Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

AmTrustDirect Raises CD Rates - 4.00% APY for One Year and Longer

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AmTrustDirect
Update 7/15/08: CD rates have gone up. Please check the bank's website for the latest rates.

AmTrustDirect just increased the rates on many of its online CDs. A yield of 4.00% APY is now available on all terms from 12 months to 60 months. The previous 12-month yield was 3.77% APY. The yields for the shorter terms remain the same: 3.51% APY 6-month and 3.76% APY 9-month. The minimum deposit is $1,000.

It's nice to see another online bank getting back to yields of 4% for one year terms. In the last few weeks, only Indymac Bank has been offering a 4%+ CD for terms of around one year (4.05% APY 10-month CD).

Certificate of Deposit Details

AmTrustDirect's FAQ does a good job of providing most of the details. Some of the important details regarding the CDs include:
  • Online application allows for funding by ACH transfer or check
  • IRA CDs are not available online
  • The early withdrawal penalty is 3 months of interest for terms 11 months or less, 6 months for terms of 12 to 23 months, 9 months for terms 24 to 47 months and 12 months for terms of 48 months or more
  • Accounts can be opened with up to two beneficiaries
  • When CD matures, you can request closure of the CD by either mail or online by a secure message.
Here are some details that are not included in the FAQ that I've been told by the AmTrustDirect CSR:
  • No hard pull for opening CDs. A hard pull is still done for opening their savings account.
  • They do not accept wire transfers to fund the CD. Funding can be done by ACH transfer from your account of another bank or by mailing in a check.
  • Interest disbursements can be done monthly or every 6 months. Checks sent by mail will cost $2.50. ACH transfers to another bank can be done for free.
  • When the CD matures, you can instruct them to mail you a check, wire transfer the money out ($20 fee) or transfer the money to your AmTrustDirect liquid account (e-Savings or e-Money Market account).
  • When the CD matures, they accept instructions by phone for transfers to your AmTrustdirect liquid account (e-Savings or e-Money Market account).
  • When the CD matures, an ACH transfer of the money to another bank is not an option.
I'm not sure why they accept wire transfers out, but not in. And I'm not sure why they accept ACH transfers in, but not out. Many readers have commented that the easiest way to handle AmTrustDirect CDs is to also have their e-Savings or e-Money Market account. You can just call or send a secure message at maturity, and have the money transfered to your savings account. Once in the savings account, you can initiate an ACH transfer to your other bank account.

Savings Account Update

The only problem with their savings account is that their rates have gone way down lately. But there are no minimum balance fees, so you can just keep a small amount in the account. One good thing about the savings account is a fast ACH transfer system. I just tested the transfer out on my e-Money Market Account. I requested the transfer on Sunday. It was debited from the e-Money Market account on Monday, and it was credited to my external checking account on Tuesday.

Another note regarding their ACH transfer service is that last year they had a security hole in their ACH transfer system that allowed access to the transfer system with only your account number and social security number. This seems to be fixed now.

The money I transfered out included the $50 bonus I received from their Smart Save-Up Plan promotion. The bonus was awarded as promised.

Financial Health

AmTrustDirect is an internet division of AmTrust Bank. Like many banks offering high rates these days, AmTrust Bank has been hit by the mortgage mess. Two years ago they had a Bankrate rating of 4 stars. Bankrate now gives AmTrust Bank a rating of 2 stars (below peer group) based on 12/31/07 data. BauerFinancial also has a 2 star rating (problematic). This is based on 3/31/08 data. As always, be sure to stay under the FDIC limits (AmTrust FDIC Certificate # 29776).

Thanks to the reader who mentioned these new CD rates in the Finding the Best Deals post.

  Tags: AmTrustDirect, CD rates, savings account

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Comments
6 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
They actually called me a couple weeks ago to ask my opinions and why I hadn't been using my account. I flat out told her that it was because the rates were too low and I didn't like how they were adding different savings accounts...You open one, than 3 months later they start something better. She basically agreed with me.

Too bad, unlike many I liked their service and web site when they were a rate leader, but I never tried a CD because of the difficulties I have heard about getting your money at maturity.

1
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I had a CD with them last year. I had no problem getting my money at maturity. I notified them a month before and I got my money at maturity.

1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I had a couple of CDs with Amtrust Direct a couple of years back. I thought the customer service was quite satisfactory. I also experienced no problem with a wire transfer out upon maturity. The $20 fee seems reasonable as compared to IndyMac's.

1
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I had a AmTrust account for about 5 months now. One thing I hope they'll fix is having the ability to edit transfers.

1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I took all of my money out of AmTrust recently because they lowered their money market rate so much. They are no longer competitive.

I fully agree with the first post. I hated how they kept "adding different savings accounts...You open one, then 3 months later they start something better."

1
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Main problem with AmTrust is who ever decides what rate they are going to pay can't seem to make a decision. They sometimes change rates twice or 3 times in a month. If that doesn't work they just start a new account. They paid me a bonus of $25 to renew a $1000 cd for 6 months. As a result interest rate totaled 8%. Then they paid a $50 bonus if you would make an automatic deposit of $100 a month for 3 months in your M/M account. Even if you left the $300 there for a year the $50 would equal between 15 and 20%. I still have the M/M and savings accounts with about $10 in each in case they want be competitive again. In my opinion this is not the time to get in long term cd's. With M/M and savings accounts paying 3.50 to 3.75% I see no reason to get in 4% cd's unless you think rates are going down which I don't. Anyone remember the Georgia peanut picker from the 70's. Brace yourselves as his replacement is just an election away.

1