The yield when it started was 5.05% APY, and this held until last month when it went down to 4.70% APY. The rate is lower than Countrywide Savingslink's rate, but unlike the Savingslink account the yield applies to all balances, not just balances over $10K.

Below is a list of features of the Complete Savings account based on E*TRADE's website, my experience, information from the CSR and from other references.
  • $1 minimum deposit to open account
  • No minimums or account fees
  • No hard credit inquiry (I didn't receive one)
  • Free online ACH transfer system (Quick Transfer)
  • Typical 6 withdrawal limits per month
  • $100K per day limit on outgoing and incoming ACH transfers
  • ACH transfers complete in one business day from my experience
  • Limits to the number of external links have been reported (see FW thread). The CSR wasn't aware of this.
  • 9 day hold time for initial deposit (ACH or check). No hold for wire transfers.
  • Holds on additional deposits are lifted on the 5th business day after the deposit

Thanks to the reader who emailed me info on the rate change.

Update: It was just reported today that E*TRADE will be getting a $2.55 billion cash infusion from Citadel Investment Group (see NYT article). According to the article "the move allows E-Trade to get the troubled asset-backed securities off its books entirely."]

  Tags: E*TRADE Bank, CD rates, savings account

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Comments
17 Comments.
Comment #1 by John (anonymous) posted on
John
It's nice E-Trade did this, but it seems likely to be short lived, given the prospect of another Fed rate cut at the next December meeting. So ET raises now, and then lowers again in less than two weeks??? Or, do they really need deposit money so bad that they'd keep the new 5.05% rate even after the Fed cuts again????

I have the Complete Savings account, and have it linked to my other accounts. I took the account mainly to give me speed and flexibility if I wanted to fund any CDs with E-Trade.

But I've never yet really used the account, because their rates (for both savings and CDs) have always fallen far short of recent rate leaders like Countrywide, Zions Bank, Pentagon FCU and others.

When I signed up some months ago, I was also eligible for the $25 bonus. But they never issued it, and so finally after waiting well past the supposed deadline, I called to complain. After a couple calls, they finally issued the credit within a few days.

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
E*Trade Bank is much stronger now, not only because of the $2.5 billion capital infusion from Citadel Group, but also because Citadel bought the entire asset-backed portfolio. So fewer write-downs expected in the future, and maybe lower rates on the savings account??
news article: http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/071129/e_trade_citadel.html?.v=9

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Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To the previous post about
E*Trade, please read this:

"
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

E*Trade Financial Corp. (ETFC) said Thursday it is getting a $2.5 billion cash infusion from Citadel Investment Group, and also named a new chief executive.

The Citadel deal will allow E*Trade to get the troubled asset-backed securities off its books and give it a much needed cash infusion. E*Trade will get $2.35 billion immediately and the remaining $150 million in mid-January.

Mitch Caplan is stepping down after leading the New York-based brokerage firm that has found itself ensnared in the mortgage crisis. R. Jarrett Lilien, the firm's president and chief operating officer, will serve as acting chief executive while the board conducts a CEO search.

In addition, Donald H. Layton, a former vice chairman of JP Morgan Chase & Co., will succeed George A. Hayter as the firm's nonexecutive chairman. Hayter will retain a seat on the board, as will Caplan, who after leading the firm since 2003, is the latest in a growing list of CEOs to lose his job in the recent credit crunch.

Citadel, a Chicago hedge fund, is well known for being an opportunistic buyer, taking advantage of companies in distress, and as a buyer of last resort. "

If this does not work as planed, it may be the end for E*Trade.

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Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I agree with the post from 8:42AM, since Citadel are loan sharks and once they put
their claws on a company, they will suck it to a bone.

I will aid this too:

" As part of the deal, Citadel is also purchasing E*Trade's entire $3 billion portfolio of asset-backed securities, including its ABS collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, and second lien securities. The hedge fund, which already has a small stake in E*Trade, will end up owning 19.9% of the company and get a board seat."

Good luck E*Trade

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Comment #5 by Alan (anonymous) posted on
Alan
Well, the Citadel thing may or may not be a good thing...but I'm quite happy to see the rate increase. Not sure how much longer I'm going to keep my money there though.

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Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Hi, Can someone clarify: if i open a Etrade MoneyMarket and CompleteSavings, is it true Etrade will not refund ATM-fees if all i had was $5k in Complete and $1k in EMM? (an earlier post ~11/2006 or so hinted that this is not true; or did Etrade change their policy)?

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Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
ETrade drops the rates on the Complete Savings to 4.4%.

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Comment #8 by George C. (anonymous) posted on
George C.
Beware of ETrade Bank!!! They have NO ONE in the USA that you speak to. Instead, they operate a call center in the Philippines with contracted workers. Their "security" department is also in the Philippines.

If ETrade suspects fraud or anything amiss with your account, it will be FROZEN without ANY NOTICE to you of any kind. You may still access your account online and issue transfer instructions - only thing is those instructions will not be followed and will eventually disappear. If the instructions are to transfer money from another account into your ETrade account, your "available" balance will be reduced by the deposit transfer that they do not make.

The only time you will be told your account has a problem is if you call ETrade. And then they will not tell you anything - only that you need to send a notarized letter of authorization. They will not put anything in writing in any form to you giving you reasons, instructions, or an address to send this notarized letter or a sample of what it should contain. You cannot speak to a supervisor, anyone in management, etc.

In short - you will have lost all access to your funds, be treated like a criminal, and you'll then find you are not the only one.

