Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

4.00% Online Savings Account Guaranteed For 3 Months at 1st Constitution Direct

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Update 3/27/10: They no longer list a 3-mo guaranteed rate. New customers now can qualify for the top rate of 1.50% APY. The standard rate for balances over $10K remains at 1.25% APY. For balances under $10K, the standard rate remains at 0.50% APY. Refer to the rate history at the bottom of the post.

1st Constitution Bank has an internet branch called 1st Constitution Direct with a promotion that beats the ones from HSBC and E-LOAN. It's called the Direct Super Savings Internet Special, and it's guaranteeing 4.00% APY for 3 months from the date of account opening. After the 3 months, the rate returns to the standard tiered rates (currently 3.25% APY for balances $10,000+ and 1.60% APY for balances under $10,000).

Below is a summary of this savings account and promotion based on the bank's FAQs, the savings account overview page and my conversation with the bank's customer service representative (CSR):

  • Available to people in any state (CSR)
  • 4.00% APY applies for 3 months starting on date of account opening (overview)
  • 4.00% APY applies to all balances even under $10K during the 3-month promo (CSR)
  • After the promo, standard yield applies. Currently 3.25% APY ($10K+), 1.60% APY (under $10K)
  • Minimum initial deposit of $100 (overview)
  • No monthly service charges regardless of balance (overview)
  • No checks or ATM card (CSR)
  • Joint accounts are allowed (overview)
  • POD beneficiaries are not allowed (CSR)
  • Initial deposit done by ACH electronic funds transfer (FAQ)
  • Two trial deposits and one debit are done as part of the account verification (FAQ)
  • ACH electronic funds transfers are free (CSR)
  • No limit on the number of links to external bank accounts (CSR)
  • Additional links added by sending them instructions via their secure online mail (CSR)
  • No limits to the number of ACH transfers except the 6 withdrawal limit that's required by law. (CSR)
  • No limits to the amount of the ACH transfers (CSR)
  • Credit pull is done in the application. CSR was not able to say if it's a hard or soft.

For those with less than $10,000, they also have the Direct Savings Account. This also has a 3-month promotional yield, but it's only 3.20% APY. After 3-months, the standard tiered rates apply (currently 3.05% APY for balances $3,000+ and 1.00% APY for balances under $3,000). Everything else seems to be the same as the Super Direct Savings Account.

Update 9/06/08: A reader mentioned that he received a 3-month extension on the this 4% promotion. If your promo period is coming to an end, you may want to ask for an extension.

1st Constitution has branches in several New Jersey cities. The bank has been FDIC insured since 1989 (FDIC Certificate # 27552). It has $475.3 million in assets and $378.8 million in deposits based on 3/31/08 data, and it has a 4 star rating (sound) at Bankrate based on 12/31/07 data.

Thanks to the reader who emailed me info on this special.

[Update 6/6/08: Added "4% for all balances" bullet in the list.]

Rate History:
03/27/10: new customer rate 1.50% APY, standard $10K+ 1.25%, standard under $10K 0.50%
02/04/10: 3mo promo 1.25% APY, standard $10K+ 1.25%, standard under $10K 0.50%
12/08/09: 3mo promo 1.50% APY, standard $10K+ 1.50% APY
11/12/09: 3mo promo 1.75% APY, standard $10K+ 1.75% APY, 1.30% APY under $10K
11/03/09: 3mo promo 2.00% APY, standard $10K+ 1.85% APY
09/23/09: 3mo promo 2.00% APY, standard $10K+ 1.95% APY
08/11/09: 3mo promo 2.05% APY, standard $10K+ 1.95% APY
08/05/09: 3mo promo 2.30% APY, standard $10K+ 2.25% APY
06/13/09: 3mo promo 2.50% APY, standard $10K+ 2.25% APY
04/28/09: 3mo promo 2.50% APY, standard $10K+ 2.05% APY
04/01/09: 3mo promo 2.75% APY, standard $10K+ 2.50% APY
03/18/09: 3mo promo 2.95% APY, standard $10K+ 2.50% APY
02/19/09: 3mo promo 3.00% APY
01/30/09: 3mo promo 3.50% APY
01/06/09: 3mo promo 3.75% APY
06/05/08: 3mo promo 4.00% APY, standard $10K+ 3.25% APY, 1.60% APY under $10K


  Tags: 1st Constitution Bank, savings account

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Comments
41 Comments.
Comment #1 by Go Lakers (anonymous) posted on
Go Lakers
Thanks for posting this.

I am surprised they would not allow a POD beneficiary, as you'd think they'd want as much money from a person as possible.

Without the POD beneficiary, I absolutely would not deposit more than $100,000.

The fall back rate of 3.25% is about what you'd get at WaMu.

Don't know if it is worth doing this for 3 months right now, as one can get 4% at Alliant CU.

Now, if Alliant lowers their rate, it might be worth the 3 months at 1st Constitution Direct.

1
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Bankdeals, You left out "New Jersey" as the label for this post on 1stConstitutionBank.

