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Checking Account Changes at Bank of Internet USA

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Bank of Internet USA
Bank of Internet USA has made a major upgrade of its website and has changed its checking accounts. It now only offers one checking account called High Interest Checking. It no longer offers a different checking account for seniors. The good news is that this new checking account has the same yield as the Senior Checking Account had. However, this new checking lacks some of the perks that the Senior Checking had. Below is a list of its features:
  • 3.40% APY on all balances as of 7/02/08
  • $500 minimum initial deposit
  • $5,000 minimum average daily balance to avoid $7.50/month fee
  • First book of checks is free (no more unlimited free checks)
  • ATM reimbursements of up to $8 per month
  • Free online bill pay
  • No ACH transfer service available
  • Accepts ACH transfers initiated from another bank
I called the bank yesterday, and I was told that those who already have the Senior Checking will be grandfathered in. So you won't have to worry about monthly service charges or paying for checks. Hopefully, they'll keep the interest rate on the Senior Checking the same or better than this new checking.

I was hoping that with the major website upgrade, the bank would take this opportunity to add an ACH transfer service that would allow you to initiate electronic funds transfers to and from your accounts at other banks. But the CSR said they still don't have this. They do allow ACH debits or credits that you may initiate from other banks.

If you decide to open a BofI checking acocunt, please consider using this affiliate link. It'll take you to a BofI sign-up page like the above links, but I'll get a little credit for it.

Money Market Savings Account

If you don't need to write many checks, their Money Market Savings Account is a better deal. It has a slightly higher yield, and more importantly, it has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirements. Below is a list of its features:
  • 3.46% APY on all balances as of 7/02/08
  • $100 minimum initial deposit
  • No fees or minimum balance requirements
  • First book of checks is free
  • Limit of 3 checks per month (as required by federal regulation)
  • ATM card available
  • No ACH transfer service available
  • Accepts ACH transfers initiated from another bank
One other reason you may want the checking account is that there doesn't seem to be any ATM refunds for the money market. Also, there's no online bill pay.

Bank of Internet USA has been FDIC insured since 2000 (FDIC Certificate # 35546). It has a rating of 3 stars (performing) at Bankrate.com based on 12/31/07 data. It has a 4 star rating (excellent) at BauerFinancial based on 3/31/08 data.

Thanks to the reader who mentioned these changes in the comments.
  Tags: Bank of Internet USA, checking account

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Comments
8 comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Clarification of grandfathered Senior Checking "free" checks:

I have both a Senior Checking and Money Market account at Bank of Internet. I recently re-ordered checks on the Senior checking account (before a change in service charge schedule went into effect on 7/1/08). I called Customer Service this morning (7/2) and asked about "free" checks for the Senior checking account and was told that only one box (120 checks) of safety paper checks is available free of charge every 6 months (from date of last order).

Steve

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Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Called BofI today to have a maturing cd deposited into my senior checking account. I asked about changes in the senior account and he said no changes for me. I didn't ask specificaly about free checks but he never mentioned any limit. Anyway, 20 checks per month would be way more than I would use. I like BofI and hope they keep the rates up around 3.50% or so and I will continue to use them.

1
Comment #3 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I'd like to know where it is written that we are 'grandfathered in.' I've had a Senior checking account since 2005. There is no where on the web site that says new accounts only or something to that affect. I called and the rep told me that, but I don't trust banks unless I have it in writing. Until I see something in writing to the contrary, I'm going to have to assume they will charge fees for less than 5k. I'll probably be taking my money out as I don't appreciate the fact that there is nothing in writing about grandfathering prior accounts!

1
Comment #4 by Mike (anonymous) posted on
Mike
1) Can you sign up for both the money market and checking and instantaneously move money between the 2 accounts online?

2) What does average daily balance mean? Does it mean I need $5000 every day, or can I have $2500 half the days and $7500 the other half? (I ran into a problem with this at BOA and was charged a service fee).

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Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Mike:

Yes, once your checking and money market accounts are set-up, you can transfer funds between accounts (unlimited).

What I do to maximize interest earned is I maintain a small imprest balance ($1,000) in the checking account, and as I write checks, I transfer the exact amount from the Money Market account into the checking account on-line. The transfers are immediate, but are subject to nightly processing and that cut-off is 6PM, PST.

I have been a customer of BOI for about 5 years. Have not yet used bill pay system.

Steve

1
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Once you use the link for checking rates, and, scroll down there is verification of the grandfathered accounts. It is difficult to find, but it is there. I shall miss the senior aspect of the website. It was nice as a senior to be considered special by an institution.

1
Comment #7 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Ah, I see it now.

http://www.bankofinternet.com/fee-schedule.aspx

Scroll down and indeed there's a section on Grandfathered Accounts.

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Comment #8 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I have had BofI for over 5 years and it's by far the best internet bank from a customer service perspective. They respond to emails within minutes not days and I have NEVER had any transactional issue.

1