Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion

New Internet Bank - Clear Sky - 3.75% Savings Account Guaranteed through 3/31/09

POSTED ON BY

Clear Sky Accounts
Update 12/22/2009: Rates have fallen: Savings Account APY: 1.60%, Checking Account APYs: 1.35% up to $10K, 1.45% $10K-$25K, 1.55% $25K-$250K.

Clear Sky Accounts is a new internet bank that's offering several competitive products including an online savings account that pays 3.75% APY. According to the bank's savings account page as of 1/05/09, the 3.75% APY is guaranteed through 3/31/09 on new accounts. The minimum balance is $1, and there are no monthly fees. Maximum balance is $250,000.

There's also a tiered-rate checking account with no monthly fees. The yields are very competitive for a non-reward checking account. As of 1/05/09 the yield is 2.50% APY for balances up to $10K, 2.75% APY for balances between $10K and $25K, and 3.25% APY for balances over $25K. Unlike the savings account, I don't see any rate guarantee. It's a paperless checking account like ING Direct's Electric Orange. So you'll have to use their free online bill pay instead of writing paper checks. They reimburse up to $20/month on ATM fees.

And the other nice product offered by this bank is an online certificate of deposit. Their CD page lists some competitive rates as of 1/05/09. These include a 3.75% APY 19-month CD, a 3.51% APY 13-month CD and a 3.40% APY 7-month CD. Minimum deposit is $5,000. I was told by the CSR that the early withdrawal penalties are 90 days of interest for terms less than a year and 182 days of interest for terms of over one year. According to the CSR, the rates are set at the time of the application.

All of these accounts can be opened online, and according to the CSR, they're available to people in any state. Also, all of the accounts can be funded via an ACH transfer (what they call an interbank transfer). After the initial funding, you can continue to initiate free interbank transfers, but their ACH transfer system has some limitations. The CSR informed me of the following limitations:
  • Update 2/3/09: Reader reported being told of new daily limits to replace the $10K/$50K per day limits. The limits are $100,000 daily deposit and $50,000 daily withdrawal.
  • allows up to 3 links to different banks
  • Interbank transfer cannot be done for a CD when it matures. They can either mail you a cashier's check or you can transfer funds to your Clear Sky checking or savings account
According to the CSR, there is not a hard credit inquiry (note, CSRs are often wrong on this).

Clear Sky Accounts are FDIC insured through Chesapeake Bank of Virginia. There's a link to the Clear Sky website on the left side of Chesapeake Bank's front page. Chesapeake Bank has been FDIC insured since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 6862).

Chesapeake Bank's ratings for soundness are strong: 4 stars (excellent) at BauerFinancial and 4 stars (sound) at Bankrate.com. Both are based on 9/30/08 data.

Rate History:
12/22/09: 1.60% APY, Checking 1.35% to 1.55% APY
11/30/09: 1.65% APY, Checking 1.45% to 1.65% APY
08/29/09: 1.75% APY, Checking 1.55% to 1.75% APY
08/06/09: 1.85% APY, Checking 1.65% to 1.85% APY
06/27/09: 1.95% APY
04/13/09: 2.05% APY
03/26/09: 2.15% APY
03/16/09: 2.50% APY (was 2.85% APY)
02/09/09: 3.05% APY
02/02/09: 3.15% APY with no more guarantee intro period
01/05/09: 3.75% APY with guarantee to 3/31/09

Update 2/13/2009: No new applications are being accepted and existing customers are temporarily not allowed to make additional deposits. Please refer to this post for more details.

  Tags: Clear Sky Accounts, CD rates, checking account, savings account

Related Posts

Comments
62 Comments.
Comment #1 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I don't like their web site at all, and it doesn't provide much information. I don't feel comfortable to open one. pass!!!

-1
Comment #2 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
The bank is located in the Tidewater region of Virginia. They have a four star rating on Bankrate.com

1
Comment #3 by AtHome Dad (anonymous) posted on
AtHome Dad
I just opened a savings account with them. The online application process was seamless and professional. I hope the follow up service is just as solid. I'll update when I get more experience.

1
Comment #4 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Yeah, their web site looks bad. I'll pass too.

Has anyone confirmed it is actually FDIC insured thru another bank?

""Clear Sky Accounts are FDIC insured through Chesapeake Bank of Virginia. There's a link to the Clear Sky website on the left side of Chesapeake Bank's front page. Chesapeake Bank has been FDIC insured since 1934 (FDIC Certificate # 6862).""

-1
Comment #5 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Guess y'all didn't bother to go to the main bank's website (chesbank.com) and notice that there is a link to Clear Sky Accounts there...

1
Comment #6 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I opened a savings acct too...the customer service was exceptional!!