1
Comment #3 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Do you know if someone can open these Direct savings accounts at one of their branches in addition to online? Since these deals were related to their internet branch, I just labeled them as nationally available.

1
Comment #4 by Chris (anonymous) posted on
Chris
Just to be clear, if you have less than $10,000 in the account, you still get 4% for the 3 months?

Thanks

1
Comment #5 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Chris, I had forgotten to ask about that on my first call so I called back today. I was told it applies to all balances even if it's under $10K. This is only for the first 3 months.

I noted this change in the post.

1
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
This bank is right around the corner from me. I was told you cannot get this rate at a branch. Online only

1
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I was told by a rep that I could not wire funds into this internet savings account. "Can only ACH from the bank I initially linked up to when opening the account" (WAMU). I forgot to ask if I can link up from another bank account (Countrywide) to this account. I will see if my verification deposits go through.

1
Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
any link to the schedule of fees?
Is there a fee to close the account? anyone able to link countrywide saingslink acounts?

1
Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I emailed them with these questions but have not received a response. Anyone know any of the answers?
Re: Direct Super Savings Internet Special, and it's guaranteeing 4.00% APY for 3 months from the date of account opening

1)Any idea how long this 4.00% APY for 3 months promo will be available? 2)Is the 3months from date of online app or date of funding?
3)Any account opening or refer a ffriend bonuses?
4)Please email a link to the schedule of fees.
5)Is there a fee to close the account? 6)Can I fund & link countrywide savingslink acounts?

1
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Also, I emailed them with these questions but have not received a response. Anyone know any of the answers?
Re: Direct Super Savings Internet Special, and it's guaranteeing 4.00% APY for 3 months from the date of account opening
1)If my spouse & I open 3 Direct Super Savings Internet Specials 1 joint for $200000.00, 2 single $100000.00 , we'd be fully covered, except for accumulated by FDIC, correct
&
2)WOULD WE EARN THE 4.00% APY for THE 3 months promo PERIOD ON THE TOTAL $400000.00?

3) OR is there a cap on the balance that earns the 4.00% APY for THE 3 months promo?
Thx

1
Comment #11 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
From my countrywide savingslink account I added 1st Constitution to my tranfer accounts. 1st Constitution accepted Countrywides verication deposits. I scheduled an ACH transfer from Countywide to 1st Con. for tomorrow. Hopefully it will go through.

1
Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Did 1stconstitution accept the deposit initiated from Countrywide?

1
Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Was there a hard credit pull for anyone who opened this account?

1
Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I applieded on monday and today(wed am) I recevied a rejection that my birthday did not match my SS. I printed out step 4 when I applied.. Everything was fine .. I called and they said I had to apply again. I got no where with the rep so I asked for a sup and got no where with here .. they kept saying the info did not match reapply..I askd who they verified through she said she couldn't say I then asked if the hand keyed the app back into a system of if it was automatic.. they said they couldn't say ... Doesnt make sense to me.. I also lowered the initial dept to 10000 from the 50000 I had.

Hopefully they will get there act together ... but so far im not impressed with there customer relationship skills

1
Comment #15 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
now they said my password did not match on the deposit verification

1
Comment #16 by j (anonymous) posted on
j
use the password you entered on the online application, even if you have changed it for online access

1
Comment #17 by DollarBill (anonymous) posted on
DollarBill
My three month 4% guarantee was about to expire on Oct 2. I just received an unsolicited email stating that they are extending my 4.00% APY promotional rate until Jan 2, 2009.

1
Comment #18 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
good bank,just extended my 4% online account for another 3 months. haven't had issues with transfers.

1
Comment #19 by Ryan from Chicago (anonymous) posted on
Ryan from Chicago
I opened an account with 1st Constitution in October 2008. They seem reputable and ACH transfers usually take 1-2 business days however they informed me that they do not permit ACH transfers initiated from other banks and blocked my attempt to link an Amtrust Direct account. Unfortunately they make it very difficult to link additional external accounts as you must send an online request, wait for the request to be approved, and then fax several bank statements to them.

1
Comment #20 by Banking Guy (anonymous) posted on
Banking Guy
Thanks for sharing your experience with this bank. Sorry to see them block outside ACH requests.

1
Comment #21 by distrmgr (anonymous) posted on
distrmgr
1st Constitution just extended my 4% rate for an additional 3 months. This is the second extension of the promo rate for my account. My only complaint is that they require links to an outside checking account and will not allow links to a savings account.

1
Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It's official; they lowered the rate 3-mo intro to 3.75%, thereafter is still 3.25% but may fall. Emigrants' and Dollarsavings will be next. For local banks in NY,NJ, this bank rate's is competitive. Another NJ bank, posted on this blog ~1yr ago, has a checking account that pays 2.75% now (used to be ~3.50% Jan08), as long as you agreed for e-statements and have balance >2500 to avoid monthly fee and to earn interest.

1
Comment #23 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Called them today to inquire about whether they do a hard or soft credit pull. The CSR told me they couldn't reveal their security procedures, even after I pressed her on the matter.

