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iGObanking.com Launches High Interest Checking

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iGObanking
Flushing Savings Bank has added a high yield checking account to its online bank, iGObanking.com. Like ING Direct's Electric Orange and HSBC Direct's Online Payment Account, it's basically a no-minimum checking account without paper checks. Instead of writing checks, you use their online bill pay tool. They also will have a Mastercard debit card for ATMs and for purchases (debit card is not currently available). Like ING Direct, ATM usage is free through the Allpoint Network. They don't seem to provide any ATM fee reimbursements if you use other ATMs.

Here's a summary of the iGOchecking's features based on the FAQ page, the disclosure page (fee table at bottom), and my conversation today with the customer service rep (CSR):
  • 2.65% APY on balances $1 and up (as of 5/12/08)
  • No monthly service fees
  • No paper checks
  • Free online bill pay
  • MasterCard Debit card (available soon)
  • ATM usage is free at Allpoint Network ATMs
  • $1.50 fee at an domestic out of network ATM
  • $3.00 fee at an international out of network ATM
  • $1.00 fee for PIN based debit card purchases
  • No charge of signature based debit card purchases
  • 5 business day hold for all deposits
  • No hard credit pull, just a soft (CSR)
  • no new account bonus (CSR)
iGObanking.com's ACH Transfer Service

Just like the online savings account, the checking account has the same free ACH transfer service that allows you to transfer money to and from external accounts. One difference is that there are no limits to the number of ACH withdrawals. Federal regulations limit ACH withdrawals from a savings account to 6 per month. However, like the savings account there's a dollar amount limit on transfers. Many readers have reported various limits. I asked iGObanking by email today about these limits. Here's what they stated:
  • Outbound ACH limit: $15,000/day or $50,000/month
  • Inbound ACH limit: $100,000/day or $500,000/month
  • Limits for premium transfers: $2,000/day or $5,000/month for in or out
I was also told there's no limit on the number of links that you can have to external accounts. For more information about iGObanking's online savings account and readers' comments regarding ACH transfers, please see my account review post.

How This Compares to Other Checking Accounts

The 2.65% APY yield is currently higher than ING's yield of 1.75% APY (for balances under $50K) and HSBC Direct's yield of 2.25% APY. So it's a competitive internet checking account. If you don't mind the lack of an ACH transfer service, higher yield checking is available at Bank of Internet of USA (see post) and Salem Five Direct (see post). Both of these lack an ACH transfer service, but on the plus side, both allow paper checks. If you don't mind debit card usage requirements and a few other requirements, an even high yield is available through reward checking accounts (see High Yield Checking website).

Savings Account and CDs

iGObanking.com has maintained a competitive savings account rate since it was launched in 2006. It's now down to 3.28% APY (as of 5/12/08), but this is still better than many other online banks such as HSBC and ING Direct. iGObanking.com also has a history of competitive CD rates. Currently, the best deal is a 4% APY 24-month CD (as of 5/12/08). The minimum deposit for CDs is $500. Please see iGObanking.com's rates page for the latest rates.

Bank's Financial Overview

According to this news article, iGObanking.com had acquired $133 million in deposits as of the end of 2007. According to the FDIC page, total deposits at Flushing Savings Bank is $2.05 billion. This is a good example of how internet banking is still a small subset of the banking that is done in the US.

That news article also reported that Flushing Financial Corporation (the parent of Flushing Savings Bank) reported a net income in the first quarter of $7.2 million, an increase of 32.8% from the first quarter in 2007. It has the same 4 out of 5 rating (sound) at Bankrate.com as it did when I first reported on iGObanking.com in November 2006. The current rating is based on 12/31/07 data.

Thanks to the readers who mentioned this new checking account in the comments. If you find a good bank deal or have other interesting banking news, please leave a comment in my finding-the-best-deals post.

[Edit 5/13/08: Highlighted the 5 day hold on deposits.]

  Tags: iGObanking, checking account

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Comments
19 Comments.
Comment #1 by Ram (anonymous) posted on
Ram
why do u give prominence to such abysmal APRs?

There used to be a time when coming to ur blog will contain hidden gems... and *must open bank acccounts*...

but these days, you are posting 15-20 "deals" daily - 99% which are soo ordinary... that you might as well start posting BankofAmerica 'deals' like .10% 'Super Highest Interest checking account' and likes....

I sure hope you focus more on great deals which YOU think YOU would open...

more traffic is certainly good - but dont dilute & water down your blog...

just my 2 cents...

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Comment #2 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
I'm afraid the rate environment is taking its toll. As you can see in the comparison section above, it's competitive in its class of online checking accounts. As I mention, reward checking is an option for those who want the higher yields and don't mind the extra hassles.

There are still a few rare gems out there. The latest one for those who can qualify is the AARP Financial Savings Center (see my latest post).

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Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Flushing Savings bank is a local bank here. However deposits are only allowed to be made via ACH.

On top of that, as per the website:

Q: How long will deposited funds be held in my account?
A: All incoming deposits are held for five (5) business days.

5 day hold period on interest checking is really bad.

I use HSBC now for Online Billpay which although has a slightly lower rate has a more competitive product because I can deposit directly with the ATM and move funds from my online savings and online payment.

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Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Unlike "ram", I have no complaints about Banking Guy listing what may to some be “more offers than some people can digest”. First of all, please read his response to your post - this IS the fixed interest rate environment we have today, like it or not! What else can you expect with the Fed cuts that have happened? Grow up! By the way, the rate drops may have stopped for now - read what Baking Guy and others have reported about very recent liquid rate changes. Secondly, you may have missed that in many cases, what you refer to as similar and “ordinary” offers or “deals” may have subtle differences between them - some local, some involving differences in “ease of opening” the accounts, some involving the fact that you may have to use existing “hub” financial institutions that don’t pay high rates but move funds quickly to those places that Banking Guy identifies as paying higher-than-market rates, etc.