Already passed on info to others, can't pass up the rate!! :)

-1
Comment #7 by Frederick (anonymous) posted on
Frederick
Yeah, but are you mentally prepared that come March 31st the rate will drop below 3%?

1
Comment #8 by AtHome Dad (anonymous) posted on
AtHome Dad
Yes, I am prepared for the drop after the guarantee time. It is better than my Rewards Checking that dropped the week after I opened it! My local CU rate dropped between the afternoon I picked up a rate sheet and the next morning when I went in to open a CD.

For straight savings account, this is pretty good. FNBO has been dropping like a rock, so I'm happy to move to Clear Sky and give it a try. They contacted me the next day to remind me to register for electronic statements.

As for the webdesign...don't judge a bank by its html cover. :-)

Happy savings one and all

1
Comment #9 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
were you able to successfully open the account? Is account opening process easy ?

1
Comment #10 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Is there a toll-free number that we can call to ask more questions about opening an account?

1
Comment #11 by AtHome Dad (anonymous) posted on
AtHome Dad
Opening an account was a breeze (as it SHOULD be for an online account). No faxing, mailing, or other such tasks.

I received an email the next day welcoming me, and it included this:

"Again, thank you for choosing Clear Sky and as always, feel free to call or email us at (877) 257-7594 or info@clearskyaccounts.com."

So there you are. This site, and the parent bank Chesapeake Bank have other useful looking resources, e.g., "Resources" and "Financial Tool Kit" (although I haven't yet taken the time to explore them in depth).

So far....I'm impressed. The true test comes over time. By 3/31 I'll know how well I like this bank, and we'll see what the rate does after that.

I just wish they had a High Reward Checking with a 50k limit.

1
Comment #12 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
AtHome Dad, how quick was the ACH transfer?

1
Comment #13 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I applied today. I use a "block" on all three credit rating agencies. On initial application I got a quick rejection. After talking with SCR found that they use Experian to do a verification process. I unblocked Experian and everything went well. It was late in the day, so the account wasn't completely opened.. got an email with the following.

"Thank you R*** J**** for your application. Once your application has been reviewed and approved (within 24 hours), you will be sent a welcome kit via usps.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call or email Clear Sky Accounts at 877-257-7594 or info@clearskyaccounts.com"

When I was on the phone with CSR she indicated that they tyipically offer pretty high rates even if not running the special. I'm only getting about 1.28% in my normal money market right now.. so this is a big improvement. I did ask about the $10,000 transfer out limit and the CSR confirmed. $50k in limit also. R:)

1
Comment #14 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Do you know if we can add beneficiaries during the on-line application process?

1
Comment #15 by AtHome Dad (anonymous) posted on
AtHome Dad
I don't recall seeing the beneficiary option in the application process, but the phone number and the CSR's will set it up. They are helpful. The ACH appeared to take only one day, but it is difficult to sort out ACH time and account opening time as I set it up during the application process.

After opening a High Yield Checking, 2 new CD accounts, and now this, it was by far the cleanest simplest application process.

Once open the online account access actually occurs on the Chesapeake server, so any concerns about the connection is addressed.

Happy Saving all!

1
Comment #16 by AtHome Dad (anonymous) posted on
AtHome Dad
FYI: I received a $15 iTunes card along with another welcome letter today. "Banking where you call the tunes." An unexpected surprise, and a rate guaranteed for 3 months. Not bad in these times.

1
Comment #17 by Adithya (anonymous) posted on
Adithya
want to find you from all whether this is going to be a hardpull or softpull?
Any ideas??

1
Comment #18 by jwbodnar (anonymous) posted on
jwbodnar
They use the same NetTeller online banking platform that many banks use, including Venture Bank Direct. The interface is very 1996ish, but it's functional and gives you access to a slew of features.

Clear Sky offers ACH capability. It uses the NetTeller platform, so if Venture Bank Direct is any indication, transfers are pretty fast.

1
Comment #19 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Got my welcome packet in the mail today. Even included a free $15 itunes card. Wasn't expecting that. Going to enjoy the rate while it lasts...

1
Comment #20 by AtHome Dad (anonymous) posted on
AtHome Dad
Directly from the Clear Sky CSR:

"Clear Sky does not pull your credit report. We do, however, run security
verification through Experian."

1
Comment #21 by Adithya (anonymous) posted on
Adithya
Even for checkings account we can add only 3 bank accounts for ACH transfer?Is that the max?Can someone confirm??

1
Comment #22 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
I started the application Sunday, got a rejection email this morning based on the Fraud Alert on my account (Experian). I emailed the CSR and she called me on the cell (as listed on the fraud alert) and just asked a few questions. I funded it with a small ACH transfer to start and we're off and running. Having an internal ACH transfer (to/from 3 other banks) is an advantage not found in some of my online accounts.