Does anyone know if they a hard or soft pull?

1
Comment #24 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I've had an account for 3 weeks. Opening process was relatively smooth and ACH transfers are quick. Recommended.

1
Comment #25 by MrFrugality (anonymous) posted on
MrFrugality
As above, smooth application, quick approval and very fast transfers. A top online bank right now.

1
Comment #26 by Michael (anonymous) posted on
Michael
I signed up.

The only negative is that they pick your User Name for you (it is a numerical user ID), and they won't allow you to change your user name or pick your own easy-to-remember one.

I hate this!

The only way you can handle your account is via Online access, so your user name is very important. They should let you pick your own user name.

Their customer service is good. The account creation process is fine.

1
Comment #27 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Rate is down to 3%.

1
Comment #28 by ichaelm (anonymous) posted on
ichaelm
promo rate now 2.75%

1
Comment #29 by Shane (anonymous) posted on
Shane
Be careful! Although they have a great rate, they transfer your money very fast from your bank acct, but you cannot access the money (even though it shows in their system). As well, you DO NOT earn interest on the money during this time.

1- On 7/24 they debited my bank (1 day after request). On 8/3 the money will be available to me (10 days later).

2- On 7/30 they debited my bank (again, 1 day after transfer request). On 8/7 this money will be available to me (9 days later).

This is absurdly long! And even worse, it is possible I am earning no interest during these 10 day periods! If true, I will leave them. I will re-post once I hear back re this.

1
Comment #30 by crazy4swayze (anonymous) posted on
crazy4swayze
did anyone ever find out about whether it's a hard of soft credit check?

1
Comment #31 by Shane (anonymous) posted on
Shane
OK, here are the details re ACH and interest, direct from 1st Constitution Direct;

1- Accts are considered new for the first 30 days. ACH transfers for 'new' accts are available after 7 business days.

2- After 30 days, ACH transfers are available after 5 business days.

3- You do earn interest as soon as it hits your 'ledger', but the money is still not avail until the timeframes above.

Please note, they are quick to transfer out of your bank acct (1 day after request).

1
Comment #32 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
It's the most ridiculous bank I've encountered. After I applied a day ago, I received a rejection letter from the bank when I called them the CSR told me that my birthday did not match (with what?) and the system automatically rejected the application, I asked her if I could send in any additional information and the csr said that she could not do anything and I just could not open the account!!! has anybody else have similar experience, I am planning to write a complaint to FDIC...

1
Comment #33 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
This morning their website shows that 2.5% APY has dropped to 2.3 on the three-month guarantee.

1
Comment #34 by larkin (anonymous) posted on
larkin
Now looks like 2.05%.

1
Comment #35 by Shane (anonymous) posted on
Shane
Crazy how fast their rates have dropped! I'm scared to go back to ShoreBank direct though... they are .2% higher at the moment, but with only a 1 star ranking. How long would your money be locked up in a bank failure?

1
Comment #36 by JCE (anonymous) posted on
JCE
I recently opened a Direct Super Savings account, luckily I opened it just before the 3 month promo rate dropped.
The first problem I had was with the disclosure statement, I was not able to click to accept it because I did not have the latest version of Adobe Reader. I hate Adobe, I don't use their products very often but when I need to I always seem to have an outdated version of their software that no longer works properly. I downloaded the latest bloated version of Adobe Reader and was then able to process the disclosure agreement.
A few days later I received an email with information to login to my account, when I tried to login I received the following message: "Unable to process request. Try again later". I called Customer Service, someone answered right away, she tried to help me while I was on the phone with her but was unable to find the problem. She said she would pass it on to the tech dept. The next day I received an email stating "In reference to your log in issue, please log in using a different computer. The computer you are currently trying to use may have software blocking the access". Since I only have one computer at home I figured I should try using a different browser instead of Internet Explorer 6.0, I dowloaded and installed Mozilla Firefox and was able to use it to login to my account. The problem must be with a setting in Internet Explorer, if anyone else had this problem and figured out how to resolve it please let me know.

1
Comment #37 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Promo rate down to 2.00%, standard rate holding at 1.95%

1
Comment #38 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
1st Con. website account interface is counter-intuitive and buggy.
Money movement is severely restricted.
Customer service is defensive and misleading.
AVOID 1ST CON!

1
Comment #39 by Shane (anonymous) posted on
Shane
Rate is down to 1.85% after 3mo promo. Dont agree with prior poster - although website isn't the best - speed of transfers are quick and they have a great star rating from bankrate and bauer. I like em - although this new rate is getting a bit low.

1
Comment #40 by JCE (anonymous) posted on
JCE
The 3 month promo is now 1.75 APY
After 3 months:
Balances of $9,999 or under earn 1.30% apy.
Balances $10,000 to $250,000 earn 1.75% apy.

1
Comment #41 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The rates continue to drop! As of this morning 12-8-2009 my APY is now down to 1.50%. If you have an account there be sure to check on your current APY.

1