When this happens to you - suggest you file complain with the Office of Thrift Supervision - www.ots.treas.gov - Southeast division. Also suggest you refer to the "Electronic Funds Transfer Act",
[Source: Section 901 of title IX of the Act of May 29, 1968 (Pub. L. No. 90-321), as added by title XX of the Act of November 10, 1978 (Pub. L. No. 95-630; 92 Stat. 3728), effective May 10, 1980] at this link which states:
"§ 910. Liability of financial institutions

(a) Subject to subsections (b) and (c), a financial institution shall be liable to a consumer for all damages proximately caused by--
(1) the financial institution's failure to make an electronic fund transfer, in accordance with the terms and conditions of an account, in the correct amount or in a timely manner when properly instructed to do so by the consumer, except where--
(A) the consumer's account has insufficient funds;
(B) the funds are subject to legal process or other encumbrance restricting such transfer;
(C) such transfer would exceed an established credit limit;
(D) an electronic terminal has insufficient cash to complete the transaction; or
(E) as otherwise provided in regulations of the Board; "

and that you keep printouts of the screenshots / confirmations you receive for your scheduled transfers that ETrade then ignores and eventually deletes from their systems.

Of course, you can avoid all these problems by not dealing with ETrade bank in the first place!

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Comment #9 by Sandra (anonymous) posted on
Sandra
Everything George C. says above about E*trade is 100% true. I only wish I had read it before I opened my account! I have been trying to get my account unfrozen for a month now. 3 weeks ago I made up a "Notarized Letter of Authorization" (nobody at E*trade can tell you what they are supposed to say), had it notarized and sent it in. Now they say they can't find it! They also lost my signature verification card! Stay as far away as you can from this disaster.

1
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I recently opened an acct at Etrade to move my money from Emigrantdirect and have been very happy so far. I received my $25 bonus within 3 weeks and ACH transfers are very quick. Customer service has been good, I've sent several secure messages and received responses within one business day and also called several times and haven't had a problem. Was able to add a POD by sending in a letter with my signature card and they added this within a week. Web site is easy to use and have been able to link 6 external accts easily.

The only strange thing I noticed is that you have to active external transfers to your linked accts by clicking an option and then they send an email with a validation code. You would think if you linked an acct you could transfer to or from that acct, but they have this extra step for some reason. Also, they only offer E-Statements but I prefer a paper statement like Capitalone, Countrywide and Emigrantdirect offer for their MM accts.

Overall I'm very pleased with Etrade and the new rate change to 3.3% made my decision to move from Emigrantdirect's 2.75% easier!

1
Comment #11 by Steve R. (anonymous) posted on
Steve R.
The comments above by George C. and Sandra are absolutely on the money.

On the surface E*TRADE BANK appears to work well. Its ineptness and heavy-handed anti-customer policies are hidden from view until something like the 'frozen account' circumstances mentioned above occur.

Once you experience that, and how the Bank then deals with you as a customer in those situations, you will rue the day you chose E*TRADE BANK.

1
Comment #13 by a_rog (anonymous) posted on
a_rog
banking guy (or anyone):

Have you seen an E*Trade ad recently showing the $25 bonus to open the Complete Savings account? I opened this account in June '07 and got the bonus and I know that it was still running until August, or so, of this year.

I am helping a friend to get into a savings routine for himself and, frankly, he could use the $25.

I called E*Trade and a CSR said he wasn't aware of any current bonus, but that there could be one attached to one of their ads somewhere that would need to be clicked-thru to get the bonus. He gave CNBC as an example of where such an ad might run, but I don't see one there - and I did refresh various pages to cycle thru any ads that might be in a rotation.

It doesn't have to be E*Trade, but except for their rate being a little below others, such as GMAC and Provident Direct, E*Trade meets his requirements: low minimum, no hard credit pull (I think I'm right on this), good ACH transfers, etc. I have read of some having issues with E*Trade, but my experience in the last 17 months has been fine.

Thx in advance if anyone knows of a bonus somewhere.

1
Comment #14 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
E*TRADE Complete Savings is a good choice. But I'm afraid I'm not aware of any active bonuses for it. I'll keep my eyes open for one.

1
Comment #15 by a_rog (anonymous) posted on
a_rog
Thx b g -

I check here almost daily, so I know you'll pass along any bonuses you come across. I always read the Weekly Summaries too and noticed a note about the $25 bonus is still showing in the list under

Checking/Savings/Money Market Accounts:
ETrade Bank - 3.30%, post ($25 bonus)

so I was hopeful that it was still effective, but it appears not.

Like I say, a bonus for opening savings anywhere would be a nice boost for my friend, since I don't think I'll be able to get him to start with more than $100-200, if that.

Thanks again & I'll keep checking back.

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Comment #16 by a_rog (anonymous) posted on
a_rog
banking guy -

I was going over your 'Checking/Savings/Money Market Accounts' list and spotted the $25 bonus at ING.

At the time I found your site a couple of years ago, ING's Savings was the only online savings account I had. Things have changed a lot since then. Now I am keeping a token amount only at ING, having long since transferred the bulk of what was there elsewhere for better rates.

But seeing that bonus mentioned reminded me that I have never used any of the 25 available 'Refer a Friend' bonuses at ING. I just now did that, sending a referral invite to my friend so that he can get that bonus. I might even give him my $10 referral fee just to sweeten the pot for him.

Thx again for creating & maintaining such a useful, reliable, timely & relevant site. That's really what I wanted to say here.

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Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
opened my account 1/30 for the 3.01% rate... no problems. $25 bonus credited the same day... great. rate dropped to 2.5% today... bummer. pretty much the reason i left my last savings account. doh!

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Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Rate dropped to 2.15%

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