I can attest that I personally have made, let’s say, “a goodly sum”, from Banking Guy’s work. I have NO complaints.

1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I check in a couple times a day and really appreciate the job you do banking guy.

1
Comment #6 by Michael (anonymous) posted on
Michael
Banking Guy, please disregard what RAM said. He or she is in the minority.

Most, I feel, welcome your postings of the "not so great" accounts. It at the least makes us appreciate if we are in one of the higher paying accounts.

And all knowledge is good, even if it is about the lower paying banks.

iGoBanking has guts calling their account "High Interest Checking." "High Interest" my ****!

Of course, it is higher interest than what Wachovia is paying for their Money Market Checking...so maybe it is high interest (relatively speaking)?

Thanks, BG!

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Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I definitely disagree with ram. This blog is awesome! Just because there are lots of posts doesn't mean it's watered-down.. it just means that the BankDeals guy spends an enormous amount of his time on this blog for (I assume) no pay.

As for this checking account, one thing that really irks me is that they don't make it easier to open the account if you already have one with them. So, even though I already have a savings account with them, they denied my application for this checking account because my credit report is frozen.

I'm still going to go and unfreeze my report so that I can open the account, but it's just frustrating that they can't make it easier for people who already have a relationship with them.

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Comment #8 by Frequent Reader (anonymous) posted on
Frequent Reader
I love this blog, thanks for sharing.

1
Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I had an iGOsavings account for a little over a year. But, their restrictive policies made it useless for me. They advertise their next day transfer service. But, to enable external accounts for next day transfers you must send them an email requesting to add specific accounts for next day transfers. So, whenever you add an external account you have to request that it be enabled for next day transfers. Also, "All incoming deposits are held for five (5) business days." This applies to all ACH transfers into the account including "DIRECT DEPOSITS" of your salary. So, you cannot access your salary for 5 business days.

1
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Do you know the hold times for HSBC Online Savings and Online Payment deposits for comparison? Not sure of the hold times. I think it could be 3 days?

1
Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I would stay away from iGOBanking.
I had an account, but closed it for the reason of their ACH.

I wanted to transfer money from bank A to Bank B, using iGOBanking as intermediary.
Initiated transfer request from iGo in mid week to pull money from bank A. Request was processed next Monday.

Waited 'till mid of next week for the money to show at iGO, then waited five business day (essentially one week) for the money to be available to send to Bank B.

Initiated transfer out to Bank B and it took another 3 business days to start the transfer, which took another 3 days to show at Bank B.

In a nutshell, it took 3 weeks to send money from bank A to Bank B using iGo. I lost lot of interest during this time and the amount was over $20K. I felt like a loser and being on the mercy of the Bank.

Finally cosed the account.

1
Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
iGOBanking creates lot of floats on the money. They make tremendous profits by not paying interest when you send or request money to be pulled in.

The moment you request a transfer out, they stop paying interest on the money, money stay in the account but the interest is cut off the moment you push the send button.

Same thing happens when requesting money in. Money can be pulled from the other Bank in one day, but will not show in your account for three days and then you wait 5 business days. If money comes in on Friday, you are not paid interest for:
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.....

Are You getting the picture of the scheme?
I closed my account too.

1
Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
To Ram. I guess I have a problem with people who get or use something for free and then complain about it. This is a great site and I am sure that many many hours of work goes into making it that way. Did it ever accour to you that the hidden gems you talk about are few and far between in todays interest rate situation. Something that is of no interest to you or me might be to someone else. You do a great job Banking Guy and please keep up the good work. Thank You

1
Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The BankingGuy is doing great job.
He is posting the current environment of the interest rates.

Ignore Ram's post, it is only worth 2 cents.

1
Comment #15 by Ram (anonymous) posted on
Ram
oops; I am sorry if i sounded unappreciative - that was certainly NOT the case.

I visit the blog daily, and appreciate the enormous amount of work that goes on here.

That was just a feedback I had (and still stand by it :)

1
Comment #16 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I contacted customer service, and they told me that they do the soft pull through Equifax. If you have a security freeze, you need to temporarily lift it or else your application will be denied.

Quite a bit of effort just to get an ATM card for my savings account. Sigh.

1
Comment #17 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I closed my igo savings account because of the 5 day hold too. I would've had to make a few very large deposits instead of biweekly direct deposits since, I don't know about anyone else, but I like to have access to my money especially in this financial climate.

I also have an ING savings and checking (Electric Orange) account. True, the interest is less but it is a joy dealing with ING - all funds are available immediately. ING's EO has an overdraft amount that is given to you when you open a checking account. Mine is $25. I don't use it often but when I do, I check my account before midnight to see my running balance. As long as you transfer funds before the next business day, ING won't charge you the 12.5% for using the overdraft.

ING's EO also had a great feature where you can send money to another ING checking customer instantly.

I've been with ING since they starting offering accounts in Oct of 2000. I definitely recommend them.

1
Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have had an iGOsavings account for some time, and today I applied for the checking account. They asked me to verify my address by sending them a bank statement or bill. I really want to send them their own bank statement to me, complete with my address, but that would probably confuse them too much.

You really think that they would figure out how to make this easier for existing customers.

1
Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Of all the internet banks this seems the best now as they are 4 stars and their website is excellent in my opinion. I feel safe with this bank and their interest rate is 4th best currently.

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