1
Comment #23 by mark (anonymous) posted on
mark
I wonder if the 10K/50K daily transfer limits are only for transfers initiated from their side (as opposed, say, to transfers initiated from an outside account linked to Clear Sky). Based on on my experience elsewhere, I'm guessing the 10K limit is easily circumvented this way. About the only trick is finding out what your Clear Sky account number is in order to set up the external link in the first place; they don't display it anywhere obvious in the user interface.

1
Comment #24 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
When I clicked on the open application link, I was taken to another site jha.loanspq.com. Did not trust the redirect, so I did not continue with the application. Anyone know why you are redirected to this site to complete the application?

1
Comment #25 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Yes...that is the secure redirect for the application.

1
Comment #26 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
main bank's website was DOWN @ the time.

""Guess y'all didn't bother to go to the main bank's website (chesbank.com) and notice that there is a link to Clear Sky Accounts there...""

1
Comment #27 by craig (anonymous) posted on
craig
ok so i signed up and next day i got the welcome email. third day i got a email with all the info to login to my account, and ther was my transfered money in my account, then i was instucted to set up my three external accounts for the ach transfers. it was all so simple a caveman could do it...

1
Comment #28 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Mark you bring up a good point. I've initiated interbank transfer both ways and will be interesting to see which way goes quickest and or smoothest. Would be very nice if the $10k limit was not upheld when initiating from the other side. My confirm deposit from ClearSky has not shown up in my External account yet after 3 days I think.. Seems to long as a few other accounts I did have been deposited.

1
Comment #29 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Mark another thing.. I had the same feeling about the account number... Not sure if we will get something in the mail with it printed in a few days. I found my account number when I clicked on a link discribing my transfer in to ClearSky. It was Digital Image of a hand written Deposit Slip showing the initial funding... My account number was written In on there. I've also done a Wire Transfer into my account already. Which was reflected in the ClearSky account within Minutes. This was a real bank transfer not an Electronic Interbank (ACH) transfer since my accounts haven't been confirmed/linked yet. R:)

1
Comment #30 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Anonymous @ 4:56PM is correct about the account number on the Digital image. At first, CSR claimed that account number was on the View Documents inside the Apply page, but the embedded PDF document there only displays a red X inside a blank page. As for the Digital Image of a hand written Deposit Slip showing the initial funding, there was one credit in one account number and a matching debit in another account number, although I only applied for one ClearSky savings account; waiting to hear CSR's explanation about the debit transaction. Also, initial ACH funding is certainly not as smooth/fast as Provident-direct.

1
Comment #31 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
"Also, initial ACH funding is certainly not as smooth/fast as Provident-direct"... Hmmmm the provident messages seem LOADED with issues at that bank and it doesn't seem like there is ACH transfers for the account once established.. Are you recommending it? Seems like way more issues with that bank.. Chesapeake Bank is 4 stars also.. R:)

1
Comment #32 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
"it doesn't seem like there is ACH transfers for the account once established..": it is available after the savings account has been established; its speed/timeliness is in the league of Schwab MoneyLink (ACH push/pull transaction ordered before cut-off time is completed on the next business day).
Notwithstanding their recent rate drop, my 3 month experience with Provident has been problem-free so far.

1
Comment #33 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
For those that opened a checking account and received their debit card already, what ATM networks are listed on the back of the card?

1
Comment #34 by andrew (anonymous) posted on
andrew
previous poster - cirrus and star. i assume you can use it any any ATM, no?

1
Comment #35 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Andrew- Thanks for the info. In the U.S., it should work with almost all ATM machines because they are usually on the STAR, Plus, and Cirrus networks simultaneously. But in foreign countries, like Canada, some machines are only on the Cirrus network and some are only on the Plus network, so the card will not work at the machines on the wrong network.

1
Comment #36 by Michael (anonymous) posted on
Michael
Being a newbie, I have a silly question: can I use this saving account to pay credit cards like a MMA (without a checking linked to it)?
Thanks!

1
Comment #37 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Concerning ACH transfers. States 10,000 day out and 50,000 day in limit. Is there also a 1 transaction per day limit? Ex, I have 3 linked accounts, can I transfer in from each 15,000 (45,000) which is under the 50,000 limit or do I need to do this on 3 separate days? Also, could I have a 10,000 transaction out to one linked account and a 50000 transaction in from a different account on same day?

Thanks

1
Comment #38 by Retired Guest (anonymous) posted on
Retired Guest
To answer the last poster: Yes, one in and one out PER DAY. One pleasant surprise is when I make an interbank transfer in the morning, it ALWAYS shows up in my account that day...and is still showing up in the other account for at least a day. I love double interest! I also made one small transfer out and it was in the bank the next day. Very speedy.

I have not set up a checking account, but plan to. The info here appears to be wrong, as they say they provide a "startup" batch of paper checks free...so obviously, it doesn't all have to be billpay (free) or ACH (also free).

1
Comment #39 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
One thing I noticed when applying was that even after selecting savings account it didnt automatically N/A the agreement that says " I agree that I will be recieveing a debit card to use for transactions with this account" and the options are Agree and N/A. I selected N/A but not after thinking about it for a while(I wasnt sure if thier savings account also came with a debit card)

1
Comment #40 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Can anyone confirm whether they do a hard or soft pull? I'm not comfortable relying on what the CSRs say.

1
Comment #41 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
From another website:

Just opened a Clear Sky Account today, Friday, Jan. 30th, to lock in the 3.75 and was advised via phone contact with a Chesapeake Bank rep handling Clear Sky that effective Monday, Feb. 2nd, the Clear Sky online rate will drop to 3.15. So you have through Sunday, Feb.1st, to open up and lock in the 3.75 until end of March when it will reset to ?, the new 3.15?

1
Comment #42 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Now that the promotional rate is gone, the $250,000 balance limitation seems to be gone as well.

1
Comment #43 by dimossi (anonymous) posted on
dimossi
I signed up just in time to lock in the 3.75% rate until 3/31/09. The rep also gave me some additional info:
1. She reported that there have been problems with ACH transfers and DollarSavingsDirect accounts. Apparently, you can't deposit money into Clear Sky directly from DollarSavingsDirect. (This problem is on the DSD end she said.) The withdrawal would need to go from DSD into a linked account first then deposit that into CS.
2. The daily limits are changing. As of 2/3/09, she said there will be a $100,000 daily deposit limit and a $50,000 daily withdrawal limit. That is much better than the current 50k/10k limits.

The rep was very helpful and readily giving me information. Good customer service so far.

1
Comment #44 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Wonderful customer service. I will probably stay with them after the 3.75% is expired, as long as they are competitive. The service is outstanding.

1
Comment #45 by ClickClack (anonymous) posted on
ClickClack
I have to echo the comments of Anonymous @ 10:14 AM: Their customer service has been outstanding in addressing my questions about their accounts, their on-line application process, and how I could submit one check to fund the three accounts I chose to open. (A rep stayed late in the office to return a phone message I'd left earlier that day.)
Even if they don't end up being a rate leader, I could see myself sticking with them as long as their rates don't get significantly lower than those of other on-line banks.

1
Comment #46 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Note that Clear Sky Accounts has already dropped some rates again:

See www.clearskyaccounts.com

- Savings acct now 3.05% APY
- 19-month CD now 3.15% APY

I suppose that most banks cannot afford to maintain their attention-grabbing rates for long in this climate, but the frequent reductions are depressing and irritating. It's a lot more important than whether their Web site is kind of lame, boring, static, non-interactive, short on charts, etc.

1
Comment #47 by Doug (anonymous) posted on
Doug
They have just stopped accepting deposits from current account holders and new accounts.

1
Comment #48 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
2.85% APY now...

1
Comment #49 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Along with the Savings APY now being 2.85%, the 3-tiered checking is now at 2.00%, 2.25%, and 2.45%. As for CD APYs, they're 2.55% for the 19-month CD, 2.34% for the 13-month CD, and 2.25% for the 7 month CD.

1
Comment #50 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Savings account now dropped to 2.5%APY..Its a shame that it keeps dropping, as customer service has been good and my overall banking experience has been positive. Seems like rate drop has been accelerating..

1
Comment #51 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Down to 2.15% APY. I guess this is still considered competitive, but not a rate leader any more. And the last comment seems to have hit the mark about cuts accelerating. Time to move money?

1
Comment #52 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Savings down to 2.05%

1
Comment #53 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
This bank does not seem to readily disclose their terms as required by the Truth-In-Savings act - they would not even do it when I called them.

I would be very cautious about opening an account with them.

1
Comment #54 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Love the service and will remain with them. I have heard that the rate will be going up substantially in the near future.

1
Comment #55 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Savings yield down again to 1.95%

1
Comment #56 by Sugar Bear (anonymous) posted on
Sugar Bear
I received a Truth in Savings disclosure with my new account documents.

1
Comment #57 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Savings Yield down to 1.85%

1
Comment #58 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
just got an email from clearsky stating my account was closed due to irregular activity.
did this happen to anyone else?
I only had 2 ach transfers for the past 2 months.
how could it be irregular activity?

1
Comment #59 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Has anyone had problems with the ACH system? They ****ed up a transaction that I set up.

1
Comment #60 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Savings APY down to 1.65%

1
Comment #61 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Savings APY down to 1.60%

1
Comment #62 by Anonymous posted on
Anonymous
Chesapeake has started something called Moneytracker.  Anyone using this?  Looks like it can link to all other of your accounts and the video states that it tracks FICO scores and is free. 

How secure is this?  Is Chesapeake doing this or is another bigger firm offering service?

2